Code of Conduct
Results 1 to 37 of 37
  1. #1
    Basenotes Institution
    mikeperez23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Miami, FL
    Posts
    26,313

    Default Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    Orris is defined on Wikipedia as:

    '...the root of some species of iris, grown principally in southern Europe: Iris germanica, Iris florentina, and Iris pallida. Once important in western herbal medicine, it is now used mainly as a fixative and base note in perfumery, as well as an ingredient in many brands of gin (perhaps most famously in Bombay Sapphire gin). Orris root must generally be hung and aged for 5 years before it can be used for perfumery. This substance is left out of products that are labelled hypo-allergenic.'

    When I started posting here on Basenotes, I just assumed orris was iris - pronounced a different way. I've learned a lot about iris, how to detect it in scents, what iris prominent scents I like (Le Labo's, Serge's Iris Silver Mist, Bois Farine by L'Artisan) and don't like (Hiris, the new Prada, Dior Homme...) and how different iris can smell based upon how the perfumer handles it. Then I figured out: orris is NOT iris, it's a different note altogether!

    Orris I have limited experience with. I recently reviewed Incense Extreme by Andy Tauer. Other reviews of the IE scent are mentioning the Tauer Orris scent as strikingly similar to IE - which makes sense, since IE contains orris as one of its official notes. So, I decided it was time to open up and sample the Orris (thanks Scentsibility) and here's my first impressions of orris the note and Orris the scent:

    - Dark and cool (a dungeon full of iris stalks might smell like this, no?)
    - A slightly powdery aura to it but NOTHING like the powder that strikes my nose from the iris flower. Maybe powdery is the wrong word. Blurry might be better. Yes, blurry floral.
    - Iris smells floral. Orris smells vegetal.
    - When the Orris dries down and most of the smoke notes have burnt off my skin, the remaining notes remind me of how the air smells outside when it's getting ready to rain or a thunderstorm is approaching. I love this part of the scent.
    - Orris has a burnt character to the floral that like Andy's other scents, which could be interpreted by some as tar (birch tar, specifically) to some, but to me it just smells like cold smoky vegetable stalks. You know like when you grill vegetables on a BBQ grill and the vegetable flesh gets charred from the metal grill - that smell.
    - The floral aspect of Orris is orris and rose, yet the rose note is not like any other rose note I've smelled: it's almost as if the rose note has been cut in half, the top notes and part of the middle notes thrown away, and that wet rose base note left. It really helps to dramaticize the orris note and keeps it from being a little too drab IMO. But still dark.
    - Well of course everyone went bananas about this, when Andy released it to the public in samples and in limited edition bottles years ago! It's quite magical stuff.

    I'd love to hear from you Basenoters about your experiences with the orris note in other fragrances (if I remember Ormonde Jayne has an Orris scent, right?) and other Basenoters who wear or own the Orris from Tauer.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    If I'm not mistaken I believe Divine's L’homme de coeur is also a scent with orris. Or is it iris in that one?

    I do know that I like it a lot...

  3. #3
    Off-Scenter
    Guest

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    One must tread carefully here, since "iris" and "orris" are often used interchangeably in fragrance descriptions. This old gardener will tell you that iris blossoms, when they're fragrant at ll, have an intensely fruity scent that resembles nothing so much as simmering grape jelly. It's a very tricky note, since it can come off smelling like Jolly Ranchers hard candy.

    The complex, smooth, dry, yet oddly sweet and faintly rooty note that's at the heart of Iris Silver Mist, Hiris, Iris Bleu Gris and Homme de Coeur is most certainly the dried, aged iris rhizome (not a true root) that we sometimes call "orris."

  4. #4

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    I'm fully guilty of using Iris and Orris interchangeably. I don't think I've ever actually smelled what the Iris flower itself smells like...only the root, which I guess technically isn't iris at all. Either way, whatever's in Iris Silver Mist is what I'm drawn to...the dry, papery smell. It took me a long time to warm up to such a cold ingredient (no pun intended), but now that I have, its almost exclusively what I look for these days.

    After realizing how much I loved Bois Farine, I'm now testing Dzonkha, which also has a similar iris/orris note.

