Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens

Total Reviews: 53
Simply the best! An iris for iris lovers. Take everything you know about iris in perfume and throw it away because that was all child’s play. This here smells like you stabbed the soil with your bare hands and dug up a buried rhizome in the garden. It’s moist, sweet, metallic and a touch disturbing. But alas it is also dry, doughy, and like the breath of an angel. Sillage is close to the skin but it’s the kind of somber and beautiful grey day scent that you want to sit close. I love this stuff. I am on my second bottle and it just feels feels right to me. My brain just must be receptive to these notes. Some people loathe ISM and I do not doubt their sincerity. But some people, myself included, can’t live without it.
05th March, 2018
All orris facets in a perfume. From fresh green, to powdery violet, to suede leathery to rooty.
An art piece!!!

SECRET: Keep your distance from where you apply it.
It is NOT a perfume to be experienced by digging your nose on your wrist.
If you do that you only smell incense-vetiver-carnation sourness.

Instead, my advice is to apply it inside your jacket-coat or behind your knees.
This way you smell the fog of a buttered, doughy orris!!!

18th February, 2018
Stardate 20170730:
Starts with a strong iris note and then develops into a Dior Homme type Iris Vanilla.
OK but DHI is preferable by a mile.
30th July, 2017
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This has a strong, rooty, earthy, musty, orris root smell, reminiscent of dry hay and carrots. It smells like the the roots have just been unearthed, in a good way. It's wearable perfume fun.
14th July, 2017
This is not perfume.

It is either art or a form of water boarding, but it’s not a perfume.

Iris Silver Mist teeters on a tightrope between aching beauty and ugly brutality for much of its duration. The first blast out of the gate is of the purest iris root note I have ever smelled – it an exhalation of pure luxury.

Then, as suddenly as it began, the buttery iris root note is whipped away and replaced with a wall of poisonous aromas that lunges for your throat and just keeps coming.

I can almost taste the smell on the back of my tongue – mud, earth, metal, roots, dry ice pumped from a machine at a festival. The mix of aromas is unsettling and quite brutal, a cold stew of raw potatoes soaking in ice cold water, rotting carrot tops, and something that recalls the acrid fug of alcohol fumes that comes off a hot Poitín still.

There is also the high-toned acid sting of fresh urine about it – like that of a baby’s nappy but devoid of any of the warm, sweet-sour honey and hay overtones that makes baby pee such a friendly smell. The urine aroma here is cold and denatured, ureic acid grown in a sterile lab. This is not of human origin.

This striking stink is, of course, iris – pure iris rhizomes pushed to the limit by Maurice Roucel, who, under the urging of Serge Lutens to make it more, more, MORE iris, dumped a little-used iris nitrile called Irival into the mix. Iris fragrances are usually icy, polite, and suggestive or either lipstick or the lining of an Hermes purse.

Iris Silver Mist is the bared teeth of a dog. It snarls.

It’s not at all nice to wear, at least not in the first hour, but it stirs my soul in a way that more pleasant, wearable perfumes do not. The drydown is a soft iris suede with dabs of creamy woods and a soft breath of spice. Not distinctive at all, and actually kind of weak, but we still have the memory of that opening to drop our jaw to the ground.

Iris Silver Mist makes me think of uncomfortable scenarios – teenagers facing the wall at the end of the Blair Witch Project, the tops of those dark pine trees swaying in the wind in Twin Peaks every time Coop entered the Red Room in the Black Lodge, the guy in nothing but y-fronts and a WW2 gas mask striding across a corn field at the end of episode 3 of True Detective…..

Think of basically anything that has ever chilled your soul, and that’s Iris Silver Mist.

It is a work of art. Art in a gimp mask, yes – but still, art.
20th March, 2016
I'm still trying to figure this frag out. I get a powdery carrot smell in the opening that doesn't seem to change. It's safe to say that this frag is linear. My son told me it smells like leather but he's 8. I personally don't get the leather he gets but I can find it to have a suede appeal to it. This wouldn't be classified as unisex in my catalog but it's not overly feminine either.

I'm looking to get rid of it but I think I need to give it another try in a few days. I mean, it's not awful but you have to be easy on the trigger otherwise it could be cloying.

I will edit it if I have to the next time I try it.
14th November, 2015
When I was a boy, I had a portable phonograph covered in leather and lined with felt. It had a clasp and opened like a suitcase. When I first inhaled Lutens' Iris Silver Mist, it brought this olfactory memory back to me. It smells exactly like that cool, dry felt and leather scent that greeted me each time I opened it.

This is the best iris I have ever encountered. I like it even better than Fath's iconic Iris Gris, which is its only competition. Turin rightly gave it five stars and labeled it "iris root," which of course is what it is. It smells lovely and cool, and for me reminiscent of the scent of fine Italian or French leather jackets that have been sitting in the sun.

