Hermessence Iris Ukiyoe (Patty)

Huh.  I had reserved this day for an over-the-top glowing review of the new Hermessence, Iris Ukiyoe.

I love most of the Hermesseces – check

I love Iris – check

I want to stare at Jean-Claude Ellena forever – check

I don’t hate it – or all of it, and I did get a happy ending, so to speak, but this path of true love did not run smooth or without a little bit of snide remarks and hateful glares.

The open is promising woody wet iris, and I started squeaking excitedly – did JCE finally capture the iris flower itself?

Then that part that made me all squeaky turned watery and vegetal – which I tolerate minimally –  and I glugged around in it for a while, thinking I’d drown, trying to figure out how to write a review that said about an Hermessence – I hate this one.

Now I have this perfectly fine iris that I’ll happily wear and try not to think of how I got there.  The ending is a little green lily of the valley’ish, most of the heavy aquatics flee, leaving it a little dewy, soft and pastel.  I’m not handing in my JCE fangirl status, I wound up really liking this a lot.  As others have noted, it does have a slightly chocolate smell in the long drydown that was completely charming.  I get what he was trying to do here, it just didn’t match my experience with the iris flower. That doesn’t stop me from appreciating it, and I’ll likely wear it often.  Many times some of the Hermessences don’t do it for me immediately, but they grow on me, like Poivre Samarcande and Brin de Reglisse.

I would like to note that I loved this a lot more with a very generous spritz on my clothes instead of on my skin.  What does that mean? I don’t know, maybe my skin amps up the vegetal/aquatic aura that makes me pucker up and sqeench my nose.  The aired-out scent comes much closer to the scent of the flower for me, it’s more ephemeral, less dense.  Maybe it’s in applying to the skin and sniffing closely and analyzing that put me off?

Mainstream surprise of the week – Gucci Guilty.  It’s a light floriental, not heavy, incredibly wearable. That gold bottle was telegraphing Opium-like scent with “modern” oriental sensibility to me – meaning heavy, suffocating, without any of Opium’s charm.  Instead it feels like a fresh, though not groundbreaking, take on a floriental –  soft, pretty, a skosh flirty, but with  nothing weighing it down.  A nice entry into the mainstream market.

For those of you asking – my mom finally got released from the hospital post-surgery on Friday and is happily recovering at her home.  It was really frightening. She was in recovery for five hours because they couldn’t get her to come around and couldn’t get her blood pressure to come up – finally gave her narcan to flush all the painkillers out of her system just to get her to wake up.  Long story short, doctors never believe us when we tell them that what is normal blood loss to most people is devastating to her, so until they gave her back 2 units of blood, she was anemic, lethargic, had  no energy, nauseated, really low blood pressure, was throwing troponin (heart attack chemical), tachycardic, and in a-fib.  Basically the stuff that scares you to death when your mom is normally strong as an ox, but is also 76 and always has a tough time post-surgery.  All is well, though, and I’m going to spend a week taking care of her over Christmas.  That’s my Christmas present this year.

  • Ann says:

    Hi Patty, just checking in to see how your mom (and you, too) is doing today. Hope all is going well …

  • Obagi says:

    Goodluck to your mom. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  • Mals86 says:

    Here’s hoping you’ll have your mom with you for a good long (healthy) time.

    I thought for certain sure I would love IU, and jumped in on a split recently. I have not yet given it a proper wearing, but the drops that got on my fingers from my slightly-leaking decant were appalling in their sourness… I mean, I was expecting “watery/aquatic,” which is one of the things I love best about irises cut for bouquets, that they smell watery and green and vegetal – but IU was more like stems rotting in water. Urgh.

    I am *not* generally a JCE fan. Am also not a huge fan of iris root, though I do love it as an accent, so that’s not really an issue here. I don’t know why IU is so sour-rotting on me, but I’m not digging it so far. I will give it a good whirl before giving up on it, but I’m not holding out much hope.

  • zeram1 says:

    Yes, best wishes to your mom’s recovery…

  • Aparatchick says:

    Patty, that must have been very worrying. Glad to know that your mother is on the mend and best of all, you’ll be together this Christmas.

    Must investigate Gucci Guilty…..

  • violetnoir says:

    Wow, Patty. How scary was that for you and your family.

    But, I am so happy your mom is doing better and on the mend!

    Enjoy your Christmas!

    I was a bit disappointed in IU, and gave my sample away. I know, I know. I may want to try it again, so why did I do that? But it reminded me of Vanille Galante, which I adore. So, movin’ on to the next scent!


