About a year ago I sampled over a dozen recommended iris scents, as I was unfamiliar with the note when centered in a fragrance composition. I came away from that exploration with two winners: Fath's Iris Gris and Serge Lutens' Iris Silver Mist.
Le Labo's Iris 39 begins for me with a burst of violet, followed by a warm leathery iris, but these top notes disappear almost immediately. What I am left with is a sharp, pungent, very green and very earthy, raw patchouli vibe that becomes quite linear in the dry down.
Ultimately, this is too cold, too metallic, too bitter an iris to suit my tastes, thus my neutral review.
A pleasantly "dusty" Iris that has an enveloping effect. The opening is somewhat dry and sharp, sort of aldehydic. If you have the oil version this is not evident- just creamy Iris, musk and violet. All in all, an iris of top quality. Subtle, regal- not to be missed.
I have found the "holy grail" of Iris based fragrances in Iris 39 by Le Labo. It opens up with a strong Iris that mellows down to be sweet and comforting. I also smell traces of violet, patchouli and musk. I don't smell any civet here, maybe it's me. Iris 39 is a beautiful composition that I will enjoy for a long time.
This one over-compensates by throwing all kinds of angles at you. It sort of works, but it does feel like an iris with a personality disorder. It’s sweet, rooty, powdery, herbal, green—pretty much every approach to iris can be found here. I actually like my iris scents to be kind of fake and synthetic—pop-iris, I guess. This has a little bit of a pop feel, but it’s more rooted in reality than what I tend to go for.
There’s a *lot* of patchouli in it, but it’s a green patch (not overly hippie). The opening sweetness (a tad candy-ish) dies fast, taking you straight to the rooty notes that (thankfully) aren’t as metallic and chilly as what iris can be. It’s earthy, but it's more like earth in a glass beaker on the shelf of a sterile lab—clean, sanitized earth. What bugs me about it, though, is the herbal facets which I think you have to have an affinity for. If you’re okay with that hellish dill note in Santal 33 (I’m *so* not okay with that note), then the herbs in Iris 39 won’t bother you at all. For me, however, it's a bummer.
Despite my personal grumbles, this is one of Le Labo’s better perfumes that should be on the “try list” of anyone craving an iris—even if it's doing more than an iris perfume needs to do.
A nice, solid, pleasant iris scent opening with just the right amount of rooty-waxiness and a bold prominent “lipstick” note, well scented with spices, a hint of zesty freshness, woody nuances well blending with the powdery richness of iris petals. I honestly don’t get any civet, at any point, but I do get some slight camphoraceous feel on the very base. Overall a simple, almost mystical scent in its floral-rooty simplicity, as it basically smells like iris with notes enhancing its different facets (woods, spices, other flowers, ginger-carrot for its rooty side). I appreciate in particular the work around the rooty-earthy side of iris, with a beautiful sort of “darkening” that starting from the initial bright freshness slowly takes Iris 39 down to a darker and darker earthy path, dusted with a sophisticated powderiness. Really pleasant, refined, versatile, somehow as “cold” and distant as earthy and rich, as iris often manages to smell – that is part of what makes it a fascinating material. Honestly though, I also get an unpleasant sort of cheap aftertaste here and there, a little metallic perhaps, which is something I wouldn’t expect at this price. I may be not that good in assessing the quality of iris (which is a note I admit I don’t know that well), but frankly and despite being surely pleasant and compelling, this smells a bit overpriced to me (like most of niche scents, though).