I have always enjoyed being outdoors late at night when the moon is effulgent. The silvery moonlight changes the way things look. It provides a new perspective over the light of day. Just walking around my yard seeing what is illuminated by the moon is fun. There are lots of perfumes which also want to capture this effect. Most of them miss something. Shalini Iris Lumiere gets it just right.
Shalini is an Indian-born fashion designer who entered the fragrance game back in 2004. Her first perfume, Shalini, remains one of the best tuberose interpretations I own. She worked with perfumer Maurice Roucel and has continued the partnership with Iris Lumiere representing their fifth fragrance together. Through all the pieces of this collection there has always been an haute couture sensibility with which Shalini has found a willing interpreter in M. Roucel. Iris Lumiere represents the pinnacle of their collaboration.
Iris Lumiere is a luxurious version of the named flower. So often a perfumer chooses the powdery part or the rooty part of this dual-faced ingredient. M. Roucel discovers a new face by interrogating his iris with two intensely green questioners. What they wring out of iris is unique.
Iris Lumiere opens with a large overdose of orris absolute. Before it can dissolve into powder or become earthy an equal amount of galbanum appears. The intense crystallinity of that encases the iris causing it to have to rise up to be noticed. In that early struggle there is that new face of iris. This seems to me like the smell of what a freshly harvested rhizome of iris would smell like. The green leaves are what you notice because the root needs months of drying to transform itself into the perfume ingredient. If the galbanum was allowed to stand alone this would have become strident. M. Roucel adds in a softening source of green in muguet. It smooths out the rough edges polishing the galbanum to a glittering shine. It also imparts a slight chill. This gets picked up as the moon rises and its representative frankincense covers it in silvery light. The resin adds waves of argent moonbeams. It is an ideal compliment as it adds a soft light to the iris encased in green crystal. It forms an amazing accord that lasts.
Iris Lumiere has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
I have enjoyed all the perfumes Shalini has produced. Iris Lumiere is on its own level. It is the best perfume of the brand and among the very best perfumes I’ve smelled this year. Of all the florals iris is one of my favorites. I don’t remember having smelled anything like this before. To create a new way of seeing this floral the creative team just had to present iris by moonlight.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample provided by Shalini.