le Labo Iris 39, 2006

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(image source savant.la)

Perfumer Frank Voelkl

Iris root tends toward the powdery in many perfumes, but in Iris 39 it’s a cold, green, papery dust. The texture comes off as dry but tacky like drying paint or rosin. It’s a concise iris. If iris root were a manner of speaking it would read as follows:

Declarative statement. (“Declarative statement. Pause. [clears throat] Full stop.”)

The directness of the iris can read as cold (Chanel 19), sinister (Iris Silver Mist), unapproachable (Maitre’s Iris Bleu Gris) or chaste (Atelier Cologne Silver Iris). It’s a mistake to take directness as insult. Iris 39 keeps the objective tone of iris root without coming off as aloof.

The heart and basenotes don’t venture far from the topnotes. Typical descriptions of iris perfumes’s drydowns capture both the result and how it came about. ‘Softening to powderiness.’  ‘Fading to a whisper.’ Iris 39 skips the Shrinking Violet routine and stays sharp.

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