Iris Silver Mist fragrance notes

    • iris pallida, galbanum, cedarwood, sandalwood, clove, vetiver, labdanum, musk, benzoin, incense, white amber

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Latest Reviews of Iris Silver Mist

This is not so much a "perfume", but a performance, a perfect interpretation of iris. While iris is by far the predominant note, and this perfume has the "feel" of a soliflore, it most certainly is not.

Serge Lutens has meticulously selected supporting notes, used in homeopathic quantities. In minute amounts, benzoin add a palatable sweetness, Vetiver enhances the earthy quality of the iris, and musk adds a skin feel that iris lacks on it's own. The galbanum mentioned in the pyramide is not so loud, it is here to show you some facets of the king of the composition, the iris.

There's no end in this fragrance, but the last change that I can feel is the luxury soapy aspect of iris. For me, Iris Silver Mist is beautiful but it is so cold. It is classically feminine as reminds me of a classy lady. She is super classy in really nice jeans, silk blouse, pumps, and a Hermes handbag.
29th January 2023
Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens (1994) is one of those mythic tastemaker niche perfumes that if you're anybody who's anyone of import, you'll laud and possibly own. While I usually disagree with such gatekeeping nonsense, especially when "required curriculum" like this is so expensive and difficult to come by (more so since becoming a bell jar exclusive), I can understand Iris Silver Mist being a must-smell at least, since it is a virtual case study in iris raw materials. It's rumored perfumer Maurice Roucel raided the coffers for every possible iris material available at the time, including naturals like real orris butter and absolutes, plus the usual synthetics like Orivone, Irival, and the like. Thus, every aspect of iris is revealed in Iris Silver Mist, making it probably the more-modern equivalent (as of 1994) to the revered Jacques Fath Iris Gris (1946), and as much of a holy grail to iris lovers as it. Seemingly Lutens knew this too, as Iris SIlver Mist has always been a bit tough to come by, made tougher now by being only in 75ml bell jars that are frequently out of stock.

Well, this is definitely all about iris, that much is correct. You get the rooty and waxy facets right away, carried aloft by a bit of green galbanum and ambroxan materials, back when the latter was still expensive and mostly out-of-reach by designers unless you were doing a then cutting-edge aquatic. The softer and more powdery facets then come in, with nuances of violet from the ionones, and the carrot aspects of orris coming about by the interplay with vetiver. Clove, white musk, labdanum, and various choice woody materials like cedar and santal are really just background players to base out the plethora of iris materials here. Near the very end, and I do mean near the end, a hay-like dry coumarin surfaces to give the iris a little gristle and grit, so not all is unearthly pretty as such a straightforward representation of the material may seem. Dare I say perhaps this scent may be a little "too iris" without enough embellishment? Iris Gris is known for its peach note, and other iris fragrances like Guerlain Shalimar (1925) or even Dior Homme (2005) have sweeter or softer things to contrast the iris, helping to stage it better. Performance is just okay.

So who is this for? Well, really I must say that Iris Silver Mist is for the Serge Lutens sycophants, of which there used to be quite a few between 2000 and about 2010 when this pioneering niche house went solo from Shiseido and Lutens left the world of makeup and photography for designer brands behind to be a creative director for his own brand. Since that peak, most of the fair-weather Lutens fans have moved on to a billion other fly-by-night niche brands offering a mere fraction of the creativity for much higher prices and prettier bottles with brass caps, and even some of them have an iris something or other too. Real dyed-in-the-wool Lutens fans (of which I am not actually one) were given a spear in the side Jesus-style if they lived in the US as the brand left that market a while back, making the already-rare Iris Silver Mist all that much more of an unobtanium unless you pay for importation. As a near-pure exercise in iris displaying its many facets simultaneously, I can admire and respect Iris SIlver Mist, especially as one of the finer works Maurice Roucel has wrought, although this isn't something I'd wear. Thumbs up
26th December 2022

Bearded Irises of all types are now in bloom and they are in gardens everywhere in New England. These are the flowers from which orris is derived, within their rhizomes. These rhizomes must be dried for two years before converted to a butter or absolute, and the powder has this beguiling aroma that is a composite of carrot and violet. Also, it vaguely reminds me of freshly minted paper cash. Speaking of cash, Iris Silver Mist may be a pricey and not so accessible, but it's worth a sample just to experience the otherworldly steely, pensive beauty of its composition. This is another example of a fragrance that I call experiential. This is a sacrament for those who want to eat, drink and sleep iris.

