Perfume Reviews

Positive Reviews of Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens

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
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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
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)
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
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
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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)
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
Gblue Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Carroty Iris in the opening. Violety Iris in the middle. Cold like winter air. Rooty Iris at the end.
Very good showcase of Iris.
14th July, 2009
Not sure about the top note; seems somewhat harsh. A strong carrot pyrazine green. However this soon goes and what is left is pure, cold powdery orris. It lasts a very long time, and is wonderful
29th May, 2009
Icy and sinister, like the frozen earth on a winter morning. This is undoubtably the best iris fragrance I have encountered. Iris to the max without being overwhelming. A masterpiece.
23rd January, 2009
Iris, most elegant, wearing evening clothing of the finest cut and material, hands scented with cinnamon, kneels in the garden, where black damp earth and soil-flecked carrots rub together upon her.
Sublime. A must try. The smell of twilight.
08th January, 2009
Very deep Serge Lutens scent that deserves more reviews.
This is one of the strangest scents I ever smelt. Iris is predominant and remains strong after several hours.
This is a niche scent that you won't find everywhere but if you wear it you'll be for sure unique.
03rd October, 2008
Iris Silver Mist has allowed me to attain a giant leap forward into understanding, appreciating and encompassing the iris note in all of it's facets.

The top notes are rooty-tooty (beet root?) and carrot smelling. A little dirt, but definitely cold dirt. The iris note interwoven at this point does have that classic 'lipstick' smell that only I get from iris, however (maybe I'm used to it already, maybe this scent is different?) it isn't quite as powdery as other iris scents (Dior Homme, Hiris, Prada Infusion d'Iris). I find the dirt provides just the right backdrop to the iris scent. It's incredibly hard to describe in words, because it smells nothing like other scents that smell like dirt (Route du Vetiver, Dark Earth, Dirt by Demeter) - no other scent captures the smell of cold dirt like ISM.

The middle and base notes allow the scent to really fill out and deepen to a resolutely iris absolute accord. It not only smells more like iris, the smell is more wide-angle (iris HD!) - I swear I got the visual image today of how clouds might smell in the sky. Not ozonic. Just airy, ethereal... I hope I'm not coming across as too artistic and fluffy in my descriptions, but this scent really does evoke a feeling of serenity and meditation in me. Long stretches of time today, I thoroughly enjoyed moving around my office in articulated silences - in awe of this scent swirling all around me. It also manages to avoid being sweet on my skin, although many reviews I've read about ISM mention it as a gourmand. Strange.

Longevity is excellent, sillage is above average - fans of Dior Homme should love this, since I think it smells entirely unisex.

I must say that personally, I prefer a much greener iris note (Le Labo Iris 39) - but after several wearings I now own my first bell jar of ISM.

03rd October, 2008
My first thought after spraying was, "Interesting, nice, but why would I want to smell like a rutabaga?" I tried to like it, but didn't. Tried again, still no. Then I kinda liked it, but would never actually buy it.

And now I must buy it. It grows on you. It really does. I was told it would, but I didn't believe it. This will be a perfume just for me, as those around me may well wonder why I smell like a rutabaga. Oh well.
27th September, 2008
rachelsf Show all reviews
United Kingdom
A unique, sombre and potent fragrance which certainly isn't for everybody or for every occasion. For me this captures the spirit of Edward Gorey in a bottle: a monochrome, gloomy cloud silver-lined with shining wit, beautifully drawn by a masterful hand, and perhaps best worn at the wake of a favorite pet.
17th July, 2008
From the very first sniff, Iris Silver Mist is all about the iris. I grow irises, and they need regular thinning. When the rhizomes (or 'roots') are dug up, fresh from the damp rich soil ~ this is what ISM smells like! Incredible! Earthy, moist and a bit vegetal. Soon, the powdery facet of this frag kicks in, accompanied by sweet violet. I love the distinct evolution this scent possesses. As it settles, the iris, earth and violets are grounded in spicy woods that slowly ease...calming into a magnifiscent base, which retains the best of each note within it's composition. It is luminous. Iris Silver Mist is so very worthy of a sampling...if not the whole bottle!
16th July, 2008
Oh thank you Lord. This scent is perfectly named, it presents the root as a comet, the earth as the moon, paramours orbiting each other, both silvery and warm. It is transfigured celery or turnip. I wonder if it could do with one more glinting note amid this intoxicating soup of earth (cuts off the hand that wrote those impious words). A comparison with CB I Hate Perfume Black March would be in order. But this is way out there beyond that - stratospherically good.
01st July, 2008
Vasily Show all reviews
United States
It starts woody and earthy on me, and in the finish it's the powdery violets of orris with a touch of leather. Certainly not unpleasant ... no more so than (say) Guerlain Vetiver, another earthy and rooty favorite of mine. Thumbs up - way up.
25th June, 2008
zztopp Show all reviews
United States

