Continuing my iris exploration (I’ve previously written about Chanel’s 28 La Pausa, Le Labo Iris 39, Hermes Iris Ukiyoe, and in an abbreviated way about Chanel No. 19 Poudre), today I am sharing my thoughts on Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist.
Iris Silver Mist seems to seduce everyone who tries it. The reviews I have read are almost unanimously positive. (I hope it will not spoil things for you if I say that my thoughts are pretty positive, too.) I’ve now finished testing everything on my list of iris perfumes, and Iris Silver Mist is certainly the most unique. That it is so universally liked is a testament to the skill of the perfumer, Maurice Roucel, because it is, like most Serge Lutens perfumes, strange.
Sometimes I think we forget that strange is often a good thing. It is arresting, attractive. It changes our perspective, challenges us to see the worth in things that may shock or scare us.
Iris Silver Mist turns my fast-paced city life upside down and shakes it like a snow globe. When the flakes settle, I am in a cool dark wood surrounded by the opening notes of iris, clove, and cedar. Usually these are comforting notes for me, but in Iris Silver Mist they are anything but. They meld together and read to my nose as damp soil, but a damp soil so real that it can’t be real. It has the chemical smell of potting soil. It startles me. The woodland it conjures is uncannily quiet, wary. This is Lutens strangeness at its best.
During the drydown, the clove and the damp soil smell recede, leaving the cedar and allowing the iris to warm up and become more pronounced on my skin. If I continue with my image of the wood, it’s how things feel after the sun breaks through the trees and the dangers and mystery recede, when what is strange becomes accepted. I like it, but I want to remember it the way it was before I thought I understood it. So I reach for the bottle again …
Notes in Iris Silver Mist (according to Fragrantica) are orrisroot, galbanum, cedar, sandalwood, clove, vetiver, musk, Chinese benzoin, incese and white amber.
Image credits: First images from IMDB and Basenotes, second from Branchy.com.