the dirty green iris
In my iris quest I had to try what my favourite house had to offer. The masculine iris of Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier is Iris Bleu Gris. Being new to the game my first reaction to this was: “where is the iris?”. I was expecting something powdery, austere, sombre, much like the name implies. What I got was a humid, green, almost dirty scent that left me puzzled. Humid but not haunting. Green but not earthy. With a disturbing animalic note that reminded me of… sweat. Sweet sweat but still.. sweat.
Now that I have grown I can tell there is iris in this and lots of it for that matter. It is just that the notes that support iris in this potion are so much different from what one expects. First of all it is a green fragrance. Boldly, bitterly green. Have you ever crushed the stem of an iris between your fingers? Have you smelled the green juice that oozes from the stem? Well that’s the opening sequence of this scent. It goes hand in hand with a candied iris note, soft, pinkish and sweet and you can tell once you get past the shock of the green opening. But what lingers after the green opening has been tamed by the softness of the iris is the feeling of an organic smell. And I don’t mean that in the sense of “natural” but rather in the sense of something that lies rotting in nature.
The base has a lovely suede leather feeling. The most well known leather fragrance from the same line is Parfum d’ Habit and most certainly Iris Bleu Gris shares a lot of its base notes with this one. Not a tarry leather but rather a beautiful, soft aristocratic suede. The deep drydown is a soft, enveloping, soapy leather scent with traces of its vegetal origins.
Now, if any perfumista is given the keywords “iris, green, leather” the result they would come up faster than Google is: “Chanel No19”. So is Iris Bleu Gris a masculine version of Chanel No19? Is it similar? They certainly share the same box in the perfume systemic tree. No19 is a bit more bitter, more civilized, more composed. Iris Bleu Gris is happier, quirkier, naughtier. It is the only iris prominent scent that I have come across that doesn’t capitalize on the austerity of this note but treats it like what it really is: the smell of a macerated plant root. Needless to say that the name of this is totally misleading. Nothing blue or grey to this one. A more appropriate name would be Iris Vert Tanné (Green Leathery Iris).
Note: my impressions are from the current version. The vintage versions is surprisingly a little more powdery and hence conventional. This is one reformulation that had a happy ending.
Notes from parfyym.pri.ee: green leaves, lemon, bergamot, iris absolute, vanilla, jasmine, moss, vetiver, musk
Notes from my nose: candied flower, green stems, homemade soap, suede leather
*in greek: ίρις (iris) = 1. iris, the flower 2. the coloured part of the eye 3. the goddess of the rainbow, the rainbow