That Name Is Evocative Enough – Review: Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist

Strange title today, huh?

But it is true, Iris Silver Mist is such a great and poetic name, nothing I could come up with could be any more indicative of the mood this perfume gives off, any more evocative of its feel.

There are many Lutens perfumes I love, equally many that I hate. He and his work seems to be nothing I can be indifferent towards. It is all or nothing, love or hate.

Iris Silver Mist is love. Serge has a few perfumes that are not part of the Moroccan canon, as I call them. All those heavy, dense, intricately woven and dark orientals, of which I like some, but many are just too much for me, they make up the largest part of his oeuvre.

And then there are some that do not fit into this mold, Iris Silver Mist is the oldest of these outsiders (1994), Bas de Soie the youngest (2010).

Iris Silver Mist was created not with Christopher Sheldrake, but with perfumer Maurice Roucel, which also sets it apart from the others.

Funnily enough Roucel is also chiefly known for opulent, highly orchestrated and complicated perfumes often in the oriental genre.

And these two endeavored to create a perfume that is so delicate and ethereal, a gauzy, airy, barely there, gossamer light, silvery presence, that makes me swoon (and throw around adjectives like there is no tomorrow). And for all its misty glory, Iris Silver Mist is not floating without anchor, on the contrary, it is rooted deeply in wet, black earth, reflecting its tenacity and power of endurance.

I could write another five hundred words about Iris Silver Mist, it moves me to great bursts of eloquence or massive logorrhea, depending on the viewpoint. 😉

It is not often though, that a perfume completely bewitches me, lets me forget or even more – not care at all – about its composition, about notes or whatnot. I just want to breathe it in, be enveloped in it and enjoy it as it is.

No analyzing, no dissecting, no post mortem on this one.

I am sorry to say that it is only available through Serge Lutens’ Paris Boutique at the Palais Royal Shiseido, their online store ships throughout the EU. That is one good thing we Europeans can boast of. 😉 Update, July 2013: In the meantime Serge Lutens bell jars are also available in the US at Barney’s and through the Lutens website.

And for the obsessive-compulsive among us (okay, I am one of those) here are the notes: iris pallida root, galbanum, cedar, sandalwood, clove, vetiver, musk, benzoin, incense, and white amber.

Picture source:, Morning Mist via Eaglegifts Galore, some rights reserved, thank you!

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This entry was posted in Floral, Fragrance Reviews, Green, Serge Lutens and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to That Name Is Evocative Enough – Review: Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist

  1. *claps heartily* I love it when someone is clearly passionate about a perfume, it gives me joy to read about it, knowing full well what it feels like to be on the other side. I intensely love Chergui and Datura Noir, I am challenged by the rest, but must always smell every one when possible. I collect SL vials sort of obsessively, and most of them make my nose crinkle in bewilderment, or displeasure, or pure pleasure. It’s rare that I will have no reaction at all.

  2. Tara says:

    Great review! It is so true, I was thinking the same thing just the other day – surely no other perfume has a name that sums up its contents as well as Iris Silver Mist. You needn’t bother with the list of notes at all! I admire it greatly and am a fan of Maurice Roucel but it’s just too chilly/earthy for me. Clearly a masterwork though and I’m glad it brings you a lot of joy.

  3. deeHowe says:

    A while back I swapped for some ISM; often it takes a few skin-tests before I’ve got anything to say about a perfume, but this one demanded I stop and pay homage to it’s beauty Then and There. I like a perfume with a bold personality. While austere and somewhat quiet, when I’m wearing ISM, she *OWNS* my skin.

    When ISM’s in control, I’m much more elegant 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      It is a perfume that demands to be appreciated the moment you smell it, you put that really beautifully ‘pay homage to its beauty then and there’.
      I know you are very elegant even without a perfume (judging from your lovely wedding pics I saw today on FB ;))

  4. Victoria says:

    A favorite of mine! Despite trying dozens of new iris fragrances each year, it still remains unrivaled. So few iris possess its unique combination of ethereal delicacy and earthy richness.

  5. Tarleisio says:

    Ah, iris. In my personal Floral Hall of Fame, iris is in the top five. Never less than supremely elegant, never less than cool, never less than satisfying. Sometimes, slightly intimidating. (And this can be an excellent thing!)

    Back in the day when I first began exploring Serge Lutens (which was not so long ago as you think!), the first, the most important, the right-off-the-bat name I was dying to try was Iris Silver Mist. It is everything a great perfume should be – evocative, haunting, even, and shapeshifting in unexpected ways! Some days, I get the carrot, and other days, I get the sticks! 😉

    To me, it’s…wistful, and yearning, and a touch melancholy in a good way. If ISM were music, to me it would be Debussy’s “Claire de Lune”…cool spring rain dripping down a windowpane, Earl Grey in a cup beside you, and just outside in a hidden glade, a secret flower blooms.

  6. Marina says:

    It’s exquisite. So true what you said about SL and MR being prone to opulence. It’s like (paraphrasing a quote ones heard on TV) two line-backers gave birth to a ballerina 🙂

  7. Flora says:

    Someday I hope to get lucky enough to smell this. I am not an “iris person” exactly, since most iris perfumes I have tried have been disappointing, but this one, wow! I do love the scent of real iris flowers and anything “earthy” too, so I just know it would be love if I ever had the chance.

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  10. Jeanne says:

    An outstanding review!

    There is something so tender and beautiful about iris fragrances, and I haven’t had many. My last purchase was of Frederic Malle’s Iris Poudre–In fact, it’s been on rotation with two of my grown daughters. I had also been wearing Hiris by Hermes for several years, and feeling the need to branch out, I splurged and purchased a bottle of The Different Company’s Bois d’Iris online. It arrived at my doorstep in short order, and while I was at work, my husband arrived home early and sent the package back before I got home! Needless to say, I was upset, but at that time, I had a large collection of fragrances which kept growing, as collections will do, and deep down, I understood his “betrayal.”

    For now, I’ll just stick to my fantasy of traveling to Paris, which I’ve never done before, with one of my daughters with the sole intent of buying two or three fantastic perfumes and then finding a way to ship those babies back home!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, Jeanne! 🙂
      What a lovely fantasy, perfume shopping in Paris is indeed a wonderful thing, I dream about it too. Maybe one day it’ll come true for both of us…

  11. Jeanne says:

    Yes, Iris Silver Mist would be one of those bottles (was my point!)…

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