Guerlain The Confectioner – Guerlain L’Art et la Matière Iris Ganache Perfume Review

A Taste of Guerlain

A Taste of Guerlain

The clocks went back on Sunday meaning that the days are now getting shorter and the harshness of winter darkness is upon us. Some may view this as a bad thing, after all as the days get colder and darker the mood of the population tends to follow suit, but there is one group of people who love the cold, and that is the fumenerds.

That’s right, as a general rule of thumb (please say if you disagree) fumelovers adore the winter because it means that one can dip into ones perfume wardrobe and pick out the heavy orientals, warm lactonic florals, and best of all, the cosy sweet foody fumes. When it comes to this genre of tasty scents the absolute best come from a little Parisian boutique located at No. 68 Champs Elysees: a patisserie disguised as a perfumery.

I don’t know exactly what it is about some of Guerlain’s offerings that makes them so delicious, perhaps it is the fact they aren’t quite gourmand enough to be edible that gives them the edge. They have that certainly je ne sais qoui that means they simply work and it is a simple truth that nobody quite manages to do confectionary quite like Guerlain.

This review focuses on one of my absolute favourite Guerlain confections and perhaps my one of my favourites from the house in general (but you’ll understand if I do not commit myself to that statement); Iris Ganache – a fragrance that I have silently stalked in Selfridge’s and Harrod’s many times, falling in love a little bit more each and every time, until I had to face the facts and bite the bullet on my very own bottle.

Iris Ganache

Iris Ganache

The Notes

Vanilla, Cinnamon, Bergamot, Patchouli, White Musks and Cedar

How Does it Smell?

Iris Ganache, created by Thierry Wasser before he was Guerlain in-house perfumer, was the 5th fragrance in Guerlain’s L’Art et la Matière (The Art of the Materials) line, a line that focuses on some of the world’s most precious raw materials. Described as “an iris butter worked like a ganache cream for pastry“, Iris Ganache is an unusual fusion of food and flowers, namely iris and white chocolate.

Iris and white chocolate? I know what you’re thinking, and you’d be right. On paper this thing should not work at all, but in practice the Guerlain magic is well and truly alive and kicking. I’d even go as far as saying that it is the most delicious Guerlain there is. Yep, that’s right, I said it.

Iris Ganache opens with bergamot-tinged iris. My favourite kind of iris note can only be described as ‘papery’, as in the smell of a clean sheet of white paper. The iris in Iris Ganache is along these lines; clean, powdery, only ever-so-slightly rooty and with an undercurrent of marzipan and violet. It hints at the powder puffs and sexy ladies that made the Guerlain classics so beautiful, yet it smells new and unusual.

The white chocolate is dripped onto the iris in a relatively subtle manner. It’s amazing just how well the cool, slightly aloof quality of the iris works perfectly with the creamy vanilla scented chocolate. What could have been a cloying mess is instead a beautiful juxtaposition between powder and pastry. It is simply delicious but because of that slight earthiness in the iris you would definitely think twice about chowing down on this fragrance.

Unfortunately this beautiful juxtaposition doesn’t last forever and although I wouldn’t say that it is fleeting it does disappear much quicker than one would hope. It leaves a rather pleasant, if not a little bit disappointing (after the great start) vanilla amber that is syrupy and soft. It also reduces in volume significantly with time and one does find oneself wishing for more oomph overall, it’s beautifully soft but perhaps a little bit too soft to be considered perfect.

Iris Ganache is one of the most ingenious takes on iris I’ve tried and I honestly think it could be my favourite Guerlain (have I mentioned this already?). It takes the cinnamon-spiced pastry of L’Heure Bleue, the sweet, pale violets of Après L’Ondée and the pasty, fizzy iris of Insolence, i.e. the best of parts of Guerlain’s classics, and gives them a modern, unusual twist that is delicious as it is daring. I’m heartbroken that they’ve discontinued it but oh so very glad that I have got my greedy little hands on a bottle.


Iris Ganache is no longer in production but bottles are still available for the moment. It is available in 75ml Eau de Parfum for £154 and can be bought from Harrods and Selfridge’s in the UK.


Image 1 the talented Image 2 Notes via Basenotes. Quote via Osmoz.


67 thoughts on “Guerlain The Confectioner – Guerlain L’Art et la Matière Iris Ganache Perfume Review

  1. Sounds like my kind of perfume. I have never had the pleasure of smelling it, living ‘up North’ makes it difficult to sample some of the finer perfumes. Having said that, from reading your fabulous review, I could almost smell it.
    Why do I get drawn to the expensive perfumes? Hahaha.

