White Iris – Review: Laboratorio Olfattivo Nirmal

By Tara

Laboratorio Olfattivo is an Italian store selling high-end fragrances. They released four perfumes under their own name in 2009 and now have eleven in total. I came across this niche line for the first time on a recent trip to the perfumery at Roullier White in south London.


Their ethos is to give perfumers the artistic freedom to create innovative fragrances which “…evoke elegance and uniqueness, features that more than anything else characterize artistic perfumery”.

Nirmal was released in 2013 and the inspiration was to create a scent as delicate and sincere as a loving embrace. Nirmal means “pure, immaculate” in Hindi and the perfumer, Rosine Courage, has reflected this well in her interpretation.

Top note: carrot. Heart notes: iris an

d violet. Base notes: cedar, amber and “daim” (suede) candy accord.

Looking at the notes, I expect the opening to be full-on, freshly dug root vegetables but not so. There’s cool air and a sweet mustiness, but I definitely don’t think “Carrots!” This is probably because the iris and violet are lying right underneath and wafting upwards in powdery clouds.

As you might imagine with a perfume representing purity, it’s not a complex or loud fragrance but a simple and subdued one. However, it’s not sparse or austere the way some irises can be. It has a gentle, soothing character. A comforting aura.

There is strength in virtue. Nirmal wears a compassionate smile and extends a caring hand.

It has purity yes, but it also has approachability and this makes it endearing. Perhaps this is because there is a significant amount of sweetness but there’s also nearly as much violet as iris on my skin. The violet adds floral sweetness and silences the throaty rasp of iris.

Nirmal has a candied quality. There’s a fine haze of sugar which hovers above the skin. It’s a long way from being a gourmand but you’d have to tolerate sweet notes in perfume to enjoy it fully.

Somehow it manages to have both cool and warm tones at the same time. When I lean in, first I get a skim of chilliness from its surface and then a warm, fuzzy feel from just below.

The iris is pale and paper thin. It’s the solitary white iris that stands apart in a sea of purplish blue in Van Gogh’s beautiful painting, Irises.

Irises by Vincent Van Gogh OSA409

The base is the familiar combination of vanilla and amber but given a sugared suede feel.

Equistrius by Parfum d’Empire is the iris accented fragrance it comes closest to. This is unsurprising considering they have a number of notes in common including iris, violet, amber and suede, however Equistrius is drier and brighter.

Nirmal is an EDP, not a fleeting eau de toilette and the lasting power is very good. The whole thing feels soft and pillowy, but it has substance.

It’s doesn’t project far, seeming to softly enclose the skin.

Ultimately, it has just too much sweetness and not enough iris for me, but Nirmal is a feminine, touching fragrance nonetheless.

Have you tried any of the range from Laboratorio Olfattivo? Do you like the sound of Nirmal?


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22 Responses to White Iris – Review: Laboratorio Olfattivo Nirmal

  1. Undina says:

    The only perfume from the brand that I’ve tried is Alambar – nice but I wasn’t impressed enough to seek a spray sample. Nirmal sounds interesting but the name reminds me of Garfield’s friend Nermal.

  2. I can’t remember trying any from the range Tara. I may have but in sample form. The bottles and simple type have always struck me as very nice though.
    Love the painting you chose to accompany the review, it feels like you make the fragrance sound. Van Gogh? Monet?
    Portia xx

  3. Vanessa says:

    ‘Silences the throaty rasp of iris’ – love it. And ‘sugared suede’…;) More violet than iris would be fine with me, and I do like a nice ‘daim’ perfume, when it is smooth, rather than scratchy. Beautiful review, as ever!

  4. Sandra says:

    Tara you make this sound lovely. I have a few samples from the house – just not Nirmal. Having both cool and warm tones would be interesting.

  5. Asali says:

    What a very perfect review, you managed to sum up everything about this fragrance. “it also has approachability and this makes it endearing” I think that actually counts for everything I tried from this line, everything is really approachable without being bland. I have liked many of their perfumes- a lot, but perhaps because of its approachability most of the combinations have been seen before, and so far didn’t persuade me to buy, but it certainly could in the future. Nirmal could have filled a potential spot in my cabinet, had it not already been taken by Lolita Lempicka L’eau Blanc, which it reminds me of in its comforting way. Daimiris is another one I like, but I have difficulties with the PG anti-pyramid thingy…Noblige and Decou-Vert are nice for spring.

    • Asali says:

      Ah, just saw your note to Sandra, looking forward to your take on it 🙂

    • Tara says:

      Thanks so much! It’s always reassuring to hear from someone who knows the fragrance that I’m on track. I can well imagine the rest of the line being equally approachable but not bland, as you say. I also agree though, that we do need more than that to fall in love and make a purchase.

      I’ve added Noblige and Decou-Vert to my “To Try” list.

  6. Safran says:

    Thank you for the beautiful review, Tara! I need to try Nirmal again very very soon. Although I only own one fragrance from Laboratorio Olfattivo, I like the whole brand a lot. In my humble opinion, all their fragrances are of high quality and each one has a very personal touch somehow. My favourite so far is Noblige, a citrus-y, powdery lavender embrace.

    • Tara says:

      Nice to see you Safran!

      I’ve only tried two but they have impressed me and were not what I expected from the brand’s look/ethos. I was interested to read your opinion on the line. Maybe using different perfumers and giving them freedom has given the perfumes that personal touch?

  7. Michael says:

    Thanks for the review Tara. I’ve been wondering about Nirmal for ages. Shame the iris isn’t so strong. I expected it to be more dominant.

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