Notes include: iris pallida root, galbanum, cedar, sandalwood, clove, vetiver, musk, Chinese benzoin balsam, incense, and white amber

I feel that the Sheldrake-Lutens style of moroccan honeyed candy infused fragrances is limited. Thus, I was quite relieved to find no listed notes of "honey" , "candied mandarin" or "chocolate covered cashewnuts dipped in sweetened butter" in ISM.

There is a raw and rooty iris note which runs through the entire composition - the immediate opening reveals a doughy iris accord not unlike Hiris. This lasts for mere seconds before the vegetal and earthy iris side is revealed - it smells a like a very raw violet note, but is probably the result of iris, cedar and vetiver coalescing together. I dont find it unnerving or distracting, but I prefer this accord over the Hiris-like iris note which opens ISM. The iris accord then further evolves to a make-up smell like accord which so dominates Dior Hommes iris composition - however here, the accord doesnt smell like a drag queen in heat, and thats probably due to superior note blending as well as ingredients like incense and clove which keep this "make-up" side of iris under check.

Luca Turin called ISM "a total success, the only current iris worthy of the name". Although he is entitled to his opinion, lets not get ahead of ourselves here Turin dear. The guy holds a PhD yet sometimes spews out gems which at times resemble the sophomoric and totally moronic exhaltations of Mr. nincompoop himself, Chandler Burr. Good thing the year was 1994 and the internet hadn't penetrated much of Europe so thankfully many people were safe from his writing (Burr's, not Turin;s). Sure, ISM contains a high quality iris note, and thankfully its not a candied mandarin and honey sensory attack that most Serge Lutens fragrances are, but it does have stiff competition from Hiris and Iris Bleu Gris (IBG). Its iris note lacks the earthy and cold nature of iris found in IBG, which is what makes IBG to me the definite iris accord in perfume. Its also less varied than IBG in its evolution. I dont doubt that ISM contains a high percentage of iris absolute (Serge Lutens was apparently unhappy with Maurice Roucel's initial iris concentration and requested the iris concentration to be doubled many times over - maybe he was likening iris to honey ) but to me, the overall composition doesnt stand out much. At various facets it resembles other iris interpretations, and consequently suffers from a lack of individuality (and especially compared to the other Lutens). Yes, it definitely smells good, and is probably a fragrance you should try if you like the iris note, but I have a feeling that most Lutens fanatics rave over it because its part the "exclusive" line and they would have to make a pilgrimage to the land of Eiffel tower and underarm hair to acquire it - thats part of the allure, isnt it ? Oh and IBG can be had for $110 for a large bottle...still, I give ISM a thumbs up. Finally a quality Lutens I can actually wear !
18th January, 2007
A very strong smell of wet earth, in a good way, but it is certainly unadorned, unadulterated earth. It makes sense that it is the roots of the iris that are represented. This scent has a very emotional impact of me. The stoic bitterness is like sadness in a bottle, but not bad sadness. Wearing this when I am down has that same sweet painfulness of rubbing a bruise. One of my absolute favourites.
It can be warmed up with layering. I wore it over cuir mauesque and loved it.
29th October, 2006
One of my all time favorite fragrances, Iris Silver Mist makes me feel as though I have dug my hands into the ground, dug up fresh irises and crushed them roots and all in my fingers. I would never have thought that something that reminded me of the smell of dirt could be so provocative but this seems to capture the green life potential in the earth and transfer it to your scent receptors. Hypnotic.
21st April, 2006
leopoldo Show all reviews
United Kingdom
One of the most ethereal scents I have ever had the pleasure to smell. In spite of its incredible fragility and airiness, it also smells of damp earth, but so delicately and subtly you wonder how this fragrance was ever anchored down. A masterpiece. I thought its name was pretentious - instead it's more apposite then any perfume I know.
15th December, 2005