I’m not a huge floral fragrance person, but even I can’t help myself for spring. (Miranda Priestly voice: “Florals for spring? Groundbreaking.”) This spring I’ve been drawn to iris in particular. Iris is fascinating in perfumery because it has so many different facets. It can be powdery and almost makeup-y. It can be dry, earthy, and crackling. It can be all these things, and a pretty, wearable floral to boot. Here are a couple of iris scents I’ve been trying:
Iris Prima by Penhaligon’s
Penhaligon’s refers to this scent as “the regal Prima Ballerina.” The perfumer, Alberto Morillas, worked with the English National Ballet to capture the elegance and glamour that go into a ballet production. Surely plenty of blood, sweat, and tears go into these productions as well, but Iris Prima is firmly on the elegant side of things.
Iris Prima opens with iris right away, along with a gorgeous shimmering bergamot note. The bergamot here is what really drew me into this fragrance. It’s not sharp or biting like bergamot can sometimes be, but it adds just enough zest to lift the composition. It’s definitely a stage lights coming on type of feeling. I was expecting the iris here to lean very powdery for a backstage makeup vibe. It’s still on the dry side, but I find this iris much more classic floral than makeup. There is a hint of jasmine too, which amplifies the floral bouquet.
I initially found the vanilla in the dry down to be too overwhelming. I usually love vanilla in almost any form, but it seemed to throw the composition out of balance. Now that I’ve worn Iris Prima multiple times, I really sense the leather in the dry down. The iris seamlessly blends into the dry leather note here, and maybe that’s why I missed it at first. I also think this is one fragrance that benefits from being worn in warmer weather. The heat brings the nuances more to life here. I really enjoy wearing this one.
Feu Secret by Bruno Fazzolari
Feu Secret is a dry, woody, smoky iris, and a much more moody and contemplative composition. Orris root is the star of the show here, which means that this is less of a pretty iris right off the bat. It’s dry and earthy with a lot of depth, and there is a cedar wood note that blends in beautifully well. I love cedar, and I actually wish my skin would pick up more of the cedar note here.
I actually find Feu Secret more powdery than Iris Prima, which I did not expect! The orris root develops from a crackling dryness to a subtle kind of powder, and finally, to a suede-like smoothness as the composition reaches the dry down. Feu Secret lasts for hours (I easily get 8 hours here) so it takes some time to reach the dry down. And I personally wouldn’t wear this one in extremely hot weather. I’d love to try this in winter though, just to see how dry and earthy it can get. Feu Secret is another intriguing release from Bruno Fazzolari and it’s definitely worth at least testing out.
I ordered samples of Iris Prima and Feu Secret from Luckyscent. I ordered the samples at different times, but realized that I liked rotating these two in particular. Hence this iris-themed post!
Picture taken by me.