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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Perfume Review: Guerlain Iris Ganache

Iris Ganache is the fifth perfume to join Guerlain's excluisive L’Art et la Matière collection. Created by Theirry Wasser, the scent is described as "iris butter worked like a pastry ganache" ( Ganache is a term that describes a mixture of chocolate and cream, and in the case of Iris Ganache, the chocolate is said to be white. I am very happy to report that the chocolate note is completely missing on my skin, and the fragrance does not smell to me in the least gourmand. The Ganache part of the name perhaps should not be taken literally, as it hints on the soft, "rounded" quality of the composition and its gentle creaminess rather than on any overt foody characteristics.

The fragrance starts with an iris note brightened by citrus. The iris smells rooty and cold, just the way I like it, and the lovely creaminess lended by vanilla poses a very appealing contrast to the silvery chilliness of iris. Both the creamy and the rooty aspects stay present throughout the scent's development; iris, however, gives way to violet, which seems to dominate the heart of the fragrance adding to it a certain, not overwhelming, powderiness. (As a side note, I have read about Iris Ganache being somewhat reminiscent of Insolence, but again I am happy to say that there is no similarity between the two on my skin. Both scents feature violets, but between the faux-youthfull brashness of Insolence and the softly-spoken elegance of Iris Ganache lies the world of a difference.) The middle stage also features a dash of spice, which, paired with the earthy patchouli, adds depth and darkness to the blend. This powdery, slightly brooding part of Iris Ganache smells very "Guerlain" to me, more so than the other four L’Art et la Matière perfumes, which is probably only to be expected from an orris fragrance. The base of Iris Ganache is to me the best stage, after the creamy and shimmering beginning. The mix of velvety woods, amber, patchouli and that raw note that runs like a leitmotif through the composition of Iris Ganache remind me a little of Dior's elegantly fluffy Bois d'Argent.

The raw property, which I mentioned several times, is what makes Iris Ganache smell interesting to me. This is not the first time I admire the raw quality in a perfume created by Wasser; his poignantly frail and very earthy Sloth showcased that quality wonderfully. Having said that, I wish that Iris Ganache was not quite so soft and understated. It is a quiet scent, with hardly any sillage and very mediocre lasting power. And it is not that I begrudge it its elegant mutedness and its short life on my skin (I don't mind re-applying scents I love), it is just that...oh I don't know...I feel that it is too neutral, somehow lacking in character. Still, it is a charming, elegant, extremely wearable fragrance, and if someone gave it to me, I would have used it with much pleasure, but I will not be buying it for myself.

Iris Ganache is available at Bergdorf Goodman, $200.00 for 75ml.

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Blogger tmp00 said...

It kind of seems to me that a lot of new scents coming out are baby scents away from the froot-loopy florals- and that's a very good thing..

10:09 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

ooops- I meant to write "baby steps"

10:10 PM EDT  
Blogger womo531 said...

oh how I want to take a sniff!

11:21 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmmmmm. Creamy iris. Mmmmm. :-)

12:02 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds lovely, and I adored Bois d'Armenie and almost adored Cuir Beluga... Hmm, who's selling samples, I wonder?

6:52 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

I'm going to go on trying w/ this scent. I can feel the potential there...just one little sniff away. I think the key would be in my successfully erasing the memories of that scent it's reminding me of.

7:28 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

I guess I'm so opposed to chocolate/goumand fragrances that I made up my mind against this one to begin with. I'm very glad to hear that it doesn't smell that way on your skin--and the middle of your review almost makes me want this. But then, at the end, you pull back and so do I. I did end up loving Bois d'Armenie, but the other scents in this line haven't spoken to me. Well, I'll smell it anyway in PARIS, and we shall see. . . .

7:31 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It does seem so, doesn't it? Of course every time right after I allow myself to think that happy thought, I read about a new release with litchi or something...:-)

7:48 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It is worth a sniff, definitely. I think it is going to be well-liked.

7:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It is creamy, but also a little raw. Just creamy would have been boring :-)

7:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I think Nancy at Fishbone Fragrances has samples or samples and decants.

7:50 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

That's how I feel if my love for IG is just one sniff away. But it, luckily, does nto remind me of anything but, in a very small way, of Bois d'Argent, and I love Bois d'Argent.

7:51 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I made up my mind against it too, because of the gourmand notes. I imagined it would be like...Iris Angel or something like that. But it is not like that on me at all. I can't even properly explain why I just like not love's sort of not quite...not's just Not Quite is all I can say :-)

7:52 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have only sniffed this on a card, but I liked it quite a bit. If I get a chance to try it on my skin, I will, but I don't feel the need to run out and test it. I guess I'm just not in an elegant scent phase right now. :-)

8:11 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Apparently, me neither :-) I am in an oud phase, what about you? :-)

8:13 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been in an incense/resin/leather phase for a few months now, regardless of the weather. I just can't get enough! :-)

8:26 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

That is a great phase! And you know what smells great layered with those kinds of scents...rose ouds! :-D

8:39 AM EDT  
Blogger StyleSpy said...

Hmmmm... I was really going there until you got to the violet. Violet hates me. Ditto chocolate notes (well, I hate them), but the general feeling seems to be that this isn't very chocolatey.


Oh, I dunno. I sort of long for the old days of the aloof, tres francais Guerlain, the house that made perfumes you had to understand before you could love, the house that made you feel chic and sophisiticated for being able to pull it off. Just not sure I'm down with this bubbly, stuffed-animals-on-your-bed "accessiblity." But that's probably just me.

10:32 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

This is one is kind of easy to understand, but it does smell "francais" somehow :-) It is approachable but quite sophisticated.

10:48 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

This one lasts forever on me, I was surprised. I put it on yesterday and can still smell just a little base on me today, but it did last a good 6-8 hours.

So funny we both hit this one today! :) Jinx!

11:05 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It has no lasting power on me at all. I have never applied that much scent, I don't think, in my life, and it was gone in 2 hours tops :-(

11:34 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Sounds nicer than I expected, actually! But not like a must have. Any comparison at all to 28 La Pausa?

4:06 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't get raw, and I do get quite a bit of similarity with Insolence and Apres l'Ondee, and I'm in total, utter, unconditional love. The sweet ganache aspect doesn't bother me at all (I feared it would) - it only adds pleasant fluffiness to the iris. I *need* this. :)

6:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

La Pausa is straightforward iris on me, this one has other things going on. Ganache is sweeter, "rounder", thicker and last a little longer. La Pausa does not last on me at all, and I don't exaggerate. It disappears in 5 mins :-(

6:02 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I hope you vacation is going great!
If you need IG, you should get IG. Luckily there will be an opportunity :-)

6:03 PM EDT  
Blogger Qwendy said...

It's funny how all of the Arts et Matieres scents are named conceptually as well as blended conceptually. I mean white chocolate is cocoa butter (what's left after all of the cocoa solids - chocolate - have been extracted from the beans), which has the faintest cocoa aura, and sugar and usually vanillin! When I've heard the name I've just sort of pictured a kind of shiny purpley creamy pile icing. I'm very curious to sniff this one for mysellf, thanks for the detailed description and your take on it. I'll have to try the others in the series again too, as a recent Rose Barbare convert.

7:32 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

That is so true! And Cuir Beluga is the most conceptual of them all :-)

7:49 PM EDT  

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