Iris, I love you – Janice Yong
The alluring world of fragrance has captivated me ever since I was a child. My earliest memories are olfactory memories: the comforting smell of baby powder on my grandma’s leathery skin as I cuddled up to her, the scent of Poison that enveloped me when my mom hugged a sleepy me before she went to work, the taste of Knowing left on my mug by my mom, the trail of Dune she left behind her as she walked clip clop away in her Ferragamos.
In part, it is the richly evocative imagery accompanying many of the more notable fragrance launches that appeals to my romantic sensibilities, and partly the fact that scent has the power to bring about complete mood changes in me that explains my love affair with perfume. This morning I confessed to owning approximately 100 bottles of different perfumes – one for every occasion (and more!) – while speaking to Sarah Rotheram, the CEO of Penhaligon’s, and Richard Clayforth, the store manager from their Covent Garden boutique in London. Cue raised eyebrows and chuckles all round. And no, I don’t wear scents tailored to what I think someone the likes of Jonathan Rhys Meyers will find addictive – I wear what I feel like at that very moment in time.
But no one single note has quite enthralled me like the iris in all its powdery, floral glory has. A scent that really smells much better when worn on skin (what junkies term a ‘skin scent’), it warms up and turns a little more sensual and loses the metallic tinge that oft accompanies iris scents – great thing by my books.
Hermes Hiris had me at first whiff, 10 years ago and this iris obsession has lasted a good 10 years and counting. There are elements of iris in its top, middle and base notes but essentially starts off a little bitter and green, then develops into a honeyed, powdery, earthy mix with hints of rose and cedar.
Five years later as my tastes grew a tad more sophisticated and wanting to seem more grown-up and worldly, came a love for Acqua di Parma’s Iris Nobile. This ‘rich lady’ scent begins as a anise-infused citrus then warms into a rich iris that intensifies as it dries down with additional woody notes of patchouli and oakmoss.
I recently encountered Chanel’s Le Exclusifs 28 La Pausa to my delight. It’s the lightest of all three scents and is gorgeous spritzed all over liberally. It starts off very fresh with a metallic tinge but you smell the iris right away, morphing into a soft iris after a short while. Very mildly earthy and softly velvety at the end, sniffing this has an almost soothing effect on me.
Iris, iris, I love you!
(From left) Hermes Hiris, from $141, is available only at Hermes boutiques; Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile, from $162, is available at Robinsons Raffles City, Metro Paragon, Tangs Orchard, and Takashimaya D.S.; Chanel Le Exclusifs 28 La Pausa, from $223, is available at Chanel fragrance and beauty boutiques at Marina Bay Sands and ION