Parle Moi de Parfum translates as ‘speak to me about perfume’ and it’s a name that I, as a writer of perfumer, can certainly get on board with. The brand is a family affair – created by Benjamin Almairac who, with his mother and brother, created a retail space in Paris that is also a functioning perfume lab, making perfumes created by his famous perfumer father, Michel Almairac (Gucci Rush, L’Artisan Parfumeur Voleur de Roses and Dior Fahrenheit, to name but a few). Perfumery is in the DNA of the brand it seems!
There are currently ten fragrances in the line, each of which is presented without gimmick. The idea of talking about perfume extends past the lab into the fragrance names, each of which contains a number that represents the number of modifications each formula went through before the final composition was agreed upon. One of the brand’s newest fragrances is Orris Tattoo / 29 – a perfume that centres on an icon of perfumery: the iris root. Parle Moi de Parfum describe the scent as being a “permanent scented reminder, a universal symbol, a unique self-expression like an invisible tattoo that withstands the test of time”, utilising a legendary material as olfactory ink. Colour me intrigued.
How Does it Smell?
Orris Tattoo / 29 opens rather vibrantly for an iris fragrance. Many fragrances that focus on this note can feel melancholy, with an overt sense of greyness (which is often beautiful, I must add), but Orris Tattoo / 29 feels bright and modern with a lively opening accord which marries orris to what feels like supple aldehydes (not the super fizzy kind – the softly bubbling kind) and a clear, crystalline citrus. This sets the mood for a contemporary iris that focuses on beautiful clarity throughout.
The heart is iris with the emphasis on the material’s cool, earthy tones – cleaner than carrots but not quite so clean that one misses the idea of icy roots growing deep in the earth. What gives this iris a twist is the subtle use of violet and mimosa, both of which are orris-spin-offs, with the violet bringing sweet, green ionone coolness, whilst a nutty, spicy warmth added by the mimosa brings depth. It’s a balanced mix of contrast and tessellation (i.e. matching/shared facets being joined together) that makes for such a well-rounded and smooth take on it orris.
“Well rounded” and “smooth” are features that continue long into the dry down. Sandalwood, which really feels like the in thing at the moment, blends seamlessly with musk and iris to create a silvery, silky base that presented the idea of white woods sanded so smoothly that there is no perceivable grain. From start to finish it wears like an absolute dream.
Orris Tattoo / 29 is a clean, comfortable and casual iris that manages to balance wearability and interest. Where so many irises either go full turnip or makeup powder, few get the balance that’s in between. There’s enough grey, mineral aspects to make it recognisably iris, but also enough contrast to give it a modern feel. This is a perfume that focuses on one material, placing it front and centre, but uses many others to extend its prominent facets, pulling them in different directions to make them fuller, richer and different. It’s excellent work – the perfect everyday orris.
Orris Tattoo / 29 is available at Selfridges in 50ml (£98) and 100ml (£158) Eau de Parfum.
Sample, notes and quotes via Parle Moi de Parfum. Images are my own.