Perfume Review: Iris Pallida by L’Artisan Parfumeur

August 21st, 2007

Iris Pallida is the upcoming edition in the L’Artisan Parfumeur exceptional harvest collection for the year 2007 (the previous editions were Fleur d’Oranger in 2005, and Fleur de Narcisse in 2006). You might have noticed there’re quite a few iris fragrances released this year which I personally quite welcome as there can never be too many. In my perfume-illiterate years, I sort of assumed all the floral notes used in perfume conveyed the actual scent of the flower they represented. Little did I know it is not so with iris – what we smell is actually the root or the rhizome that’s crushed into powder and treated with alcohol to produce the extract. What I’ve also learned recently (from the Iris Pallida press release) is that it takes three years from planting for the rhizome to reach the right level of maturity, and a further three years are necessary for the olfactory principle of iris to slowly emerge. Plus, several more weeks are required after grinding to distill an essential oil that eventually solidifies (hence the name iris “butter”). All I can say is that I’m in awe of such a process and would love to have me some iris butter. Meanwhile, I cherish my favorite iris perfumes, and Iris Pallida has quickly earned a special spot.

Up until recently, I divided iris based fragrances into two groups: 1) the deep-earthy ones (Bois d’Iris by The Different Company, Hiris by Hermes; 2) the powdery-metallic ones (Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens, Dior Homme, Iris Poudre by Frederic Malle). Along came Guerlain’s Bois d’Armenie and Iris Ganache, Cristiano Fissore Cashmere for Men, Iris Nobile by Aqua di Parma, and even Chanel 19, and my iris world had suddenly expanded. I’ve discovered iris can also be quite woody and velvety. Iris Pallida is exactly that. It starts off all sparkling floral, then goes all buttery-fluffy, and finally wraps around you like the softest pashmina. I particularly enjoy the dusty, marshmallowy cedar accord in the drydown. It very much reminds me of Bois d’Armenie, just a little more sheer perhaps. It doesn’t seem to have any sillage (although spraying from a bottle can prove otherwise) and is quite tenacious, even if it does appear a bit muted as it dries down. Of all the exceptional harvest fragrances, it’s probably the most understated and instantly likable.

Iris Pallida features the notes of rose essence, orange blossom absolu, violet leaf, anise, iris absolute, cedar, vetiver, patchouli, guaiac wood, ambrette seed, white musk. It will be available in limited quantities retailing $295 for 100 ml bottle.

Image source:, press release.

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized


  • 1. Flora  |  August 22nd, 2007 at 12:02 am

    Ina, you make it sound so inviting! Wonderful description of this new perfume, I m so envious that you got to smell it already. I would very mucjh like to have some “iris butter” too! :-)

    I do wish there were Iris perfumes that smell like the flowers, as they have their own distinct fragrances, and the flower color can offer clues as to the nature of the aroma. Purple ones have a grape-like aroma, yellow ones tend to be somewhat lemony, and some pink ones even smell of strawberries or other fruits. (My personal favorite is a pink tall bearded iris called ‘Vanity Fair’, which smells exactly like strawberry ice cream tastes.) The fragrances are quite delightful, but many people don’t realize how fragrant they can be, as their colors are so lovely, and everyone grows them for that alone.

  • 2. Genia  |  August 22nd, 2007 at 12:38 am

    Thank you, Ina. I was waiting for that and I was afraid to hear it. “…quite woody and velvety. Iris Pallida is exactly that. It starts off all sparkling floral, then goes all buttery-fluffy, and finally wraps around you like the softest pashmina. I particularly enjoy the dusty, marshmallowy cedar accord in the drydown. It very much reminds me of Bois dโ€™Armenie, just a little more sheer perhaps…” – Oh, my God, I`m dead. :-)

  • 3. Leopoldo  |  August 22nd, 2007 at 1:04 am

    Sounds delightful. Ina, it’s good to have you on the frontline of sniffage… How was the holiday?

  • 4. chayaruchama  |  August 22nd, 2007 at 4:51 am

    Yes, Inochka-
    Did you enjoy, and refresh your soul ?

    Not good for the CC, Inochka.

  • 5. Marina  |  August 22nd, 2007 at 8:25 am

    Such a great overview of iris scents! So wonderful to have you back!!

  • 6. Ina  |  August 22nd, 2007 at 8:34 am

    Flora, thank you! You reminded me once again that I really need to visit the botanical garden or something to get acquainted with all these flowers!

  • 7. Ina  |  August 22nd, 2007 at 8:34 am

    Genia, LOL! Not what I hoped to accomplish. But Iris Pallida is indeed lovely.

  • 8. Ina  |  August 22nd, 2007 at 8:35 am

    Lee, the holiday was too good and too short. I was very crabby the first day I got home. Sigh. I’m also still in a state of perfume funk, hoping this will pass soon. Another sigh.

  • 9. Ina  |  August 22nd, 2007 at 8:36 am

    Chaya, I sure did! Soul and body (lots of sleeping in and eating, actually the said body was slightly deformed from all that). ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I need more. Wah!

  • 10. Ina  |  August 22nd, 2007 at 8:37 am

    Marina, thank you! I’m really trying…

  • 11. Tigs  |  August 22nd, 2007 at 9:50 am

    Nice to have you back, Ina. I was prepared to not love this one, but for some reason that “marshmallowy cedar” did me in and now I have to try it.

