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 money...like 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."
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.
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.
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.