Orris flowers have a particular scent and several years ago I did a study in Jardins des Plantes. Their scent is not related to the powdery cold violet note of the root. Instead they tend to offer delicious notes of orange flower, cocoa, chocolate, orange, honey, fruits-plum, some are very sweet, other have even rose and lilac undertones.
But this time, Jean Claude Ellena did not consider the particular scent of a specific orris flower, nor did he invent a new "orris flower" type. It was his olfactory research, the emotion and the surprise of a warm scent set in a cold majestic blue flower. It is about those ephemeral moments of emotion captured on the petal with a drop of dew.
Iris Ukiyoé is a cold floral perfume that starts to breathe and then warms slowly. The scent is closer to several hemerocallis, where the lily note becomes cold as ice, softly underlined by a delicate balsamic sweet note, totally opposed to the opulent spicy animalic white lilies.
The perfume starts in an ocean of green freshness where the bergamot is accompanied by lemony and bitter shades. This cold overture, evoking the rain of Après l'ondée (a perfume built on orris notes) is suddenly very vegetal. A touch of green is brought by the sap of young stems and it clearly defines the anatomy of the flower, in a contrast with metallic but warm notes of spices like pink pepper. The vegetal lily note starts to radiate in the immensity of a Hedione deluge where warm sweet notes of vanilla / benzoin add an exquisite touch, vaguely suggesting cocoa and maybe a trace of caramel (on skin). This lily note, given by a strong and specific molecule with a "bud" facet, is wrapped in the transparent softness of jasmine, softly underlined by a sensual heavy note. The perfume is Japanese by the purity of expression, the essential gestures, the focus on details but above all by this "écriture d'émotion" - a single flower, water, air.
This flower evokes the scent of hemerocallis but reminds also the Greek myth of Iris, the personification of the rainbow and messenger of the gods. JCE is not writing an orris poem, he actually distills the essence of the myth. What else is a rainbow than the infinity captured in a drop? The perfumer suspends his olfactory poem between a drop of water, the indigo blue background of a petal where a soft orange sweet note floats. In this micro environment he depicts the transition of the olfactory spectrum, from fresh to warm, with green vegetal blood, rose (rose), orange (flower and mandarin) or the blue coldness of lily molecules.
The perfume evokes also an unusual freshness that reminds me the era of O de Lancôme and Diorella as if the perfumer had captured for a moment the air of that nostalgic elegance. The lily note of this perfume suggests the majestic coldness of Un Lys (Serge Lutens) without the darkness of its sweet balsamic throne. The last words of the perfumer are undoubtedly a homage to the drydown of Diorissimo with its vegetal floral freshness.
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Fragrance is the 8th Art - Octavian Coifan - Le Parfum est le 8ème Art