  2. Your review is so enchanting. You already know from Facebook that I’m really envious about you owning a bottle of Iris Ganache. I wish you could share a tiny drop with me 🙂

  3. Iris Ganache is the only perfume I’ve ever tried that gave me an allergic reaction!!! Itching where I dabbed it onto my skin. Sooo disappointing. But I guess it’s one less fume I need to worry about. 😉 I’m a Guerlain girl, though, so I wish I could wear it!

  4. Congrats on your bottle!

    You make this sound SO good, I wish it worked for me but when I’ve tried it in the past it’s always been too sweet. Now it’s discontinued I’ll have to give it a try one last time.

  5. I too LUV Iris Ganache. 🙂 … However when I first heard Guerlain were releasing IG, my immediate thoughts (& expectations) were of a 97% dark cocoa cream slathered rooty iris. So when I discovered it was a white choc powdery rendition instead, it did come as a surprise (& a bit of a let down). – I mean, I liked it no less ‘in white’ coz it turned out delish, BUT it hasn’t stopped me wishing & wondering how my dark choc iris fantasy would’ve turned out (?). – I still often wish Guerlain would bring out a dark twin version for IG. (A ltd. ed. flanker – an ‘Iris Ganache Noire’) …

    In fact, that is one of the Iris ‘fumes I’ve been wanting to compose myself >> Dark Cocoa beans, (still sweetened with a touch of vanilla of course), with a less powdery and more rooty earthy iris, a dash of warmth from subtle lashing of fiery ginger, on a soft rustic ‘antiqued’ woody & resiny base of Sandalwood, Benzoin, Styrax and Peru & Tolu Balsams.) … Sound good ?? 🙂

  6. I had my hands on this in the Toronto Guerlain a few years ago and after deliberating between it, Apres L’Ondee, and L’Heure Bleue, I ended up jumping ship and going with Hermes Ambre Narguile. And now it’s disco-ed. Gah! Enjoy your bottle!

  7. I love this one. Own a (diminishing) decant. And have been known to sometimes layer it with another iris-centric stunner, ODIN NY – 94 Petrana, which amps up the iris. No such thing as too much iris, right? 😉 Why, oh why does Guerlain always discontinue their best creations? :’-(

  8. I tried this once before (in summer) and wasn’t enchanted but you inspired me to dig out my sample again. Today (windy with a mix of rain, ice and snow) it works perfectly.
    Don’t know if I’ll take the trouble to locate a FB, though. I’ll think I’ll settle for the Guerlain in your first picture-Ode a la Vanille. I just got a FB and it’s gorgeous-have you tried it?

  9. I agree about loving winter for the reason you stated 🙂

    Iris Ganache and I have a complex relationship: I like it absractly and from time to time I even enjoy wearing it but I get tired of it quickly (usually before it completely disappears from my skin) – so I have to space those wearings until I forget how tired of it I was the previous time. So I think my decant will last me for a while. But I’m glad you got it since it works well for you and it is discontinued.

    • I’m glad you agree. I just adore winter, I count down the days 😀

      I can see why you have a complex relationship with IG. It’s an odd fragrance. I’m glad you have a decant though, for those days when you do enjoy it.

  10. Damnn, great purchase Thomas, this one has haunted me a bit since I tried it in Selfridges – if there’s any bottles left I might just have to grab one when we are down London in November 😛

      • YES!! Should be fun – I have very little money to spend (saving for my perfume holiday in December!) – but should be able to get myself something nice haha. So yeh, I’ll grab your number nearer the time – a day of sniffing on the Thursday – and iris night. Then I’ll probably go get solely pissed in a pub and stumble back to my hotel 🙂

      • I really am :’)
        Uh-oh! That’s good though, it’ll restrict me a little bit, if you went spend crazy I’d need to keep up and then later cry myself to sleep.
        Anyway – yes Thomas, congrats on the Guerlain beauty!

  11. This sounds wonderful! You are lucky to have snagged yourself a bottle 🙂

    I love colder weather too! For the food, and the clothes, and the darker, richer colors, and for the richer fragrances 🙂

  12. Finally got to try this while visiting my parents for the new year! I brought a sample with me and was wearing it when my mother made me go outside and shovel the snow off the driveway. So glamorous 🙂

    But in a way, being out in the cold reminded me of the hottest drink I have ever had: Turkish salep. Have you ever had it? It’s thick, viscous, and quite delicious powdered wild iris root mixed with hot milk and dusted with cinnamon. Went well with the winter white landscape!

    And now I am also very envious of your FB. Darn Guerlain (insert fist-shaking here)!

    Hope that you have a wonderful new year!

  13. Late to the party but for U.S. readers looking for a bottle, Saks Fifth Avenue’s NYC flagship store has it…I didn’t ask how many they have left but I got one for myself 🙂

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