digging (into) vintage: Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Iris Bleu Gris, 1988

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(image Kate Hepburn in Sylvia Scarlett)

Jean-Paul Millet Lage.

The name doesn’t lie, neither about the conspicuousness of the iris nor the color it suggests. The classic iris descriptors are there at all times. In the soapy topnotes, in the rootlike powery heart, in the dry double-root base of iris and vetiver.

There was such an iris explosion in the mid-noughts of the 21st century and niche, designer and department store celubuschents cranked them out in rapid-fire fashion. Advances in botanicals and aromachemicals made the material that had beem so rare and costly for the prior 125 years ubiquitous almost overnight.

The scent of iris root and the aromachemicals used to recreate it comprise such a particular yet complex set of notes that comparison is to be expected. Chanel 19 (1971),  Iris Silver Mist (1994) , Hermès Hiris (1999), Dior Homme (2005),  Ferre by Gianfranco Ferre (2005),  Heeley Iris de Nuit (2005), le Labo Iris 39 (2006), Dzongkha (2008), Hermès Infusion d’Iris (2006), Chanel 28 La Pausa (2007). The most directly comparable perfume is the relatively disregarded Bas de Soie (2010) from Serge Lutens. Iris Bleu Gris doesn’t have Bas de Soie’s metal-cum-hyacynth notes, but otherwise the trajectories they follow are similar.

From the general discussion, you’d think that Dior Homme was the first masculine iris. Jean Laporte thought to release an iris-centered masculine fragrance in the mid 1980s and it’s still with us 30 years later.


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