  5. #5
    Off-Scenter
    Guest

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    Quote Originally Posted by sofresh View Post
    ...whatever's in Iris Silver Mist is what I'm drawn to...the dry, papery smell...
    Yep, that's the root (rhizome). And yes, Dzongkha has a very nice, though gritty orris note.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?


    Quickly: In perfumery the roots of the iris plant are used to produce an orris absolute. The perfume absolute is never called iris. Iris is used as a concept to link the absolute material to the flower from which it came, and from whose dried, stored, and processed roots it was derived.


    A longer post on orris root and its use and application in perfumery will follow in the near future.

    For now, there are a number things which make the scent profile of orris/iris so varied. Provenance: Italy (Iris Pallida) or Morocco (Iris Germanica). Very little of the actually orris absolute is used in perfumery, though, for two reason: prohibitive high cost, and because a number of the orris like constituents of the absolute can be easily and relatively cheaply reproduced synthetically with high quality results and with an accurate verisimilitude to the original aromatic components of the absolute.

    Many of these components vary subtly and not so subtly and all these differences then became part of a larger palette from which the perfumer can choose. He or she can then emphasize one element over another by either choosing one element of orris absolute over another (violet over woody or vice versa, or rooty woody over floral woody etc.) or he or she can modify and blend orris elements with other floral and woody elements to emphasize and modify the nature of a particular orris floral, woody, or rooty component itself. Finally, many of the elements of orris root absolute work better as a fixative of other and in conjunction with other aromatic elements instead of alone and come to life when synergized in this way. The upshot is that when there is an orris (or iris) element to a fragrance, those words cover a wider spectrum of choices for the perfumer as well as a wide scent profile. That’s why there’s a difference; it’s not a difference between orris and iris.

    The story Luca Turin tells of Serge Lutens asking Maurice Roucel to throw more iris like aromachemicals into Iris Silver Mist in the light of what I’ve just written should make more sense then.

    I hope this helps.

    scentemental

    P.S. Sorry for the hurried nature of this post Mike. I noticed your post just as I was heading out the door (checking Basenotes one last time as I was doing so) and wrote this very quickly off the top of my head. I will post a longer more considered account some time soon.


    Last edited by scentemental; 3rd January 2008 at 08:57 PM.

  7. #7
    Basenotes Institution
    mikeperez23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Miami, FL
    Posts
    26,313

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    Quote Originally Posted by scentemental View Post

    That’s why there’s a difference; it’s not a difference between orris and iris.
    Thanks so much scentemental - I look forward to a more in depth post about orris/iris. Honestly, I still have a few questions, but I'll wait to post them when I see your future post.

    Two quick questions though scentemental:

    Have you smelled the Tauer Orris and if so, did you enjoy it?

    And more importantly, what happened to your revolving picture gallery of cute dog avatars??!
    Last edited by mikeperez23; 3rd January 2008 at 09:01 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    The Tauer Orris Secret Formula (not so secret, I stole this from several of Andy’s blog entries over the course of a couple of months)

    Top notes: Geraniol, Damascenone, Bulgarian rose absolute, Phenylethylalcohol, lemongrass, Linalool, benzylsalicylate, with black pepper, grapefruit, and bergamot. (These smell like iris, rose, pepper, cinnamon, and citrus).

    Middle notes: birch tar, cinnamon bark, hydroxycinnamaldehyde, and frankincense. (These ingredients add smokiness, incense, and more cinnamon).

    Base notes: Ambroxan, Sandalore, sandalwood from Australia, sandalwood from Mysore, Vetiverol, vetiver, methylcedrylketon, and agarwood. (These ingredients smell like ambergris, sandalwood, vetiver and finally oud).

    I found Orris a little too close to the femine side of unisex for my liking. It is beautiful and I hear that the new Incense Rose' is close to the original Orris. I can't wait to try it out!
    Last edited by paintrman; 3rd January 2008 at 09:25 PM. Reason: bad spelling

