April 8, 2018

Iris 2: Woodland Iris by Juan Perez, Exotic Island Perfumer

Photo of Woodland Iris by Lucy Raubertas
Partial list of notes:
Top notes: Bergamot, Citron, French Lavender Absolute, Hay
Heart Notes: Iris Accord, Orris root extractions, Tonka Absolute, Vanilla Bean, Cubeb Pepper
Base notes: Labdanum, Treemoss, Sandalwood, Cedar, Pinewood, Musks.

Juan Perez is a horticulturist and has a deep understanding of botany and the fragrance materials he combines to express his emotional connection to their beauty through perfume.
Woodland Iris crosses the graceful inner spirit of the iris with the green shade and moist earth of the woodlands, balancing the two as equals.

A rural tone is felt throughout, radiating a calm beauty. It arises from the ancient natural and spontaneous harmonious affinities between flower, roots, earth, shade, and sun. Human emotional associations to these qualities are primal and understood as pure and beautiful within the intimacy of cultivation.

I've read that iris rhizomes have a sedative quality, and were once used to soothe infants who could chew on them directly. (Don't try this at home, like mushrooms it's tricky. Only the exactly right kind, as the wrong kind are unkind to the digestive system).
There is a faceted atmospheric musk that eventually surrounds you, once the initial refined freshness of the open dies down. Tightly blended, the whole is influenced by woods and iris bound together as one.

The fresh start includes one of my favorite scent sensations, that inner release when stepping outdoors into green leaf-tinted air, full of life, here enhanced with facets of woodland fern and forest floor tones. Hay and fern are subtly present.  Contemplative sandalwood hums beside all.
The background touch of tonka and vanilla* bean gracefully enhance the near-gourmand rich heart of iris butter. Resolves into what on me becomes an elegant musk that contains notes like facets in a cut gem that form a whole. Something of a gleaming quality to this perfume, soft as kindness.

This is one of those perfumes that enhance your presence and atmosphere within personal space, and reads to others as a lift in the air around you. They won't know what it is exactly that charges the air around you with peaceful harmony.
Detail from the Portinari Altarpiece by Hugo van der Goes.
Iris was a favorite flower of HvdG. as well as spiritually symbolic and heraldic.
One of the iris themed perfumes this Spring that can smoothly carry thoughts and mood into a good place.

Juan Perez lives in Puerto Rico and I know he has been through much in the wake of the upheaval caused by Hurricane Maria. I've been in touch with him and been impressed by his calm and unshakeable devotion to the island. It's a peace rooted in a complete openness to the island's natural beauty. He's recreated as much order as possible and welcomed the return of blooming water plants and vanilla orchids. He used a prior harvest of vanilla beans in this perfume and hopes for more this year to be used in this and other projects.
*Vanilla pods harvested and photo by Juan Perez

I associate this perfume with the forces that move toward the beauty of growth and reclamation by greens and roots and flowers responding to the sun. This natural restoration and rebirth after a forceful scouring prove how life takes its chances wherever and whenever it can.
Water Lilies Return photo by Juan Perez

For me, this is a scent of blue-green mildness expressive of wet-land iris breathing in and out. Together the plants and water dissolve the richness of the earth itself, a process that in turn feeds and creates the shade of trees and their fresh woodland air.

This strength within the continuation of life with softness and gentleness in the aftermath of wild and overwhelming forces is expressed here with a subtlety that notes all the soft yet pervasive charms of nature's continual activity.

The perfume will soon be released in the mainland U.S.A., at first through Shelley Waddington's Envoyage site. Their collaboration to create an exquisite pair of wedding perfumes, Nectars des Îlles and Vents Ardents, continues to be one of my favorites.

See also Dragonfly by Juan Perez for Zoologist

More information as to release date and further links will be listed here, so please watch this space.
Disclosure: The perfume was sent to me directly by the perfumer at my request.

Above photos credited as in captions, the photos by Juan Perez are used by his permission under his copyright.
Copyright 2018, Lucy Raubertas. All Rights Reserved.


Shelley said...

A very special review that speaks poignant, beautiful truths about this gorgeous perfume and its talented creator. Thank you for following the progress of the upcoming launch and continuing to share with your fans!

Lady Jane Grey said...

Hm, this one sounds enticing - you evoked a spiritual feeling about it ! Iris is one of my favourite notes and recently I was craving greens, woods, forest - so what more can I wish for?! After geting Rainmaker from you I ordered a bunch of samples from Envoyage, cannot wait to get them...

Lucy said...

Dear Shelley, please see Lady Jane Grey's comment, we met in London, and I had brought a number of American indie samples with me for the table to try.
Lady Jane Grey, so glad to have met, and especially that I've been able to interest you in both Juan's and Shelley's perfumes. I get the feeling that Iris will be one of the prominent perfume notes this year. Also this softer style, after the past few seasons of the direct opposite.

Lady Jane Grey said...

I’m so happy we met, Lucy ! Wasn‘t it an awesome Saturday ?!
And by the way, I also took Gardenia Exuberante by Exotic Island back to Vienna with me... It‘s a surprising, atypical gardenia for me and is rather lovely (I‘m not exactly the romantic, white flower kind of person...).