  • 12. Robin  |  August 22nd, 2007 at 10:33 am

    Want! But don’t want to spend $295, LOL…

  • 13. shifts  |  August 22nd, 2007 at 11:00 am

    Iris sure is a wonderful thing to build a scent concept around. Love it to death. Still haven’t explored all the iris fragrances you mentinon, but they’ve been on my list for quite some time. My most recent purchase is a truely divine (lame) take on the smell: L’Homme de Cล“ur by Divine.

  • 14. violetnoir  |  August 22nd, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    Ina! You’re back! I hope you had a great time in northern Minnesota.

    Yes, I heard last week that the next release from L’Artisan is an iris. Ooh, goody-goody! And this one sounds beautiful.

    When does it debut in the states?


  • 15. Ina  |  August 22nd, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    Tigs, thank you! I must say it took me a few tries to really love it.

  • 16. Ina  |  August 22nd, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    Robin, I know! The price… sigh.

  • 17. Ina  |  August 22nd, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    Shifts, I love that one, too! Iris can never be boring, in my opinion.

  • 18. Ina  |  August 22nd, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    Robin, thank you! I had a great time but it just seemed too short. Iris Pallida should come out in October, we hear. Along with the new harvest of Fleur d’Oranger, by the way, which I’ve also had a chance to smell, and it is just beautiful.

  • 19. Judith  |  August 22nd, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    Yay! You’re back (I just realized that). I only smelled IP on paper and I thought it was lovely, liked it–but didn’t quite love it. But I clearly need to smell it on skin. Sounds wonderful!!

  • 20. Patty  |  August 22nd, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    This couldn’t sound more perfect and approachable, thanks, Ina!

  • 21. Ina  |  August 22nd, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    Judith, paper never really does it justice. I thought I loved the new Midnight Poison on paper but on my skin it’s blah.

  • 22. Ina  |  August 22nd, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    Patty, you’re welcome! I can’t wait for it to come out.

  • 23. winterwheat  |  August 23rd, 2007 at 11:37 am


    I love iris too, but this had better be one SPECIAL iris. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • 24. March  |  August 23rd, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    Wow. Ignoring … the … price … tag. I am amused that now anything under $100 seems, to me, basically free. Like it came from CVS or something. Doesn’t even count against a theoretical budget.

    Joining Flora in the chorus of folks who want an iris fragrance based on the flower, which (though they vary like roses) is a rich, deep, mildly spicy smell, somewhere between a rose and a carnation. Sort of.

    This sounds lovely. I look forward to trying it. These days, I am fascinated by the low-sillage/high-tenacity fragrances. The ones that are sort of stealthy and surround you with that invisible force field, you know?

  • 25. Ina  |  August 23rd, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    Kris, I know, I know… limited edition, special harvest, and such. Sigh.

  • 26. Ina  |  August 23rd, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    March, actually, according to the press release, it’s supposed to smell like the whole thing – flower, root, etc. I’m the same on the low sillage thing lately.

  • 27. greeneyes  |  August 23rd, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    I love iris scents…why oh why did you have to make this sound so appealing? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Welcome back!

  • 28. Ina  |  August 24th, 2007 at 8:30 am

    Greeneyes, always happy to oblige. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • 29. Elysium  |  August 30th, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    Saw something about Fleur d’Oranger in the comments, will this be re-released?? I will be very very happy happy if that is the case.

  • 30. Ina  |  August 30th, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    Elysium, yes, Fleur d’Oranger is being reissued with the new harvest. I’ve smelled it, and it’s not much different from the previous one (a bit greener, maybe, less sweet). Should be available in October.

  • 31. Elysium  |  August 30th, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    Just read that Fleur d’Oranger will be re-released on MUA, yes yes!
    Since you already tested the new harvest, could you give a comparison with the one from 2005? Thanks a lot!

    Btw, thank you for the wonderful review.

  • 32. Elysium  |  August 30th, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    What will the price be for the new Fleur d’Oranger? Also, will it again be sold in a wooden box?

  • 33. Ina  |  August 30th, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Elysium, it’ll be packaged pretty much the same way, and it’ll retail for $295, I believe.

  • 34. Elysium  |  August 30th, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    Thank you! (Why o why did they raise the price :_( …)

  • 35. Ayala  |  September 2nd, 2007 at 2:39 am

    Orris butter is actually steam distilled, not alcohol extracted. The powder of orris is sometimes tinctured in alcohol to create a fixative. But orris butter is technically an “essential oil” of the dried, peeled and matured roots of iris roots.

  • 36. Elysium  |  October 16th, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    Hello Ina, I’m back with new questions about the Fleur d’Oranger 2007. A friend of mine just told me that there will be some fragrance from L’Artisan with orange flowers in EdT strength coming out around Christmas, and it will be retailing for 130 EUR in Europe. Now I am very confused, is this the new Fleur d’Oranger or another scent?
    Thank you~~~

  • 37. Ina  |  October 20th, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    Elysium, this is the first time I hear this, As far as I know, the only orange blossom is the limited edition exceptional harvest one.

  • 38. Elysium  |  October 26th, 2007 at 6:44 am

    Thank you Ina! My friend went to the store again, and he says that maybe he mixed up last time. I have now placed an order on Luckyscent :D. Thanks again!

  • 39. Aromascope » Best O&hellip  |  December 27th, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    […] Iris Pallida by L’Artisan Parfumeur […]

  • 40. Iris perfumes | Fitoimage&hellip  |  August 12th, 2011 at 5:34 am

    […] Aromascope » Perfume Review: Iris Pallida by L’Artisan ParfumeurAug 21, 2007 … I do wish there were Iris perfumes that smell like the flowers, as they have their own distinct fragrances, and the flower color can offer … […]




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