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April 08, 2007

Guerlain Iris Ganache : Perfume Review


Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

Star rating: 5 stars--outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars--very good, 3 stars--adequate, 2 stars--disappointing, 1 star--poor.

Ganache is a mixture of chocolate and cream, which is blended until a soft, melting and decadently rich texture is attained. For the newest addition to Guerlain’s L'Art et la Matiere collection, which already includes Angélique Noire, Bois d’Arménie, Rose Barbare, and Cuir Beluga, perfumer Thierry Wasser took the richness of ganache as inspiration for an iris scent. If you are a regular visitor to Bois de Jasmin’s pages, you already know of my fascination with the iris note. I find the scent derived from iris roots quite beguiling—it is half way between flower and root, vegetal matter and mineral dust. Discovering Iris Ganache was quite an interesting experience. It proved that iris, when made overly sweet, can lose its elegant character and assume quite a flamboyant demeanour. …

Iris Ganache does not indulge in mystery. Once the soft grey iris gives way to the vanillic richness and creamy woods, the composition calls to mind gold, furs and red lipstick, rather than some vision of understated glamour. The spicy floral accord blooms in its heart foiled by the fudge like richness of the oriental base—tonka bean, vanilla, amber and milky woods. Iris Ganache is very much reminiscent of Insolence given their oriental bases and pronounced sweetness. However, while Insolence is filled with strawberry fizz, which somewhat cheapens its initial effect, Iris Ganache is all about luxury with a capital L.

In some ways, Iris Ganache is related to L’Heure Bleue, the grand Guerlain classic that has few rivals both for its remarkable sillage (the trail left by its wearer) and its glamourous aura. Apparently, Sylvaine Delacourte, the creative director of Guerlain, has always loved this fragrance, which explains L’Heure Bleue’s recent revival in various guises. Yet, I find that the delicate balance of powder, sweetness and opulence of L’Heure Bleue is not to be found in Iris Ganache. I waited for something to lift its heft and cloying richness, but nothing did. It remained beautiful, yet passionless.

Iris Ganache includes note of bergamot, iris butter, white chocolate, floral notes, cinnamon, patchouli, white musks, cedarwood and vanilla. Guerlain is available from 68, Champs Elysées Guerlain flagship store in Paris as well as Bergdorf Goodman.



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