Iris. In a men’s fragrance. What’s the first scent that pops into your head? I would be surprised, if you didn’t immediately think of Dior Homme by Christian Dior.
Dior Homme, released in 2005 has become the iris scent favorite for men (and women) due in part to: a root prominent (carrot-y, Turin has called it in an interview he did with Fantastic Man magazine) iris accord; a subdued powdery gourmand sweetness; and a hint of leather and tobacco folded skillfully into the dry down. Dior, realizing that they had a ‘hit’ on their hands with Dior Homme, has released numerous flankers: Dior Homme Cologne , Dior Homme Intense  and Dior Homme Sport . This however has not taken away from the acclaim or popularity that Dior Homme has garnered. A friend of mine, who travels to France, claims that it is extremely easy to smell Dior Homme on men all over ‘the streets of Paris’ - similar to how I smell Le Male by Gaultier or Acqua di Gio by Armani on many men here in the US.
When I first smelled Dior Homme, I was totally unfamiliar with the iris note. Perhaps because of this, I intensely disliked it. It smelled like powdery makeup! Later on, when my nose became attenuated to florals (including iris), I revisited it - this time in a small travel sprayer, gifted to me by a fragrance enthusiast who didn’t like it himself. Smelling it again, something clicked. Iris! Oh…this is what they’re talking about, I thought.
Many other iris fragrances I tested after that have impressed me (Iris 39 by Le Labo and it’s civet/green iris; Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens – the smell of iris, in the clouds up above, orbiting Earth) and disappointed me (Iris Pallida 2007 by L’Artisan Parfumeur was too, too dry and weak on my skin; Hiris by Hermes felt too powder prominent). Yet, here I was – finally excited about iris scents!
Prada has just released their newest iris scent for men, Infusion d’Homme. The perfumer (who also did the intensely popular Infusion d’Iris by Prada for women), Daniela Andrier, has been quoted saying Infusion d’Homme, ‘…has a very fresh, crisp smell — like a man just out of the shower.’ When I read this, I immediately thought to myself, ‘Oh no…not another boring ‘shower fresh’ scent!’.I’m here to report that Prada has created a fresh scent. But NOT a boring one.
The extremely iris prominent top notes (dry, almost brittle and throat parching) feature just a pinch of neroli slightly overpowered by a pure soap accord that appears almost immediately. It is extremely soapy. Fans of soapy scents will be thrilled: it smells bubbly, aqueous and floral. The first time I skin tested this, I missed the soap accord and my nose zeroed in on the iris. Repeated wearings, especially on warm, humid days revealed the soap. I am reminded of the biting, almost lye-based hand-milled soap notes of Puro Lino, or the green/flower accents of White Linen by Estee Lauder.
The iris/neroli/soap combo dries down revealing a light, transparent vetiver mixed in with the top notes. The light whiffs of vetiver made me wish for a stronger vetiver presence - the iris wears very strong and linear on this fragrance. I smell no incense or benzoin in the dry down, with only the slightest woody accord (cedarwood?). It is a more evident vetiver accord than Infusion d’Iris, and although I wouldn’t classify this as more masculine (although many women might do this), I think it just smells more crisp and starchy.
Overall it manages to evoke a freshly showered feeling, awash in flowers.
The scent is not groundbreaking, in terms of fragrance releases, but it is much better than the large number of aquatic, marine and synthetic men’s fragrance clogging department store shelves. I applaud a designer scent that is not afraid to be flower prominent. It seems that Kenzo, is right on the heels of Infusion d’Homme, with their new floral prominent fragrance for men: Power, which I will review here, soon.
Longevity of Infusion d’Homme is average. It stays quite close to my skin when I wear it and when I wanted it to wear stronger I remedied this by overapplying it. Perhaps the ancillary products (bar soaps, shower gel) might extend the sillage?? But, then again, showering with products that are scented to smell like a ‘fresh shower’, sounds a little ridiculous doesn’t it?
The Eau de Toilette comes in a gorgeous tall, rectangular metal-embossed bottle with a grosgrain ribbon wrapped cap – in 1.7 oz, 3.4 oz, 6.7 oz, 13.5 oz and a whopping 25.5 oz bottle (the size of a small television).
To stream nine short films (unveiled at the Spring/Summer ’09 show back in June) commissioned by Prada for Infusion d’Homme go to http://www.prada.com/ (click on Projects>Short Movies for Infusion d’Homme) or Wallpaper Magazine to see stills from each film.
Top: Mandarin Orange, Neroli, Clean Note
Heart: Iris, Galbanum, Cedar, Vetiver
Base: Benzoin, Frankincense, Powdery Note
Pic of Infusion d'Homme by Prada bottle via Osmoz
Pic of Jake Gyllenhaal chosen by Helg unbeknownst to Mike (hehe), originally uploaded on MUA