Impossible Iris by Ramon Monegal

Notes: iris, mimosa, raspberry, ylang-ylang, jasmine, and Virginia cedar.

It’s mid-March and I think we’re all ready for spring to really make an appearance. Iris is a note that comes to my mind for spring. I wrote a post about spring iris scents here in 2017 where I talk about two very different iris scents: Penhaligon’s Iris Prima and Bruno Fazzolari’s Feu Secret. Likewise, Ramon Monegal’s Impossible Iris is a different twist on the floral, but still eminently appropriate for spring.

This scent opens with a luminous iris. It’s both rich and a touch dry. It’s not overly earthy or powdery though. The iris is the star of the opening for about 15 – 20 minutes or so. The first time I smelled this, I thought what a beautiful iris! I read about the other notes listed, but I wondered if perhaps this was a soliflore. But then, in an interesting twist, I get much more mimosa and ylang-ylang in terms of floral notes. The iris moves to the background to play a supporting role. I can still sniff it out, but it’s quite literally in a supporting role, holding the composition together through the heart.

The raspberry note is an interesting touch here and it really starts to shine a couple of hours into wear time. The heart of Impossible Iris reminds me a little bit of Chanel Cristalle Eau Verte. It has a similar shimmering quality in the heart, and I wonder if similar aroma chemicals were used in both compositions. The raspberry is unmistakably a fruity, red berry note. But I think the real function here is to keep the composition light and shimmering on the skin. The ylang becomes creamier on the skin as wear time progresses and, with the cedar starting to peek through, this could actually become a bit heavy on the skin in warm weather. The raspberry keeps the composition pitched just right.

I honestly don’t get a lot of cedar out of the base. It’s essentially a skin scent by this point into wear time. The cedar is dry in a way that recalls the iris of the opening. Being the cedar fanatic that I am, I wish I could coax a little more substantial woodiness out of this dry down. But rationally, I think the light and dry approach suits the composition. The raspberry has faded by this point, while the last of the ylang clings on, and then fades. I get six hours of wear time overall, which is decent.

I find it interesting that this composition is named Impossible Iris when the iris really serves as a supporting player for nearly all of wear time, but maybe that’s the point. That’s what makes it impossible! I find the raspberry most prominent overall. It’s something to be aware of, if you’re looking for an iris-forward composition, this may not be your first choice. Still, Impossible Iris is extremely pretty. It has a delicate shimmering quality to it, and yet, it has some body and substance as well. I think this balance is what makes it appropriately springy.  Over the past week, the weather here has been trying (and sometimes struggling) to make the changeover to spring. Impossible Iris has kept me in a good mood, despite the changeable weather, and sometimes that’s what I need out of a fragrance.

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I purchased my sample from Luckyscent. However, when I check the site now, Impossible Iris is no longer available. It is still available directly from Ramon Monegal. (It looks like Luckyscent only has a handful of Ramon Monegal scents now. I wonder if they are phasing out the brand. Making room for newness?)

The list of notes is via fragrantica.

The photo of my sample was taken by me. The flower is a white rose, not an iris because that’s what Trader Joe’s had when I stopped by for flowers!

What I Wore This Week

Happy Sunday, everyone! I’m back with my usual round-up of my scents of the day from this past week. We’re still in that tough transition from winter to spring weather. I was able to wear Magnolia Nobile this week, which is one of my favorite spring scents. I expect that one to start making more appearances as the weather finally warms up!

  • Monday: Paris – Venise Les Eaux de Chanel
  • Tuesday: I am One of the Deep Secrets of Nature by Graanmarkt 13
  • Wednesday: Dear Polly by Vilhelm Parfumerie
  • Thursday: Chanel Cristalle EDT
  • Friday: Magnolia Nobile by Acqua di Parma
  • Saturday: Twilly d’Hermès

What did you all wear this week?

Now Sampling: Papillon Artisan Perfumes

Papillon Artisan Perfumes has been on my list of independent and artisanal perfume houses to try out this year. I’m a little embarrassed that it has taken me this long to get around to trying some of Liz Moores’ work, but I’m finally here!

Angélique

I wanted to compare Angélique to Jo Malone’s Mimosa & Cardamom, which I enjoy but not enough to spring for a full bottle in my collection. Angélique is lovely and definitely its own scent. Mimosa & Cardamom kind of shouts “yellow floral!” in my face, whereas Angélique does not. There’s a touch of green here, and a touch of bitterness. I actually wanted more from the galbanum! Angélique leans a little more floral on me than I expected, and it’s quite dry from the cedar and incense accord. It’s very pretty, remains fairly linear on me, and only lasts for 3-4 hours. If I could squeeze 5 hours of wear time out if this, I’d consider purchasing it, but the longevity is just not there. It’s so lovely though and I’m glad to have sniffed it.

