If you hadn’t have guessed from Friday’s post, I’m a bit of a Frederic Malle fan-boy. There simply isn’t a single dud within his finely curated Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle collection. I own many, I wear them often and as I’ve previously stated on this blog, Malle’s collection is one of the very few where I’d happily own a bottle of each scent (wouldn’t that be lovely?). So there you go, I’m a fan and I know that many of you are too!
One thing I also love about Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle is the fact that the brand also has a range of incredible products for the body and home. There are candles, room sprays and rubber incense, not to mention body butters, soaps and shower gels a plenty! But there are also a number of scent-specific products that belong solely to one fragrance in the collection, for example; hair mist and after sun scented with Carnal Flower; and hair & body oil scented with Portrait of a Lady. There’s a careful randomness to this, with the products picked because they compliment the odour profile and spirit of the product. It’s easy to bring a product out in every fragrance in the collection but it requires a measured restraint to pick out the best scents for the best products. So kudos, as always, has to go to Frederic Malle for curating everything so carefully.
The latest product from Frederic Malle that I’m obsessing over is the Iris Hand Cream (Creme Pour Les Mains au Beurre d’Iris) which boasts a beautiful iris scent created by Perfumer Olivia Giacobetti. The cream contains a number of patented molecules that feature a film that clings to water molecules, thus preventing dehydration of the top layers of skin, in addition to a further film that protects against ageing and pollution. Its scent is a nod to the house of Medici, who brought the origins of perfume making to France and had a penchant for scenting their hands and gloves with iris hand cream. This is a very special product indeed, one filled with technology, history and beauty.
Let’s start off by talking about the most important part of any Frederic Malle offering: the smell. Anyone expecting a cream version of Malle’s Iris Poudre (created by the legendary Pierre Bourdon) will not find what they’re looking for here. This is as far away from the aldehydic floral tones of Malle’s signature iris as possible because where Iris Poudre is an essay in how orris can be a supporting act within a bigger show, the scent in his Hand Cream is all iris, all the time. It’s an ode to orris butter – perfumery’s most expensive and luxurious ingredient.
The scent of the cream is instantly recognisable as iris. There’s a soft greyness to it that is reminiscent of the rooty, carrot-like aspects of orris. A hint of violet adds a liveliness whilst a buttery, woody warmth gives density. Underneath all of this there is a delicate veil of white musk that adds volume and a silky sensibility. On the skin, the Iris Hand Creme leaves a subtle trail of iris, all parts of it, that gives the impression that one has just slipped their hand into a luxurious pair of leather gloves in the softest shade of beige.
Now on to the other most important part of this product: the texture. Hand creams can often sit in two camps; the super oily that leave one incapacitated and unable to touch anything for minutes after application; and those that sit on the skin so thinly they constantly require reapplication. The Iris Hand Cream manages to find the right balance with a texture that is thick enough to provide lasting moisture, but not so oily that it hangs about like an unwelcome film. It’s silky, supple and just the right consistency. A little goes a long way too, and it lasts – over the few days I’ve been using it I’ve only been applying it once per day and that really feels like enough to keep my hands feeling soft and smelling beautiful.
Frederic Malle’s Iris Hand Cream feels like a true luxury product. It succeeds on all counts, moisturising the hands perfectly, leaving them soft and comforted, as well as perfectly scented. I feel very protective of it – it’s a product that I don’t want to share, which is the sign of something that feels like a real treat, is it not?
Creme Pour Les Mains au Beurre d’Iris is available as a 75ml tube for £55.
Sample and quotes via Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle. Images are my own.