Maurice Roucel was rumored to use every iris material, natural and synthetic, to compose Iris Silver Mist; layer after layer of irones, ionones, Irival, Orivone, orris butter, orris absolute, and so on, I would imagine. A hint of galbanum lifts these dense iris folds, lending a fresh, green quality to an otherwise cool, steely, almost gothic feel. I also get that sensation of the smell of leaves of an herb garden after a heavy rain: basil, catnip, lovage. Wet stones border the garden, there's a bit of a chill in the air, flowers shudder, and there is a trembling blueness.

Iris Silver Mist is responsive to my introverted side (in much the same way as Guerlain Apres L'Ondee and Oriza L. Legrand Relique d'Amour), as it permits to me retreat, to lean into the uncertain, the distant, what lies beneath the surface. In the twilight of its development, it sheds just a bit of sweetness, as if to say, "that's the silver in my mist...the silver lining."
18th May 2022
Iris Silver Mist is a straightforward iris, part rooty and part powdery, fresh/clean with some musks and very little development from start to finish. While I wonder if I'm anosmic to some of the aromachemicals in here, it comes across as quite simplistic, though not unattractive. Quite similar to Iris Cendre, but lacking the tobacco and other subtle touches of the Naomi Goodsir creation. Additionally it's quite thin on my skin with moderate duration and disappointing sillage.


Note: Review is based on a "vaporisateur tout noir" version circa 2018.
15th June 2021
I have fallen in ridiculous love with ISM.

Why 'ridiculous?' Well, because it is difficult to find, my husband doesn't really like it, it costs a pretty penny, and it has no half-life to speak of.

And, yet... there is nothing in the world of perfumery that smells remotely like it. (If you've found something, please PM me.) It is also unlike anything else in my previous perfume collection: it has zero animalics, it is not in the least seductive-smelling, its opening is almost bitterly, freezingly ozonic, and yet now I can't go a day without smelling and re-smelling it.

I have already gone through two of the 30 ml travel sprays and my interest and infatuation shows no signs of lessening. If anything, it's becoming a slightly worrisome obsession.

I guess, perhaps, the most powerful love interests are those that are somewhat inexplicable. It's becoming ever-more apparent that a bell jar of this weirdly haunting and magical scent is definitely in my future.
26th February 2020
Christina by Amedeo Modigliani, 1916
26th October 2019
Iris right away - lovely, haunting iris. Light cedar. A slight hay smell. A hint of clove. Light vetiver somewhere in here. Honestly, iris is pretty much all I smell. Love it!
20th October 2018
Supreme sombre/neutral resinous (almost edible) smoothness, a spicy melange of musky (powdery) iris, labdanum, resins and balminess, a scent initially somewhat humid/earthy/rooty but finally musky and rubbery (galbanum and frankincense) with a spicy leafy/floral undiscernible spark. Iris is dominant (though the floral vibe is more complex), kind of boise, spicy (mostly cloves) "lipstick" and definitely smooth a la V&A Bois d'Iris. Incense and amber provide a quite misty/resinous/powdery/suedish/gummy pop-clubby dark atmosphere. Refined (with its earthy-floral twist) and glamour, definitely avantgarde for the time it was conceived.
1st June 2018
Simply the best! An iris for iris lovers. Take everything you know about iris in perfume and throw it away because that was all child's play. This here smells like you stabbed the soil with your bare hands and dug up a buried rhizome in the garden. It's moist, sweet, metallic and a touch disturbing. But alas it is also dry, doughy, and like the breath of an angel. Sillage is close to the skin but it's the kind of somber and beautiful grey day scent that you want to sit close. I love this stuff. I am on my second bottle and it just feels feels right to me. My brain just must be receptive to these notes. Some people loathe ISM and I do not doubt their sincerity. But some people, myself included, can't live without it.
5th March 2018
All orris facets in a perfume. From fresh green, to powdery violet, to suede leathery to rooty.
An art piece!!!

SECRET: Keep your distance from where you apply it.
It is NOT a perfume to be experienced by digging your nose on your wrist.
If you do that you only smell incense-vetiver-carnation sourness.

Instead, my advice is to apply it inside your jacket-coat or behind your knees.
This way you smell the fog of a buttered, doughy orris!!!

18th February 2018
Stardate 20170730:
Starts with a strong iris note and then develops into a Dior Homme type Iris Vanilla.
OK but DHI is preferable by a mile.
30th July 2017
This has a strong, rooty, earthy, musty, orris root smell, reminiscent of dry hay and carrots. It smells like the the roots have just been unearthed, in a good way. It's wearable perfume fun.
14th July 2017