Dryad

I was intensely curious to sniff Dryad! I have to say, on my skin, it’s an oakmoss bomb. I get oakmoss right from the opening, not just in the base. This is not a bad thing, but it’s A LOT on my skin. It’s damp, earthy, green mossy all at once. It’s also sweaty. This may have been amplified by the fact that I wore Dryad out to dinner during one of our first true warm weather evenings of this spring. It was actually slightly sweaty weather, as opposed to the extremely dry, cold winter we’ve had. My body chemistry was probably adjusting. I have used half of my Dryad sample vial, and I’m excited to get a couple more wearings out of this. Right now, it’s less green than I was expecting on my skin. It’s oakmoss overload for about an hour on me, and then settles into a skin sweat smell. It mainly captures the way I smell after a vinyasa yoga class, right before I take a shower. Its not a bad thing — a little natural sweat is normal and very human. But it is slightly jarring to smell it. I’m so glad I ordered a sample of Dryad because it’s given me a lot to think about.

I want to explore the Papillon line much more in-depth, but I’m glad to have started with these two. Angélique has given me a very pretty composition to admire, and Dryad is a challenging one to really think about. Judging from instagram, it looks like Liz Moores is launching a new creation soon, so that will be exciting!

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I ordered my Papillon samples from Twisted Lily.

The photo of my samples was taken by me.

Blackpepper by Comme des Garçons

Notes: black pepper, cedar, patchouli, oud, tonka bean, and musk.

Black pepper is one of my favorite smells, so I’m actually surprised that it has taken me this long to sniff the Comme des Garçons offering in this genre, but here I am. All I can say is: it was worth the wait. Some of my other favorite black pepper scents, including Poivre Electrique from Atelier Cologne and Isos from Farmacia SS Annunziata both blend black pepper with uplifting notes like citrus and mint to evoke a Mediterranean feel. Antoine Masiondieu, who composed Blackpepper for CdG, takes an entirely different approach. As you can see from the list above, the notes here include woody and animalic notes without any citrus or lighter notes. And yet, this composition is balanced. It never feels heavy or overdone.

Blackpepper opens up right away with the main note. The spice is there from first sniff. The Comme des Garçons description of this scent includes some typically pretentious marketing copy, describing Blackpepper as “an electric collision of molecules: the crash of spicy pepper seeds suspended within infinite darkness.” And yet, this rings true of the composition. It does come across as quite “black” at first sniff. It’s not dark in a somber kind of way though. I detect something slightly metallic with the interaction between the pepper spice and the cedar. There is an edginess here that makes the composition appropriate for Comme des Garçons.

That metallic edge doesn’t last long and is really only present in the opening. As this composition develops, two things are notable: the black pepper note has real longevity here, and the base of the composition is artfully constructed around the pepper. I find it interesting that the CdG description also presents this fragrance as a scent in which “spice is deconstructed, destabilized, decoded.” In terms of the composition, I find this scent notable precisely for the construction and stability, not deconstruction. I realize that probably doesn’t sound as snazzy when trying to sell this fragrance. But black pepper as a spice is notorious for fading quickly. My main issue with Poivre Électrique was the weak staying power, especially for that price point. I would think it’s a positive thing to promote the stability of the black pepper spice here.

More than any other fragrance I’ve worn recently, each note in Blackpepper feels very specific and necessary to this composition. Nothing feels extraneous. The dry cedar, the earthy patchouli, the camphorous oud, the tonka that rounds everything out, and the animalic musk base: it’s all so specific and works so harmoniously. My nose wouldn’t necessarily pick out the oud here, if not for that slight camphor/medicine cabinet type smell. It suits the fragrance in a funny way, and ties into that edgy pop of black pepper in the opening.

The tonka in the base here is not gourmand. Don’t expect it to smell like Fève Délicieuse or Tonka Impériale. I think the role of the tonka here is primarily to smooth out any remaining edges from the opening and heart. The musk here is very soft. It’s sort of a cushion hovering right on the skin. By the seven hour mark, Blackpepper is definitely a skin scent and this is when it starts to completely fade. That’s pretty decent longevity for a black pepper scent, and I’m personally satisfied with it.

Blackpepper is a composition that I really admire. It smells interesting and intriguing to my nose. It’s pleasant to wear and, best of all, it has some decent longevity! It smells more traditionally masculine, but I believe anyone could wear this and pull it off. I would love to wear this with a black cocktail dress and black heels, just to play off the dark “black” smell here.