  9. #9

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    I've never smelled a scented iris - which disappoints me considering how many iris flowers I've seen - but does anyone have a suggestion for a real iris scent? When I talk about iris I always mean orris, as that's all I've smelled and, certainly, perfumers don't help by using the word iris on nearly all orris fragrances.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Galamb_Borong View Post
    I've never smelled a scented iris - which disappoints me considering how many iris flowers I've seen - but does anyone have a suggestion for a real iris scent? When I talk about iris I always mean orris, as that's all I've smelled and, certainly, perfumers don't help by using the word iris on nearly all orris fragrances.
    Iris flowers do not yield an essential oil, so any "Iris" fragrance would be a perfumer's creative reconstruction from other natural or synthetic essences. Only the roots of Iris Pallida, Germanica or Florentina provide fragrant raw material (and the fact they smell of violets confuses things even more. In German, e.g. orris root, which is given to teething babies, is mistakenly known as "Veilchenwurzel", i.e. violet root). Roots are just so much less romantic than flowers. Orris Silver Mist? Nahhh....
    Last edited by the_good_life; 3rd January 2008 at 10:16 PM.
    My Wardrobe
    II est de forts parfums pour qui toute matière/Est poreuse. On dirait qu'ils pénètrent le verre.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    When my supply of Tauer Orris runs out I'll probably replace it with SMN Citta di Kyoto.
    Or maybe running out will be a good excuse to sample some of the other fine iris/orris based scents.

    I've grown iris in the past and never noticed much scent from the blossoms. I think they are usually selected for height and petal color rather than scent.
    Mike: I'm glad you finally tried the Orris.
    [FONT=georgia, bookman old style, palatino linotype, book antiqua, palatino, trebuchet ms, helvetica, garamond, sans-serif, arial, verdana, avante garde, century gothic, comic sans ms, times, times new roman, serif]“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”[/FONT]

    ~ Robert Brault

  12. #12

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    The raw material is quite cheap actually. I found 200 grams of Orris Florentina for 10 euro.

    Might be nice to make a tincture out of this.

    Strange, I really thought this stuff was way more expensive.

  13. #13
    Off-Scenter
    Guest

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Galamb_Borong View Post
    I've never smelled a scented iris - which disappoints me considering how many iris flowers I've seen - but does anyone have a suggestion for a real iris scent? When I talk about iris I always mean orris, as that's all I've smelled and, certainly, perfumers don't help by using the word iris on nearly all orris fragrances.
    If yo mean by "real iris" a real orris root scent, then try any of the following:

    Hiris
    Iris Silver Mist
    Iris Bleu Gris
    Homme de Coeur
    Bois d'Iris

    As scentimental points out, iris blossom scents are rare as hens' teeth, if they exist at all. Iris pallida var. Germanica isn't grown muc hin gardens any more, but it has teh "grape jelly" fragrance I described ealier in this thread.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Domingo View Post
    The raw material is quite cheap actually. I found 200 grams of Orris Florentina for 10 euro.

    Might be nice to make a tincture out of this.

    Strange, I really thought this stuff was way more expensive.
    The price increases exponentially with the quality. Orris root from Tuscany will cost you a good deal more, something like 40-50 Euros for one ml of absolue.
    My Wardrobe
    II est de forts parfums pour qui toute matière/Est poreuse. On dirait qu'ils pénètrent le verre.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    This is one of those instances where I wish the directory was up and running...

    Would the following be considered floral iris:
    Iris Taizo
    Iris Nobilie
    Terre d'Iris

    IIn the meantime, I'll pull my samples of the first two out and refresh my memory.

    p.s. I love orris/iris root, but am only lukewarm on floral iris scents in the perfumes I've sampled, at least as I recall. They never accurately capture the true scent of the iris flower, which is truly captivating, if one has ever smelled it. Only moderately sweet, but with a pronounced note of crushed stems - sort of like a slightly bitter violet. My grandmother grew irises with intense bouquet; it's a smell I'll never forget, even if I can't adequately describe it.
    Last edited by Snafoo; 3rd January 2008 at 11:21 PM.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts. Daniel Moynihan

  16. #16

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Domingo View Post
    The raw material is quite cheap actually. I found 200 grams of Orris Florentina for 10 euro.

    Might be nice to make a tincture out of this.

    Strange, I really thought this stuff was way more expensive.
    At that price it's probably adulterated or already diluted or blended with other oils.

  17. #17

    Arrow Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    Quote Originally Posted by the_good_life View Post
    The price increases exponentially with the quality. Orris root from Tuscany will cost you a good deal more, something like 40-50 Euros for one ml of absolue.
    Quote Originally Posted by SculptureOfSoul View Post
    At that price it's probably adulterated or already diluted or blended with other oils.
    No no, you don't understand.

