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.
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 parisbreakfasts.blogspot.co.uk. Image 2 pojkfroken.blogspot.com. Notes via Basenotes. Quote via Osmoz.