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…