Post by Anne-Marie
Often on a Sunday afternoon after a busy weekend I wind down with a bath and a book. The fragrance for afterwards has to be gentle and subtle to keep me content for the evening, before a new week cranks up again. At the moment, Hermès Hiris is the perfect accompaniment to this ritual.
Hiris by Olivia Giacobetti for Hermès 1999
Photo Stolen Fragrantica
Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Coriander, amber, iris, carnation
Heart: Iris, neroli, rose
Base: Honey, vanilla, cedar, almond tree
What works for me in Hiris is the contrast of cool and warm notes. Cool iris is dominant all the way through but is warmed and made easeful by spices (I love the coriander in the opening moments), and the subtlest touch of vanilla later on. (If there is honey in there I don’t perceive it unless it’s that touch of skin-alike sweetness in the base.) I don’t get the ‘carroty’ note in Hiris that other people notice. Earth certainly, but I smell no carrots. Hiris is dreamy and remote, but it likes you. Hiris wants to settle on your skin and stay there.
Photo Stolen WikiMedia
Other iris fragrances vying for our attention on the department store shelves, such as Prada’s Infusion d’Iris and Chanel’s No 19 Poudré, combine iris with gigantic quantities of pillowy white musk, but Hiris retains a dewy clarity that has nothing to do with musk. Neither the Prada or the Chanel appeal to me. Initially I loved No 19 Poudré but the musk was just too … well … dull. And I have trouble smelling Infusion d’Iris.
What bothers me sometimes in Hiris is a kind of musty soapiness. ‘Clothes washed in unscented fabric softener’ is how Luca Turin describes it, and while I would not go that far, I do see what he means, unfortunately.
Photo Stolen Hermès
I’m fine with Hiris not being a statement fragrance. To my mind Hiris is Hermès’ contribution to the 90s style of uncomplicated fragrances that seek only to make us feel clean and smell good. Thankfully it’s not as dated as many others in this genre. If the sillage is only moderate, Hiris veils beautifully. People will sense rather than really know that there is a lovely fragrance nearby.
Photo Stolen Wikipedia
Although the soapiness prevents me from loving Hiris, I persevere. I wear it out, wear it at home, wear it to bed. Where I live it’s winter, so who knows? Maybe Hiris will work better in warmer weather. I spray generously. It’s the best way to get to know a fragrance. Luckily I picked up my bottle at very little cost via local online classifieds, and it’s got about 60mls left, so I don’t have to be frugal. Mine’s the deep blue bottle. I’ve not seen the new one; do comment if you have compared them.
Do you have a favourite quiet fragrance for those in-between times, when you just want to smell good to yourself?
‘Til next time, keep spritzing!