Month of Irises: Week 1 (Feb 1st – Feb 7th)

Welcome to our Month of Irises project!

This post will be updated continuously during the next 7 days. For more details see here, but in short – come back every day to read something new I added for the day, see what perfume I chose to wear and share your SOTD.

February 1, 2018

DID YOU KNOW?

As I discovered (and more or less confirmed beyond just reading Wikipedia), it is not a coincidence that iris plant has the same name as Iris, the Goddess of the Rainbow: there is an opinion that the name refers to the wide variety of flower colors found among the many species of irises. How many? 260–300, according to the Wikipedia article in English. I’m mentioning the language because, as I noticed by browsing pages in several different languages, the number of species varies significantly from language to language (e.g., it mentions 100 in Greek, 210 in French and 800 in Russian) but only English version has citations for the numbers – so it seems the most trustworthy.

 

 

SOTD 2/1/18

I decided that it would be fitting to start this month with the perfume that serendipitously had all of the notes in my perfumista-style rainbow mnemonic:

Rose, Oakmoss, Ylang Ylang, Galbanum, Bergamot, Iris, Vetiver

As several of you correctly guessed, it is Chanel No 19 EdT. And since it’s one of those perfumes that does not require an introduction, I’ll just leave it at that.


February 2, 2018

SOTD

In how many projects can one person participate with the same perfume on the same day? My goal for today was to fit both this project and NST’s Groundhog Day community project, for which each of us is supposed to randomly choose between “winter” and “spring” perfumes, predicting that way what to expect from this winter.

Since my Winter and Spring iris perfumes come in bottles, it would have been hard to “randomize” them. Instead, I decided to trick Rusty into making that choice for me. Two balls made from tissue paper were to represent Winter (blue) and Spring (green). After careful consideration, Rusty ran away with the green ball (all pictures are from the same sequence, I didn’t touch the paper balls between shots – hover over each picture to see the steps description).

 

 

So, according to Rusty, there will be an early spring – and I’ll be wearing my “alien” Spring perfume Prada Infusion d’Iris EdP. Now let’s wait and see whether Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow.

FUN FACT

Angela Zito, a co-director of the Center for Religion and Media at New York University, screens the film for students in her Buddhism class. She said that ”Groundhog Day” perfectly illustrates the Buddhist notion of samsara, the continuing cycle of rebirth that Buddhists regard as suffering that humans must try to escape (a belief, Dr. Zito noted, that was missed by executives at Guerlain, who, searching for an exotic name, introduced a perfume called Samsara in the 1980’s, overlooking the negative connotations).

Groundhog Day is one of my all-time favorite movies. I own it on a DVD, watched it many times and plan to watch again today to celebrate this day. I expect Rusty to particularly enjoy it too since the only place I can watch it is sitting on the sofa, and he’ll get to spend the whole evening sleeping on my lap.


February 3, 2018

SOTD

Infusion d’Iris that I wore yesterday was great, and I could still smell it through the whole movie we watched but I hope not to be stuck in the same day wearing it…

I know that 6 more weeks of winter was predicted, so to everyone who suffers from cold weather, I’ll cite beautiful lines from Coleridge’s “Work Without Hope” that I noticed today for the first time in the “Groundhog Day”:

And WINTER, slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!

By the way, I was right: Rusty must think that this film is the best thing… OK, not ever but since Die Hard, which we watched for Christmas.

Today I plan to wear Chanel 28 La Pausa: since it’s a weekend, I plan to try “hajusuuri’s approach” – 8 sprays (or as many as I have left in my sample) to see if it sticks around (and I still can’t stop giggling at Lucas’s comment:“At least it doesn’t need 28 sprays!”).

RIDDLE 1

Saturdays are usually lazy, so I’ll leave you with a short riddle:

What do Pacific Coast, Rocky Mountain and Louisiana have in common?


February 4, 2018

RIDDLE 2

I’m not sure whether nobody saw the riddle (post updates do not trigger e-mail or other notifications, so I don’t know how many readers remember about my “rolling” post), or just wasn’t interested, or didn’t know the answer – so I’ll give the second clue, and tomorrow provide the answer.

Pacific Coast, Rocky Mountain and Louisiana have in common the same thing as Bamboo, Blood, Blue flag and White cemetery. What Is that?

SOTD 2/4/18

While 28 La Pausa was very nice and, applied with a heavy hand, stayed longer than I remembered, I’m glad to report that I do not regret not buying a bottle of EdT while I could. But still – very nice.

I plan to wear Guerlain Iris Ganache hoping that my decant is still fine – I haven’t touched it in a couple of years, which probably means that it was a good idea to buy just a small portion instead of going for a bottle. But I’ll report back.


February 5, 2018

The answer to the riddle: “What do Pacific Coast, Rocky Mountain, Louisiana, Bamboo, Blood, Blue flag and White cemetery have in common?” – these all are common names for irises.

DID YOU KNOW?

Speaking of names, did you know that there is an iris cultivar called Perfume Counter?

