Skip to main content

Iris Ukiyoé

Posted in

Iris Ukiyoé is Jean–Claude Ellena’s perfume story about the iris flower. Although the flowers can’t be distilled for perfumery – the roots are used instead - iris blooms are fragrant, and different varieties have distinct scents. Some are spicy, like rose or carnation. Others smell of oranges or orange blossom, some are peachy, the tall varieties have a hint of chocolate or anise. But they all have a honeyed sweetness and a vegetal richness that makes the smell of iris flowers unique.
Iris Ukiyoé opens green and citrus-tangy with mandarin orange, and feels cool and shaded, surrounded by water. It quickly starts to build a pale green lily-of-the-valley accord on top of the citrus – these blooms are floating - and the delicate white floral notes become sweeter, and then spicier as rosy notes start to develop and the watery notes start to recede. This is not what I expected - what has started as a deceptively simple, understated “watercolour” scent is now becoming more complex. I detect an almost sour vegetal note, then vanilla, then a dusty bitter chocolate combines with the floral sweetness from the heart, and the light woody notes which are forming in the base. It’s decidedly not simple, but is now rich, but still maintains a feeling of lightness.
The elegant dry-down turns out to be soft and floral, not woody, with the various blooms peeking through from time to time – rose, orange blossom, lily - reminding me that yes, this is a Jean-Claude Ellena scent, which always delivers much more than I expect. This iris has a rich floral elegance that is missing in other iris fragrances. Iris Ukiyoé has a wonderful sillage – the word translucent comes to mind – and is also tenacious, which in this case, I welcome because the lingering scent is so serene.
Jean-Claude Ellena tells great perfume stories (see Epice Marine). Inspired by Japanese art and the elegant beauty in his own spring gardens, Iris Ukiyoé is one of his best. Fresh, green, floral, and alive, it’s an iris garden in full bloom. If you’re craving a different iris, one that goes beyond the dry powdery, rooty earthy, or violet candy standards, Iris Ukiyoé is the iris for you. It’s one of my MOST favourite irises.
Notes: mandarin, water iris, orange blossom, green shoots, green watery notes
Type: EdT
Parfumeur: Jean-Claude Ellena

Price: $4.00