Ramon Monegal is a new perfume line from Barcelona, Spain. Ramon Monegal is also the man behind the brand: he's the owner and the perfumer. Many of us tend to be wary of niche perfume lines that all of a sudden pop up on our shelves and question the motive, the money and the artistic vision (or lack of) behind them. In this case we don't have to dig too deep. Ramon Monegal is indeed a professional perfumer, classically trained, with a pedigree that goes all the way to the old house of Myrugia where he worked for his entire career until it was sold and swallowed whole by Puig (where did we hear such a story before?). Master Perfumer Monegal left Myrugia and set out on his own to create his dream perfumes without obligations to a large corporation.
Impossible Iris is one of fourteen perfumes in the Ramon Monegal collection, and obviously focused on iris or orris. The original untranslated note list (called The Essence by Monegal) specifies "Iris concrète Italie", which makes me think we're talking orris butter, Florentine or not. That's one precious material and a beautiful note for those of us who love iris perfumes. And I do. Oh, how much I do!
Iris facets go from bitter to sweet, warm ghostly chill, dirt and earth to the most ethereal. Just take your pick. Impossible Iris plays in the pretty arena, taking its main note in a floral direction. The ylang-ylang and jasmine give the iris a very lush background. The opening is actually quite sweet and almost in the fruity-floral purple juice territory (it's the raspberry), but it never gets all the way there, because the iris itself starts to emerge and grow in intensity and complexity. The large expansive petals seem to unfold and open as more and more of the intoxicating aroma is released. The jasmine creates the heady feeling that takes Impossible Iris from a daytime cottage garden to a night fantasy.
As Impossible Iris dries down it become more powdery, more recognizable as a dry iris and pairs beautifully with the cedar note. The smooth surface of the warm wood keeps the fragrance in the unisex zone and prevents it from becoming too soapy (it certainly has tendencies). The final stage of stylized dry cedar-iris lasts for long hours and makes me go back and sniff myself again and again. It satisfies the desire for "pretty" as well as for substance, and the result is friendly, wearable and decidedly attractive.
Notes: Italian Iris, Egyptian Cassiopeiae extract (a type of white heather), Raspberry, Ylang-Ylang, Egyptian Jasmine extract, Virginia Cedarwood
Ramon Monegal- Impossible Iris ($185, 50ml EDP) is available from Luckyscent, Bergdorf Goodman and select Neiman Marcus locations (in Europe ramonmonegal.com as well as exclusive perfume stores). The sample for this review was sent by the company.
Art: iris detail from Primavera by Sandro Botticelli, 1482.