If there is anything to come out of this iris quest I’ve been on lately, it’s that I really love Iris de Nuit. Pairing a fresh, carroty iris to a greenish violet, this fragrance manages to evoke both a rain-soaked English garden and the clean lines of the Chrysler building.
It’s also one of those rare fragrances that clearly emits a color like other fragrances emit a sound or an image. If you’re someone who experiences scents in a synesthetic way, then you must try this fragrance and tell me if you agree.
There is a wistful tone to this fragrance that reminds me somewhat of Après L’Ondee with its similarly doleful air. But although it shares some of its faintly anisic, herbal qualities, Iris de Nuit feels very much of this century – modern, streamlined, bound to this earth - not cut adrift in a permanent fugue state.
Iris de Nuit is a clean, transparent fragrance, but the ambrette seed adds a vegetal, muskiness that blurs the sharp edges of the violets and iris until it takes on a slightly “fur”-like texture. Angelica root imparts the green, mouth-sucking astringency of green rhubarb stalks, less of a smell than a crisp, herbal “taste” I can read with the back of my tongue. In the base, there is a slight herbal saltiness from ambergris and a haunting woodiness.
But the details hardly matter – you can’t dissect such haunting loveliness. Every note in this fragrance knits in so tightly with the others that one gets just an overall impression of a series of overlapping tints and tones – duck-egg blue fading into violet and then night blue, like being inside a cubist’s art installation or just standing on a dusty road somewhere watching darkness fall.
The iris top note is very nice, on the bright sight, with an earthy component that is not compromising the elegance that characterises this iris. It blends quite well with the synthetic ambery vine in the drydown, that also includes a pleasant violet note together with a somewhat nonspecific woodsy base note.
I get moderate sillage, good projection and ten hours of longevity on my skin.
Whilst I am not mad about the second have of the development of this creation, this iris, whilst not competing with the great classics, is one of the very well executed contemporary iris creations. 3.25/5.
This is probably the cleanest iris scent I've tried so far, in a month-long search for an iris frag purchase. It started off with a whiff of rubber and salt, which says ambergris to me, and then it swung towards a fresh, clean but sophisticated iris and violet accord (violet definitely playing second fiddle here--just adding a sense of freshness) with a tickly little herbal edge. I think I'm getting some waxy orris butter as it comes together, but that may be a Jedi mind trick. The parts are definitely more than the whole.
This is definitely a dandy's iris (male or female)--neither powdery nor prim. With its cooling effect, this wears more like a splash. It has nice sillage compared to some of the other "straight" irises I've tried. We'll see how long it lasts.
This is a puzzling one. About half the time I wear it, I like it a lot but it's slightly gauche and I think my decant will do me fine. On the other days it's heartbreakingly beautiful and I must have a full bottle, maybe two to be safe. Definitely recommend. It has great lasting power and the drydown is especially lovely.
Update: did get the full bottle - gorgeous. 'Gauche' above wasn't quite what I meant either- it's beautifully put together. There can be something a little unsettling in the way the iris plays with the violet and carrot seed but that's half the beauty of it.
20th September, 2015 (last edited: 10th December, 2015)
So Iris de Nuit by James Heeley is a fragrance composed around orris root, the root of the iris flower. Personally, I love iris. My signature perfume has an iris/orris root note and I love how it smells clean and earthy at the same time! Here we have a clean, slightly earthy orris note paired with powdery violet and clean vegetable musk (ambrette seed). A very clean musk. There is also a carrot seed note which I think must be similar to (although I haven't tried it - Hermès - Hiris, which has the same note). Either way, I like this one... and as I was wearing it today I received a compliment! Which rarely happens! To me this reminds me of very clean laundry sheets, and earthy powder (hard to describe actually)! A lovely fragrance. Especially as I am a huge fan of iris/orris root. For me personally I have already found my perfect iris fragrance, which does not smell like this one. So for me I don't think I would buy but if you like a "clean" but interesting smell you could try it out.
Heeley’s iris scent is a lovely one, as close in its dark rooty ambience as any I’ve smelled to Maurice Roucel’s iconic Iris Silver Mist for Serge Lutens. Iris de Nuit shares with Iris Silver Mist both a hint of anise and a certain doughy, almost foody character lacking in most other iris scents I know. It is, however, at once milder and more natural smelling than the Lutens, and so I find it easier to wear.
On the downside, sillage and projection are both moderate at best, and I have to apply a lot of Iris de Nuit before I start noticing it. Whether olfactory fatigue contributes here or not I cannot tell. The rooty, yet oddly translucent iris accord persists in a linear fashion, fading, rather than altering, into its soft, musky-woody drydown. Iris de Nuit is neither very powdery nor very floral, and I believe it could be worn with ease by either men or women. Though not among the strongest, I do think it one of the finest iris-centered scents available.