Tag Archives: Jacques Fath

Queenly Jewel, Jacques Fath L’Iris de Fath

Among hundrets or even thousands of ingredients used in perfumery each fragrance enthusiast probably has a list of their favourite ones. I love iris. It started to fascinate me at the very early days of my scented adventures but to be honest with you I have no rational explanation why iris or how this love started. It just did… and continues to these days. Despite being a difficult material to work with there are numerous iris perfume on the market. Some are better, some worse. I like many, some I don’t. One is even my nemesis. But among them there’s one that every iris lover should covet. A fragrance legend, a holy grail of all orris. Its name –  Iris Gris, by Jacques Fath.

Composed for house of Jacques Fath by perfumer Vincent Roubert, the perfume was  introduced to the market in 1947. Only 7 years later, in 1954, a year in which Mr. Fath died, the perfume stopped being made. Despite its short lifespan Iris Gris managed to carve its name on the pages of history of perfumery. It was the most expensive perfume in the world due to unprecedented amount of iris used in the formulation. Sadly its fate was to be gone forever. Over the years many tried to copy the masterpiece but nothing could rival the original. In 2018 Panouge, current owner of Jacques Fath label, announced the finale of their big project to bring back the glory days of Iris Gris.

iris-de-fath

The competition was an open brief, any perfumer who was up for a challenge could submit their vision of Iris Gris of modern day. Using their nose, intuition, Osmotheque reproduction and vintage bottles, perfumers tried to revive this gem. Finally in a blind smelling a panel of experts unanimously decided on the best interpretation. It was one by Patrice Revillard, who only just finished his perfumery training. Yohan Cervi assisted him on a creative direction part. That way L’Iris de Fath was born (reborn?) last year. The composition opens with a petitgrain note that except of being green also has something dusty and dusky to it. Imagine entering attic that was unused for years.

There’s something decadent or rustic about it. For a moment I could notice a hint of well-hidden bergamot and its sour scent but it disappeared in a blink of an eye, literally. After around 5 minutes L’Iris de Fath becomes more playful. When peach joins the composition it feels kind of fluffy. The fuzziness of the peach skin and the juicy aspect of said fruit nectar introduce more vibrancy and brightness to a rather dimmed beginning. But in following minutes peach starts to evolve into a creamy, relatively lactonic self. Along this fruity milkiness the initially undefined fatty element emerges. In my skin it’s intensely textured, kind of wrinkled, kind of grainy. Alluringly odd.

iris-fath

Fattiness eventually drops a disguise and reveals itself as a very buttery iris. The scent is rich, concentrated but at the same time it’s inoffensive. On the contrary, it spreads a very elegant aura, the scent associated with luxury and wealth. Without a doubt L’Iris de Fath gives off an old-fashioned vibe but for a perfume of this kind it’s a compliment. Peachy tones melt together with orris and fuzzy skin reminds me of suede. In fact the perfume also has a slightly sueded facet. It’s a soft and plushy one. Orris is hard to describe here as it has a certain softness but at the same time it’s more solid and viscous. I suppose the texture is like an actual butter. Solid but still soft.

Those creamy and rooty iris tones become lighter over time and at some points those irone molecules become fresher and more floral. When they do L’Iris de Fath changes the color from grayish to a dusty purple. Violet flower introduces a supple floral sensation that is accompannied by a crisp violet leaf. Both have some kind of freshness attached to them but the scent on my skin also makes me think of edible, candied violets. Slightly sugary but far from anything gourmand. As hours pass the scent becomes more mellow and smooth like a silk. Carnation adds a more defined flowery feel with its warm, gently fiery spiciness that reminds me of characteristic smell of clove.

fath-iris

Among official notes of Jacques Fath L’Iris de Fath there are also jasmine from Grasse and Turkish rose but both slipped my attention and after I was focused on the orris I observed carnation to be the next noticeable change. The luminosity of various facets becomes a bit darker due to presence of oakmoss which introduces a dry, slightly parched smell of lichen. Sandalwood together with bourbon vetiver create a substantive base that on one hand is creamy and polished and on the other hand it’s more rooty, aromatic and with uneven surface. Musky tones cement everything together with a slightly dirty, animalic and sensual fragrance. It’s subconsciously carnal & consciously attractive.

