The Virgin in Prayer by Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato 1650
This is a perfect interview fragrances. Hiris smells nice, clean, and sophisticated, but it's not pretty and it's not sexy, which makes it perfect if you want to smell good in a professional sort of way. This one doesn't turn heads, but if you are the sort of person who must always wear perfume, this is a good pick for those occasionas when you need to appear professional and sophisticated without smelling too sexy or girly.
There is a refreshing transparency about Hiris that distinguishes it from other iris scents I know. It is a dry iris with a crisp green accent and a slight bitter edge. It's more rooty and rougher in texture than Iris de Nuit, Iris Poudre, or Bois d'Argent, and much less sweet than Dior Homme. On the other hand, it's far less gritty and aggressive than Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier's Iris Bleu Gris of Serge Lutens’s Iris Silver Mist.
The heart of Hiris is a lovely, soft blend of earthy-yet-clean iris, diaphanous floral notes, and cool cedar. Though Hiris is marketed as a women's scent, remnants of the opening's bitter greens and the snappy cedar note make it just as easy to wear for men. There is a point midway through the development where Hiris becomes noticeably "perfumey," as rose, neroli, and vanilla bloom on the skin. Then, a bit further on, Hiris relaxes into its honeyed cedar and vanilla drydown. Very nice, and a must-try for any fan of iris scents.
This is one of my all time favorites, the one perfume that sent me off on a never ending iris quest. But I always still come back to this one, like the comfort scent that it is.
My favorite time of year to wear Hiris is actually winter. It feels like the perfect match to a morning walk at first light, as the sun is making the frost covered plants and earth sparkle and glitter. The fragrance, at first, is cold and almost sterile, but yet it already hints at the earthiness and connection soon to come.
Just like you expect yourself to do on your walk, Hiris starts to warm up, and also warm up to you - from cold and sterile introduction to a shy sharing of her natural wonders. The warming earthy rooty smell becomes soft powder coated flowers, still fresh from their frost bath. Even warmer is the hint of honey that will sometimes greet you (and sometimes not I have found!). The softess hint of wood completes the nature walk, as the last frost melts.
Hiris is soft to me, and is nearly perfect. It can serve as an introduction to iris, or it could be the end of the iris journey. It won't over power, or powder, you, but will somehow make you pay attention to it's subtle shifts and changes, offering the steady rhythm and hum of iris, iris, iris...whispered.
Hiris by Hermes is a restrained, silent, liquid and sharp iris fragrance to be intended as a tribute to the starring note of iris, the Queen of elegance and subtleness in parfumery, a fragrance with some herbal and sharp floral accents, with botanic and hesperidic supports (carrot, orange?), some rosey spoor, a barely angular and initially metallic trait and an arcane soapy-laundry feel. The sophistication is pure since an almost inexistent artificial sweetness unveils all the natural and silvan nobility of the royal iris. Just an impersonal and unmild rose flanks the protagonist in its mineral transparence. The iris is neither so pungent and laundry as in Infusion d'Iris nor finally powdery and aldehydic as in Iris Poudre Malle, neither deep, dark and leathery as in Cuir d'Iris Parfumerie General (wonderful scent) nor honeyed and nutty as in Dior Homme. This is an iris from the earth in the same vein of Le Labo Iris 39 although not so earthy-rooty and without the utterly algid support of the metallic violet. An arid, opaque and impersonal cedarwood supports the earthy-floral nobitity of the starring flower before the cristal starts to fade towards an honeyed, musky-boise, more compact and linear dry down of elegant sensuality, human heat and womanly molecules. A great fragrance, a magistral work of balance.
15th November, 2011 (last edited: 04th February, 2014)