Perfume Pen Pals: Hermes Iris Ukiyoe (Part Two)


I'm surprised that you're stopping short of a press release announcing Hermès Iris Ukiyoé as the iris for you. Because this has been quite a quest. A haphazardly-conducted quest, but a quest nevertheless.

On my own meandering iris quest, I now believe that “my iris” is Cartier L'Heure Promise. I'm still at the sample-begging stage with it, though, and there's every chance I could get to vial ten and go off the boil. And really, it's a cheat to call it “my iris”, because if I'm Frédéric-Malle-honest with myself, it's L'Heure Promise's sandalwood and musk that slays me, not the iris.

A purple iris.

As to your Jean-Claude Ellena perfume question: now that you mention it, I think he and I are passing ships in the night. There's admiration, but not lust. (Just from my end. I don't know how he feels about me.)

I pondered the list of his creations on Now Smell This, and the only ones that trigger an "ooh" from me are the most un-Ellena in the pack: L'Artisan L'eau d'Ambre and Hermès Elixir de Merveilles.

These are wooly, warm perfume duvets, more obvious than his current sleek, impeccably engineered wisps of scents. If I wore those wisps, I'd feel like I had on someone else's clothes.

I gather the whoop with Iris Ukiyoé is that it's based on flower of the iris, and not the roots as per usual. And even then, it's more of an interpretation of the flower than a holograph. So maybe you haven't found the iris for you. Because the iris for you isn't even an iris.



Last things first, I thought Iris Ukiyoé smelled prettier than the typical iris, but I didn't want to look a gift horse in the mouth. Or a gift flower in the stigma. If the iris for me happens to be more impressionistic than realistic, then that just means I'm on the side of art and creativity. And flowers. Just like my man Jean-Claude Ellena.

A purple iris.

Were you never fond of Ambre Narguile? Even when you were on an amber kick? And none of those early The Different Company's grabbed you? I do like Osmanthus. And Brin de Reglisse. And I remember wearing Jardin Sur Le Nil for a time. But, no, none are warm or wooly. And I wouldn't get into a fight over any of them. But then Ellena doesn't make perfumes that inspire violence, not like that reckless Maurice Roucel (I swear I'll slap anyone who comes near me wearing Musc Ravageur).

For better or worse, Jean-Claude is a civilized sort and most of his perfumes seem intended for admiration and not lust. Though that doesn't necessarily reflect on his feelings for you. He might have strong passions and if approached correctly, his next perfume could be Elixir du Puckrik. Though that sounds dirtier than I'd intended. And certainly dirtier than Jean-Claude intends. So the name will need some work.


Over to you, Fumies: perfumes that inspire violence? (I already know that Stefush is ready to bring the pain to anyone daring to wear Dan Tes Bras around him.)

Read the Pen Pals on Hermès Iris Ukiyoé (Part One) here.

Flower photo by Ginther
Eye photo by NeTo


  1. I think I might have to make a violent defense move if anyone tried to spritz me with either Gucci Rush or Gucci Rush 2. I might also consider a preemptive strike. It's not that I don't like it, it's just that I hate it, abrasive little number that it is. And if you've seen Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, you'll know that love-hate relationships are the most violent kind. I look at Gucci Rush 2 (which I know best) with overt accusation and a determined will to defend myself and shout: "How can you be so abrasive! And so milky! At the same time!!!"

    It's true that Ellena might not inspire passion, at least Un Jardin sur le Nil doesn't - my most recent purchase, it arrived yesterday, in fact. However, I do feel quite sophisticated this grey Friday morning in Denmark wearing JN. I feel Hermesque. And I haven't felt like that in a while. And I needed that. Fake it till you make it - and all that.

    I hate to say it, but come to think of it, there is some resemblance between Gucci Rush 2 and Un Jardin sur le Nil! All evening yesterday I was trying to figure out what JN reminded me of - and here it is - my fragrance Waterloo, Gucci Rush 2! Again, it's the milky qualities that tie them together.

