One of Monet’s Iris bed paintings
Iris was never my favorite garden flower. This should be admitted right away because I know many people love iris whether in perfume or in flower form, and the taste for them has been a long time coming in this case.
My mother who was a better gardener than I am, always adored iris and always had them in some form or other in her garden beds. In Vermont I remember Siberian irises being her choice probably because of their hardiness. I found that the old bearded Iris germanica* grew like topsy in the cold little town we inhabited. I inherited three big clumps of it which had to be divided, and I did a very clumsy job of hacking the rhizomes ( what is the difference between a root and a rhizome? See illustration) and then dropping (!), some around the yard where they actually took root and thrived. I was literally lousy with iris. Continue reading
iris wallpaper print late 19th century
Iris is one of the most expensive notes in the world of perfumery, or used to be, before the development of anisaldehyde, and Alpha Irones or the heavy synthetic iris Irival that makes an appearance in Iris Silver Mist. As you can see these days iris is unlikely to be natural, the cost alone more or less precludes that, but there are plenty of irises on the market some self advertising, some not.
Among the synthetics my personal favorite has to be the discontinued ShalimarParfum Initial. This perfume had nothing to do with Shalimar, instead the scent had a good deal in common with Dior Homme and DH’s lovely synthetic iris note was reproduced but lightened just a little bit. They were pretty close to one another as compositions. I went out and spritzed Dior Homme from my local Sephora and then Shalimar PI and found out how close the kinship was. They were siblings really, not even cousins. The Shalimar PI * did not prosper. I suppose the fact that the new perfume had nothing to do with actual Shalimar hurt the sales in the end since those who loved Shalimar could not love this new iris concoction. Continue reading