    I'm sorry I didn't make myself clear. It's the dried root itself, not an extract!

  18. #18

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    I own and wear Andy's Orris, and while I always loved it, I find it even more appealing now. I agree about it having a green veggie part, which I get mostly in the opening, before the rugged black leather and birch tar make an appearance. It stays leathery even when the floral part arrives, and keeps the scent from ever going fully feminine. Sometimes it feels butch, but other times the black leather is more vintage purse than a biker's jacket.
    I was surprised to discover that it blooms more beautifully in the summer. The rose is more dominant on my skin in warm temperatures.

    My original mini-review is at the bottom of this post:
    http://thenonblonde.blogspot.com/2007/01/love.html

    Other orris scent of note is PG Iris Taizo, which I see as quite feminine. It's a full-bodied and rich scent that seems to have it all: roots, flowers, incense and wood. I feel it makes Prada's iris effort feel a bit weak and lacking.
    http://thenonblonde.blogspot.com/200...dy-floral.html

    More unisex is CdG Zagorsk. It's not an orris scent, of course, but I find the iris note (that's what Luckyscent list says) as the part that makes the smoky woods and incense so pretty:
    http://thenonblonde.blogspot.com/200...l-incense.html
    (again, it's the last part of the review)

  19. #19

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Galamb_Borong View Post
    I've never smelled a scented iris - which disappoints me considering how many iris flowers I've seen - but does anyone have a suggestion for a real iris scent? When I talk about iris I always mean orris, as that's all I've smelled and, certainly, perfumers don't help by using the word iris on nearly all orris fragrances.
    I guess I didn't make myself clear. I'll put it simply: there's no such thing as a "real iris scent."

    I'll try to explain with some reiteration, clearer emphasis, and with further elaboration:

    The reason perfumers use the word iris or orris for all iris fragrances is because their is no single iris note. Orris is the name given to the absolute produced from the iris plant.

    Orris/iris in perfumery is NOT a single note; it never has been; it never will be.

    Orris/iris is a concept which in reality means a wide range of choices for perfumers in terms of which components they chose to emphasize from the numerous aromatic choices the complex chemical composition of orris absolute affords them.

    People are surprised to find that orris absolute when smelled up close in its concentrated form actually smells like very little of anything. It's only when it's diluted and mixed, augmented, synergised with other aromatic elements that it reveals its broad spectrum of fragrant possibilities, but it's not one smell. The elements of the smell literally have to be dissected and reconstituted and are almost exclusively done so these days in the lab. You can't just put orris absolute in a fragrance and have an iris fragrance. That not how the material works as a perfume ingredient and that's not how perfumers use it. Again, I refer to the story told by Luca Turin. Serge Lutens wanting to create the "ultimate" iris fragrances finds that he has to exhort his perfumer to throw in all and every iris-like aromachemical available. Even if Iris Silver Mist has Iris Absolute in it, it's not enough to make it an "iris" fragrance, at least not for Lutens.

    Finally, orris absolute is used as a fixative; it's only in its fixative capacity that the orris absolute blooms because it primarily does so synergistically as it slows down the evaporative rate of other aromatic elements and combines with them at the same time to form a different aromatic whole. That different aromatic whole will differ every time orris absolute or the synthetically isolated aromatic components of orris absolute are combined with different aromatic ingredients in different combinations. That's why there cannot be, and why there is no "real" iris scent to speak of, and that's why Andy Tauer's Orris differs so significantly from Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist; so much so that one might think correctly that orris and iris are two different things. It doesn't differ because perfumers are out to hoodwink and confuse an innocent desiring public and keep us from enjoying a true iris fragrance.

    Incidentally, the primary reason iris flowers have no smell* is because Nature is a very efficient system. Colorful flowers don't usually need scent to attract insects for pollination, whereas white flowers do. That's why white flowers generally are always potently fragrant and colorful flowers are usually not.

    *In my travels in Italy, I will report, as others have reported elsewhere, that one can smell a iris scent from the plant itself--it tends to be somewhat violet in nature--but it's delicate, fugacious, liminal, and only ever so barely detectable, at least from my experience, in certain ambient conditions and only when there is huge fields of irises.

