I love iris.
Unfortunately, despite trying a plethora of iris-forward fragrances over the years, I’ve had difficulty finding one that’s the perfect fit for me. I would usually find them too icy cold, metallic edged or simply not packed with enough iris. I am nothing if not fussy.
However, I’ve discovered an iris fragrance I feel completely at home in.
Hiris is my iris.
Composed by a perfumer I have a lot of admiration for, Olivia Giacobetti, Hiris was released in 1999. It includes notes of iris, neroli, coriander, hay, rose, ambrette seed, almond wood, cedar, honey and vanilla.
Last year Hermès issued it in a new bottle, along with seven of its other classic fragrances. This is a move that usually signals reformulation, although I don’t know if this is the case here. I am sharing my thoughts on the contents of the striking blue opaque bottle, which I am rather sorry to see replaced.
When first spraying Hiris, it’s as if airy aldehydes pull the iris out of the damp earth by the roots and carry it aloft. It’s not a sparkling or soapy opening but floaty: hovering above the skin with an ethereal yet assertive quality which I covet. Some fresh green notes and sweet neroli accent the raspy, rooty iris perfectly.
At the midway point Hiris warms on the skin and becomes gorgeously honeyed. It’s the soft scent of beeswax – a favourite note of mine – which relieves it of the brain freeze I experience with some iris perfumes.
The drydown of vanilla and pale woods with a smattering of powder makes for a flawless finish.
I’m happy to report that iris is present from beginning to end.
Many people describe Hiris as elegant, which it is, but it doesn’t feel as formal and dressy as that adjective suggests. It’s refined in a way that is understated and effortless.
Sadly Hiris is only available as an EDT, so I can see why it may be too reticent for some. It sits quietly waiting for you to come and pay attention to what it has to say.
Hiris is an introspective fragrance. Its tranquil atmosphere is inward looking and self-contained, though not in a way that excludes.
Introspection is a way to draw strength from within in order to face the world renewed. It is not a selfish act, but a fortifying one which enables more of the self to be shared with others.
I love it so much, I’m prepared to counteract its quiet nature by applying liberally.
Hiris is a seamlessly smooth and finely balanced composition, encapsulating both coolness and warmth.
It is the sun’s rays warming the cold earth on a fresh spring morning; yellow irises swaying in the breeze.
Have you tried Hiris in the old or new bottle?