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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Perfume Review: Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist

Iris Silver Mist is breathtakingly gorgeous. But this magnificent beauty is not flawless, not unapproachably perfect, like a stunning marble statue; it has a "flaw" that makes it all the more appealing and fascinating (think Cindy Crawford’s birthmark, think Christy Turlington’s long nose…). The delightful imperfection I am talking about is the way Iris Silver Mist’s rooty accord smells in the beginning of the scent. It smells a little “off”, a little bizarre, almost, but not quite, unpleasant. If you have some of this fragrance, put it on, concentrate…50-60 seconds into the development, there it is, that strange and alluring accord…This accord reminds me of something I encountered in childhood. My grandparents' dacha (country house) had raspberry bushes, and I loved nothing more than to stalk “the raspberry corner”, eating the berries right from the bush….Another creature favored the raspberries too; I am not sure what its Latin or English name is, but my grandparents called it “Stinker Bug” (жучок-вонючка). A raspberry visited by that little green monster had a peculiar smell, somewhat repulsive and strangely appealing at the same time. It had a raw, earthy, vegetal smell and that is how the iris root paired with vetiver, cedar and a hint of incense in the beginning of Iris Silver Mist smells to my nose.

Without that strange, borderline-disagreeable accord, I imagine that the fragrance would still have been lovely; but it wouldn’t have been as enthralling, as enchanting, as unusual and, dare I say it, as superior to other iris scents (it was Luca Turin who called Iris Silver mist “a total success, the only current iris worthy of the name”.). It also wouldn’t have been as “Lutens”. Created by Maurice Roucel, Iris Silver Mist fits perfectly into Serge Lutes collection of perfumes, where the most attractive and interesting ones all smell a little “off”, a little like something seen in a weird and wonderful dream… After the somewhat dry, earthy top notes subside, the scent softens significantly; at moments, there is even vaguely fruity sweetness there, which, subtle as it is, goes a long way to make the fragrance feel silky-smooth, tender like a caress of some otherworldly, ethereal creature. The rooty, woody undertone that is present throughout the scent’s development is also very appealing, it is subtle but apparent and has a certain delicate piquancy (cloves) about it that I find so very attractive.

This strange and stunning fragrance can be found only at Les Salons du Palais Royal in Paris, where 75ml of Iris Silver Mist retails for €100.00.


Blogger tmp00 said...

such a wonderful way with words you have: your description of the "raspberry corner" took me right back. In the corner of New England where I grew up, there were usually a stand of trees or geenbelt that separated the backyards from one set of houses from the other (I suppose back in the day it was farmland). Blackberry and raspberries grew wild in them, and us kids would steal into these brambles and gorge ourselves on the ripe, wild fruit (I've never had a berry from even a five-star restaurant that could compare..). The bugs you had in Russia were called "stinkbugs" in New England, and they would leave their marks on the fruit. The only thing I can agg to your description is that the smell makes my adult mind think of truffles- heady and almost disconcerting, but strangely appealing.

I think I may try (oh right, you'll be on eBay in two seconds...) to not follow up on this one- your description is too alluring.

I think that's what's great about Serge Lutens' collection. All of the ones I've tried have the sly olfactory slap-in-the-chops somewhere; he always reminds us at some point in his compositions that flowers come from the earth, honey comes from a hive, or woods are cut raw and bleeding sap and at the end of it, were are perfuming our animal hides.

I love that.

11:22 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Oh gosh, truffles! Truffles! Definitely. Great comparison!
*You* have the way with words: that slap-in-the-chops, wow. And about the reminder that flowers do grow out of soil, out of dirt. Awesome!

11:28 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great review! You are so right about that interesting, odd opening accord. This is the ultimate magical iris scent for me. Makes me feel like saying "To haedes w/ the real world" and booking a flight to Narnia or Burnett's The Secret Garden.

6:56 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Sprayed my ISM and did, indeed, notice what you described so perfectly. Also noticed that I'm almost out! WAAAAH!

BTW, You seem to have started me on a craving for vetiver (and for different kinds of vetiver) that just keeps growing! WAAAAH again (Yes, I know this is all about Iris--and ISM is truly beautifu:)

8:15 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I did a review of Iris POudre in the past (I think in October 2005). Unfortunately I haven't tried the new Ferre scent yet, but I am looking forward to it. I heard great things about it.

8:51 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I was thinking of wearing ISM and flying to Riverdale or better yet, Lothlorien, but Narnia sounds great too. Let's do it! :-)

8:52 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Aha! Well, do try Vetiver Bourbon by Miller Harris. I personally liked it a lot, and thought it was a "poor" (wo)man's version of Djedi. "Poor" really isn't the right word here, given the price of VB :-)

8:54 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Here is the thing. When I first tried it a year or so ago, I did not get it either. That "thing" in the beginning freaked me out a little, I guess. And then I tried again, and it was - WOW. :-)
So, yes, do try again. If I had some left, I'd have sent it to you...but I don't *sobs*

9:36 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

We share a HG, hurray! ISM is just out of this world stunning.

9:37 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carrots. Raw carrots is what I get. *sigh* I agree, though, it's a gorgeous iris but that pesky carrot note sort of bothers me. Now I must remember what that bug smells like... I'm afraid, all my childhood memories related to raspberry consumption are centered around finding ugly worms in them. Hence, I was always terrified to eat them off the bush (I did anyways). Gorgeous review! :)

9:52 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also get a metallic note in ISM. And carrots.

9:54 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Carrots, truffles, stinker bugs, we are all talking about basically the same thing, aren't we? That sharpish, earthy smell in the beginning...

Ewww, worms in rapberry, I remember!

9:55 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

silver - metallic, that makes sense!

9:55 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

I spent several summers staying at a place with a raspberry patch. One of the glories of the world, out there in the mist, picking raspberries for breakfast.

About ISM, isn't this the one Luca Turin told that great story about -- that Lutens kept saying "more iris, more iris!" (more cowbell, more cowbell!!!) so eventually Roucel got fed up and dumped in every SINGLE iris formula he knew of ....

9:58 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I love such juice perfume gossip stories! I ahven't read that one, thank you!
More iris, more iris! I agree, we need more iris! :-P

9:59 AM EDT  
Blogger IrisLA said...

Sigh, my nose isn't sophisticated enough to "get" the beauty of this beloved scent. I first have to develop an appreciation for earthy and rooty notes. And stinkbugs too??!!

11:05 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

That's how it was for me. I only started to love ISM after I becames enamoured with rooty/woody/earthy/slightly stinky stuff :-D

11:08 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Well, Christina came over to the "dark side" with MKK, so I have high hopes for you too. And then, who knows, you might fall in love with Vetiver 46 Bwah ha ha

11:21 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

I did get to try Vetiver Bourbon (courtesy of a kind swapper)--and I really like it, too. I can see the similarity to Djedi that you describe. I'd like to get some, but I am too poor:) I hope decants start appearing soon. I also like Sel de Vetiver a lot; that salty taste is very addicting. Managed to snag a decant of that one (I hope they bring it out in the travel refill).

I am currently testing Russian perfumes in preparation for tomorrow. Liking them, too:)

11:43 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Do you like Carnation? Sort of a poor woman's Poivre/Coup de Foeut kind of thing LOL

11:49 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Yes, I do! And I know what you mean. Also reminded me a bit of CdG (especially at the beginning). Very nice. But there is an odd note in the opening that I can't place yet. . . .

12:04 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

And you know how much it is...*drum roll*...

12:05 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooh la love. Gorgeous post, gorgeous writing, sounds like a gorgeous scent.

BTW, blogged about you:

5:18 PM EDT  

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