Iris is very often thought of as quite a feminine note in perfume, although I personally love its use and generally don't struggle to pull off most iris-based perfumes. I have sampled quite a few iris perfumes over the last few months, including ones by Le Labo, Van Cleef & Arpels and Chanel. I've never tried Iris Silver Mist but would love to get my mitts on it at some point. Thinking of masculine iris perfumes, the two that spring to mind are Dior Homme and Divine's L'Homme de Coeur. I won't go into much detail on Dior Homme, suffice to say that I love it, but it is not as forwardly masculine as Divine's - there are notes of cocoa and makeup and perhaps lipstick, which seem to divide opinion. Just visit Basenotes to find out how polarising Dior Homme can be. However, I digress. This is a review of L"Homme de Coeur. The notes listed include angelica, juniper berries, cyprus, iris, vetiver, ambergris and wild vanilla. The opening is quite sweet, possibly from the angelica, and quite aromatic. Not surprising considering the juniper and cyprus notes. I thought I detected some citrus, which is not listed. Iris does pop up after a while and the effect of dry, almost dusty iris with fragrant fir notes is a surprisingly good combination, and slightly unusual. I'm not sure if any of you have tried any perfumes by Divine, but all the ones I've tried have quite an aromatic, almost spicy earthiness. The heart is where iris is most prevalent. This is not a powdery iris note, nor floral, nor rooty. It is hard to really say what it is, but probably woody and miles apart in feel from Dior Homme. I would say that if you can get a proper masculine iris note, this would be the one. However, overall I would not say that L'Homme de Coeur is an iris-dominant fragrance; there is a lot else happening here. The vanilla and ambergris combine wonderfully with the iris and vetiver to create a spicy, earthy, yet ever so sweet accord that frankly, is rather compelling. It's not a combination I've encountered before, but it works very well. The longer the fragrance wears, the less obvious the iris is, I think. It's there if you sniff closely enough, but it doesn't progress in the way iris perfumes often do - slightly aloof, cold, sophisticated and ethereal almost. L'Homme de Coeur is sweetish, warm, woody herbal and spicy. For you ladies out there, I would say that this is quite a masculine perfume, but if you can get past that, you might find an iris perfume unlike any other you have smelled before and I would certainly recommend at least trying this. Incidentally, Divine has (or used to when I ordered about 18 months ago) a great sample programme, where you can order samples of the entire line from their website, for very little actually.
Image credit - www.fragrantica.com