Amuse Bouche – Review: Guerlain Iris Ganache

I love Guerlain.

But when it comes to attempting to review one of their perfumes, I am having the hardest time. I dither around, wear it for weeks, trying to get it right. I am afraid of saying something stupid, of not being good enough to say anything meaningful about so important a perfume. I want to do right by those gorgeous and revered fragrances and not diminish it by my bad review.

That last thought made me laugh out loud. It says more about my own sense of importance than anything else. Guerlain will go on, entirely unencumbered by what I say or don’t say.

So I should stop fretting. It is no exam after all, I am allowed to say whatever I feel, I have no obligations to anyone or anything, I have no claim to accuracy or objectivity nor do I want to adhere to a semblance of the latter. What I want to say is how a perfume makes me feel, how I react to it, what I smell and whether I like that or not.

Ah, there is a weight, totally unnecessary in the first place, off my shoulders.

Now let’s see how Iris Ganache and I got on:

Iris Ganache is part of the L’Art et la Matiere Collection, exclusive to Le Maison Guerlain in Paris, as well as a few other select venues, such as Harrod´s in London and Place Vendome Haute Parfumerie in Belgium, in the US it is available at Bergdorfs. Update March 2012: Sadly, Iris Ganache has been discontinued.

Iris Ganache includes notes of bergamot, iris butter, white chocolate, floral notes, cinnamon, patchouli, white musks, cedarwood and vanilla. It was created by Thierry Wasser, Guerlains in-house perfumer, in 2007.

For me, Iris Ganache is very Guerlain, which makes it the ideal gourmand fragrance. I have a bit of a problem with overly sweet scents, anything containing honey (Back to Black, Miel de Bois) is quickly in nemesis territory, some vanillas make me run for the hills and chocolate usually is totally out of the question (except when taken orally, then I am quite fine with it).

Guerlain to the rescue. Iris Ganache manages to masterfully and inseparably intertwine my favorite note of all – iris – with a scrumptious white chocolate and cream base that is sweet, yes, but also stays at a non-edible level essential for me to want to smell like it. Life-like renderings of food smells make me queasy. The cinnamon, musk and cedar in the Guerlain’s base add a softly spicy and smoky-woody aspect that supplements the powdery note of iris in keeping the sweetness in check.

Iris Ganache is not a light fragrance, though. It has a certain density, a creamy heaviness, that lets me never forget the fact that it is something to be enjoyed in small doses just like real ganache (a rich cream and chocolate mixture). You cannot eat a pound of that either.

So I find myself enjoying Iris Ganache for a few hours, then I am almost glad its staying power is not so great after all, and it starts to fade again.

Ultimately I want a perfume that I love to wear for more than a few hours and has the ability stay the day.

I would have wished for a little more transparency, lightness, less calories maybe? Maybe it would be just a case of amp up the iris and hold the ganache.


But there are other perfumes for that. Iris Ganache is a little luxury, an indulgence I will savor as long as my decant lasts. Then we will see…

Picture source:,, some rights reserved, thank you!

About Olfactoria

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This entry was posted in Fragrance Reviews, Gourmand, Guerlain, Guerlain L'Art et la Matière, Iris and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Amuse Bouche – Review: Guerlain Iris Ganache

  1. Tara says:

    I haven’t tried Iris Genache but your review comfirms the impression I had of it from what I’ve read. I have tried Tonka Imperial, Gourmand Coquin and SDV but wans’t impressed by any of them I liked Bois d’Armenie but it’s too quiet and expensive to warrant a full bottle.

    It’s a shame the exclusive Guerlains don’t seem half as wearable as Les Exclusifs by Chanel and are a lot more expensive ml for ml. Oh well, lucky for my bank account that the mass market Guerlains are still the best for my tastes.

  2. deeHowe says:

    I’m so glad that you’ve overcome your intimidation by the Guerlain’s—and thank you for the laugh!

    IG sounds a little much—SDV teeters on that line for me—but I think next time a bottle split comes up for it I’m going to snag 5 or 10mL. I want an hour of decadence! 🙂

  3. *jen says:

    First review to leave me wanting fragrance AND candy!

  4. Marina says:

    As they say, “you go, girl!” 🙂

  5. Lisa says:

    Good for you for overcoming Guerlain intimidation! I feel that way about commenting on ANY fragrance, so I know what you mean. 🙂 But in the safety of the comments I will say that I love the richness of IG, and on me it has a bit more staying power, but still not enough to justify the price tag! Oh, and for any other U.S. readers, there are a few Neimans locations that carry the exclusives. San Francisco for one.

  6. Victoria says:

    Good for you to overcome the intimidation! They are just perfumes, that’s all. 🙂
    Well, to be more serious, I need to revisit Iris Ganache, I recall not being very impressed with it, but who knows, maybe now I will see it different. Beautiful review, btw!
    Hmm, not sure what happened, but I was certain I left a comment here yesterday. Maybe, it did not get posted.

    • Olfactoria says:

      That is strange, my comment on your site was not posted either – there is probably some sinister conspiracy against us in the works 😉 I´m glad you tried again, as did I. 🙂
      I still really like Iris Ganache, despite its short life span, I miss my sample already…

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  8. Glen says:

    I lived in Paris in the 1970’s and have always worn Guerlain fragrances. As a special treat I returned for a visit a few weeks ago and on my 60th birthday went to Guerlain on the Champs Elysees, my lovely man treated me to a bottle of Iris Ganache. I think it is a very special scent and will always remind me of a very special day, and evening! It changes so many times during wear, is playful but sophisticated, extremely subtle but colourful. Many of the standard Guerlain fragrances are also exquisite – Mitsouko and Chamade my favourites, but Iris Ganache is a cut above and worth every penny. Bravo Guerlain!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hello Glen,
      thank you for sharing that lovely story. And a belated Happy Birthday! 🙂
      It is wonderful to associate a perfume with a special occasion, it brings the memories right back with every sniff.

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