30 Days of Scent – Day Seventeen – Iris de Nuit by James Heeley   Leave a comment

Last Wednesday, I wore Iris de Nuit by James Heeley.  I purchased it as a decant in a group with other of Heeley’s fragrances from The Perfumed Court.

Fragrantica.com lists the main accords of Iris de Nuit as powdery, musky, floral, woody, and amber.  Their description of this scent says, “Rare and refined, sensual and discreet perfume, Iris de Nuit is a perfectly blended composition dedicated to this flower.  Angelica grain and ambrette open the composition up, followed by the heart of iris root, violet and carrot. The base is composed of grey amber and white cedar…”  James Heeley.com goes a step further and notes that men will get a scent that is “Classical, literary, romantic. ‘Portrait of Dorian Gray’” while women will note that it is “Sensual, delicate, creative and individual.”  And, even though Iris de Nuit wasn’t exactly what I expected, I can’t argue that it matches the descriptions in almost an uncanny way.

I love irises – I grow two kinds in my front flower bed, and I am tempted every year to sow the entire thing in rhizomes that will grow so thick that all the other plants that want to come up will be smothered.  I love their greenery, which I never cut back, and their gorgeous, heavy blooms, and the scent that comes off my Siberian hybrids is like walking into heaven.  The problem with my love for them, though, is that I’ve not found anything I can wear to match them: there is no manufactured scent, no bottled perfume, no fragrance, no matter how carefully crafted, that I’ve found that even comes close.  And yet, Iris de Nuit is successful in evoking, for me, the idea of irises in a symbolic way, not unlike a worshiper of a particular deity might place something on a shrine to remind them of that deity – a cow for Brighid, perhaps, or a cat for Bast.

(Or, perhaps, an aardvark for quite another god altogether.)

Iris de Nuit, on my skin, is powdery and floral, with a base of ambergris that is actually the most reminiscent of the flower for which it is named.  It is the ambergris, this time not trying to devour my soul, that makes the fragrance – all the herbaceousness mixed with Iris Absolute and Violet float above a solid foundation.  The white cedar that is also in the mix is incidental – I get no hint of it at all.  So, yes, unexpected, but perhaps in just the right way – I expect to bring out Iris de Nuit on those days when I want to be reminded to nurture and cultivate carefully.

Or, else, perhaps I’ll bring it out again when my irises are in bloom.


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