I’d like to add Blackpepper to my collection one day but, I have to confess, I don’t like the CdG pebble bottles! They seem a little annoying to store. I prefer the blocky bottles they do for the Odeur scents or Serpentine. But I’m just one person and, judging by instagram, plenty of people seem to be into the aesthetic of the line. If you enjoy CdG and haven’t yet tried Blackpepper, it’s a must-sniff! Antoine Maisondieu has composed a whole slew of scents for CdG, so chances are that you’ll like at least one of his. And even if you are not into this line, and you’re just a fragrance lover, this is a good composition to sniff just for the experience of it.

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I purchased my Blackpepper sample from Luckyscent.

You can read about Blackpepper here from Comme des Garçons.

The list of notes is via Fragrantica.

The photo of my sample was taken by me. I’m currently reading (and enjoying!) Chandler Burr’s book. I don’t know why I didn’t read this sooner, it’s fascinating!

What I Wore This Week

It’s Sunday, so that means I’m back once again with my round-up of my scents of the day from this past week. The weather seems like it may finally be turning to spring, which means I was able to mix it up from my heavier winter scents.

  • Monday: Honeysuckle & Davana by Jo Malone
  • Tuesday: Camaheu by Gabriella Chieffo
  • Wednesday: Rousse by Serge Lutens
  • Thursday: Figue Amère by Miller Harris
  • Friday: Tea for Two by L’Artisan Parfumeur
  • Saturday: Chanel No. 19

I have some more samples from January Scent Project to wear today, and see how they do in more spring-like weather.

What did you all wear this week?

March 2019: Collection Update

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As you may know, one of my 2019 resolutions is to be on a full bottle low buy for the year. I’m trying to acquire 7 or fewer full bottles for the year. For a non-perfume enthusiast, that would be a breeze! For those of us who love collecting, it’s more of a challenge.

There are a couple of reasons I decided to institute the low buy. Of course, I’m doing it for financial reasons. I just can’t afford to splurge on multiple full bottles this year. I have decided to allocate most of my perfume money to samples and discovery sets. I feel it’s a better use of both my money and my time when it comes to fragrance. I can use up the samples and work through my thoughts about the fragrance fairly effectively.

The other reason for my low buy has to do with the collection I already have. For the most part, I’m content with my current collection. I did an entire collection reorganization the end of 2018. If I purchase 10+ full bottles this year, I would have to reorganize again and ensure that I have space for everything. I like to keep the packaging whenever possible, including the outer boxes. This can get bulky and take up more space than I have in my apartment.

For these reasons, it just makes practical sense to be on a low buy. So, what have I purchased so far in 2019? As you can see in the photo, I bought Dark Amber & Ginger Lily from Jo Malone and a travel size of Hendley Blond. I used a Nordstrom gift card to purchase the Dark Amber & Ginger Lily, which was a big help.

I considered using the gift card to purchase a bottle of Diptyque’s 34 Blvd Saint Germain EDP but I’ve been a fan of Dark Amber & Ginger Lily for longer, and so it takes precedence. I’ll wait until next fall/winter and see if I’m still such a fan of the 34 EDP. I’m happy with my purchases so far for 2019. And I still have some leeway for spring/summer purchases!

Curating a collection can be a difficult thing. If you’re a true perfume collector, when do you feel satisfied with your collection? It’s a personal thing, and some people may never consider their collection complete. I’m at the point where I’m truly content with what I have. I don’t feel the need to be constantly looking for the next thing and get hyped about the newest release. I’m enjoying what I have and it’s a nice feeling.

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I purchased my Jo Malone from Nordstrom. Interestingly, they only have the 50 ml bottle available, not the 100 ml. I purchased Hendley Blond directly from Hendley.

The photo was taken by me.

What I Wore This Week

Hi, everyone! I’m back with my weekly round-up of my scents of the day for this past week.

  • Monday: Chanel No. 5 EDT
  • Tuesday: Chanel Cristalle EDT
  • Wednesday: Terre d’Iris
  • Thursday: YSL Cinéma
  • Friday: Tendre Madeleine by Les Senteurs Gourmandes
  • Saturday: Carven Le Parfum

What did you all wear this week?

Blond by Hendley Perfumes

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Notes: cantaloupe, jasmine, osmanthus absolute, suede, iris root, sandalwood, musk complex, and ambergris.

I recently did a write-up here about my first experience sampling Hans Hendley’s line, Hendley Perfumes. I mentioned that Blond was my favorite of the bunch, and I finally went ahead and ordered myself a 9ml travel bottle! On the website, Hans uses a few short phrases to communicate what Blond is about: “Panoramic Nostalgia. Disappearing Horizon. Velveteen Drift.” I’m quoting the description here because it’s more accurate than I even realized at first!

