Everyone a bit interested in the world of fragrance, and having followed a couple of blogs or forums regularly, or read a perfume book will have heard of the elusive Iris Gris. Say these magic words and they will send sheer icicles of shiver down every parfumista’s spine. In the world of fragrance lost, Iris Gris is Queen, and she rules supreme from her Ivory Tower without the intention of handing over her reign any time imaginable to mere mortals. Part of the story of this pivotal status is of course in unattainability, in the irretrievability of the (magic ) potion as well as in its ingredients, of a different age and quality.
To obtain the Unicorn’s tear, one can go hunting and with the help of goblins and talking bears find the elusive elixir at the end of the rainbow, or one can be more the lucky duck who stumbles upon it where people apparently forgot to look that particular day.
Guess what? That would be me. I haven’t got a permanent search for IG on prominent auction sites, because I was certain if it came up I’d never be able to afford bidding. I have not been hunting high and low or selling off kidneys. Unspectacular, I browsed, found and won, cheap. Oh and BTW the auction also included a vintage bottle of Fath de Fath.
Iris Gris in pristine condition, what does she smell like? Incredible is the answer; at the same time otherworldly and intimately present. I imagine the skin of a peach just picked from the tree, one side still warm from the sun, and condensed with milky-sweet ripeness, the other cool from the shade of the tree, and you hold that cool side up to your cheek, feeling its smooth velvet skin. And then there’s that divine buttery nectarous orris root that compliments the peach. The excellence of this perfume is how warm lushness balances with an earthy cold feel, which seeps up through the fragrance, in the shape of the more rooty aspects of the iris and a beautifully crisp vetiver. Iris Gris owns a husky beauty and just enough melancholy to make her intelligent rather than mere foxy. Her name might be grey but she, like her golden juice, is the colour of late afternoon sun rays in high summer.
What a terrible shame this can’t be reproduced. Iris Gris is a perfume that doesn’t belong in Ivory Towers or faraway never-never lands, it wouldn’t suit snow white or mermaids, I completely agree with other bloggers, it wouldn’t be out of place as a modern niche launch, and it would suit us- you and me.
*I wrote this post, or most of it, quite a while back, but reading the news that Dawn Spencer Hurwitz is creating and going to release her version of IG, called Scent of Hope, made me finish this one. It is of course excellent news and I can’t wait to smell (and compare) it. Also, I found it quite funny that Dawn in her description used the Ivory Tower too, to explain what IG is NOT.
**Even if nothing at the moment comes close to experiencing Iris Gris, when I want my modern peach-iris cravings satisfied, I wear the magnificent Ouris from SoOud, or even the very Italian Isotta from Cerchi Nell’Aqua, which, apart from the iris/peach combo, feels like the fragrant equivalent of pop rocks.
All pics are mine.