Skip to main content

Iris Nobile Edizione Speciale 2008 – Totally hoard-worthy

Photo - Wikimedia Commons - White Iris or Iris Albicans - Eric in SF, 1997

I admit that I have an itsy-bitsy perfume hoarding habit. I keep it under control – most of the time - but there have on occasion been threats of an intervention by some family and so called friends. Once someone who used to be close to me had the temerity to suggest I watch Hoarders on TV. She said I might learn something about hoarding. Here’s the thing: why would I watch a TV show about hoarding when I already know how to hoard? Besides, I’m not ready to turn pro yet. I’m not even close to being evicted from my house and there is still plenty of room to move around in my personal perfume niche. Still…..the seed has been planted and every once in a while I wonder what frags I would rescue if I were only allowed to keep a few bottles. Playing this game is sweet torture – what to choose? But whenever I play it, Aqua di Parma's Iris Nobile is always on the rescue list.

Acqua di Parma is an Italian niche fragrance house. Launched in Parma, Italy, in 1916 its first fragrance, Colonia, was considered the first real Italian eau de cologne. Over time it became popular with Hollywood stars of the 50’s, Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn among them. By the 1960s, Acqua di Parma had grown to be an exclusive, luxury perfume house. But tastes change and Acqua di Parma fell out of favour until the 1990’s when three Italian entrepreneurs bought the line and revived it, broadening its distribution and expanding into home fragrance and leather goods. In 2001 LVMH bought into the Acqua di Parma brand increasing its international presence and product lines, especially perfume. Today there are over 30 fragrances in the line.

Made with high quality ingredients by renowned noses such as Bertrand Duchaufour, Jean-Claude Ellena, Françoise Caron, Francis Kurkdjian and Antoine Maisondieu, Acqua di Parma perfumes can be hard to find, so it took a while for me to get to know them but now that I have, well, I wouldn’t want to be without them – especially my first AdP crush - Iris Nobile  
Created by Francis Kurkdjian and Françoise Caron, Iris Nobile was first launched as an EdT in 2004. An EdP version was launched in 2006 while special edition flacons of the EdP were launched in 2008 and 2010. My bottle is from 2008.

So what makes this iris so noble? The Florentine iris that beats at the heart of it, but before we get to the heart we need to start at the top.

It opens with star anise warming sweet juicy mandarin and bitter bergamot softened with floral, fragrant orange blossom. The opening has no harsh blasts of citrus or spicy edges, but a transparency that hints at what’s to come - a floral heart of Florentine iris and exotic ylang ylang. The iris used here is the flower, not the sweaty, dirty smelling orris root and it’s not a heavily fragranced flower, but an important one to Florence. Florentine iris is a white iris, native to the city of Florence. Displayed against a red background, it was once the coat of arms for the city until the Medici reversed the colours to signify a shift in political power. It’s the nobility of the Florentine iris that Iris Nobile pays homage to.

The Florentine iris combined with the ylang ylang creates a rich floral accord. It smells like a bouquet of flowers - more of white florals than iris. A note of peach gives it a gentle fruitiness while cumin, slightly bitter and anisic echoes the top notes. Amber and vanilla at the base sweetens it up just enough, while oakmoss and patchouli play the perfect counterpoint to the citrus opening by giving it some depth and darkness.

The drydown is like the Florentine iris: regal, aristocratic and elegant. It is as advertised: ‘Iris Nobile’ says it all.

A modern chypre, and an Italian one at that, Iris Nobile is such a pleasure to wear that it’s totally hoard-worthy.  

Iris Nobile is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1  ml.