It was a very special evening for her. It could change her life for good and she knew it, preparing for that moment for the last couple of weeks. She put on a very delicate make-up highlighting the valor of her beautiful face. She didn’t even need a blush as her cheeks were rosy because of the inner excitement. She picked a dress in a color of pastel purple – a bit theatrical but it was a perfect match for her. Her man was supposed to pick her up but he was already late. But she wasn’t ready to give up hope just yet. With or without him it will be her night. Her name was Iris…
The history of Iris de Nuit, composed by James Heeley in the year 2000 that I’m going to tell you is not an optimistic, happy or a smooth one. It’s a little bit more complicated and shifting. I’ve been in possession of this sample for 2 years and my initial impression wasn’t really good to put it mildly. The sample was swapped but some invisible power caused that the very same sample returned to me after some time… Coincidence? Fate? Anyway – I gave it a try again, in the meantime some time passed and I still smell the same perfume but I understand it quite differently than in the past.
My perception of Iris de Nuit is that for the entire lasting power of this fragrance there is this aquatic, watery element which keeps going on and on. The perfume starts with the iris accord immediately. It blooms on your skin quickly with gray and purple petals. The aroma it effuses is mildly powdery and floral at a small level. And there is also something that for a while makes me think of wet laundry hanging on the strings in the middle of the meadow. Something fresh and crispy emerges from the composition. It’s the violet flower. It adds that cold and watery smell that is not happy at all…
In the next 30 minutes the crispiness of James Heeley Iris de Nuit grows stronger and greener. The pyramid of the notes might not confirm what I state, but I suppose that there is also a nice dose of violet leaf in this fragrance and it is the one that provides this effect. At some point the breezy laundry aroma goes to the back row and the voice now belongs to the first row in which ambrette has a VIP seat. It adds a musky, rather transparent and tranquil vibe. Since ambrette (musk mallow) is not an actual musk there really are no similarities between these two. Especially that ambrette has a vegetal undertone which just can’t be mistaken with animal-derived (or lab-produced) musk. As the evolution of the perfume continues it becomes a little bit more woody with a spicy mingles.
You can smell the raw and rugged cedarwood but it’s not overwhelming and it doesn’t have the sweaty smell (thank you!) The spiciness is from angelica which also warms up the composition of Iris de Nuit by a few degrees, no more. After around 4 hours you can experience the carrot seeds accord. You could briefly smell in earlier in the perfume development but now it’s at its full power. Even if it’s seed it actually smells like a mature carrot. It’s a bit muddy, earthy, vegetal and there is that specific dampness too. I would compare this scent now to the weaker version of Iris Silver Mist from Serge Lutens. That latter is the fragrance that I honestly can’t stand! Few hours later you reach the drydown which still smells of watery & powdery iris, some carrots and also of grey amber which serves as a lovely and peaceful base for a perfume like this.
If you asked for my opinion I would tell you thar Iris de Nuit by James Heeley is a very beautiful perfume but it’s not suitable for everyone who adores iris. To me there is some certain sadness in this fragrance. It doesn’t make me want to smile. It’s restrained and elegant in its simplicity. For a men wearer it’s described as: “classical, literary, romantic. ‘Portrait of Dorian Gray’, for women as “sensual, delicate, creative and individual.” Slightly purple color of this eau de parfum cocentrated juice matches its mood really well. The scent doesn’t project much but it has a good longevity of around 8 hours. Available in 100 ml bottle size. If you know Iris de Nuit, what do you think of it?
I don’t know how the story of the girl named Iris continues, but here is the music theme I find perfect for this perfume. It starts with “I see the sadness in your eyes…”
[note] All pictures in this review come from jamesheeley.com