Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Not-So-Square-Roots: Irises for Men

Summer is the playground of mediocre scents. Right now, I’m loving a tube of Versace L’Eau Fraîche shower gel for after the gym. My boyfriend is using Hugo Man. We both have tons of niche to choose from on a daily basis, but much of niche doesn’t have that fresh zip that summer in Manhattan requires (especially, if you’re wearing a suit and tie). But before we go completely off the deep end and start spritzing ourselves with something like I Am King, I’d like to recommend three clean and refreshing iris fragrances that can make it into any man’s routine.

First off, getting the equivalent of four stars in my book, is Heeley Iris de Nuit. Iris by its very nature gives the illusion of coolness. Orris -- the official name of the rhizome that iris flowers grow out of -- comes from under the ground, out of the sun. James Heeley’s interpretation is done with a cedar and angelica root accord that, for some unknown reason, reminds me of licorice. Me suspects some vetiver, but I may be wrong. Despite its name, its the perfect daytime scent: limpid enough to refresh but tenacious enough to not have you spraying yourself as the clock strikes each hour. This is how Prada should have done their iris, but they put their pennies into the packaging instead.

Tied for second are two other irises for the boys: Divine L’Homme de Coeur and The Different Company’s Bois d’Iris. The former, created by Yann Vasnier, puts its iris in a cocktail shaker with some juniper and cypress tinctures for a markedly sexy man effect; the latter, brainchild of Jean-Claude Ellena employs bergamot and narcissus, making it the most perfumey of the three.

If I were to choose the runner-up, it would be Acqua di Parma’s Iris Nobile Eau de Parfum. Sweet, fruity and floral -- and perfectly wearable -- though it leaves me asking: when did you lose touch with your roots, man?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excusez moi d'ecrire en Francais ma langue natale,mais mon anglais est tres pauvre en vocabulaire.Je suit votre blog depuis quelques temps et je vous felicite pour vos commentaires.Connaisez vous Equistrius de Parfum D'empire, qui est un tres bel iris ambré avec un soupçon de chocolat et en fond le bois de santal et beurre d'ambrette.Magnifique et tres classe.Peut etre qu'un jour aurais je le plaisir de le decouvrir dans vos critiques.
Bonne journee parfumée

Daniel de Paris

June 24, 2009 at 5:19 AM  
Anonymous Musette said...

I was just thinking along those lines today - not iris, as I'm largely anosmic to it, but the thought of easygoing scents for summer. I have my beloved Bigarade Concentree - but 90F+ eats it alive after about 32 seconds. Fresh Lemon Sugar? Cheap 'n cheerful - and stays on long (and I don't get that Pledge accord! yaaay!)

Not a man and not much for Iris but I do like Le Labo's Iris 39. It's pretty (and, wonder of wonders, I can SMELL it!)

Prada smells like tap water to me. It was the first fragrance I ever smelled that I couldn't smell!

stay cool!


June 24, 2009 at 9:17 AM  
Anonymous Thierry said...

James Heeley seems to me a very interesting brand. Howewer, I was a little bit disapointed by their Iris de nuit : too much ionones.

I like L'homme de coeur very much : for me it's the perfect mix between iris ( I keep Iris Silver Mist for "special occasions") and angélique (Angéliques sous la pluie fades very quickly)

June 24, 2009 at 1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Vetivresse,

May I suggest The Dreamer as an iris scent dedicated to men. On me it doen't fit perfectly on hot days - safrony/rooty middle phase speeds up to ambery tobacco drydown, while seems to last forever in cold days.

A propos de Heeley, I had the chance to meet him in Milan (I love his project and products) and I was totally caught by his gentleman's Darcy-ness. His Iris is too soapy to me and it is a bit too thin, but I can't help admiring its polite and elegant twisting sense.

Fausto from Italy

June 25, 2009 at 5:45 AM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

Daniel, Francaise - c'est la langue de parfum. Merci pour vôtre recommendation d'Equistrius et les compliments.

June 25, 2009 at 10:00 AM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

Musette, I reviewed the Le Labo Iris 39 last year. Do a search on the site and it should pop up. I like cheap and cheerful when I'm going to go through a bottle or two of toilet water in a three-month period.

June 25, 2009 at 10:02 AM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

Thierry - Thanks for your analysis of the IdN and L'HdC and for referencing Angeliques sous la pluie (a scent which I admire but, alas, cannot wear).

June 25, 2009 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

Fausto- I wonder whether your soapy remarks are in line with the too-much-ionones argument of Thierry. I don't think of the IdN as thin as much as limpid and caressing, like a really sheer silk chemise.

June 25, 2009 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger Parfum said...

I'm glad you mentioned Iris Noble as the runner up, I just happen to have tested it lately at my favourite counter - where it was placed as the underdog next to a rather obnoxious Varvatos Artisan display! I really enjoyed it although that day I was only using strips so I have not yet tested it on my skin...

When I reach into my collection for a light, fresh and zesty iris, I choose Creed's Himalaya :)

July 2, 2009 at 4:43 PM  

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