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.
Iris de Nuit is in my opinion one of the best contemporary iris on the market, together with L'homme de coeur by Divine, with which it shares a similar approach to the material. A transparent, cold, sharp, perfectly shaped and restrained yet dense and substantial iris note, angular and straightforward, with a few else around: a light hay note on the base (something making Iris de Nuit quite close to Cuir Pleine Fleur), carrot, light green notes. The main iris note is deprived of any "buttery" waxy rootiness – it has a slight carroty-rooty smell, but it's dry and light. It strikes me how this manages to smell almost "rural" thanks to carrot and hay, still completely "contemporary" in its sophisticated, almost abstract meaning. Great job with notes and composition here. Really elegant, pleasant, versatile and totally unique. The drydown comprises also a light ambery note, although it's overall quite linear and does not change much (this may be the only slight "con"). For me, one of the best Heeley's around together with Cuir Pleine Fleur.
24th January, 2014 (last edited: 14th July, 2014)
Smells very much like one of the Prada offerings..
A soft and subtle iris with good sillage and projection..
Kind of plastic smelling imo in the opening with a very mellow cedar and amber drydown. Very tamed..
Well composed but not my cup of tea..
Light, airy, fresh
First off, my general impression is one of ethereal lightness and airiness. While Heeley's Ophelia suggest wateriness, this fragrance suggests the scented air of damp early morning.
A green, slightly herby, and sweet opening that in a few hours is followed by a very lovely cedar note. Violet and orris predominate. I don't sense much development in this scent. It's smooth and subtle and wears rather close to the skin on me. I sprayed liberally but it never overpowers the nose. I'll report later on longevity. A lovely day or night scent, leaning toward the feminine rather than unisex to my nose. Lovely and delicate.
Longevity is good, to my surprise, for such a fragile-seeming scent; 6 hours and going strong. After a half-day's wearing, I'm going to retract my earlier statement about wearing close to the skin; I'll give it a moderate rating for sillage.
Footnote: I have sampled one other Heeley scent, and if Iris de Nuit is anything like Ophelia, I think you can count on the longevity to be 10+ hours. Gorgeous!
Pros: Fresh green herbiness and sweet florals
Reading other reviews I am struck yet again how differently individuals experience the same fragrance, some loving it: some hating it.
I wanted to try IdN because I fell so completely in love with Chanel's 28 la Pausa even though it was quite fugitive on me, and thought that another iris (especially from a perfumer with a good reputation like James Heeley) might be equally gorgeous - and equally fugitive.
I tried IdN and was knocked endways by its power - yes, honestly; one spritz on the back of my hand seemed to fill the room and continued to do so for several hours. At first I couldn't smell much iris; plenty of violet, ambrette & carrot seed but the iris seemed a bit shy. Eventually I had one of those gosh-aren't-I-stupid moments - like when you spend hours looking for something and find it sitting on your desk all along, just where it should be - and realised that the iris had been there all along, quietly elegant and simply beautiful. A bit like Audrey Hepburn - sitting in the background of a scene and saying nothing, yet stealing the whole show.