Very masculine in a sophisticated classy way. I picture Roger Moore or Matt Bomer wearing Iris Silver Mist. If you are a fan of the iris note, don't miss this one.
24th January, 2015
A very upfront dry, chalky iris, made slightly warm with judicious use of violets, cinnamon, vanilla suede, and a clever carrot element. It's fairly obvious that Dior Homme was inspired by this - my personal favorite is the Dior for its rich warmth. Iris Silver Mist is more artful and dramatic, but just doesn't have a personality that quite wins me over. That being said, it's a very good perfume, highly deserving of a thumbs up.
24th January, 2015
Genre: Floral

Iris Silver Mist is buttery and semi-sweet from the start, with its suave iris grounded on a woody foundation and seasoned with what might even be a dash of chocolate. The opening soon settles into a velvety off-dry accord that blends the super-smooth iris with creamy sandalwood and soft white flowers.

The accord is very elegant, with just enough of a bitter edge to keep it out of gourmand territory, where I'd rather not stray. To me the mid-notes seem more dark brown than silver, and the texture more earthy than metallic or misty. There is a distinct honey note here (this is a Serge Lutens fragrance, after all,) but it is exquisitely tempered by the dry, rooty side of the iris root.

The soft, yet bitter quality of the iris slowly takes over and banishes any suggestions of chocolate that might remain. The iris melds with the woody base in a sumptuous accord that carries the scent toward its spiced wood and incense drydown. This is a very well-crafted and sophisticated scent that handily dodges the syrupy amber quicksand that mires several other offerings from this line. Surely not, as Luca Turin claims, "the only iris fragrance worthy of the name," but certainly one of the best, along with Iris de Nuit, L’Homme de Coeur, Bois d'Iris, Iris Poudre, and Iris Bleu Gris.
17th June, 2014
A cold misty iris root that is as everyone says like the smell of carrots. It's powdery and woody with a earthy note.

Different and strange smelling to my nose.
11th June, 2014
is this a masterpiece? come on, much better irises around... coming from Lutens I would say absolutely disappointing.. smells like rubbing alcohol, surely not for males, quality /price ratio completely vote 1/5
p.s. save yor money for something better!

08th January, 2014
bokaba Show all reviews
United States
King Iris

Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens (I house I generally despise) is one of the few modern fragrances I would dare to discuss on this blog. It takes its place beside the queen of irises, the regal and long lost Iris Gris. ISM is cold, powdery, spicy, rooty, peppery, and above all else, irisy. In no other extant fragrance is there such a high concentration of orris compounds.
The opening is pungent like slicing open a beat and inhaling deeply. There is pepper, root, earth, and a bit of doughy carrot. This phase quickly gives way to the cold, icy orris heart of the fragrance. The orris is of top quality in conjunction with the rare and expensive Robertet iris base.
To my knowledge, Silver Iris Mist is the only fragrance on the market that contains large quantities of natural orris butter and other natural orris compounds. Is it as good as Iris Gris? Probably not, but you could do much worse. In the heart, the icy orris root comes to the fore. The base contains a little sandalwood and a slightly soapy musk reminiscent of the long lost Gris (do not be fooled by MPG Iris Bleu Gris as it has nothing to do with Iris Gris).
I would suggest buying ISM while it is still available if you are interested in the best available iris fragrance. Is it cheap? Certainly not, but the quality of the iris compounds justifies the price and may, of course, only be available in the States for a short period of time—ISM was once a Paris exclusive.
12th September, 2013
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Brief and green

A nice green top note develops into a good iris scent with a hint o light wood - a bit synthetic but all right. Gone after ninety minutes on my skin. Nice while it lasts and quite unlike others.

25th May, 2013
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this is vegetal iris, nothing powdery, very earthy

Iris is special type of flower: it is almost genderless,yet holds elegancy and luxury nothing can compare to and here the natural vibe of it is preserved together with great perfume performances, it is styled up, perfect summer type of scent, or when you seek pure simplicity and elegance

this is like richer and perfumed up version of Chanels 28 La Pausa , where iris is more natural, raw, and spiced up by pepper, Iris Silver mist is thicker and maybe a touch more feminine , light grey to white colour

01st March, 2013
another home run for mr. lutens (and in particular, mr. roucel). just stunning. if you can't appreciate the utter comprehensiveness of this study on iris, that is perfectly fine. but this is serious high art, and must be approached as such.
all aspects of this soliflore are covered and the order - root, stem, petal, god-knows-what-powdery synthesis - in which they reveal themselves is the true measure of this creation's masterpiece status.
certainly not for everyday, but when contemplation is in order, this is a true companion. on me its longevity is perfect, but on my wife is quite ephemeral, so she sprays rather than dabs. sillage is quite close, but sturdy.