    The ironies in life are sometimes overwhelming - as is the power of writing to make associations come alive!

  2. Hi,

    Thank God I'm not around Stefush right now, because I am wearing Dans Tes Bras and feeling as calm as a well fed and diaper changed baby:)

    I agree with Junelady, Gucci Rush hurts me like a hangover and makes all my violent instincts surface. I don't have a pretty reaction when exposed to Coco Mademoiselle and Angel either... but it's not that they "inspire" violence in general, I just can't stand them.

    The only fragrance that even unsniffed makes me think of a "violent inspiration" is Lisa Kirk's Revolution, has anyone already tried this one? It is supposed to bring memories of blood, decaying flesh, smoke and burned rubber.



  3. Hello Katie - What? Anyone who made Acqua di Parma Colonia Assoluta and Terre d'Hermes by Hermes has made a significant contribution to perfumery. And I can't believe they wouldn't make you go "ooh".

  4. Katie Buckwheat Puckriks:

    Dan Tes Bras doesn't inspire me to violence. Aramis does.

    I want to tell the men who don this fragrance that "yes, old son, the poker game ended. Everyone went home, and your wife called an hour ago."

    Acqua di Gio inspires violence of a different sort. The fragrance itself - meh. It does what it does. There are others.

    The violence comes when I consider what this particular scent has created: an army of cubicle monkey/frat boys/zombies who wear it to clubs or to the office. Thousands of them. Everywhere.

  5. Aromatics Elixier by Clinique will inspire a violent reaction in me. If someone sprayed me with it, I may beat them bodily about the face, neck, chest, and head until the vomiting and nausea kick in.

  6. Wow. I'm kind of afraid of all of you now! Anyone who thinks perfumistas are a bunch of pansies needs to have a look at the readily-summoned rage on this page. Keep up the good work.

    Junelady -- I was going to comment that your relationship to Gucci Rush 2 sounds more like full-on "hate-hate", with the "love-hate" stage having been skipped altogether. But as your writing therapy dug deeper into your psyche, it would appear that there's a little love there after all, at least for the scrap of its DNA that appears in Un Jardin sur le Nil. Glad to be able to offer you a spot on my scent psychoanalyst's couch.

  7. Sabrina -- Well-remembered on Lisa Kirk's Revolution! I've never smelled it, but perfumer Ulrich Lang was telling me about it at last spring's Sniffapalooza - he collaborated on it. He mentioned a "bloody underwear" aspect to it. Hoo boy.

    Dr. Rudi -- don't get me wrong, Ellena's making significant contributions to perfumery all the live-long day. I was just trying to pinpoint the ones of his I would personally wear. And now that you bring it up, I'd happily throw on some Colonia Assoluta.

  8. Stefush -- I don't know if you can give Acqua di Gio credit for creating the cubicle monkey army - but it is quite something that the CMA collectively recognize it as drone-friendly.

    Maggie -- I can appreciate how Clinique Aromatics Elixir could turn you into a one woman fight club: it's easily over-applied, and can go to a really dense and frumpy place. But I do love Aromatic Elixir after it's calmed down and started to fade out. That's another "better in body cream" candidate.

  9. Hi Katie,

    Oh, bloody underwear sounds even worse than the lacrimogenic gas the movie ad makes me think about... I'm not sure if I want to sample it now. But let's do this, you share your opinions on it and then I decide if I should take the risk, LOL!

    And now, back to the subject, what about you? I presume there is a fragrance that makes YOU think about being violent... perhaps a particular fruity floral with aquatic undertones? Just my guess, but since you are such a lover of incenses, that would be the opposite:)



  10. Hilarious post, and bring on those "impeccably engineered wisps", I say. They are my favourite sort of scent!

    The perfume that inspires violence in me is the one which was violently applied *to* me - a nozzle-happy SA in Paris delivered no fewer than 8 sprays of Nuit Noire to my upper torso (it was summer, so there was a reasonable target area on display). I swear it was the perfumery equivalent of being "necklaced", and I was clawing at my throat under a running tap for much of that afternoon.

