Gray eyes, Aedes de Venustas Iris Nazarena

Aedes de Venustas, a luxurious niche perfume boutique located in West Village of New York City introduced its newest perfume creation which had its premiere on 15th June 2013. Described at Aedes website as “mysterious, mystical, sensuous” Iris Nazarena with the notes of iris and incense “matches the worlds most precious aromatic material with the most ancient. This is “iris, reborn” – they say. This perfume is a second take on the perfume art by Aedes de Venustas. First they created a scent called Aedes de Venustas last year. Earlier, in 2008Β L’Artisan ParfumeurΒ made a perfume for them. Thus Iris Nazarena is overally a 3rd fragrance but 2nd from AedesΒ themselves.

The very first accord of Iris Nazarena delivers a smell of astonishingly beautiful incense to my nose. When I smell it I think of incense sticks and ash. After an incense stick has completely burned there’s always some ash left on the tray. And this ash is almost weightless. You can spread it between your fingers making your hands black, but the weight is almost nonexistent. Incense note in this Aedes de Venustas creation is almost like this ash, it has no weight. It floats in the air, creating mesmerizing whirls of smoke, before they disappear, only leaving a trace of smell in the air.

Five minutes later a star of this perfume, iris, appears on my skin. Describing it is not an easy thing to do since Iris Nazarena smells like no other known iris perfume I tried so far. This one is different… To me there’s nothing floral about it. I would rather say that it has much more to do with a root. A smelly root, quite dry, without any water or damp soil sticking to it. With the magnificent incense staying very close to the iris note. At some point I thought I noticed a carrot undertone but it disappeared in a blink of an eye, so it could as well be just my imagination.

30 minutes from the moment of applying I begin to notice woody notes inside Iris Nazarena. I cannot say that I smell a particular species of wood here because I don’t. As another wafts of the fragrance reach my nose I get different impressions of this accord. It was very smooth one minute and the other minute it seemed to be more rough. The other day when I wore Iris Nazarena the woody notes reminded me of lacquered wooden benches with hints of Mysore sandalwood. Funny, huh?

Leather is the note that appears very shortly after the woodsy tones come forth. The leather I get is elegant and soft. It lacks the harsh aspects of pigments and the pungent kick that often characterises this note in modern perfumery. I would compare the leather I smell in Iris Nazarena to a new leather bag or maybe a jacket. It’s shiny and refined, like an expensive piece of clothing. The note is additionally mellowed by ambrette and it’s slightly creamy aroma.

At the end of 1st hour of wearing it, Iris Nazarena slowly evolves into something I would call “an ode to spices.” The transparent smokiness enveloping the rooty iris is still in the center position of this fragrance but some additional spicy qualities appear now, at hour 1 mark. I absolutely adore the star anise note in this perfume. It’s light but substantial, kind of making me think of a gingerbread (but it doesn’t really smell like a cookie!) I bet it’s the addition of cloves, sweet & spicy, that gave me this association. Even later, at 1,5 hour I could smell the pimento berries with their silvery-metalic finish which combined with oud note smells quite appealing, not to say charming.

In late drydown Aedes de Venustas Iris Nazarena is a soft, kind of plushy, suede-like perfume made mainly of iris and smoke. Occasionally one might notice some roses mingling in the background along with shimmers of amber. Soft, quite cosy, but not really dreamy.

Interesting fact about Iris Bismarckiana, a Nazarethan Iris growing only in the location of the mountains to the west of Nazareth (the city) is that the root of this flower is completely odorless. Thus Iris Nazarena couldn’t have been inspired by its smell. It’s more likely that the inspiration for this perfume was a flower, it’s creamy, brown and gray petals, their silky softness. It explains the gorgeous gray color of the glass used to make a flacon of this Aedes de Venustas fragrance and a grey suede-like box.

Iris Nazarena, created for Aedes de Venustas by perfumer Ralph Schwieger is a gorgeous, mysterious and “shy” fragrance. The rough elements used to create it resulted in charming, but at the same time colder and more reserved fragrance. To enjoy this perfume you need to uderstand it, you need to find it’s inner beauty. The entire composition leaves impression like it was more of a masculine than feminine iris. My skin allows me to enjoy Iris Nazarena for around 10-12 hours and I think that it would last even longer when it’s colder. The sillage is great for first 2-3 hours and then it starts to get smaller. I only have a sample of this stunning fragrance, I wish I had more.

Iris Nazarena is an eau de parfum concentrated fragrance available in 100ml bottles with a gold baroque zamak cap. Grey velvet box and smoky glass bottle represent a Sfumato mode in art.

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50 thoughts on “Gray eyes, Aedes de Venustas Iris Nazarena

  1. Natalie says:

    This is now a serious lemming for me. What a wonderfully written description of the incense! And I’m so glad to see a new launch for an indie company that is not created by Duchaufour. All other things aside, his work is everywhere, and I want to smell something different.

    • lucasai says:

      You should try Iris Nazarena, Natalie. It is a lovely perfume, really well done one. And right, it’s not by Duchaufour, which is a good thing for a change.

  2. Jordan River says:

    Great review Lucas. I have yet to smell this but have been excited about it. Your words have only increased the excitement. I almost wish I had not read your review (because I like to read reviews after I smell) but I could not wait.

  3. Kafkaesque says:

    It’s a lovely, evocative, descriptive review that very much includes a piece of you in it, Lucas. Beautifully done, my dear. You’ve outdone yourself — I really mean that. πŸ™‚ And the fragrance seems to be very much you.