  • Musette says:


    SO glad to know your mom is on the mend. I think patients (and patient advocates) should be armed when they deal with doctors – srsly! Okay, maybe not….:-? I had the same thing with Pop – finally got him stabilized but to hear them talk about him….8-x

    Now, granted, he’s 90 – so the options are a bit more limited…but…..:-w

    ^:)^ for being such a fierce advocate for your mom. She’s lucky to have you!

    xoxo >-)

    ps. I am NOT a JCE fangirl, overmuch, as you know (don’t hate him, of course – but no lust there, either)….this just says NOTHING to me. I will have to try it, just because I am perverse that way, but I ain’t holdin’ out much hope…


  • maggiecat says:

    Good to hear about your mom and glad you can spend the holidays with her. Have a very Merry Christmas! And BTW, I agree with you about Gucci Guilty – badly named but actually quite nice. Take care.

  • jen says:

    That “happy ending” crack made me snort. Happy Christmas to you and your mom.

  • Ann N. says:

    Hi Patty, I’m so very glad to hear that your mom is on the mend. She’s lucky to have a great nurse like you with her for the holidays.
    When I dabbed on Iris Ukiyoe, I was very shocked at how bright (that’s how it struck me) it was for an Hermessence. The rest of it was OK but didn’t seem to last terribly long on me. I’m withholding judgment until A) I can give it a full spray and B)warmer weather, to see what it does then. Hope you and your family have a wonderful and peaceful holiday!

  • marina says:

    Glad to hear your mom is recovering, Patty!

    As for IU, I wonder, if I reserve a day for posting how much I don’t get it and don’t like, I’d end up loving it :)

  • Erin T says:

    Ah, the best Christmas present ever – family healthy! So glad your mom is on the mend. What is it about medical staff – and I say this working with them as my job and having a best friend who is a doc – that they won’t listen when somebody doesn’t fit the norm on some medical spec? I guess it’s true that they listen to a lot of random, anecdotal “advice” from patients about their specific sensitivities, but they always seem so shocked when something happens that you’ve been warning them about all along! My grandfather, who is still alive and is the invincible man, bless him, has a very bad reaction to morphine. It usually takes a post-operative heart attack for us to convince the doctors of this. I warned everybody about my low LOW blood pressure before my c-section and for three days everybody would put on the cuff and exclaim: “Jes#s! What’s going on?!” Relieved they finally listened to you and got your mom back up to full flow…

  • March says:

    So glad your mom is doing better, I was worried! :x And I’m glad you’re spending Christmas with her.

  • Jarvis says:

    Hi, Patty. Glad your mom is recovering post-surgery.

    I really like the Iris Ukiyoé. Sure, it makes me smell like a florist’s refrigerator, but I don’t mind that so much.

  • pam says:

    Glad to hear your mother is on the mend, but everything you described sounds horrible! But even though you’ll be nursing her over the holidays, her recovery will make for Good Holidays.

    The Iris I have yet to encounter here, but if I do I will certainly give it a try.

  • hongkongmom says:

    funny, i just tried this today, only on paper though. it is a pass for me!
    i am sorry you have had such a rough go with your mom post op and wish you both well and a really good relaxing time over the holidays. take care of yourself

  • Vintage Lady says:

    Happy to Know your Mom is doing so Well now. Merry Christmas Dear! I have still to try Iris Ukiyoe

  • Louise says:

    Total pass for me on the Iris. But watch-I’ll try it once, and fall in love. That’s why I love perfume.

    I’ll have to give the Gilty a try on skin-I sniffed the sprayer and judged it “meh”. Perhaps I need to go to the mall? Hey, when’s the last frenzy before the holiday? Oh, maybe it’ll wait ; )

    Glad to hear your mom is mending, but sorry it was scary and tough post-surgery. Hugs to you all!

  • Fiordiligi says:

    Not a fan of M Ellena’s work in general (watery-vegetal is a horror for me and seems to feature in most of his scents). Glad you did a Patty-tried-it-so-you-don’t-have-to for us!

    So glad to heat your mother is on the mend. That sounds scary so I’m pleased to hear things are much better (although I didn’t understand any of the medical-speak).

  • Eric says:

    I WANT TO TRY IU SO MUCH. Stupid local Hermes. I think they hide their tester when they see me drive up. “Uh-kee-yew-ee? How do you spell that?” (From someone who took Japanese for years, it’s oo-kee-yoh-eh, for anyone who had doubts.) But yes, I’m so eager to try this. If I had Paypal, I’d have a 15ml already, screw the third-party mark-up.

    I’m glad to hear your mother is doing better. My mom went in for surgery on Friday (nothing serious, though) and I’ve been taking care of her. I wish you the best Christmas!

  • Scent Hive says:

    I am really disappointed in IU. My experience was all lily of the valley-vegetal-aquaticness…and in a very hyper-synthetic way. I was hoping to have my world a little rocked like as with Kelly Caleche, but that did not happen. Aside from the idiosyncratic minerally-aquatic note, I didn’t find it interesting at all, and I really really really wanted to like it.