 

Iris

 

SOTD 2/5/18

I plan to wear Atelier Cologne Silver Iris – one more decant that I’ve been neglecting. Iris Ganache (older version, not the one re-released last year) was very pleasant but I was right: I don’t need more than I have since there are so many perfumes that I enjoy more.


February 6, 2018

LINKS, LINKS, LINKS

Silver Iris that I wore yesterday was very pleasant but … too office-friendly: not being too strong to start with (just enough oomph for me to find it interesting), it sets down to almost nothing within a couple of hours. But it seems that it behaves differently both for Lucas (Chemist in the Bottle) who likes it very much and Angela (NST) who didn’t love it herself but thought it was good perfume to test for those who were “starting out on […] iris quest.”

And this is Victoria’s (Bois de Jasmin) review for Mugler’s Oriental Express – perfume that a couple of readers wore yesterday, even though it doesn’t list iris as an official note. I can confirm that from my own impression it does smell like iris.

SOTD 2/6/18

Since I have a couple of meeting during the day in a small conference room, I need something quiet – so I decided to go with Hermès Iris Ukiyoé.


February 7, 2018

The last, seventh, day of the first week of the Month of Irises. It is probably a good enough reason to have a celebratory drink…

DID YOU KNOW?

Orris root is among the most common botanicals in gin. It is used, mostly, not for its own taste profile but rather as an aromatic fixative that helps to preserve other aromas in gin.

 

Gin

SOTD 2/7/18

Iris Ukiyoé, which I wore yesterday, is probably the most floral of my iris perfumes (as tiffanie perfectly described it in her comment below – “not-iris iris perfume”). And it’s extremely quiet. So today I want something “louder.” I should probably go with Le Labo Iris 39, one of my most favorite iris perfumes.

 

What are you wearing today?

 

Images: from Wiki Commons red iris – KENPEI, orange iris – Kor!An, “green” iris – Simone; the rest – my own.

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Are you a Perfume Extrovert or Introvert?

When asked about their perfume hobby some people admit that they are open and outgoing about it, others are secretive – not to be ridiculed, get disapproval or just because they are very private. I’m not sure if personality types are directly connected to how we communicate our love of perfume to the world or if it has a more complex correlation but there are definitely Perfume Introverts and Perfume Extroverts. I am the latter.

Rusty "extrovert"

I was sharing my love for perfume long before I discovered Perfumeland or started this blog. I would talk about new [mainstream] releases with friends and co-workers who expressed any interest in perfumes. I would be finding best online deals when somebody was looking for something (that was in pre- and early-Google times). And I would always try to recruit more followers into this not so secret society.

My tally? Not counting minor wins here and there, I have three success stories.

Two friends – one of whom has never worn perfumes before (because they all were too perfume-y) and one who did it very sporadically – under my influence and with my help found perfumes to love and wear. Interestingly, for both of them those were Jo Malone‘s perfumes – Nectarine Blossom & Honey, Vanilla & Anise and Black Vetyver Café for one of them and Wild Fig & Cassis and French Lime Blossom for the other. That’s why I’m persuaded that Jo Malone is a great “starter house.”

My best friend L., who lives half the world away from me, for many years stayed faithful to her signature scent – GF Ferre Lei-Her. After it got discontinued for a while she was able to find another bottle. When she couldn’t find it any longer, she started exploring the current offerings (very-very mainstream), got completely disappointed (who wouldn’t!) and almost swore off perfume. Last year when I visited her I brought with me more than a dozen samples and decants. That was the first time L. realized that there was something beyond pink fruitchulies that invaded the market. After that we went together to the high(er)-end perfume store (the one she was too intimidated to visit on her own before). There L. surprised me: while she did like some of the perfumes I suggested her to try – Prada Infusion d’Iris, Guerlain Champs-Élysées and Cartier Baiser Volé – she absolutely loved Juliette Has A Gun Midnight Oud and a couple of Montale‘s perfumes – not the most obvious choice for a newbie. She keeps exploring and I’m sure she’s on the right track now.

During her recent visit Suzanne (Eiderdown Press) told me one of her success stories. I liked it so much that I asked Suzanne to write it up to share with you. She did:

My friend M is someone I met in a writing group. It wasn’t even a group, there were only three of us, so we got to know each other fairly well in the space of a year—our literary tastes and styles, first and foremost. M wrote both fiction and poetry, and while her fiction was a poignant lens that allowed one to gain insight into the workings of a person’s mind (into the minds of characters who represented the baffling array of human behaviors), her poetry was different: it was more personal and sensual and often seemed to speak of “home”—of the rites of passage that sisters go through together, or the memories of a stepmother who’d been in Europe at the end of World War II, for instance. Given the nature of her writing—its private turning-point moments that hinge on such things as the remembrance of her stepmother giving M her first ‘perm’ (the smell of the hair perming solution, the fitful way she felt about it, and how it became an anchor for stories her stepmother told during this session)—I was rather surprised at the disinterested reaction I got from her when I first started talking about perfume.