It takes a whole lot of courage and a pinch of craziness to try to revive a perfume that is this iconic. Of course there’s only one true Iris Gris but in my opinion Rania Naim as a creative director of Jacques Fath, together with Patrice Revillard and Yohan Cervi, they gave us a perfume worthy of being called its 21st century successor. L’Iris de Fath is a very luxurious and tenacious parfum, subtly elegant. Precious liquid is housed in a crystal-like bottle styled to look similar to original Iris Gris packaging. The flacon rests in a wooden coffret covered with grey leather. Due to extraordinarily high content of natural ingredients 30 ml of extrait is an expense of almost 1500 euro. With this price it’ll continue to funcion as a museal object for most of us but at least we know it exists.

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Falling Leaves, Two from Jacques Fath

While some parts of Poland suffer from extensive snowfalls, frigid weather and problems they can cause on the road and in the city, here where I live we didn’t get a single snowflake. I’m not sure if it’s good or bad but I wish it was a bit white – it’s Winter after all. When I look outside the window it looks more like gloomy Autumn – heavy clouds hang low in the sky, it rains & everything looks grey and dull. This kind of weather brough me to finally trying a 3rd volume of Fath Essentials by Jacques Fath. There are 4 new scents. They all fit an Autumn mood in my mind.

Le Loden immediately opens with a generous dose of rooty vetiver. It has an aromatic feeling to it, slightly earthy but not very dirty with the soil. Effervescent spiciness of fresh ginger make vetiver stand out and truly shine in this fragrance. A hint of mandarin makes the whole blend softer and a little juicy with a certain tang. Pink pepper essence introduces mild spiciness that vibrates in a pleasant way and adds an extra facet to the aromatic impression. Further into its development Le Loden becomes green and crispy thanks to a geranium note used by a perfumer.

loden

After a while the perfume becomes kind of raspy, prickly. The feeling I get is still green but the shade has darkened. It could be a raspberry leaf, a new material that became quite trendy in 2018. I haven’t smelled its pure form so don’t know its exact characteristics. Juniper berry add a delicate metallic sensation of gin & tonic. Drydown is a little floral and creamy due to presence of ylang-ylang but it quickly moves to the background when curly, brownish leaves of tobacco appear. They spread their characteristic aroma – slightly smoky, stale, enveloping. Together with patchouli and more vetiver Le Londen turns woody, darker & gradually fades away in that form.

Tempete d’Autumne is like a cold-fighting recipe on a chilly day. This composition opens with mouth-watering juices of orange and mandarin that evoke the smell of Christmas preparations. When cinnamon joins the composition the character of this fragrance becomes even more festive. It smells delicious like an orange decorated with studs made of cloves. After a while this new Jacques Fath offering becomes very warm and milky. The longer it sits on the skin the more complex and intriguing it becomes. To me the milky phase smells like a home-made remedy a mom would make.

tempete-automne

Lactonic tones of milk entwine with sugary spiciness of cinnamon. This drink, which is additionally infused with sensually warm tonka, feels also slightly aromatic and has a smooth character. It also creates the impression of smelling something honeyed, sweet. After a few hours I could smell a bit of coriander combined with fresh & herbaceous lavender tones. The very drydown is more substantive and full-bodied – it has a pleasant leather accord to make Tempete d’Automne more dense and a creamy, polished sandalwood to finish the fragrance with sensual, hugging feeling. The scent lingers nicely on your skin. Additional notes of this spicy-balmy perfume include ylang and white flowers.

All in all a third installment of Fath Essentials is a pretty solid quartet of fragrances. They are not my favorites from Jacques Fath as I think I liked the very first collection the most plus Rosso Epicureo from the second wave. Still I think that they are worth a try, especially if you’re looking for something green, woody or spicy. In my opinion this particular collection evokes Autumn spirit in a nice way – therefore I think they are best to wear in colder months. Le Loden with slightly green juice was composed by Luca Maffei while brownish juice of Tempete d’Automne is a work of Cecile Zarokian.

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