Perfume Review: Two Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Iris Scents - Iris Bleu Gris and Fleur d'Iris
After looking unsuccessfully for information on Iris Bleu Gris in the women’s section of Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier’s website, I was getting ready to grumble about yet another inexplicable discontinuation of a beautiful fragrance…By chance, I looked in the men’s part of the site, and there it was, tucked in a subdivision of the men’s collection attractively called Les Caprices du Dandy. The accompanying description informed me that with Iris Bleu Gris Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier “translates iris into a fragrance for men”. Although I have loved and worn Iris Bleu Gris for a long time without realizing that it was not intended as a woman’s perfume, I must admit that it is not actually all that “feminine”. In fact, it is not feminine at all or not feminine in a more traditional, voluptuous and heady or sweet and flirty kind of way. Compared to another "iris for men”, soft and neutral Dior Homme, Iris Bleu Gris does indeed feel more masculine. This is a very dry, austerely elegant scent; iris here, accompanied by oakmoss and grapefruit, is raw, earthy and agreeably sharp. The fragrance does not relent and soften much, apart from the brief moment during the middle stage where a surprisingly fruity, apple-like note sneaks in. It does disappear very quickly, however, and the scent becomes darker and richer, cultivating in a powdery, warm drydown of violet and amber. In the same way that Caron’s Violette Precieuse showed an unexpectedly forceful, no-frills side of violets, traditionally seen as frail and delicate, Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier’s creation paints a normally airy, ethereal iris with bold, severe strokes. Iris Bleu Gris to me is one of the most chic renditions of iris.
The other Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier iris scent, Fleur d’Iris, is more conventionally pretty. The perfume focuses on the floral aspect of iris (as opposed to its rooty, earthy quality) and reinforces the “luxurious femininity” of the note with the addition of other flowers, namely jasmine, violet and rose. The latter is especially apparent throughout the scent’s development, at some points actually overwhelming the iris. Towards the middle stage, violets also become evident, adding a slightly candied, powdery aspect to the composition. The scent never becomes too sweet or heady; there is a certain dry freshness to it that I attribute to vetiver…still, this is a sumptuous bouquet that perhaps would best suit the taste of the fans of floral perfumes. Those who, like me, are not that comfortable with the lavish floral blends and like iris scents precisely because they often have a non-floral, rooty-earthy side, might not find Fleur d’Iris to be particularly appealing. While I consider it to be a very attractive fragrance, I do not reach for it often.
Both Iris Bleu Gris and Fleur d’Iris are available at BeautifulPerfumes.com, $105.00 for 3oz and 3.3oz respectively.