Friday, 10 January 2014

Persolaise Review: Iris Nazarena from Aedes De Venustas (Ralf Schwieger; 2013)

I reckon Ralf Schwieger must be a great guest to invite to a party. If his perfume work is anything to go by, he's the guy who'd play the clown whilst delivering character assessments of merciless psychological insight. Or he'd regale everyone with Eddie Izzard-style anecdotes which take seemingly arbitrary, circuitous routes before arriving at their punchline. What leads me to such a conclusion? Well, his Lipstick Rose (Frederic Malle) never fails to make me chuckle, even though I've lost count of how many times I've sniffed it. His Fils De Dieu (Etat Libre D'Orange) is equally chortle-worthy. And his Afternoon Of A Faun (also ELDO) is an enthralling tour de force, offering not just laughs, but swoons, sighs and gasps. More importantly, with their dexterous ability to stay just on the right side of jokes and retro cliches, all three display intelligence of near-forensic precision.

These attributes are evident in Iriz Nazarena, Schwieger's first composition for Aedes De Venustas. Its opening is fairly unremarkable. A cold iris, similar to many that have come before and certainly not as striking as the chilled, fibrous beginning of Lutens' Iris Silver Mist or Hermès' Hiris. There's a touch of cedar to augment the dryness and a dose of frankincense to keep the temperature below zero. It's not especially exciting or promise-filled. But then that Schwieger slyness appears and a curious change begins to take place. A peach-apricot facet locks into focus, bringing a welcome hint of sweetness. An old-school cosmetics note pops up too (not unlike that in Lipstick Rose), adding a shimmer of post-War glamour. And a musky patchouli brings up the rear, extending the composition's skin-life and lending it an unexpected air of intimacy.

In short, this is an iris which almost literally grows on the wearer, from humble shoot to full-bodied bloom. It's an extremely cunning trick, not just because it's pulled off with such aplomb, but also because the variety of iris after which this scent has been named grows in only one part of the world. Under the direction of the folks at Aedes, Schwieger has transferred the plant into a bottle, given it the ability to travel across the globe and allowed anyone anywhere to bring it to life. An alluring, commendable achievement.

[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Aedes De Venustas in 2013. For more reviews of Iris Nazarena, please visit Bois De Jasmin, Now Smell This and Perfume Shrine.]



  1. I found this one completely compelling, definitely fbw. Now I'm going to have to sample more of Schwieger's work, thanks for bringing them to my attention, I think.

    1. Kathy, thanks very much for stopping by. Schwieger's work is well worth trying, in my view.


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