and if is possible to improve on perfection (does that truly exist?), layer with dior leather oud to create the holy grail iris-leather.

damn, i love this stuff!
04th September, 2012
drseid Show all reviews
United States
Can this be? An iris scent that appeals to me? In a word, the answer is "yes"! Iris Silver Mist opens with an almost alcoholic slightly medicinal accord that smells somewhat like rubbing alcohol but in a good way. Even in the top notes, the iris is faintly in the background but still detectable. The alcoholic medicinal qualities fade and the iris takes the fore in the scent's heart, becoming slightly powdery, while mixing with a beautiful cedar note and vetiver before ending with a nice sandalwood and musk base. The iris, unlike so many other scents that I detest never becomes distracting or overpowering, instead the balance is just right here. As far as projection, Iris Silver Mist is pretty much a skin scent, with longevity about average.

Iris Silver Mist is a definite winner from Serge Lutens and can be recommended to just about anyone as it is very unisex and quite pleasant smelling. If you are looking for a powerhouse scent look elsewhere, but if you have not enjoyed iris scents in the past like me, give this one a try as it is likely to impress you. 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5. Very Good!
01st April, 2012 (last edited: 05th April, 2012)
Went to Paris with this as top of my must try list. So disappointed that my reaction was 'oh, another iris'. All the hype, the peons of praise, the adulation and ... It was just another iris and sadly it didn't stand out to me.
06th March, 2012
This, to me, is the makeup-y, doughy version of Iris -- it almost smells like wet paint in the can. It's clearly well-made, well-blended, and done with high quality ingredients. I just don't think I want to smell like this.
25th February, 2012
There is an ossuary on the Venitian Island of San Michele, which, when you open the wooden door, is light, airy, cold and brim filled with containers of bones. It smells of this.

When I first tried this scent I hated it. It smelled of sadness, darkness, mourning and death.

Now I treasure my bell jar of Iris Silver Mist. Sometimes I wish to carry this scent with me all day, to feel the coolth of sadness and the remoteness of death. Sometimes, I use it to succour my inner strength before riding out on my daily quest dressed, perhaps, in something easier to wear.

For me, this is more than a scent. It is a meditation and I am happier and stronger for it.
15th January, 2012
To uncork a sample of Iris Silver Mist is to be overwhelmed by billowing waves of iris in its many incarnations: carrot juice iris; doughy iris; sandalwood iris; violet iris; the variations seem endless...

But this perfume, as with other greats, refuses to let me break down its individual ingredients, and instead projects out a bold and distinct persona. This is cold white stone in perfume form: androgynous, unforgiving and mute. ISM makes no apologies for this austerity, and is all the better for it.

The blast of carrot that opens this fragrance has become legendary, and is, admittedly, like nothing else I've smelt before. Whilst this hit never fails to dazzle and bemuse in equal measure, what strikes me about ISM happens afterwards, when a sublime violet note hovers forever on my skin, veering sometimes towards a soft, creamy sandalwood, and at others towards a fresh and powdery orris.

Having been disappointed with the sweetness of Iris Poudre and the formality of 28 La Pausa, I have finally found in ISM an iris with the daring to match other favourites of mine such as Aoud Cuir d'Arabie and Absolue Pour le Soir, but with a silent grandeur all of its own.

Needless to say, I enjoyed more compliments on my first test-drive of ISM than with anything else, and now consider it to be my signature fragrance.
13th October, 2011
eov8b Show all reviews
United States
Like drinking carrot juice at a funeral - excellent
27th August, 2011
If Iris Silver Mist required an identifying verb it would be 'Whirrrr!'. The vegetal iris root feels at first like a serrated edge in terrifying motion, throwing up the smell of wet earth as it goes. Muted reassurance can be derived from the warmth of the sandal and cedar woods and the most delicate violet lining to this moonlit silver cloud. But let's not conjure a false sense of security: this is the most chilling of irises, the one root to rule them all, a still life come to life – though intent on death. A melancholy wonder.
02nd January, 2011
Sadness in a bottle.
29th December, 2010
This reminds me of Guerlain’s Apres L’Ondee, but more metallic, more austere. I don’t get a carrot note here that others talk about. Unusual and very different than any other Lutens I have tried. If I were considering purchasing this, I would suggest trying Apres L’Ondee first.
18th July, 2010
I knew the first time I smelled the wax sample of Iris Silver Mist that it was in the realm of Guerlain's Djedi and Vero Profumo's Onda...not mere perfumes, but scents that are meant to be pondered as they're worn because of their otherworldliness.

