So, I had earlier written something like iris didn’t agree with me. I should have learned from life that I should never write that about practically anything because in some way I will inevitably run across some version of said thing that will not only be delightful but make me do a complete 180° on it- for instance Brussels Sprouts. For years I was only served them at school on what I like to think of as punishment day: usually some “meat”-esque thing served with brussels sprouts that had been boiled for about 12 weeks and kept hot in the cooking water. I swear they were the same ones throughout the semester: people would just refuse them, and back into the freezer they would do until they were to rise like Dr. Phibes to appear again a few months later. Then I was served a version at the Border Grill in Santa Monica, where they had been shaved on a mandolin, sautéed in butter until browned, then finished with fresh lime juice. Suddenly they weren’t hellish little chewy balls of sulphur!
Now, Iris never achieved the loathing of brussels sprouts, it merely got a “meh” from me. When confronted with so many other lovely things to sniff, I would reach for the usual suspects and give, at best, a cursory sniff to the iris and move on.
Which brings me to Iris Silver Mist.
WTF was I thinking? What was I smoking when I decided this wasn’t all that? I can only think that this was during the time when I had first discovered good old Uncle Serge, by which time (early to mid 2000s) he was in what I think of as his “salad days” when he was coming out every six months with something new and wonderful, whether in the export (Yay! Easy to get!) or “Exclusive” (Boo! Only in Europe!) line that his older ones I didn’t think that hard about. So I don’t think I even gave this a cursory try until the bell jats showed up in full force at the late, lamented Barneys.
Which is why I had a bit of a “where have you been all my life?” moment with this. It starts in a very Lutens way: rooty and oddly metallic, like planting bulbs in the chilly soil on a cool spring morning. As it wears, it warms and becomes ever so slightly buttery as those bulbs sprout blooms. You never quite get away from the chilly metallic sting of the roots and the soil, but honestly, who would want to?
In the StC order I also had Malle’s Iris Poudre, which frankly kind of paled by comparison. I liked it, and found that indeed I had tried it before over 10 years ago, and even posted about it here, writing that after it’s pink and pretty opening “this goes from “Pillow Talk” to “Madame X” with the addition of dark musks, but it’s still a great heaving corseted busom of a fragrance. In a thoroughly modern, pared-down way that while witty, seductive and winkingly sexy isn’t going to gas your partner into anaphylactic shock. I’d never wear it. You ladies should.” Which about covers it.
The last of the three samples was Jovan Tropical Iris, which was apparently from 1985. It’s about as far away from Iris Silver Mist as those cafeteria sprouts are from Susan Feninger and Mary Sue Milliken’s finest. Well, that’s not really fair. JTI isn’t going to gag you, or make you swear off iris, or make you wish you at least went to private school when given the chance. It’s just a big powder puff of a thing, very much of it’s time. You can certainly find it on eBay if you wish, my sample from Surrender to Chance will last me until doomsday.
So, what are your thoughts on these? Other Iris faves? Let’s discuss in the comments.
Iris Silver Mist is available for shipping from the Lutens website, $305 for a 75ml (2.5oz) bell jar (many of which if I ever manage to hit PowerLooto will be bought in bulk and shipped over.) Iris Poudre is available at the usual suspects, $295 for a 1.7oz bottle. Jovan Tropical Iris is available on eBay used starting at around $25. My samples were from Surrender to Chance. Photos are mine and Pixels.