Colours of Iris* Part 3: L’ Homme de Coeur

The crisp white iris

I remember reading some good reviews on this one and finding a good deal on the sample pack from the official site of Parfums Divine. I wasn’t expecting the sheer beauty of this Man of Heart.

This is a woody iris but not just. There are other beautiful woody irises out there like Dzongkha, Bois d’ Iris and the likes but most of them combine the buttery, opaque qualities of iris with woods to produce beautiful but somewhat dim fragrances. What is unique about L’ Homme de Coeur is how bright and uplifting this iris is.

L’ Homme de Coeur opens with a sharp woody note reminiscent of polished wood. A peppery wood full of the sparkle of juniper and the bitterness of angelica. The iris softens the sharp effect and turns the mixture into a skinscent that hugs the skin in a comforting and uplifting way. It is a powdery scent but the kind of powder you would like to have on you coming out of the shower. Fresh without any trace of citrus, velvety in texture.

Of all the iris fragrances in my wardrobe this is the most versatile and overall “happy to wear” of them all. The one I reach for when I need a fragrance to take with me on a holiday, like I have done now, while I am on holidays in Amorgos. The beautiful, supercool aluminium refillable bottle helps as you know it will travel well. It has accumulated some dents during our holiday breaks together but these do not diminish its beauty. On the contrary they remind me how this elegant bottle has accompanied me and filled my summer nights with its classy, reserved, original aura. The contents that are running seriously low are another proof of our fond relationship.

I have read reviews reporting this as synthetic, electric cable smelling. First of all “synthetic” is not a dirty word in my book. It isn’t a nice one either for that matter. It is irrelevant. All that matters to me is that this one smells sensitive but strong, soft but determined, familiar but original. In a nutshell it feels intelligent. It borders mainstream but manages to remain elusive and original because it plays with the contradiction of bitter woods and soft iris. The tiny hint of plastic doll head note deep down in the base only adds mystery to the cocktail of contradictions.

The only thing that I would gladly change in this one is a little bit more oomph! Just when you need to sniff again the mixture of suave understated elegance and sophisticated softness you find that the star has left the stage. Thankfully the bottle is stylish and well designed enough that you can carry with you and refresh but still I would like to see this Gatsby-esque charmer stick around a bit longer. Maybe this is part of its charm. After all how long can a crisp white shirt be worn for and stay crisp and white?

Notes from Parfums Divine (www.divine.fr): angelica, juniper berries, cypress, woody notes, amber, vetiver, ambergris, deer tongue (Carphephorus spp or vanilla leaf). Researching this I discovered that it contains coumarin and it is used in potions to help the bearer gain confidence in matters of the heart and of the law. I read this after writing my review and it just striked me as odd that my perception of this fragrance is one of calm power and confidence.


Notes from my nose: juniper berries, white woods, powder, barbie smell

*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 haven’t seen Parfums Divine locally but I will send off for a sample. I love the description ” Gatsby-esque charmer.” And synthetic isn’t a dirty word to me either.

  2. It is worth looking for them. The samples are a good deal and this is great on a man or a woman as well.

  3. A lot of irises lack oomph, to my nose. But this does sound like an interesting perfume. I will test next time I see it.

  4. evinick

    Damn you ‘re good! Very good writing and as always to the point. A Magnificent fragrance that i know thanks to you and yr sample. Vasnier would be so proud reading yr review. Thanks again Chris.

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  6. GeM

    Everyone remembers some scents of their childhood, that they have almost disappeared. I’m also crazy with the subjective side of perfume, and THE IMPACT OF A SCENT subtitle said it all and made me subscribe to this blog, and according to that, I would like to share this memory of mine… which is in relation to the ‘barbie smell’ note mentioned in this wonderful review that I’m happy to read.

    I’ve spent my life pursuing the ‘lost’ smell of an unusual -in a very good way- vintage scented doll’s head I used to lick and chew when I was a child, and which before me pertained to my young auntie. I know that plasticy/powdery “doll notes” genearlly have negative connotations in the perfume community around (the “synthetic” analogy you mention), but to me it’s something magical that make me feel intimate with my relatives, and connected to myself and to my Time… Whether synthetic or not, I don’t think my memory is related to “plastic”, but just to delightful sweet smell of something I used to play with… the same smell that reminds of the lipsticks I usually started to play with… and, also of a soft pink bottle Avon’s bubble bath I was using since I was that girl (now dicontinued).
    In brief, with this smell I feel home, past, present and … does anybody knows about future?

    Although I’ve been using many scents that evoke me something fairly close to what I remember as a child, only the amazing drydown of (again, sorry the insistence!!) cacharel’s LouLou, that also happened to be a favorite of mine during my teen age (so it seems I’ve been suffering from extreme amnesia till now), has the very exact vibe and definitely it’s the most accurate clone I ever met for now. Honestly cannot think of anything which reminds me more of my past sensation than LouLou does. Now I really feel there’s nothing like IT for me, just because of this special memories. Of course I’d continuing to love and learn about perfume world, but now, after about twenty some years since my very first experiences with perfume, I feel like I should stop pursuing.

    Nevertheless I hope will get the pleasure to smell L’ Homme de Coeur. I suppose this scent smells nothing like Loulou but doesnt’ mind at all, it sounds heavenly as well.

    • Ah… those childhood smells, how haunting they are indeed! A have a haunting smell from the past: the smell of a film strip projector. It was so warm, dry and musky. I had almost forgotten all about it and then I was passing by an abandoned shop and I suddenly found it again and brought me back all these memories from my childhood, watching children’s stories on the projector, the noise of the machine, the exact feeling of the surface, the way its weight felt in my hands, everything. This is why I love perfume.

  7. GeM

    PS: sorry my english, the “now discontinued” comment was for the Avon’s bubble bath, not for the girl I used to be in the past, I think I’m still the same person haha!

  8. GeM

    smell of a film strip projector!… your memory sounds vaguely familiar to me. There was a very popular (legendary) film projector for children called Cinexin in my country, every kid had one at home… I’m trying to get the exact olfactory sensation, but I’m afraid it’s not enough strongly linked to my brain… Maximum I can do is to associate to a toy store’s smell. When I’ll encounter the smell again I’ll probably be ready to elicit the memory, but not vice versa.
    I’ve read that we begin making associations between smell and emotion before we’re even born, and that infants who were exposed to alcohol, cigarette smoke or garlic in the womb, show a preference for the smells. My father was a hard smoker, and garlic is a very common ingredient in spanish /and/ mediterranean cuisine…

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