  11. Hi Katie,

    You don't strike me as a vetiver lover. If you were maybe Vetiver Tonka would be a JCE you could love. It's the only one I like and own. I appreciate its contradictory quality.
    I had a bad experience with a spray sample of F Malle Une Rose recently. I don't know that it incited violence exactly, but it did make me want to jump out of my skin. And not in a good way.

  12. Sabrina -- as far as I know, Lisa Kirk's Revolution is only on sale at the Ace Hotel in NYC here in the US, and that's a long way for me to travel just to check on the verisimilitude of a bloody-underpants-and-tear-gas perfume.

    An aquatic fruity-floral is reasonable guess for a violence-inspiring scent for me, but that description sums up a perfume I like a lot: Tom Ford Black Orchid.

    The scent that summons my dark side is whatever sinus-searing gunk that gets belched out of Abercrombie & Fitch stores into innocent people's airspace. Yak!

  13. Vanessa -- 8 unasked-for sprays of ANYTHING by an SA is an assault, and multiple sprays Mona di Orio Nuit Noir on a tender wisp-lover such as yourself constitutes GBH. I can't imagine being that heavy-handed with such a heavy-bottomed perfume - and I have a bottle!

    Suzy Q - very prescient of you to ID me as a not hugely vetiver-enthusiastic. I had to check to see if I'd posted my Chanel Sycomore video yet, in which I discuss my vetiver issues. But no, you knew that about me even without the Sycomore review. Fact is, I think I really LOVE vetiver: the complexity, what it does to other ingredients in a composition - but it's just too-too if it's the dominant note.

    All that said, I need to check out Vetiver Tonka.

    Hah - Une Rose is a problem for Dan, too. He's the one who'd matchmade me with it, and I love it and wear it regularly. But when he tried to wear it, he said it smelled like "an incontinent cat", or something similarly rude. There's a lot of Pen Pal discussion on this subject in the archives.

  14. Hi Katie,

    It really seems like a lot of trouble just for the bloody underpants effect... I wouldn't go that far either ;)



  15. Dear Katie,

    I think that once Lucky Scent sent me the wrong perfume sample. The name of it was something like "Sexy Angel Innocent, blah blah blah" or whatever it was. I wouldn't have chosen something that sounded that stupid, and it smelled even dumber than that.

    *gets ready for angry mob justice*

  16. Nora -- I'm laughing at your angry mob justice preperations. It reminds me of the time Dan was going on (and on) about Lucky Scent sending him a sample of Micallef Homme "without my authorization!". He wasn't quite roused to mob justice, however.

  17. Katie,

    I will be NYC at the end of week. I will take the challenge of trying Revolution. Why do I feel like its going to be a bloody nightmare. I will even have my wife videotape it! Good god how I hate being in front of the camera! I'll see if I can score a sample or two also. I have my trip all planned out. Most of it anyways. I have one buy for sure,Amouage Tribute Attar. After that, its me being in the candy store. My record for buying is 7 in Vegas, can he top that! For the record, I actually hope I don't. Already put down 325 for the Attar, and I still haven't put my foot down there yet!

  18. Gojira -- Yes! Thanks for being the courageous foot soldier on our noses' behalf. I await your report with morbid curiosity.

  19. Katie,

    I am going to Ace Hotel tomorrow. I will give you update then. Having a blast here. Spent too much time at Barneys. Ended up with Armani Prive Ambre Soie and Byredo Oud Immortel. Aedes de Venustas ended up with Amouage Tribute Attar. Went to Editions De Parfums and got a replacement bottle of Portrait of a Lady for my wife and I got a bottle of Vetiver Extraordinaire. I get to be Katie tomorrow and review, oh this shall be fun!!!;)