Blond opens for me with an intense and nostalgic iris. The iris note by-passes a carroty iris reference and goes right to pencil shaving territory for me. It’s like emptying a pencil sharpener. It reminds me of Meg Ryan’s line in You’ve Got Mail about the beginning of Fall being like “a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils.” I describe the iris in Blond as nostalgic because the pencil shaving association makes me think of art class in school. I think of a sheaf of loose leaf paper and manual pencil sharpeners. Plus, You’ve Got Mail is one of my favorite movies and it makes me feel nostalgic in general.

The iris note remains present throughout wear time, but the composition begins to develop on the skin pretty quickly after the immediate opening. The suede note comes in and it reminds me of the Hermès leather note in Galop, in that it’s both soft and refined, but also contains quite a bit of depth. The iris is central to Blond, but the suede is what carries the composition for me. It’s the anchor.

After a couple hours of wear, I feel like I’m really in the heart of Blond. I actually sense the cantaloupe note here! It’s a fresh melon note, but it has the cantaloupe-like density of texture. This texture melds together with the soft osmanthus and suede. My nose can’t pick out the jasmine note individually. I do, however, sense the sandalwood kind of peeking out underneath the suede.

I love Blond because it comes across as very pretty and refined at first sniff, but there are so many layers to uncover. I didn’t make the Hermès comparison lightly. Blond is elegant like the best of classic designer scents, but there’s also a lot going on beneath the surface, in true niche fashion. It’s so enjoyable to wear a scent and pick up on different layers and nuances as you wear it.

I want to purchase the full 50 ml Blond flacon at some point, but I’d like to finish one or two in my collection before adding another full bottle. I’m planning a couple of short trips for spring and this 9 ml size will be perfect to bring with me, so I think this was the right choice at the moment. I still have some Hendley scents to explore for myself, but Blond is the stand-out for me.

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I purchased my bottle directly from Hendley Perfumes. The list of notes is also via Hendley.

The photo of my 9 ml bottle was taken by me.

What I Wore This Week

Hi everyone! I am back with my weekly round-up of what I wore this past week! Lots of Chanel and Jo Malone this week, which are perennial favorites for me. I’ll have to see if I can mix in a little more variety next week.

  • Monday: Wood Sage & Sea Salt by Jo Malone
  • Tuesday: Chanel Les Exclusifs Misia EDT
  • Wednesday: Hotel Costes EDT
  • Thursday: Chanel No. 5 L’Eau
  • Friday: Clementine California by Atelier Cologne
  • Saturday: Honeysuckle & Davana by Jo Malone

Today I’ll be testing some samples from January Scent Project, which I am really excited about!

What did you all wear this past week?

Now Sampling: 19-69

19-69 is a Swedish brand founded by Johan Bergelin. The line was first launched at the beauty cult favorite pharmacy, Colette, in Paris in 2017. This house has been on my radar for about six months, as I’ve seen various people on social media posting about these fragrances.

Then, I noticed that a few of the fragrances are now available online at Nordstrom. A sign that the brand might be breaking into the mainstream US beauty scene? Of course, the problem is that you can’t sample online from Nordstrom. Luckily, Twisted Lily also carries 19-69 so I ordered a couple of samples to test.

Capri

This one is going to be an absolute stunner in the high summer months. It opens with a mouth watering orange citrus note. I was all set to compare Capri to Atelier’s Orange Sanguine, but Capri really develops and comes into its own on the skin. There’s a yellow floral anchoring the heart. And there is definitely a hint of green galbanum that I am simply crazy about! It dries down to a very pleasant cloud-like musk base. I don’t see it being too heavy or overbearing for summer wear, and I’m really enjoying it in these cold mid-winter months, too! There are currently no comments about this one on fragrantica, and I expect that to change soon.

Rainbow Bar

I liked the sound of the woody, vétiver, and cypress notes listed for this one, so I also picked this up as a sample. If you’re at all into a cedar wood note, you’ll love Rainbow Bar. It feels like a base note-driven fragrance to me, in that I sense the cedar and vétiver right away, with the other notes weaving in and out. I also get some nice wear time here: about 7 hours with just my little splash sample. I’m sure you’ll get nice projection and longevity with a couple of spritzes from the full bottle. Rainbow Bar is meant to evoke the West Coast. Indeed, it reminds me of Woody Mood from Olfactive Studio, which also evokes the forests of California. I’m not considering a full bottle of Rainbow Bar for myself because Woody Mood currently fills this spot in my collection. However, it’s a quality composition and well worth sniffing, particularly for any cedar lovers!

*As of this morning, I received an email from Luckyscent announcing that 19-69 is now available there as well! So there are plenty of options for sampling this house now.

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I ordered both of my 19-69 samples from Twisted Lily. I took the labels off because I spilled from both sample vials (another reason I prefer spray samples) and the label ink started smearing. These scents are different enough from each other that I can easily identify them even without the labels!

The photo of my samples was taken by me.