Le Labo Iris 39



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.

photo via

17 comments:

  1. "Ghost!" is the regrettably non-descriptive word I whisper to myself when I smell something shiny and emphatic and nose-filling.

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  2. I picked up Le Labo Rose 31, Bergamot 22, and Jasmin 17 in the discovery set, all safe scents. Iris 39 did not appeal to me as much when I was smell testing at the store, but my friend liked it. I may have to check it out again. Thanks for the review.

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  3. Iris 39 is one of my two favorite Le Labo's perfumes. But that bread looks scary :)

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  4. I LOVE that bread!

    I don't even care for iris - or Le Labo - that much but now I want to smell this just because of the Space Bread. (Zee bread of zee dark fyutchair.)

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  5. My day has officially been made. AND that BREAD! Could there be a more perfect image to go with the Iris 39 review?? I think not! But, this numero 8, you have mentioned before ...can I tell you how I have typed myself in google/l'artisan parfumeur circles trying to find out how to score some? What is up? The LP website lists the numero collection- it takes you to a bunch of fragrances- (none that have numbers in their names) was trying to figure out if this was some cryptic game- and I was supposed to de-code what numero 8's code name might be- eventually I found a bottle on ebay- but wonder where a girl could try a sample? Must I go to Tokyo to sniff this dirty Iris? Loved the review- Thanks, Katie!

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    1. pinkcash, I'm on L'Artisan's site now and they do clearly list les numeros - and No. 8 is still in stock. For samples and decants, check out theperfumedcourt.com and surrendertochance.com

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    2. I feel like I must be completely losing it...went back to the L'Artisan site- clicked on the Mon numero link- but yet again, all I see are a bunch of other fragrances- Mure et musc, La Chasse Aux Papillons, etc., etc- BUT- I do see samples on perfumed court and would start there anyhow- so thank you- Looking forward to trying some porny legwarmers!!Thanks!

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    3. AH HA- I'm not crazy..or at least not because I couldn't find numero 8 on the L'Artisan site- clicked on the British flag at top for currency type and VOILA! there is the Mon Numero line- in all it's glory- and of dear- so many are sold out!Ordering sample pronto!!!

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    4. Ah yes, was just about to tip you off to the great US/UK divide on the site. Here's the link for anyone else who is looking:
      http://www.artisanparfumeur.com/shop/perfumes/mon-numero/mon-num-ro-8-1020882.html

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  6. Rola- I recommend you do revisit the Iris- It was my third random pick in the sample set and the one that impressed me least upon first sniff...but then, something happened...and I fell in love- I REALLY love it when that happens- it feels like even more of an exciting revelation, in some ways than when you fall head over feels upon first sniff..kinda like one of those teen movies where the guy is ga ga for the high school hottie while his tomboy best friend is the one he should be with- then it clicks and he sees his bestie in a whole new light- and VOILA-he gives her those diamond earrings !

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    1. Your analogy is perfect, now I really must go revisit Iris. Thanks for your recommendation.

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  7. This does indeed sound interesting - thank you for another lovely review. I am not sure if this is the right place to post this question but will give it a go: I saw your review of Le Mimosa, and since I like this perfume very much and am looking for something a bit similar I wonder if you have any recommendations. I like that it is warm, soft, somewhat powdery, feminine and yet has that slightly dirty note which, for me, keeps it from being an overly sweet/pretty scent, making it more interesting and sensual/sexy.

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    1. Mimosa, try Sake by Fresh and Une Fleur de Cassie by Frederic Malle.

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  8. The rooty, wet-dirt vegetal portion of Iris 39 only lasts a little while when I wear it. Then it makes me think of Aromatics Elixir, in a good way, because while I love smelling AE on others I don't like wearing it. Iris 39 is one of those perfumes where all day I keep thinking "what's that marvelous smell?" and realizing it's coming from me.

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    1. Such a great thing when you sneak up on yourself with your own perfume.

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