February 22, 2017
Iris, the Greek goddess of the rainbow and messenger of the Olympian gods, appears in various guises throughout Greek and Roman Mythology. Today the rainbow goddess, Iris, and her floral namesake have come to symbolize hope and spiritual communication, bringing the heavens to earth and uniting sun and sky with the sea of humanity. Iris flowers, in particular those of the bearded iris, offer a rainbow of colors and fragrances to enjoy. The most familiar, perhaps, is the light blue to deep purple iris blossom, the flower with the cool, translucent, almost violet like scent. The rhizomes of the popular Iris pallida also yield a familiar powdery, woody, caramelized sweetness in the form of iris (orris) butter. In addition, many of the hybrid bearded iris flowers have very different hues and scents. They bloom in a rainbow of colors and can smell like musk, grape soda, root beer, lilacs, orange blossoms and even fruity candies.
Marie Salamagne of Firmenich with Jean-Phillipe Clermont (courtesy of Atelier des Ors)
Earlier this year Creative Director Jean-Phillipe Clermont announced the seventh fragrance in the Atelier des Ors Collection. Musc Immortel is a new limited edition Eau de Parfum (25%), available at this time (at least for six months) exclusively at Harrods London. Although iris is not featured in the name, Musc Immortel is, to my nose, a stunning and dramatic iris, the third iris infused perfume in the Atelier des Ors line. The first, Aube Rubis (2015), a light and leathery, semi-gourmand iris, was followed by Iris Fauve (2017), a cool to warm scent of effervescent blues and rich golds, a fragrant image of that most luxuriously textured garden flower, the bearded iris. Jean-Phillipe Clermont describes the third iris fragrance, the new Musc Immortel, as “an extrapolation of Iris Fauve…a deeper and more animalic take.” Perfumer Marie Salamagne talks about her new creation: “In Musc Immortel, I enhanced the power of Musk with the Immortelle Flower, full of light and almost liquorish. This interpretation of Musk is timeless, as if time had stopped so that we can fully enjoy this disturbingly pleasant state of inebriation.”
Maria Sibylla Merian, Iris germanica L., Bearded Iris, late seventeenth century.
When I was a very small child I loved exploring my mother’s garden. The bearded iris plants were some of my favorite. I remember spending hours pondering the insides of the blooms, communicating and identifying with the flowers. My experience of Musc Immortel reminds me of my childhood journeys into the mystery of the iris.
George Lawerence Pre Raphaelite digitalized MC
Musc Immortel opens with a bracing burst of grapefruit and clary sage. Early on an iridescent, powdery iris scent is quite prominent, colored by a suggestion of the shimmering sweet, straw-like, airy fruitiness of immortelle and the slightly spicy effect of the dry, woody cypriol. As the fragrance opens up it becomes increasingly focused on iris. The Immortelle (Helichrysum – named for the golden color of the sun) illuminates the warm musk and imbues the iris with a boozy, slightly caramelized richness that becomes wetter, warmer and more seductive with time. At about an hour the vetiver and patchouli suffuse the fragrance with the scent of sweet earth. Iris, vetiver, patchouli and a breath of Immortelle continue through the dry down. From beginning to end the sillage is moderate to discreet. At about eight hours I am left with an intimate memory of musk and once again the translucent iris.
Woman Holding Irises, French Pre-raphaelite Painting byTina Lavoie Digitalized MC
Musc Immortel is a vivid deep purple iris shot through with the golden sunny qualities of Helichrysum. When I enjoy Musc Immortel I am looking into the heart of an iris blossom, past the upright petals called standards, to the warm fuzzy caterpillar-like stamen, known as the beard that rests on the drooping “falls”. The journey ends deep within the bloom, where the three “style arms” guard the waxy, pale stigmas, the female heart of the flower.
Iris Goddess of the raibow asfound deviantart© digitalized MC
Musc Immortel is the perfect example of how the deft use of iris can create a bridge of scent, a fragrant rainbow spanning and enhancing the notes of a composition. Musc Immortel represents well the mythical powers of Iris, the messenger goddess, connecting and melding the ethereal and the earthly. Magical.
Notes: Grapefruit, Clary Sage Absolute, Iris, Cypriol, Patchouli, Haitian Vetiver, Ambrette, Immortelle Absolute and Musks.
—Gail Gross, Editor
Art Direction: Michelyn Camen, Editor-In -Chief
Thanks to the generosity of Jean-Phillipe Clermont of Atelier des Ors, we have a 10 ml spray atomizer of Musc Immortel for one registered reader worldwide (be sure to register or your comment will not count). To be eligible, please leave a comment with what appeals to you about Musc Immortel based on Gail’s review, where you live, if you enjoy Iris perfumes and if you have a favorite Atelier des Ors fragrance. Draw closes 2/26/2017.