By this time, our writing trio had disbanded because our other friend had moved away, and I was taking a break from fiction to start a perfume blog. I remember M’s puzzled look as she questioned how one would go about writing about perfume—and the look of even deeper puzzlement (the slight snicker and firm wave-off of her hand) when I asked if she’d like to sample some perfumes. I forget her reasons for declining my offer, so perhaps it’s unfair of me to surmise, but I got the distinct feeling that she saw perfume as something that would clash with her professional image (as a senior lecturer at the nearby university, teaching women’s studies and writing). Maybe because I was in the early stages of perfume infatuation … well, I’m not sure why I felt this deep conviction, but I did: I felt that anyone who wrote as M did would have to love perfume—would understand its deep connection to memory, to sensuality, to individuality. If she’d been a science fiction writer, I wouldn’t have bothered to try to convert her, but in November 2007, just before Thanksgiving, when the first snowflakes were floating in the air, I decanted some Chanel Coromandel for her, calling it “an early Christmas present” when we met for lunch. She accepted it graciously but skeptically—and I made sure to be nonchalant. I told her she could give it back if it didn’t suit her—that I simply thought it had a beautiful frankincense note that might appeal. In my head, though, I was convinced that it would be airy enough not to frighten her, and at the same time, have a sense of gravity that would appeal to her serious side—and I was right. M fell deeply for Coromandel and within a few days was requesting other perfume samples. Now, six and a half years later, she has a few other favorites (Montale Black Aoud is one) but Coromandel is pretty much her signature scent.

Hajusuuri, a guest writer on my blog, also agreed to share her success story:

Many years ago, more years than I care to remember, my sister and I went to Boston on vacation. For two shopaholics, there was no better place to window-shop than posh Newbury Street where we chanced upon a small perfumery. While we were not into perfumes, we browsed around anyway. If memory serves me right, that shop sold only custom-blended essential oils, which were available only in roll-on bottles. My sister bought several while I left without purchasing anything. Year after year, she would call the store to place an order to replenish. In 2008, she said that the perfumery moved to Colorado but that she was still able to call Dawn to place her order for China Rain blend and French Lily.

I fell down the rabbit hole around 2010-2011 and have grown a too-big collection of mainstream and indie/niche perfumes. In 2011, I somehow managed to convince my sister that she should expand her perfume horizon and consider checking out better mainstream perfumes because her little perfumery probably moved to Colorado due to a business slow-down, that it probably could not afford to stay in Boston and who knows for how much longer it will be open. Since then, she had acquired Elie Saab, Jo Malone Black Vetyver Café, Jo Malone Peony and Blush Suede and Cartier Baiser Vole Essence – a pretty decent collection, don’t you think?

But wait! There’s more!

When Undina first suggested a Success Stories post, I immediately thought of my sister as my success story. Curious as to whether or not I could figure out the name of the perfumery that moved to Colorado, I googled “Newbury Perfume Colorado”. The first entry from that search yielded “Essence Studio – Boulder Colorado”. Clicking through to the entry and then the Visit Website link, I was shocked to be redirected to DSH Perfumes. The “Dawn” my sister spoke with to place her orders turned out to be none other than American perfumer extraordinaire, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz!

Now excuse me while I go sit in the timeout corner…

Rusty "introvert"

Are you a Perfume Extrovert or a Perfume Introvert? Have you converted anybody?

Share your success stories in comments (or give a link to your posts on the topic).

 

Images: my own

Alien wears Prada Infusion d’Iris

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If I’m supposed to identify with those extremely beautiful women from different perfumes ads, dressed up either impeccably or with a calculated carelessness, I should say that it doesn’t work on me. I do not feel that any perfume might transform me into one of them – or even make me feel like I’m one of them: they are artificial; they are abstract and just an expected visual aid to the release de jour.

When Infusion d’Iris* by Prada was released, I immediately went to a store to try it. I didn’t like it. I think it was my first perfume with a prominent iris note (though I’m not sure I even knew then what it was). I didn’t expect to smell what I smelled – so I didn’t like it.

 

Prada Infusion d'Iris ad

 

I don’t remember how exactly it happened but I remember that one day I was looking at the ad above and thinking that I liked that image so much that I just had to have Infusion d’Iris. I don’t even like that model, I prefer them older and … more human. But the image is hauntingly weird and cool and elegant.

I tried Infusion d’Iris again, liked it that time and bought a bottle without even waiting for it to make its way to discounters online. For me it smells very elegant, cold and refined – exactly the way that alien in gloves looks on the picture. And unless they colonize the Earth tomorrow, I do not want to look like it or project that image. But five years later I still enjoy wearing Infusion d’Iris and probably won’t want to be without in – just in case, you know, extraterrestrial invasion and all that.

 

Alien

 

For a real review (and a very cool suggestion on layering) read Birgit’s (Olfactoria’s Travels) Wallflower? – Review: Prada Infusion d’Iris. Robin (NST) had also reviewed this perfume. If you reviewed Infusion d’Iris on your blog share a link please.

Update: one more review of Prada Infusion d’Iris at Scentandshinythings.

 

* Infusion d’Iris in this story refers to the EDP version.