    A further distinction needs to be made here between the whole plant can which can have an ambient smell and the flowers which may have no smell or even no use in perfumery. Such is the case with Rose sauvage, the French name for Rosa rubiginosa, in English commonly known as Sweet Briar Rose. The interesting thing about the Sweet Briar Rose is that its rose petals don’t have any scent at all. The fragrance is located in the leaves and is essentially impossible to extract. Sweet Briar Rose smells nothing like roses smell in general. If it every appears in fragrances, it is an aromachemical recreation of what the general scent of the Sweet Briar Rose shrub smells like, which can best be described as a sweet vegetal, muguet like, somewhat abstractly floral spiciness.

    Perhaps head space technology might be able to capture such a will-o'-the-wisp phantom of iris flowers, but even if it does, it will smell nothing like all the orris/iris notes you find in various iris/orris fragrances, because flowers are petals and orris absolute comes from the
    aged, processed, and chemically treated roots of the plant.

    scentemental

    Last edited by scentemental; 4th January 2008 at 02:13 AM.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    Quote Originally Posted by scentemental View Post
    Incidentally, the primary reason iris flowers have no smell* is because Nature is a very efficient system. Colorful flowers don't usually need scent to attract insects for pollination, whereas white flowers do. That's why white flowers generally are always potently fragrant and colorful flowers are usually not.

    *In my travels in Italy, I will report, as others have reported elsewhere, that one can smell a iris scent from the flowers--it tends to be somewhat violet in nature--but it's delicate, fugacious, liminal, and only ever so barely detectable, at least from my experience, in certain ambient conditions and only when there is huge fields of irises.
    I have to respectfully take, if not an opposing view, at least an oblique one regarding flowers, scent, and iris in particular. One could list a host of white flowers with no scent; and conversely even more brightly colored flowers with overpowering scent - the rose being perhaps the most obvious example. In the case of the iris, I would argue that the scent has been lost due to breeders' preference for color over scent, much like so many rose cultivars. Also, my experience with iris is that it doesn't take a field to detect its scent, just the proper variety, but do agree that I've never smelled a perfume remotely like it, nor do I expect to soon. Some scents can't be bottled, no matter the chemist's skill.
    Last edited by Snafoo; 4th January 2008 at 10:49 PM.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts. Daniel Moynihan

  21. #21

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    Scentamental - one quick question...because the whole topic is confusing me now. Is it wrong to say that iris as a factor in perfumery is different than orris? I understand the technical difference now that everyone has explained it, but I want to make sure I use the terms correctly (which you've probably already explained...bless us blonds ).

  22. #22

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Domingo View Post
    No no, you don't understand.

    I'm sorry I didn't make myself clear. It's the dried root itself, not an extract!
    Domingo,

    The yield of raw material to orris absolute is, at best, 0.1%. That means that it takes a metric ton of roots to produce a kilogram of orris absolute. The cost is not in the roots themselves per se; it's in the planting growing, harvesting of the orris roots, and in their storage, and in the processing of the raw orris material, all of which are meticulously managed by experts.

    Let assume your 200 grams is the best quality orris rhizome available. That's an unlikely possibility, btw. It would yield 0.2 grams of orris absolute, and that's if you could find someone to process it for you. Given that its out in the general market, I very much doubt that is the processable, valuable kind. I am not suggesting it doesn't have any value or any aromatic potential, but clearly, as the other posters have noted, it's not the stuff that the extraordinarily expensive orris absolute is made of. Only people in the industry with loads and loads of money have access to that stuff.

    scentemental
    --------------------------------------
    Quote Originally Posted by sofresh View Post
    Scentamental - one quick question...because the whole topic is confusing me now. Is it wrong to say that iris as a factor in perfumery is different than orris? I understand the technical difference now that everyone has explained it, but I want to make sure I use the terms correctly (which you've probably already explained...bless us blonds ).

    I hate to quote myself, but perhaps removing the relevant quotations and isolating them might help to better answer your question:

    Quote Originally Posted by scentemental View Post

    Quickly: In perfumery the roots of the iris plant are used to produce an orris absolute. The perfume absolute is never called iris. Iris is used as a concept to link the absolute material to the flower from which it came, and from whose dried, stored, and processed roots it was derived.
    Quote Originally Posted by scentemental View Post
    I guess I didn't make myself clear. I'll put it simply: there's no such thing as a "real iris scent."

