The year was 1994 and Iris Silver Mist came out on the skies like Phaethon to cast a prolonged, melancholic shadow over mortals. But the perfume is in discrepancy with the Lutensian style up to a point as well; eschewing the opulent orientalia of dried fruits, resins and creamy notes, it goes for a wonderfully weird effect that is loud even though it appears to be the silent type; a sort of Schopenhauer being recited off the rooftops, for modern Emos romanticizing depression.
Years later Lutens softened the pitch and caressed the iris into a greener, silky hush in his enigmatically sensuous Bas de Soie fragrance.
The power of the fragrance is deceptive: you'd think that iris is a shy, pale note that rings metallic and sits meekly at its corner, but no. Orris absolute (the product from the iris rhizome) can run the gamut from floral to woody to gourmand to powdery smelling.
Iris Silver Mist beats with a thunder drum, thick as fog you'd need to cut through with a knife; powdery and cooly rooty, eating away every other scent it co-habitates with, be it skin, potion or foe.
Roucel used not only orris rhizome but also Irival (or orris floraline), a nitrile-containing fragrance compound (a perfumer's base, produced by International Flavors & Fragrances) with a stentorian voice heard over the buzz of common routine; coupled with the scimitar of galbanum, its bitter green resinous facet boosting the feel of the first hour on the skin, and a tiny hint of carnation, iris becomes truly sinister with a yeasty quality about it. The familiar cedar base of Lutens is given an extra austere profile in Iris Silver Mist, with the subdued, cooling woody backdrop of vetiver and the prolonged powderiness of musk, almost a sigh through blueish lips.
Be aware that the Irival base is moderately skin sensitising; Iris Silver Mist, alongside the equally lovely Iris Gris by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier, have been the only two perfumes to ever give me a topical itch and redness. Use on clothes preferably.
Iris Silver Mist is a Paris exclusive, circulating in the uniform bell-shaped bottles of the exclusive line (75ml).
The photo depicts the limited edition bell jar (flacon de table) of Iris Silver Mist, showing the beating heart and veins of iris...
"Watching Alice rise year after year
Up in her palace, she's captive there"
photo Ron Reeder "Death and the Maiden V4" via pcnw.org