The past month has been a difficult one, full of changes and hurdles. New home, no internet connection and suddenly news that made moving to a new apartment feel like something extremely trivial and secondary. Good news that, as life usually has it, came at a very inappropriate time. In these stressful and exciting days I also received my bottle of Fleur d’Iris. A perfume I have spotted quite randomly in one of my walk though’s in a local Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier retailer here in Athens and was astonished by its beauty and its inconspicuousness. I could not believe how little has been written about it and how few people praise its sensitive yet clear beauty. I have waited for some time to find a bottle at a good price, and finally my patience paid off.
If ever a perfume could conjure an idea of shyness this would be Fleur d’Iris for me. And don’t take me wrong, this is not because its quantifiable qualities, sillage, projection, lack in strength. They don’t! It is because Fleur d’Iris smells like blushing adolescent cheeks, admittedly coming from another era. The opening is decisively old fashioned. A big bouquet of roses, hyacinths, lily of the valley and violets spreads in the air and touches your skin with cool and humid petals. This is definitely not a cutting edge accord but in the great tradition of Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier creations it never aspires to be that. The idea of Fleur d’Iris is stepping on tradition and then instead of looking for a brand new twist, it digs deeper to find a hidden meaning. And this comes in the form of iris. The whisper of the precious rhizome starts to undermine the purity and naiveté of the opening accord. But it would have to be a very particular iris note to be able to do this. A powdery iris would simply enter the scene as the expectable play-mate to the cornucopia of cheerful flowers. The iris note in Fleur d’Iris is however the bluebird of irises, the doughy increment. Balmy and bitter, it coats the nose with the floury aftertaste of porridge. I can even get a hint of sweet-and-sour raw bread dough. I would go as far as saying that this reminds me of the iris note in the opening of many Guerlain perfumes. I love this note because it manages to bridge introspectiveness and sensuality and I have found myself chasing it while a perfume like Iris Ganache develops, only to loose its trail a little later, when louder and more conspicuous players enter the scene. This effect has always left me looking for more. Thankfully I found that in Fleur d’Iris. The doughy, bitter iris persists and goes on and on till the late drydown, hours later on my skin. It never leaves the stage and contradicts the youthful but conservative obviousness of the flowers. Like a girl who has just had her first dirty joke whispered to her ear, the flowers change, and they will never be the same.
Fleur d’Iris is delicate but tenacious. Its longevity is nowhere near what one would expect from the timidity of iris. It lasts for hours and hours and envelops the wearer in an elastic, oily, slightly leathery bubble. Admittedly it is rather feminine with the trademark Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier rose-violet accord laced with the characteristic effervescent je-ne-sais-quoi of the Muskissime series. But the suede, doughy iris makes the wearing experience unique. The fleeting starchy quality of iris is fixed through the magic of Jean Laporte in a perpetual, sensual olfactory drape. A very natural vanillic note and a hint of incense trail the drydown of this elegant beauty. Very few reviews have been written about this delicate masterpiece, the only dedicated review I found is from The Non Blonde and Gaia also notices the similarities with a certain Guerlain accord although she focuses more on the violet and less on the iris. Like she says, Fleur d’Iris is not ground-breaking. Most feminine MP&G fragrances aren’t but who needs provocation when you can have a perfectly balanced, nuanced in perfect detail, solid, natural smelling composition? And this comes from someone who is actively seeking provocation in perfume. After all with Iris Bleu Gris the house has given me all the provocation I need.
Notes from my nose: Rose, Violet, Iris, Vanilla, Incense
Notes from Parfumo: Ambergris, Iris, Jasmine, Rose, Violet, Vetiver
MemoryOfScent by Christos Karageorgos is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.