Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My Top Twenty (Or So) Iris Perfumes

I'm a major iris lover yet you will notice that two of the most popular iris perfumes are not part of my very personal list. I'm criminally indifferent to Prada Infusion d'Iris on all its versions and concentrations. I'm also not crazy about Iris Poudre, Pierre Bourdon's classic creation for Frederic Malle. I appreciate these perfumes. Admire them, even. I just don't want to wear them. Instead, here are the iris perfumes that really and truly move me. Some are lost forever, but there are still enough good stuff on the market, even at the local mall.

The Legend
Jacques Fath- Iris Gris. Smell it and die a little.

The Limited Edition(s)
Tauer- Orris
Tableu de Parfums (Tauer) - Dark Passage
L'Artisan- Iris Pallida (2007)
Armani Prive- La Femme Bleue.
These were never meant to stay on the market, mostly because of the raw materials used in the compositions. Iris Pallida is the sheerest and most sparkling of the bunch, Armani is the sweetest, and both Tauers are thick, dark and breathtakingly stunning.

The Unjustly Discontinued
Guerlain- Iris Ganache.

At The Department Store 
Dior- Dior Homme
Hermes- Hiris
The masculine Dior (at least in its original formula) is a perfect example of what a designer perfume can and should be. Marketed for men but adored (and worn) by women, this is a sweet and satisfying iris. Hiris, an Olivia Giacobetti creation, is the opposite: as cold and clean as a marble statue.

I think of iris as a classic Chanel note. While Chanel No.19 used to have a strong iris heart (I don't even know what to call the current version and remain polite), the real iris action has moved to Chanel's Les Exclusif line with the Green Bel Respiro and the very floral 28 La Pausa.

The Modern Classics
Serge Lutens- Iris Silver Mist
MPG- Iris Bleu Gris
Annick Goutal- Heure Exquise

More Modern Beauties
Acqua di Parma- Iris Nobile (eau de parfum)
Ramon Monegal- Impossible Iris
Parfumerie General-  Cuir d'Iris
Van Cleef & Arpels- Bois d'Iris
Parfums DelRae- Mythique
Ormonde Jayne- Orris Noir
Le Labo- Iris 39
DSH Perfumes- Iridum

Albrecht Dürer, 'Iris Troiana', 1508 (detail)
Ohara Koson, Flowering Iris, 1934


  1. Please scented gods bring back Iris Ganache! I love your lists of most beloved perfumes. They are always gorgeous, Gaia. thanks!

  2. Great list, as always. Would add Mon Parfum Chéri par Camille, the Goth great-granddaughter of Iris Gris - sadly, already discontinued, and Chanel Cuir de Russie. I've also been intending to spend more time with Ann Gerard Cuir de Nacre and Aedes de Venustas Iris Nazarena. nozknoz

  3. Lovely list Gaia. I would also add Shiseido's Murasaki (in the original burgundy bottle). Ethereal Iris and gardenia over incense, galbanum and leather, the sandalwood and musk is balanced by just a touch of oak moss It's stunning, abstract and elegant.

    I love LL Iris 39, it's one of my all-time favorite earth iris scents, and I'd agree-there's no way to mention No 19 without disappointment.

  4. Wonderful and helpful topic!
    I am right in search for THE Iris perfume... And I smelled a few of the ones listed above. I didn't have the chance to get the Chanel Exclusiffs, nor the No 19 in vintage, unaltered form.
    IMHO, one worth for a honorable mention in your list could be Equistrius (Parfum d'Empire).
    Till now, this one fits the best my chemistry, together with Impossible Iris, Bois d'Iris (The Different COmpany) and Iris Noir (Yves Rocher - I'm not kidding!)

  5. I'm just an illiterate perfume wearer who bought, in my early years, a bottle of Cabochard, on the ship from New Zealand to Southampton. What did I know I loved the grey flannel bow. And now I know it was smoky iris that I fell in love with. And never to be had again. Of course I would love something similar......but would what that be? Thanks for your help. Helen

  6. What is your opinion of Andy Tauer's "Lonesome Rider," an evolution of his "Lonestar Memories" and his "Orris"?


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