    As for the perfume, I think the bottle is stunning, but I’m afraid I missed the Iris-appreciation gene the day they were handing that out. I shall go sit in the Evil Scent Twin corner. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜›

  4. Lovely review, but I am growing tired of incense which typically dominates and takes over fragrances for me. Maybe it’s just that I’m cranky because it’s 3:30am and I can’t sleep!!! Lovely review Lucas!

    • lucasai says:

      Ah, sorry that incense dominates the composition so often on your skin. I think with the amount of incense in Iris Nazarena this would be no exception.
      Sorry about the insomnia…

  5. poodle says:

    Great review and I’m happy you found another iris to love. I’ll stick with my iris in the garden and in small doses in perfume. Those rooty, carroty things never work on me at all.

    • lucasai says:

      Thanks, I’m happy with it too. It’s great that you have an iris in your garden, I don’t even have a garden πŸ˜‰ Too bad iris in perfume is not to your fancy.

  6. rictor07 says:

    I am in awe of how you can smell like 10 distinct stages of development in this, and most of the fragrances you review. The max i have ever got for any fragrance is 3, following the pyramid structure of top, heart, base.
    So to sum it up, Iris Nazarena is an incense-ash-iris-woods-leather-spice-anise-gingerbread-pimento-metallic-oud fragrance? =)

    • lucasai says:

      I wouldn’t have detected them all if I couldn’t have a look into the pyramid of notes. I learn a lot while perfume blogging, so more and more notes are easier to find in a fragrance without looking into notes. We learn all life, right?
      I wouldn’t call Iris Nazarena the way you did, especially that gingerbread was my personal feeling about it. I might be the only person in the world who got that association πŸ˜‰

  7. Tara says:

    I bought a bottle of this blind and am enjoying it a lot this summer. It is cool and leans a bit masculine on me (I am a woman but it can definitely be worn by both sexes). The opening is great and reminds me a bit of Iris Silver Mist but is distinctly different with the incense and wood notes. I wish the volume stayed up longer on this one, after an hour or two it is basically a skin scent on me, but I am happy to own it.

  8. leathermountain says:

    I’m curious about the iris/carrot connection. I’ve heard the two linked before in perfume contexts. But botanically I don’t get it. A monocot rhizome and an umbelliferous root? Convergent evolution?

  9. Undina says:

    First of all – great review, Lucas. You almost make me want to try it πŸ˜‰ Ok, maybe even without the “almost” part. I smelled this one on paper and wasn’t moved to apply it to the limited skin RE I had while visiting Jovoy. But maybe I should do it the next time I come across it in the store.

    What did surprise me was this part: “To me there’s nothing floral about it. I would rather say that it has much more to do with a root.” I’m not exactly sure why you expected the “floral” part from the iris-centric perfume. Since most (all?) iris flowers have almost no distinct scent “iris” as a perfume note usually means “iris root” and not an actual flower so it’s kind of given that it will be “rooty” unless some other floral notes are added. No? πŸ˜‰

    • lucasai says:

      Thank you sweetie! Glad I made you want to try it, without the “almost” part. Do try it next time.

      I mentioned about floral since on Fragrantica “floral” figures as a third main category of this perfum.
      There are methods (like cold maceration) that allow to obtain a smell of iris flower for the perfumery – it smells usually cold and watery. I believe Iris Ukiyoe from Hermes and Heeley Iris de Nuit have those floral accords.

      • Undina says:

        As somebody who actually likes irises as flowers, I don’t know what exactly is extracted as an “iris smell” because I could never smell anything really distinct from any of the iris flowers that went through my life. But maybe it’s a smell of the idea of the flower? πŸ™‚

        • lucasai says:

          I know actual iris practically has no scent so it’s totally abstract to say how it would smell in perfume. But you were perfectly right it is almost always iris root πŸ™‚

  10. What can I say? I’ll have to get a sample of this. It’s been cold here and I’ve been wearing a lot of Nez Γ  Nez Marron Chic, which has a lovely iris note that I’m digging. Now you totally got me on this one with your great review. Good job, Lucas!

    • lucasai says:

      Oh,cold, really. Here we are experiencing heatwaves for the last 3 weeks. Glad you like the review and that I caused your interest in Iris Nazarena grow bigger

  11. Hajusuuri says:

    Stopping in to say what a lovely review, dear Lucas. I saw the bottle at Aedes when I was there with dear Baconbiscuit back in June – it’s a gorgeous green. It is the same cigarette lighter type atomizer as the signature Aedes. I loved it on paper but have yet to try it on skin. Miguel gave us one sample each so when I get a chance I will certainly try it. And since you love it so, I think a FB may be in the cards for moi!

    • lucasai says:

      Oh, you here? I didn’t expect you to pop up since you’re on your vacation, traveling.
      Thank you for the kind words n the review.

      Did you really mean to say “green” about the bottle, or was it supposed to be “gray” instead?

      Great you’ve got a sample. Expect to love it πŸ˜‰

  12. Love the review, Lucas! I am sitting on my sample too like Hajusuuri. Will be testing it soon!

  13. Juraj says:

    Great review Lucas!

    Now, this is the one I like very much.
    I think that it brought something new to perfumery – iris leather with facets of slight orris roots, i.e. earthy iris leather. It’s new aesthetics. I love it very, very much!


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