Iris in Perfume

A subtle, powdery scent commonly found in makeup products, Iris is also known as Orris is a wonderful ingredient in perfumes.

The Egyptians cherished it as a symbol of majestic power, the Ancient Greeks and Romans bottled it as an essential oil, but orris is still an incredibly well-loved ingredient today. The dried roots of the Iris flower are ground up, distilled and extracted into either a resin, absolute or butter. They can smell buttery-soft, smooth and skin-like. It has a powdery aroma that’s undeniable but can also be reminiscent of suede or even freshly-baked bread.


Iris is a beautiful flower with origins in Italy and Morocco. It takes on all the colours of the rainbow but is most commonly known for it’s purple and blue petals. The flower itself actually carries little scent. It’s the roots (‘Orris’) that hold the scented magic but only one species is used in fragrance – Iris Pallida. When the iris is picked, it’s left to dry for up to 6 years! In our opinion, it’s well worth the wait. Like a fine wine, the scent of Iris gets better with age.


During the drying process, the roots naturally develop a soft, powdery, clean smell that is amplified once they are ground into a powder. The powdery aroma is also an association to its parma violet scent! ‘Irone’ is a molecule found in Iris that derives from the ionone family. Ionones are also found in violets! Voila!

Violets have been used since the Victorian era for adding scent to cosmetics and powders. This explains why people think of makeup when they first smell iris. It’s a comforting aroma.


An amber wrapped in powdery notes; dark yet soft.

The Perfumer’s Inspiration

A power play of ingredients, a scent of juxtapositions. A smoky, smooth incense pierces through rich, resinous myrrh. The subtle, hushed powderiness of orris contrasted with the warm, balsamic facets of labdanum. Syrupy vanilla is poured over patchouli for a chocolatey accord that soothes in the background. A blanket of ambroxan and ambrette seed makes everything soft – a downiness you can almost feel.

/ With ambrette seed absolute, Somalian incense oil, labdanum absolute, myrrh absolute, Indonesian patchouli, vanilla absolute, Italian orris, ambroxan.