    I'll try to explain with some reiteration, clearer emphasis, and with further elaboration:

    The reason perfumers use the word iris or orris for all iris fragrances is because their is no single iris note. Orris is the name given to the absolute produced from the iris plant.

    Orris/iris in perfumery is NOT a single note; it never has been; it never will be.

    Orris/iris is a concept which in reality means a wide range of choices for perfumers in terms of which components they chose to emphasize from the numerous aromatic choices the complex chemical composition of orris absolute affords them.
    I'll also try to put it more simply:

    You can talk about an iris note in fragrance as long as you don't make the mistake of suggesting or believing that that note comes from the iris flower. It comes from the orris root or from synthetically isolated aroma components that are found in that absolute.

    The word orris actually derives from the morphological and phonetic alteration of the Middle English word for Iris, namely, yreos, which is itself derived from the Latin iris. It's the same thing really. If you think of orris root as iris root anything that approximates the broad profile of orris absolute can be termed to be iris. Like all notes named in fragrances, they are essentially conceptual constructs that link the note back to its in nature specific origin.

    Sorry, but that's about as blond as I can get.

    --------------------------------------
    Quote Originally Posted by Snafoo View Post
    I have to respectfully take, if not an opposing view, at least an oblique one regarding flowers, scent, and iris in particular. One could list a host of white flowers with no scent; likewise even more brightly colored flowers with overpowering scent - the rose being perhaps the most obvious example. In the case of the iris, I would argue that the scent has been lost due to breeders' preference for color over scent, much like so many rose cultivars. Also, my experience with iris is that it doesn't take a field to detect its scent, just the proper variety, but do agree that I've never smelled a perfume remotely like it, nor do I expect to soon. Some scents can't be bottled, no matter the chemist's skill.
    Snafoo, thanks for your invaluable contributions. I envy people with real contact and experience of flowers.

    I would like to say in answer to your first point, that I was careful to use the words "usually" and "generally" when making those claims. Yes, indeed, as in life, in Nature there are always many exceptions to the general rule.

    I think your point certainly holds for roses, but I think that in the case of irises, it a different issue. Irises are, as far as I understand, and that's why I used the example of the sweet briar rose, not amenable to having their delicate fragrance extracted under any circumstances, and like the sweet briar rose, I would submit that the fragrance probably resides in the whole plant rather than the petals. I have not had the experience of directly smelling and growing irises that you've had, so I will certainly and gratefully defer to your experience about them having a scent. I know many people who claim that irises have a scent, but I will make one final point: that doesn't mean that fragrance is necessarily available for use in perfumery.

    Best regards to all, and thanks for a great discussion.

    scentemental

    P.S. I am exhausted.


    Last edited by scentemental; 4th January 2008 at 02:06 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  23. #23

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    Quote Originally Posted by scentemental View Post
    It's the same thing really. If you think of orris root as iris root anything that approximates the broad profile of orris absolute can be termed to be iris. Like all notes named in fragrances they are essentially conceptual construct that link the note back to its in nature specific origin.
    Okay, just to make sure I've got everything clear:

    Quote Originally Posted by Galamb_Borong View Post
    When I talk about iris I always mean orris, as that's all I've smelled and, certainly, perfumers don't help by using the word iris on nearly all orris fragrances.
    So it is okay to use the terms iris and orris interchangeably when speaking about fragrance?

  24. #24

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Galamb_Borong View Post
    Okay, just to make sure I've got everything clear:



    So it is okay to use the terms iris and orris interchangeably when speaking about fragrance?

    Boy, I feel like I am on the witness stand.

    Like a good defendant who's had the best counsel money can by, I will simply say yes, but with all of the provisos I mentioned above in response to sofresh's post.

    scentemental

    P.S. Please, no more. I already gave at the office today.


