I may have found My Iris, but I was intrigued by the iris/incense theme of Iris Nazarena. Released in 2013, it sounded unusual and mysterious –
“With its iris and incense accord, the new Eau de Parfum by AEDES DE VENUSTAS matches the world’s most precious aromatic material with the most ancient.”
Iris Nazarena was the second fragrance (there are now five) from the eclectic New York boutique, Aedes de Venustas. It features iris, ambrette, juniper berry, star anise, leather, oud, clove, rose, incense, woods, musk and vetiver.
The stylish, smoky glass bottle is a very fitting flacon for the fragrance.
The inspiration for Iris Nazarena is the rare plant species Iris Bismarckiana or “Nazareth Iris”, which is mostly found in the mountains of Israel. Its arresting cream and brown petals are so very different to the purple-ish flowers we’re used to. The fragrance is an equally vivid contrast to the more usual pale and feminine iris perfumes.
Iris Nazerena gets off to a great start with lots of cool, rooty iris. But all too soon, it’s overtaken by dry spice (star anise and clove) and thin cedar. The result is that it becomes faintly medicinal. There are also touches of oud and plasticky leather. I get the impression of incense rather than the smoky, burning resin.
Some sweetness comes through in the heart which takes me by surprise. Set against the darkness, it’s a beguiling twist and the phase I find the most enjoyable, aside from the opening. Eventually it gets swallowed up by chilly patchouli and vetiver in the base.
It may sound like a dense composition; however it’s rather ethereal and transparent. Its character is intellectual, unattainable and a touch mystical.
The texture of Iris Nazarena is almost powdered but not quite – more like brushed suede. It stays close to the body and lasts extremely well.
Its dry, spiced wood background makes it a slightly more masculine take on iris. It isn’t quite to my taste (mainly because I have difficulty with prominent star anise and clove) but I appreciate its individuality.
It’s good to come across iris in such a novel setting. Perfumer Ralf Schwieger seems to have a knack for interpreting familiar materials in an innovative way. Take for example, the witty cosmetic scent of Lipstick Rose or the aromatic yet sensual Fils de Dieu.
Schwieger said he wanted to create a modern iris fragrance that broke away from what he considers to be the reference iris, Chanel No.19. He certainly succeeded with Iris Nazarena. It’s very distinctive and different to any other iris fragrance I can think of.
Iris Nazarena is the hazy light of the moon shining onto a placid, silvery lake. The effect is grey yet luminous with a unique hushed and striking quality.
Have you tried any fragrances by Aedes de Venustas?