Skip to main content

28 La Pausa - Discovering Iris - (Friday, April 13, 2012 New Fragrance Listing)

Photo-Wikipedia-Irises by Van Gogh,1889-Getty Center, LA 

I just bought the May issue of Vanity Fair magazine. It’s always a favourite read - it feeds the intellectual, the artist, the fashionista, the celebri-holic who live inside my brain, and gives them something to chat about for a few days every month. This May issue has an ad announcing the season’s start for “The Borgias” TV drama, which has a scent strip for a perfume called Lucrezia , shown as opaque green liquid in a corked bottle with gold cord twisting up its long neck…like a little bottle of poison.

I crack the scent strip and I’m surrounded by white flowers – exotic, lush, sensual and menacing. They grab me just like the man’s hand tightening around the neck of the beautiful young woman in the black and white photo. What is this fabulous perfume? There is absolutely zero info. I turn the page over and see "The Borgias” cast in full-colour including the young woman holding the bottle of precious green scent. No perfume info – anywhere. This is diabolically effective marketing.  I now want to watch The Borgias, and I WANT THAT FRAG! Googling yields no results. I’ll have to wait for the mystery to unfold.

What’s all this got to do with 28 La Pausa from Chanel Exclusifs? Nothing. Like my dog on his evening walk, a compelling scent led me astray. I got distracted.

Except there is a link. The rich intoxicating gardenia/tuberose in Lucrezia is the polar opposite of the cool elegant iris in 28 La Pausa, but both are mesmerizing, extremely powerful notes which can easily cause one's nose to get distracted.

I love wearing violet and iris scents at this time of year – they plant me in Spring mode. Both these notes have that distinctive green vegetal sap smell that wafts up when cutting new stems and leaves – almost sweet, almost woody, but more milky and rooty. Several of the Chanel Exclusifs use the more expensive iris note – Cuir de Russie features it with leather, Chanel 19 with jasmine, 31 Rue Cambon with amber. 28 La Pausa, created by Jacques Polge in 2007, is mainly just iris, pure and simple, with the merest whisper of vetiver in the dry down, making it a soft green floral that smells beautifully alive.

At first spritz, the rooty earthy green iris note is dominant, very cool but soft, with a hint of yeast, like rising bread dough or wild mushrooms. There’s a slight metallic nuance, and then the iris sweetens just a little and becomes more powdery, and unfolds on my skin into a pale violet-coloured bloom. And there it stays, pure, soft, and perfect for an hour or so, until the vetiver comes up and 28 La Pausa develops a darker finish, transforming into a luxurious warm skin scent, creamy and smooth , wrapping me in a silky sheer veil. Quiet sillage and moderate tenacity mean a few spritzs are needed during the day, but that’s fine with me because those top notes are so brilliantly intriguing, and extra spritzes just add to the deep pleasure I get from wearing this perfect iris scent.

There are several excellent iris scents, and a couple are considered to be great. Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist by Maurice Roucel is regarded as the Grand Iris, an abstract interpretation, cold , austere, commandingly elegant. Chanel Exclusifs’s 28 La Pausa is the other great one, the Natural Iris, unadorned, clear, and radiantly beautiful in its simplicity.

If you love iris, you must have both. If you haven’t yet discovered the elegant iris note, 28 La Pausa is the one to start with. It will be a life-long love affair.

28 La Pausa is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.