    Last edited by scentemental; 4th January 2008 at 03:35 AM.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    From the Wiki:
    "...Iris rhizomes are harvested, dried, and aged for up to 5 years. In this time, the fats and oils inside the roots undergo degradation and oxidation, which produces many fragrant compounds that are invaluable in perfumery. The scent is said to be similar to violets. The aged rhizomes are steamed distilled which produces a thick oily compound, known in the perfume industry as iris butter."
    I grew up with beautiful Iris gardens in our backyard. The predominate colors were either all white or purple and yellow. They were glorious and had the most unique odor about them. A very wet and earthy smell, I think the wet linen analogy fits, with a slight touch of violet. The smell seemed to come from the entire plant.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    Quote Originally Posted by scentemental View Post
    I would like to say in answer to your first point, that I was careful to use the words "usually" and "generally" when making those claims. Yes, indeed, as in life, in Nature there are always many exceptions to the general rule.
    One last comment on flower scents, and then I'll quit, knowing that I'm getting off topic now... It's been my experience that tropical flowers - in general - don't seem to be scented as often as non-tropicals, with several notable exceptions (plumeria/frangipani and jasmine/sampaguita in particular!). Not sure why, that's just my impression.

    Thanks, Scentemental for your explanation of orris/iris. I'll have to re-read your posts a couple of times for it all to sink in. Not because you weren't eloquent as always, but because my addled brain isn't what it used to be!
    Last edited by Snafoo; 4th January 2008 at 10:50 PM.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts. Daniel Moynihan

  27. #27

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    I may know little about perfume, but nobody can talk me out of the most beautiful fragrance I get from Iris blossoms, each and every year when spring turns into summer. I grew into gardening naturally, and when I designed a garden, smells were always as important as colors. It is true that some Iris blossoms have practically no smell at all. And while a large number of them smells just faintly, many are well perceptible if you bend towards the individual plant. Some have the most marvelous fragrance around noontime (on warmer days). You can also detect their perfume well if you cut some for a vase. But as each blossom turns, the smell of decay comes out strongly.

    Our city maintains an Iris garden with countless plants of about a hundred different varieties. And as has been mentioned by Snafoo already, most of them seem to have been cultivated for the complexity/color of their blossoms, and not for their smells, which vary here as much as they do with other plants like jasmine, rose, or lavender. Some Iris reminds you faintly of honey while another has a citrussy freshness, and a third is as fruity as fresh peach. Their formulas might be quite complex indeed.

    The closest I came to the floral note in perfumery was with AdP Iris Nobile (so far). Between Dior Homme and AT Orris is a completely different variety of perfumes based on the rhizome. I think LesNez / Isabelle Doyen's Unicorn spell belongs here also.
    Last edited by narcus; 4th January 2008 at 01:36 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    Quote Originally Posted by narcus View Post
    I may know little about perfume, but nobody can talk me out of the most beautiful fragrance I get from Iris blossoms, each and every year when spring turns into summer . . .

    It's odd reading what you just wrote because I thought I made it very clear in my last few posts in this thread that my knowledge of actual iris blooms is very limited, except for my experience of them in Italy, where I also made it quite clear that they had a scent and that I appreciated and happily accepted Snafoo's acccount of his experiences as I do yours, despite the fact that you somehow imagine that I am trying to talk you out of your experiences (wonderfully described by the way). That couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, I am delighted to see you are actually reading my posts even if you don't, it seems, appreciate them, and I am delighted to see that some iris blooms do present a fragrance.

    Anyway, no hard feelings and a happy new year to you narcus,

    scentemental

  29. #29

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    Quote Originally Posted by scentemental View Post
    It's odd reading what you just wrote because I thought I made it very clear in my last few posts in this thread that my knowledge of actual iris blooms is very limited...
    I envision Scentemental with his nose thrust in every iris he encounters next Spring...
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts. Daniel Moynihan

  30. #30

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snafoo View Post
    I envision Scentemental with his nose thrust in every iris he encounters next Spring...
    Unfortunately, flowers generally don't have a scent where I live. I am planning to travel around Europe in the next few years, and you're absolutely correct Snafoo. I will have my nose in every bloom I encounter, especially irises, and I will ask many questions and solicit many opinions to the point where I'll probably make a real nuisance of myself, but you know what? I can't imagine time better spent.

    scentemental
    Last edited by scentemental; 4th January 2008 at 02:48 PM.

