Le Labo Iris 39 opens on a backwards echo of bread and violets. By the time you've gone “Huh! What is that...bread?”, Iris 39 has already established a course on the open road through a landscape of sweet woods and clean wet dirt. Created by Frank Voelkl, this eau de parfum possesses a vegetal sharpness which might be due to the ginger and lime accords contained within.
The Le Labo boys call Iris 39 “elegant”, which I suppose it is by way of its “perfumeyness”, which is the regrettably non-descriptive word I whisper to myself when I smell something shiny and emphatic and nose-filling. The sharp shininess makes Iris 39 a different kind of iris from what Angela at Now Smell This calls the “dirty hair smell”.
Now, dirty hair-smelling irises are the kind I dig, which is at the nub of my love for L'Artisan Parfumeur Mon Numéro 8. By contrast, Iris 39 is a little guarded for my taste. But an interesting perspective is provided by KP Smells regular pinkcash, who is a big fan of Iris 39:
“Some of my favorite 'real' smells in the world [include] the smell of raw silk, and I've smelled angora sweaters that put off a similar vibe to raw silk. For some reason, Iris 39 reminds me of those 'real smells' a little...”Raw silk suggests a somewhat earthy elegance, to be sure.