The upcoming Hermessence exclusive Hermès fragrance by Jean Claude Ellena is named
Iris Ukiyoe, centered around the noble rhizome of iris and set to launch in November 2010. We had discussed this as a rumour, stemming from a conversation I had with the House and the perfumer about their upcoming projects, last winter, but discretion didn't allow Jean Claude to elaborate on what was still on the mixing lab, so to speak. Now after much time it seems conclusive, as depicted on this page (the bottom bottle in purple is of the upcoming Iris Ukiyoe).
The composition is focusing on "a new, unexpected variation on the iris flower". Ukiyo-e means "images of the floating world" and is a genre of Japanese woodblock prints from the 18th and 19th century (for instance everyone knows this one). This Far East predeliction is in tempo with Jean-Claude's own "zen" approach to his art (Spartan use of materials, utter refinement, a sense of tranquility and a detest for "easy" solutions). It's also in the context of the theme of the House for this year which is "Tales to be Told". But it could be also seen with the -contemporaneous- news of Hermès launching their new line for the market of China. As we had announced last January: ""It was also announced in late December that the French label plans to launch a new brand in China, called Shang Xia. The goal is to play a bigger role in the Chinese market by creating items and styles using materials rooted in the Chinese culture". Is China a market similar to that of Japan now? Seems to be growing beautifully. Japan is considered among a luxury house's dream destinations, at any rate.
Judging by the Japonesque name of Iris Ukiyoe, which alludes to delicate artistic woodcuts, the new Hermessence fragrance would include Ellena's beloved dosage of transparent woody Iso-E Super alongside an aqueous note (much like he did with Vanille Galante, infusing vanilla with an aqueous net of salicylates). My own personal interpretation is that it might also contain a surprising hint of cocoa, a natural facet of the iris not yet exploited fully in perfumery (and certainly not in the already iris-infused offering of the house, Hiris, Kelly Calèche, Eau de Gentiane Blanche and Un Jardin en Mediteranée among them, but on this I cannot say more for now...
Available at exclusive Hermès boutiques around the world 100ml of Eau de Toilette for 170 euros (November 2010) and later online at Hermes.usa.
Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Hermessences, Jean Claude Ellena interview, Hermes reviews & news, An iris problem: how to build an Iris fragrance, Upcoming releases.
info confirmation alert thanks to my good fairy :-) pic via L'Express