  31. #31
    Basenotes Institution
    mikeperez23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Miami, FL
    Posts
    26,313

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    I am wearing the very last few drops of my Orris sample tonight - this stuff is heavenly...I detected much more of an animalic quality to the juice tonight. Skanky iris - which honestly, I've never smelled before.

    How did Andy do this? Just amazing...
    Last edited by mikeperez23; 24th May 2008 at 03:24 AM.
    "One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple"

    -- Jack Kerouac

  32. #32

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    Many iris flowers do not have a scent, but I have to concur with some others who have said that some do! And a most beautiful scent too! Very different from orris root. And different iris flowers may smell different from each other, as well. My aunt's blue irises had a cool sweet smell. However, once I found a white iris flower that had a different warmer, sugary smell.

    (By the way, if someone can send me a private note about which irises do have scent, I would appreciate it. My aunt used to have very fragrant ones, but that was at her old house. As for myself, I've only once bought an iris with scent, and that one I had to leave at my old house. I regret not digging up the rhizomes and taking them with me, but I didn't think irises would fare well in desert weather with no real seasons.)

  33. #33

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    Thanks, scentemental, for your six posts on the orris/iris questions of this thread.

    I found your posts informative, concise, and clearly expressed. Posts like yours makes Basenotes
    a valuable resource for fragrance fans.

    By the way, I like Tauer's Orris because to me it is a striking composition.

  34. #34

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    I dug up some garden irises a couple years ago and decided to dry the roots...and, there was no scent. Likewise, some roses are cultivated for their color and blossoms and have very little scent (florists roses come to mind). Flowers and roots which are cultivated for scent may be ugly plants otherwise, but their perfumes capture the imagination so that the most beautiful thing comes to mind.

    I have used powdered orris as a fixative for other blended plant materials such as rose petals, jasmine flowers, etc. Of course, the stuff they sell at the natural food store is dreadfully cheap, but it does help to get the gist of it. The scent is sweet, earthy and powdery. Sometimes it makes me think of old drawer sachets, and in this context can be a bit off-putting.

    Whenever I smell an iris perfume, I expect to get the sweet, earthy scent of the root, but many times I get the violet instead. I have never encountered scented iris blossoms, so I am happy to learn of this quality. However, it never quite meets my expectations, even though I know that some species of iris are also known as Sweet Flag!

  35. #35

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    What a great thread. Thanks to Mike and all those who contributed.

    I read about the controversies or complications of Iris many times and actually like it myself but always questioned myself as I had never smelled it before. And it smells differently in say Iris Sliver Mist than in Citta di Kyoto or Hiris or Iris Pallida.
    Of course there are so many synthetic materials and other notes that make it not as straightforward to identify.
    I have either smelled many natural notes or have smelled the essential oil buy have yet to smell orris or a scented Iris.
    I've smelled vetiver in essential oil format and as a natural grass root that my Aunty got me from India during her travels.
    Every year my mother grows roses from different origins like Damascan, Himalayan (north of India/Pakistan), Turkish and English as examples. So I know in general what roses smell like.
    I wish i could do the same for iris.

    for swap/sale:





  36. #36
    hednic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    McLean, NYC, & Búzios
    Posts
    77,320

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    Quote Originally Posted by the_good_life View Post
    The price increases exponentially with the quality. Orris root from Tuscany will cost you a good deal more, something like 40-50 Euros for one ml of absolute.
    And that's probably a very conservative estimate.

  37. #37

    Default Re: Can we talk about orris (the note and the Tauer scent)?

    Orris Root has been commonly used as a fixative in make up for many years. Its scent is often associated with "make up" because of this. The dried rhizome is not all that expensive, but it yields very little when distilled or extracted as an essential oil, absolute, or concrete. Therefore it has become a very precious and expensive constituent in perfumery. The synthetic orris is what is almost universally used when the note is required. I always doubt very highly when I hear someone tell me that natural orris essential or some such thing was used in a fragrance. Not that it isn't available; it is. But it is very, very expensive. The synthetics can smell very real, so who cares anyway, as long as the fragrance is well done. BTW, Orris is one of the most highly allergenic ingredients in all of perfumery.

Similar Threads

  1. Amor Pour Homme: A Review
    By scentemental in forum Male Fragrance Discussion
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 30th January 2008, 11:39 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •