In keeping with perfumer Jean Claude Ellena’s inspiration for Iris Ukiyoe, the fragrance brings to mind the peaceful, serene feeling of walking through a Japanese garden. According to Wikipedia, the word directly translates as “floating world” in English.
A “floating world” is an apt description for the effect of Iris Ukiyoe, both in the sense that it is serene and in the sense that it is a little detached. Many have described it as cold.
Iris Ukiyoe is meant to highlight the smell of iris flowers as opposed to iris root. I can’t comment on this, because the iris flowers I’ve smelled haven’t been strongly scented at all. I can only say that to me, Iris Ukiyoe smells creamy-buttery-powdery. It is reminiscent of a the cleanest aspects of an Easter lily. It isn’t narcotic at all, and the delicacy of the floral note is just barely tinged with a very subtle greenness.
I can appreciate the limpid, delicate quality of Iris Ukiyoe. But I really feel its lack of a firm backbone. Without something strong to ground it in the garden, it’s simply too floaty.
Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.