First off, I want to give a little shout out to my Pio-readers as they go through finals week. My husband was at a campus event last Saturday night when a student, in a slightly inebriated state, told him she liked this blog. To you, in particular, anonymous LC student, my best wishes and congratulations on another semester successfully completed; I agree that perfume is "like -- woah!"
And with that, let's get on with the awesome perfume. According to The Difference Company,
The Iris Pallida, the most aomatic of its kind, grows exclusively on this site of arid rocks and mild soil. Unlike the osmanthus flower whose epidermis cells secrete the essentiel oil, the iris its olfactory wonders [w]ithin its roots ; this concealment is so skilful that several years of complex processing are required to capture its secrets: planting, frequent hoeing by hand, to avoid damaging the rhizomes (roots), harvesting (three years later), selecting and husking, washing, followed by one month of drying under the sun on lattice trays, and five years of dehydrating in bags ; the grinding and miling in the factory.
The powder that results from these six years of preparation is macerated in cold water. Finally, a steam distillation gives birth to the essence of iris, also called butter, granted that the chemist follows the stringent requirement of moderate heating. Once distilled, this creamy substance turns into a treasure, a priceless marvel : the absolute. Eight years of complex processing are required to extract one litre of iris absolute from forty tons of rhizomes. Hence the scarcity of this aristocratic fragrance in today's perfume creations. The wonderful magic of a flower that blends with vetiver, bergamot, cedar wood, narcissus, geranium and musk delivers us the splendour of Bois d'Iris.
[sic -- the entire paragraph; TDC needs an editor stat.]
This scent was hard for me to pin down, and not only because every review I read after making my initial notes described it in (imo) substantially different ways. Also, comparing it to other irises didn't help as much as it normally does. It's clearly an iris, but I mostly only know how to describe it by telling you what it isn't. It's not as funerary as L'Artisan Iris Pallida and not buttery like L'Artisan Dzongkha. It's not quite as violet as Iris D'Argent, nor does it have the grape syrup sweetness vibe of Keiko Mecheri Iris Poupre. It's less like pop music than Prada Infusion d'Iris in terms of accessibility, but also isn't so much dirt or herbs as Le Labo Iris 39. And it is nothing at all like the the candy floss of Memoire Liquide No. 205 Vanille Florentine.
Bois d'Iris, for me, is most similar to Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist, but yet isn't. It differs in that, initially, this is an iris that has overtones of lemon and has a very fresh edge, like the scent was distilled not from flower or root, but from iris leaf and stem. The middle becomes powdery and sweet similar to but not exactly like an iris bloom covered in a fine cloud of talc. In this section is becomes more similar to Iris Silver Mist. The bottom (about an hour in) continues to remind me of Iris Silver Mist, though a tad sweeter in a mixed floral way. This isn't as strong as Iris Silver Mist -- the sillage is lighter and it doesn't last.
On the whole Bois d'Iris is a very nice scent and one worth trying. That said, for the price point, I'd rather have a bottle of Iris Pallida (I do), Iris Silver Mist (I will - just have to figure out how to get it out of Europe first), or enough Infusion d'Iris to take a bath in (but who needs that?). It's lovely, and I'm sure it is THE IRIS for plenty of iris lovers. It just isn't the one for me.
You can buy Bois d'Iris direct from the perfumer in 50ml ($161.46), 90ml ($233.22), and 250ml ($448.50 -- comes with a leather case in your choice of color -- red, mandarin, or black). TDC also has an awesome sample program allowing access to the entire line. Other purchasing avenues include LuckyScent (including samples), Beauty Encounter, Beauty Habit, and First-in-Fragrance.
"But you are what you love,
and not what loves you back.
That's why I'm here on your doorstep,
pleading for you to take me back."
- "You Are What You Love," Jenny Lewis
(You can listen to the song here)
Want more reviews? Try...
~ a review from Robin at Now Smell This!
~ a review from Bois de Jasmin
~ a review from Eliza at Scentsibility
~ a review from Scent and Sensibility