It's not every day that you find a truly happy and optimistic iris perfume. Usually perfumers take the cold and damp quality of orris root and make it into a dark and brooding creature of the night or a pensive and melancholy ballad of a scent. Not Hilde Soliani, though. This Italian perfumer has a knack for orchestrating joyous fragrances that never cross into silly territory (see her Il Tuo Tulipano, perhaps the most beautiful fruity-floral I know). In Il Vs Iris Hilde Soliani takes on iris and makes it feel light, spring-like and full of life.
The main notes in Il Vs Iris are easily identified from the very first minutes- peppery greens, orris root and heliotrope. It feels like the first days of true spring- gardens that have just came back to life, new leaves everywhere, delicate flowers. But despite this youthful appearance there's also a knowing aspect, probably from the powdery-almondy heliotrope and the depth of the orris. It feels like making the choice to be happy and embrace life. Somehow this Hilde Soliani perfume made me think of the wonderful Helen Mirren, especially in this photo session:
When the green and breezy notes leave the scene Il Vs Iris becomes a calm but sexy skin scent- it's warm and mildly sweet, a little creamy and maybe more mature than the dancing pixie of the early stages. Wearing it is almost a guarantee for a good day or pleasant dreams. I find that spraying is a lot more effective than dabbing, and if I use enough (it never feels like I'm overdoing it), Il Vs Iris stays with me for about six hours, a little more when sniffing at skin level even after the scent bubble is all but gone.
Il Vs Iris by Hilde Soliani ($90, 50ml EDP) is available from Luckyscent and New London Pharmacy.
Art: Purple Iris by Marcia Baldwin
Helen Mirren for Woman & Home magazine, UK, November 2010