Iris and I have had a rocky journey. Early on, I found it cold and gritty and unfriendly, and only appreciated it when it smelled like pencil erasers, and that only because it made me laugh.
Later, I learned to appreciate it, but I rarely found it friendly. Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist? Cool and regal and otherworldly and quite possibly a little poisonous. (You know, in a good way.) Parfumerie Generale Cuir d'Iris? Iris and dragon leather--fascinating, but still not a personality that you'd invite over for tea. Parfumerie Generale Iris Taizo? Starts out stern and dusty-dry and a little grumpy, and only after a few hours does it turn gentle and sweet, like that strict English teacher when she unbends at the holiday party.
Now, iris can be a supporting player in warmer, more passionate scents. It's in Chanel No. 19 and Cuir de Russie, for example. They're both fully prepared to extend claws and teeth in a catfight and then, after decisively subduing the competition, settle in an instant back into smooth-furred gracefully posing elegance. But iris is responsible for the elegance, not the passion. Most of the time, iris is a good citizen, stern and with excellent posture. And that's all very well, but what's iris like when it's lounging, comfortably, at home?
Like Hermes Hiris, that's what. This is sunlit, relaxed iris, friendly and off guard. It reflects the best of Olivia Giacobetti's genius, managing to hand me a bouquet of notes that I normally don't like one bit, and make me love them. According to one notes list, it has orange blossom--I hate orange blossom, and I love it here. I'm usually dubious about rose; no problem here. And there's some powder, always a little iffy for me, but in Hiris it's barely there, quietly making the fragrance a little more feminine than it might be otherwise.
As Robin from Now Smell This observes, Hiris is "fresh" without resorting to ozonic air freshener notes. To my nose, I think it's the soap that does this, terribly expensive bar soap with a musky edge perhaps achieved with the ambrette seeds instead of that horrible white musk found in so many fragrances. The hay, too, no doubt adds to that persuasive fresh-air mood.
I can't tease out the the coriander, honey, vanilla, and woods, but I assume that they're draping all of these floral and fresh notes, grounding the fragrance and keeping it from exhausting my nose with too much high-pitched good cheer.
It's lovely. I'm wearing too much today, and I'm not sorry.
Review Roundup: Now Smell This and MakeupAlley and Savvy Thinker and Basenotes and Fragrantica and Eiderdown Press and Bois de Jasmin.
Image: Wikimedia Commons.