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October 16, 2007

Prada Infusion d'Iris : 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.

"They were black when she was in shadow and dark blue in full daylight." I smell Infusion d’Iris, the latest fragrance from Prada, and Gustav Flaubert’s description of Emma Bovary’s eyes floats up in mind. Is it because I just finished re-reading Madame Bovary and the phrase is still fresh in my memory? Or is it because I find that Infusion d’Iris exhibits the marked diversity of nuances, much like the eyes of beautiful Emma? …

The composition seems to blend the scents of spring flowers, fallen leaves, frozen roots and summer greenery—a full spectrum of aroma derived from the roots of iris pallida. The beautiful natural iris butter which forms Infusion d’Iris conveys a misty, ethereal presence. The floral heart is sketched around the orange blossom, while the soft verdant notes provide the main leitmotif, from the marriage of anise and galbanum in the top notes to the delicate bitterness of vetiver in the base. For all its gorgeous natural materials, Infusion d’Iris is a classical fragrance—the fleshy naturals are braced by man-made essences. It strongly references Guerlain L’Heure Bleue, even down to Guerlain’s exquisite melancholy.

While the impact of Infusion d’Iris is based on strong contrasts and juxtapositions, it possesses the polished delicacy that marks perfumer Daniela Andrier’s body of work (such as Prada pour Homme, Armani Prive Pierre de Lune, Guerlain Angelique Noire.) In this sense, Infusion d’Iris is a perfect fragrance to be launched under the Prada brand. Much like the fashions of the house, the composition is refined and stylized, blending quintessentially feminine flounces with masculine austerity. The only detraction of Infusion d’Iris might be the ethereal presence, but its loveliness more than makes up for it.

Iris Ganache (Guerlain), Orris Noir (Ormonde Jayne), Iris Noir (Yves Rocher), Iris Pallida (L’Artisan Parfumeur), 28 La Pausa (Chanel)… It seems that iris is a rather au courant note in the European market. Even if US fragrances have not traditionally engaged in the same passionate love affair, I only need to smell the drydowns of Estee Lauder fragrances to draw different conclusions. From Beautiful to Pleasures, these all-American classics are underpinned by iris. Ethereal, mysterious and alluring, a mere touch of it manages to transform a bright hologram of a fragrance into a softly lit daguerreotype.

The notes of Prada Infusion d’Iris include mandarin, orange blossom, galbanum, iris, incense, benzoin, cedar, lentisc and vetiver. The Eau de Parfum can be found at Neiman Marcus.



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