Clothes For Elves – Review: The Different Company Bois d’Iris

For somebody who is already a fan of Jean-Claude Ellena’s work,  The Different Company will come up sooner or later. For Perfumistas on a budget (and I don’t know any who are not in some way or other) it is often rather later.

So it is not affordability that is The Different Company’s greatest virtue, but aside from that I have yet to find fault.

Perfumes created by Ellena and his daughter, perfumer Celine Ellena, bottles by Thierry de Bachmakoff that embody a cool and clean aesthetic reflecting the philosophy of the two perfumers perfectly, it all comes down to a perfume house I admire.

Bois d’Iris is the first of the line I have tried and if it is any indication as to how the rest of them are I am in deep trouble.

Created in 2000 by Jean-Claude Ellena as part of four inaugural scents for the then newly founded company, Bois d’Iris is classic Ellena as we know and love him (I do!).

Bois d’Iris features notes of iris, vetiver, bergamot, cedar, narcissus, geranium and musk.

This is what the company says about the iris used in Bois d’Iris:

The scent of Bois d’Iris can be traced back to the rugged hills of Tuscany. The Iris Pallida, the most aromatic of its kind, grows exclusively on this site of arid rocks and mild soil. Unlike the osmanthus flower whose epidermis cells secrete the essential oil, the iris hides its olfactory wonders within its roots. This concealment is so skillful that several years of complex processing are required to capture its secrets : planting, frequent hoeing by hand, to avoid damaging the rhizomes (roots), harvesting (three years later), selecting and husking, washing, followed buy one month of drying under sun on lattice trays , and five years of dehydrating in bags; the grinding and milling in factory. The powder that results from these six years of preparation is macerated in cold water.

I love Bois d’Iris for its translucency, its delicate and airy structure that transcribes the beauty of iris perfectly. The only issue I have with it is wear time, it is pretty much gone in two to three hours.

It starts on a slightly peppery note that ushers in the light grey iris, tender and powdery soft accompanied by a whiff of violet, this earthy root seems to burst into bloom before a gentle backdrop of vetiver and woody musk.

It doesn’t have the power and strength of Iris Silver Mist and it doesn’t have the metallic iciness of Bas de Soie or the elegance of Hiris. It is soft through and through, like a fabric made of light and air and powder, a substance made out of the insubstantial.

Sounds all very high and mighty, but as cynical as I would like to be here, I can’t. The delicacy of Bois d’Iris renders me as soft and pliable as that diaphanous fabric of my imagination. The fabric of elves’ clothes caught in the summer breeze while wandering through a magic forest.

Enough with the sappy talk about elves and magic and insubstantial perfection.

Here is some substantial, down to earth advice:

Go get yourself some Bois d’Iris. You will know why once you smell it.

Picture source:, Forest Fountain courtesy of, some rights reserved, thank you!


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14 Responses to Clothes For Elves – Review: The Different Company Bois d’Iris

  1. Tara says:

    You had me at “Clothes for Elves”!

    I am keen to try Bois d’Iris as I’m looking for an iris without the metalic/cold edge but not so keen on an expensive scent that does a vanishing act so soon. Intend to try No.18 next time I get the chance – any thoughts on that one?

  2. Victoria says:

    I have not worn Bois d’Iris in ages, but it is very beautiful. Your “clothes for elves” description is a perfect one!

  3. deeHowe says:

    Reading the title of this post, I thought instantly of Arwen in Lord of the Rings. I want to smell like Arwen. 🙂
    B., you make everything sound so lovely!

  4. Marina says:

    “The fabric of elves´clothes caught in the summer breeze while wandering through a magic forest.” Aw! The geek in me just loves that image 🙂

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