The Gold Standard: Iris- Stephane Humbert Lucas 777 Khol de Bahrein


When it comes to iris in perfumery there are more than their share of excellent perfumes featuring the rooty wonder. There are so many great iris perfumes that doing a list of my top 5 for My Favorite Things has been almost impossible. The only thing that has remained constant on that ever evolving list is Stephane Humbert Lucas 777 Khol de Bahrein. Which made me realize that perfume has to be my Gold Standard when it comes to iris.

Stephane Humbert Lucas is one of my favorite perfumers working because I don’t think he is trying to make a bestselling perfume. I have described his perfumes as “art house” fragrances alluding to the idea that they appeal to those who expect more of the art form than just to smell good. Many of the perfumes he has composed for Nez a Nez, SoOud, and Stephane Humbert Lucas 777 are brilliantly realized bold artistic visions. If I had to pick one of his creations as one most likely to be widely appreciated it would be Khol de Bahrein. Continuing the movie analogy this is the art house hit that makes it to the multiplex. What I admire about Khol de Bahrein is M. Lucas makes a hypnotic perfume which draws you into its purple tinted gaze until you forget what you were doing.


Stephane Humbert Lucas

Khol is the dark eyeshadow made famous by the heavy application of it by Cleopatra. The darkness surrounding the eyes has a way of focusing one’s attention on the point of color represented by the irises. Which makes M. Lucas’ choice to make Khol de Bahrein an iris focused perfume amusing.

Khol de Bahrein opens with a different floral shade of purple as violet along with incense make up the top notes. The violet here is the violet that is rich and tinged with green. The incense seems to infuse the floral as if a joss stick was placed in a flower pot of violets. The heart is made up of a decadent amount of orris butter, sandalwood, and ambergris. This is a perfect marriage of ingredients as the orris sets itself up to be hugged by creamy sandalwood on one side and real ambergris on the other. Together this elevates the orris to bob along on a piece of driftwood floating upon the ocean. The base notes are musk and balsamic notes. The musk is that human skin accord made exotic by the presence of the balsamic notes.

Khol de Bahrein has 18-24 hour longevity and average sillage.

It has been only two years since Khol de Bahrein has been released but I consider it a new classic already. It is the best perfume by M. Lucas to date; which is saying quite a bit since I hold most of his perfumes to a high standard. When it comes to iris The Gold Standard is Stephane Humbert Lucas 777 Khol de Bahrein.

Disclosure; This review based on a bottle I purchased.

Mark Behnke

One thought on “The Gold Standard: Iris- Stephane Humbert Lucas 777 Khol de Bahrein

  1. I sampled this today for the first time and your description nailed it. I wonder if itsunder the radar status is because it is clearly unisex but guys are put off by the "make up" reference in the title and women are put off by the masculine-friendly but not exclusively masculine smell. Personally, I'd love to hang out with any man or woman wearing a dose of this because their scent alone would make them more interesting and attractive than most people in the room. Keeping someone's attention of course requires actual gray matter and heart. But if you have both of those, this will open some doors. 

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