I have not heart of Le Galion – Maison de Parfumerie until March of 2014. That’s when I met with their name for the first time, noticing their stand at Esxence fair in Milan. What attracted my attention back then were very elegant, shiny and glossy bottles. Curious as always I approached them and started sniffing. I liked almost every single fragrance in the collection, but samples were not available at that time. That’s the reason I didn’t tell you about Le Galion earlier. Writing from memories based on a single sniff wouldn’t do justice to the scents. Luckily Pitti Fragranze gave me a second chance to try this maison and this time I had an invitation to come to their stand.
Turned out that Le Galion is a historical perfume brand, originally founded in Paris in 1930. It was created by Prince Murat (Joachim Murat – Napoleon I brother-in-law) and 5 years later the maison was bought by perfumer Paul Vacher. He had many years of success in creating perfumes for his own brand and for Dior (Miss Dior, Diorling). In 1980 Le Galion was sold to American group but due to the poor managing skills the group went bankrupt causing Le Galion to disappear from the perfume map of the world. More than 30 years later, thanks to the passion of Nicolas Chabot and Thomas Fontaine the brand was brought back to life – like phoenix from the ashes.
Le Galion Iris, the perfume which stole my heart from the moment I sniffed it for the first time, was originally designed in 1937. This is a magical creation that requires the right amount of time because the longer you wear, the more beautiful it becomes. At first Iris presents a slightly carroty facet of the main ingredient. The carroty iris never was my favorite, but this one is quite fresh, not the boiled or rotting one. And there’s also something about this perfume that is like a promise of the unforgettable experience if you wait for a while longer. And Iris will fulfill its promise.
Just 15 minutes later the composition receives a very gentle touch of citrus aromas. Combined here are bergamot and cedrat, with their joined forces they create a beautiful citric impression – more aromatic and brisky, rather than juicy. Galbanum resin obtained from Ferula gummosa adds a very sophisticated twist of verdancy. But this is not a pungent green aroma, it’s very elegant and subtle, bringing enough of green molecules to make them noticeable but not overpowering.
After that phase, which lasts for another 15-20 minutes, here comes the time to experience the iris at its best. Iris in Le Galion Iris is incredibly good and it somehow manages to combine the richness and the lightness of this precious raw perfume material. When I speak of richness, I mean the saturation, this kind of buttery facet that at some point evolves on my skin into the most delicate, most refined suede-like aroma. On the other hand there is the lightness – iris dances on my skin like it had no weight, like it was floating, casting its mysterious spell on me. It’s like a beautiful trance… Addictive.
After a few hours the iris note becomes less prominent on my skin, but it’s still there of course. At the moment it presents a more powdery aspect of its own personality. There is a little bit of cosmetic vibe to it, just a tiny bit. The poudree sensation is highlighted with the aroma of green mimosa (which by the way introduces a little bit more of yellow floral tones too) and by ambrette seed that adds some vegetal qualities and warmth that effuses all around, surrounding the wearer.
Many hours later I can still smell the iris. Both powdery and suede-like facets are with me, bringing so much pleasure to my nose that I could just sit all day doing nothing else but wafting this incredibly charming aroma again and again. But at a certain point Le Galion Iris has to move on. As the time flies it becomes more musky, balancing between clean musk (not soapy) and sensual musk (not sweaty). Hints of royal lily introduce a slightly sweet and milky/creamy sensation which blends in the whole composition really well. After 6 hours the base notes start to emerge.
The drydown is focused on woody and ambery tones presented in a very sensual and soft way. There is quite a lot of cedarwood and this has nothing to do with dryness, sweaty aroma or roughness. It’s rather smooth and pleasant in touch. Amber brings even more light to Iris by Le Galion, as the note is sparkling and luminous. It’s also very warm and embracing, having this fantastic feel of fluffy cashmere sweater. In a state like this Iris can last even for 4 more hours.
Now that you’re finishing to read this review, you’re probably not surprised why this perfume stole my heart the first time I tried it. Not only because the perfume is incredible, both in terms of composition and lasting power and not only because I’m an iris lover. It’s just that Le Galion Iris feels very me. This perfume is a fragrance interpretation of my own aesthetics, when I wear it – it feels like the second skin. Perfumer Thomas Fontaine did an amazing job re-creating this perfume and adapting it to current times. The formulas of all Le Galion scents are said to be as close to original recipes as it was possible. Iris has a moderate sillage (I call it an elegant sillage – few inches above the skin) and it lasts for around 10 hours. In the end it blends with your skin. I’m officially in love.