At the end of the rainbow- Iris Gris vintage perfume

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.

DSC01395Guess 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.

For more on vintage Iris Gris read the Non Blonde, Perfume shrine, Yesterdays perfume.

All pics are mine.

17 thoughts on “At the end of the rainbow- Iris Gris vintage perfume

    • Hopefully soon there will be Dawn’s Scent of Hope 🙂 Yes, I was VERY lucky

  1. Wow! Good for you. I was so pleased your description matched just how imagined and hoped it would be.

    I must try Ouris.

    • Fortunately that’s how it works on my skin (and on the blotter), I do know of two people though who amplify the more sharp, earthy tones, especially the vetiver, in this, making it still beautiful, but less smooth with more temperament.
      Do try Ouris, I still haven’t tried the Eau Fine, but love my bottle of the Nectar. I think you’d like it.

  2. Asali, I think the Laws of Attraction certainly were at play here … that out of all the perfumistas in the world hunting this juice, Iris Gris arrived to you, knowing how much you would treasure it and how exquisite it would smell on you. It is the very definition of DIVINE on your skin!!

    • Thank you Suzanne, you’re very sweet. I was surprised at how different it was on our skin; as I wrote, I think it had more temper, and a leathery feel on you. Great too, but quite different.

  3. I was going to mention that Dawn is making a perfume like Iris Gris which made me so very happy when I read it. 😀
    We’ll be able to wear it!!! And not look at the end of the rainbow for it. 🙂 Can’t wait actually.

    • Exactly Ines, Dawn’s creation was also the reason I didn’t have a bad conscience writing about it, and the reason I finally finished this post. It’s the most exciting perfume news I’ve heard for a long time.

  4. What a great piece of good fortune! I feel a bit like that about an antique silver locket I recently won that no one else bid for. I do recall liking Ouris but haven’t given it any thought in ages till you mentioned it. And your IG sounds like a real show stopper all right. Very happy for you. 😉

    • Ooh, so you got the locket, and it was everything you dreamt of? That would be like IG to me then. And thank you. Show stopper she is, in a very elegant fashion of course 😉

  5. Wow, Asali, lucky you! It wasn’t a perfume but I had a good luck recently too. I’ve always wanted a set of Irish crystal decanter set but they were so horrendously expensive and out of my reach. Then, just the other day, I got the exact same one at almost throwaway price. 🙂
    Iris Gris sounds so dreamy. I so envy you! Now I can hardly wait to try Dawn’s creation.

    • I love when that happens, congratulations magpie. And yes, I am really looking forward to trying scent of hope. Even if it’s probably not exactly the same, I love the peach-iris combo, and I can never have enough of those.

    • Yes, but thankfully soon we’ll have Dawn’s version 🙂

  6. did you win this auction back in 2012, i guess?

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