Colours of Iris* Part 5: Fleur d’Iris and the perfect iris note

MP&G Fleur d'Iris

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

Fleur d'Iris notes

Notes from Parfumo: Ambergris, Iris, Jasmine, Rose, Violet, Vetiver

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MemoryOfScent by Christos Karageorgos is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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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.

21 comments

  1. I think you had me at “iris”…and slayed me with “violet”. This sounds, well, amazing! And it’s so good to see you back! xo

    • I love it Tarleisio. Simple, nuanced and exquisitely rare. A sleeper among celebrated iris scents
      It’s nice to be able to share with everyone here again! It took a whole month for my landline to be transferred to my new home. Unbelievable!

  2. Thank you for your description of Fleur d’Iris. Sadly I have never tried it and I consider myself as an iris lover (with the knowledge that not every iris works well for me). There was one shop that carried Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier but they never had Fleur d’Iris in their offer and now they’re terminating their contract with the brand and they’ll no longer carry MPG/

    • They seem to have been forgotten by everyone. I recently tried Cuir Fetiche, one of the latest MP&G releases, and it was also very good: a very fine leather morphing into white flowers. It is such a pity nobody talks about them any more.

  3. Mmmmm, ‘doughy’ sounds intriguing and it is a nuance I still haven’t found in iris perfumes. Moreover, I am craving iris these days and you give me a perfect joker for my next set of samples to order. Such a comfy review you did!!!
    And, you know, all’s well that ends well!

    • If you can get your hands on it I assure you it will be a real treat.
      Well, all has not ended yet but has taken a step to the right direction, the first one and probably most important.

  4. You can immediately tell when people are writing about perfumes they really like: it always sounds more convincing and appealing than the best “objective” review of one of the perfumes we tested for the reviewing purposes.

    Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier is a brand with which I have almost no familiarity – there are no stores around that carry it and its line-up is too big to sample through buying samples just to test. But if I come across it somewhere I’ll make sure to test this one (it’s always a problem to know where to stard with such lines).

    I’m glad that the view-point-changing news was of a good kind: it would have been much worse if it was the opposite, right? But I wish you to get your life back to normal as soon as possible.

    • It is such a pity you haven’t crossed your path with MP&G because I simply know you will love them. Knowing your taste in perfume these are just perfect for you. Elegant, uncontrived, with amazing ingredients and just the right dose of surprise to keep you interested. As far as where to start with them, I suppose anything floral from the feminine line (I have head rave reviews of their tuberose), definitely something from the Muskissime series and probably Eau de Mure (which I haven’t tried) because it was created by the same perfumer who created Mures et Muscs

  5. So, it’s an unusual iris note within a traditional setting? I like that idea. A very beautifully written review, Christos. Even though your life might be a bit unsettled right now, I couldn’t tell by your writing. <3

    • It is a very rare iris note. I usually catch it only for a few minutes in other compositions, but this is the first time I can actually enjoy it for so long. I wonder if this has to do with the reported ambergirs and vetiver in the official notes. I cannot pin them down but maybe they are responsible for fixing this rare bird on my skin

  6. Dear Memory
    This really does sound rather exquisite and just as importantly as though it arrived at just the right time for you.
    A good omen I’m sure.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  7. It’s nice to see you back, and I’m glad your news was good news. I was the opposite of Sheila – immediately intrigued by your description of the iris, but then a little disappointed to hear it contains violet. :)

    • Then unlike Undina, MP&G is not for you. Many of them have a have a trademark accord and the interaction of rose, candied violet and only the perfumer knows what else create a very characteristic and, to my nose, addictive opening.

      • Interesting to know this is across the whole line. I’m now going to pull out MP&G samples and see if I like any of them. :) I’m not remembering anything from the line right now, as striking me one way or another in terms of liking.

  8. I am touched by the clarity and sensitivity of your description of the role of the iris in Fleur d’Iris. An iris which bridges introspectiveness and sensuality is an iris I want to meet. I live in NY so I probably can find a place to become acquainted with this fragrance and if I the iris invites me to walk with her on the beautiful path you describe, I will buy the fragrance. Apparently you have moved recently and I wish you a good life in your new location. Many thanks for your review.

    • Thank you for the personal and touching comment Anita. Do look out for Fleur d’ Iris and give it time to unravel its beauty on your skin. I hope you will love t as much as I do. This inconspicuous masterpiece needs all the love it can get.

  9. Pingback: Maître Parfumeur et Gantier Santal Noble: the son of Mitsouko | Memory Of Scent

  10. Pingback: Maître Parfumeur et Gantier Cuir Fétiche: Belle de jour | Memory Of Scent

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