I kept smelling the remnants of the ISM wax sample until I broke down and purchased a large decant from the Perfumed Court. The opening is as strange, brash and slightly medicinal as Serge Luten's Borneo 1834. In the first few minutes ISM also reminded me of L'Artisans Bois Farine. However, where Bois Farine has a warm, doughy quality, ISM is as cool, sad and aloof as Guerlain's Apres L'Ondee.

After the big opening, ISM quickly settles, surprisingly, into a quiet skin scent. At this point a vetiver note emerges that takes ISM into the cool, damp cellar territory that vintage Djedi is known for. In fact it begins to smell very much like vintage Djedi at this point in its developement. The difference is that where Djedi is all melancholy and forlorn, ISM has a cool sweetness that eventually stears it more toward the cool moist earth of a garden after a spring rain.

At first I was disappointed that the scent seemed to have very little sillage. However, I was awakened in the middle of the night as I turned in my sleep by a smell that was achingly beautiful. I came to consciousness enough to realize that my head was resting on my wrist and I was smelling the ISM that I had applied earlier in the evening. It had had morphed into something sweet, woody and slightly powdery. The development of this scent, from start to finish, takes many twists and surprising turns and the rewards are many if one is patient and open to all ISM has to offer.

Let me say this: don't purchase this if you're just looking for a perfume to smell good. ISM is not that kind of scent. Rachelsf hits the nail on the head in her review. However, as somber as ISM is there is still an underlying sexiness. This is not a perfume for girls or boys. This should be sampled before you buy a full bottle.
06th February, 2010
The very first notes are intresting; just metalic and ozonic but in a minute it grows misty spicy; while i was expecting it to grow into a gross curcuma and little bit clover, it became powdery sweet carrotlike iris. Suprising but not tempting yet.
In an hour carrotish benzoin goes away and scent becomes a very lovely solo powdery iris; still a bit aquatic. Even appealing for a me though i do not appreciate iris scents in common.
the openning notes are very importand to me. when i wear a scent i mostly smell them. Then nose becomes a bit deaf and the middle notes of the scent are for the ones who are around. so i would not like to wear this scent but it would be very nice if a friend would wear it.
26th December, 2009
I finally did it—ordered a small sample of ISM (from The Perfumed Court). Oh how I am captivated by iris perfumes, and ISM is the most “irisy” of such perfumes that I have ever sampled. To my nose, it is evocative of the smell of makeup and pencil shavings (especially in the top), which I actually adore. Although the middle retains much of the characteristic of the top, it's slightly more muted, soapy, and powdery, which again, I quite like. The bottom maintains the qualities of the top and middle but in an even more rounded and smooth way. ISM is simply the touchstone of refinement, sophistication, and class. Ultimately, this is not only my favorite iris fragrance, but it is my favorite/signature/HG fragrance.
22nd December, 2009 (last edited: 29th January, 2011)
Tortola Show all reviews
United Kingdom
I agree with JessicaGrace below, I think you need to be a fan of "cold" scents to like this. For instance I love Mitsouko and Shalimar but cannot take to L'HB or Apres L'Ondee. To my mind ISM is a linear, rather flat iris root scent with lots of chilly earth. I'm giving it a neutral because I can see that if you do love this kind of scent you will no doubt adore ISM. A distinctive fragrance which matches it's name perfectly (and by the amazing Maurice Roucel), it's just not me. Guess I am more an iris flower - rather than earthy iris root - kind of person.
07th December, 2009
I'm learning that perfumes that are commonly described as "cool" rarely ever excite me. I like drama and spice. That said, Iris Silver Mist doesn't strike me as scary (like CB Black March) or insipid (like Apres l'Ondee.) It goes on smelling like freshly pulled carrots, which isn't unpleasant. The carrot is joined by a tiny, tiny bit of spice and a lot of cool notes, like fresh earth and cold air. The overall impression is silky smooth and quiet -- maybe too quiet. I keep waiting for something to happen, but no, it's lightly spiced carrots and cool air all the way down. After testing for an hour or so today, I started to get a mild headache, which might or might not be associated with the perfume.

Certainly nothing unpleasant, but just kind of, eh. I'll keep a little bit of my sample around. Maybe I'll get it some day.
22nd October, 2009 (last edited: 24th November, 2009)
If you think seriously of beginning a collection of niche perfumes, but you have still not found THE one, that will inspire you in order to continue, I suggest you try Iris Silver Mist. Moreover if you like Iris root note and seek the genuine smell of it, I believe you will have the chance to find it in this magnificent juice. No “make up” applied, no other notes predominating at the background, just pure Iris that goes from rooty, earthy and maybe a little dirty, to deep, musky and powdery. Although it is not a mainstream, from the middle notes and on, it becomes so calm and close to the skin that it is difficult to completely dislike it. Undoubtedly unisex, unoffensive and easy to wear anytime of the day. Just great!
22nd October, 2009