Colours of Iris* Part 2: Iris Bleu Gris

the dirty green iris

In my iris quest I had to try what my favourite house had to offer. The masculine iris of Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier is Iris Bleu Gris. Being new to the game my first reaction to this was: “where is the iris?”. I was expecting something powdery, austere, sombre, much like the name implies. What I got was a humid, green, almost dirty scent that left me puzzled. Humid but not haunting. Green but not earthy. With a disturbing animalic note that reminded me of… sweat. Sweet sweat but still.. sweat.

Now that I have grown I can tell there is iris in this and lots of it for that matter. It is just that the notes that support iris in this potion are so much different from what one expects. First of all it is a green fragrance. Boldly, bitterly green. Have you ever crushed the stem of an iris between your fingers? Have you smelled the green juice that oozes from the stem? Well that’s the opening sequence of this scent. It goes hand in hand with a candied iris note, soft, pinkish and sweet and you can tell once you get past the shock of the green opening. But what lingers after the green opening has been tamed by the softness of the iris is the feeling of an organic smell. And I don’t mean that in the sense of “natural” but rather in the sense of something that lies rotting in nature.

The base has a lovely suede leather feeling. The most well known leather fragrance from the same line is Parfum d’ Habit and most certainly Iris Bleu Gris shares a lot of its base notes with this one. Not a tarry leather but rather a beautiful, soft aristocratic suede. The deep drydown is a soft, enveloping, soapy leather scent with traces of its vegetal origins.

Now, if any perfumista is given the keywords “iris, green, leather” the result they would come up faster than Google is: “Chanel No19”. So is Iris Bleu Gris a masculine version of Chanel No19? Is it similar? They certainly share the same box in the perfume systemic tree. No19 is a bit more bitter, more civilized, more composed. Iris Bleu Gris is happier, quirkier, naughtier. It is the only iris prominent scent that I have come across that doesn’t capitalize on the austerity of this note but treats it like what it really is: the smell of a macerated plant root. Needless to say that the name of this is totally misleading. Nothing blue or grey to this one. A more appropriate name would be Iris Vert Tanné (Green Leathery Iris).

Note: my impressions are from the current version. The vintage versions is surprisingly a little more powdery and hence conventional. This is one reformulation that had a happy ending.

Notes from parfyym.pri.ee: green leaves, lemon, bergamot, iris absolute, vanilla, jasmine, moss, vetiver, musk

Notes from my nose: candied flower, green stems, homemade soap, suede leather


candied flowers, green stems, homemade soap, suede leather

*in greek: ίρις (iris) = 1. iris, the flower   2. the coloured part of the eye   3. the goddess of the rainbow, the rainbow


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About Christos

Scientifically minded but obsessed with the subjective aspect of things. Photos copyright of MemoryOfScent, with special thanks to Pantelis Makkas http://pantelismakkas.blogspot.com/. You are welcome to link to my blog but you are definitely not allowed to copy text or use the photos without my permission. All text and main photos are originals and property of MemoryOfScent All perfumes are from my collection unless stated otherwise.

14 comments

  1. I loved this review! As time passes by we learn new facts of irises that we never thought about before.
    Takasago lab – Brazil branch had so many vials of iris that I found it very hard to choose which I loved the most…
    In the end I think I love when it is slightly salty, transparent or wet cement metalic.

  2. hedonist222

    I got the same impression from IBG.
    I was in Paris last April and the majority of real estate available for perfume testing on my body was heavily occupied I had to try this on the other site of my palm. Wrong place.
    I too didnt get the Iris and quickly dismissed it.
    I knew I was making a mistake but there were too many other perfumes (SERGE LUTENS) to try out lol.

  3. I hope you get a chance to appreciate it. I am really not very hopeful for the future of MPG: they have a new fragrance out now and it is a… flanker….! Pour le Jeune Homme Extravagante. To my knowledge this is the first time a niche company ventures into flanker territory. It’s like Pour le Jeune Homme plus a watermelon note. With all the talk about problems in the house it looks like a swan song.

    • hedonist222

      I wish I had known about this brand at least a decade ago. I would have stocked up on the 80s vintage formula perfumes.
      Those are just divine.
      When was the last time they released anything and the time before that?

      • After a huge break they released Bahiana in 2005 (the mother of Bronze Goddess) and Bois de Turquie in 2008, which is a great sweet, woody, ambery fragrance with a lovely cherry note.

  4. Your impressions about the current version made me intrigued to try it again. Great review, congratulations!

    Also, I loved the design of your blog. Clean and simple, but not amateur.

  5. I just put Chanel No.19 on my Wish List recently. Maybe I should try this first before I make my purchase.

  6. Pingback: Jean Laporte: the Master Perfumer is no longer with us. « Memory of Scent

  7. Pingback: Parfum d’Habit: the decadent aristocrat « Memory of Scent

  8. Pingback: Colours of Iris* Part 5: Fleur d’Iris and the perfect iris note | Memory Of Scent

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