The olive groves of the Jordan valley have been my adopted home for over a decade; the palm trees, the wadi waterfalls, the Sufis there.
But lately the tropical jungles have taken me prisoner and the blessed soil of Judah is a place I get to walk on less and less.
Iris Noir is dedicated to this land.
This is not a waltzing-down-the-Arabian-souq scent. It wasn't inspired by spices and bukhoor. This is a New Yorker's take on the Hashemite twilight that has beckoned his return year after year. The honeysuckle you smell on the way to the zawiya. The Melissa wafting though your kitchen window at sunset, the thyme and orange blossom and rosemary. Gaze at the galaxies lighting the caves of Petra. The Shaykh handing out swipes of jasmine; murids asking about that rose he used to wear. And the scent par excellence of Sufis: oud.
It's an ambitious perfume to create. That's why it's taken me forever to perfect this composition. Visit me and I can show you the various renditions composed over the years – but all lacked that quiet harmony that gives you a scent that echoes the heat of the desert noon and the cool valley breeze that brings solace to your night time dhikr.
In perfumery terms, a gentle exchange of dry and wet aromatics, top notes with the freshness of morning that takes you to noon, warm heart notes that lead you to sunset and base riffs that let you sit down and invoke the Name in the dead of night.
So, no. You won't see a poster of a celebrity endorsing Iris Noir at the Duty Free. It's not for the confident and independent men or women in those ads they tell you to be. It does not assert one's masculinity or accentuate your femininity. It's not a scent for your ego - it's a genderless aroma that lets you step outside yourself and lets you see a world of beauty, an olfactory scentscape as real as the purple fig trees on the green hills as you drive towards Jerusalem.
It's a scent of the river Jordan, the wadi waterfalls; the Sufis there.
Ingredients include the legally obtained Siberian musk, three of my most unusual ouds, and a number of rare ruhs and select extracts only available now and then, in very limited quantities. One of the key additions to this new artisanal Cambodian oud, which would sell for a lot if sold neat, but add a flare of encens to the composition I couldn’t be happier with, and its superior exalting properties make this new rendition of Iris Noir a cut above the previous one. If that wasn't enough, add a generous dose of orris butter and among the most precious sandalwood oils in my atelier, and you've got the most delectable Iris Noir to date.
Iris Noir was another major surprise for me. I love orris butter and the attar showcases its beauty in full potential. Again, it's dark, mysterious, smokey, and creamy at the same time. I must say I'm often lost for words when it comes to describing such complex scents. It's about taking a whiff and just enjoying them. – Marina, Spain
The scent opening reminds me of Hajar Aswad. The dry down of Borneo Zen. Although you have to search for the Borneo through the cloud of Iris Root. It’s certainly a very sophisticated scent and one I am going to enjoy over a long period of time. – Shabhi, UK
OMG Iris Noir is a thing of beauty, I was blown away with this one. It has a real Regal feel about it, I could just imagine a very important person from a passed gone era wearing this... What a delightful scent. – George, UK
When I first applied it, I could tell it was very dark and dense but hard to say for me whether I liked it or not until, around 20 mins later, it started to unfold... I remember I was driving at that moment and I had to turn off the radio so I could focus on that magnificent scent opening up to me. It felt like I was in some other dimension almost, in a bubble of pure joy. Scent was heavenly, raw, strong and delightful. Very well done and beautiful. So far from today’s low standard fragrances. – Jean-François, Canada
I blind bought the Iris Noir after reading reviews and let me tell you it did not disappoint. It truly is one of the most gorgeous creations on the market, period. Can't wait for the night to fall as I believe it is a nocturnal creature. – Denis, Sweden
Iris Noir comes off like a vintage perfume, something you might imagine Guerlain made decades ago. I'd call it a white floral chypre with iris being the centerpiece. It's creamy and buttery with musk playing a strong role. I also get aromatic spices like oregano, thyme, rosemary and pepper... also some citrus, rose and jasmine, moss, resins and agarwood of course. No aldehydes with Iris Noir being natural, but it has that uplifting feel anyways. It's very well blended and difficult to pick out notes so I'm probably wrong on a lot of it, but even so I doubt anyone will be disappointed with Iris Noir, it's amazing. – Dave, USA
“Iris noir” es una bomba olfativa, su salida es muy intensa, nunca había olido el Iris en esta forma y con esta potencia, puede llegar a abrumar al ponértelo, pero al cabo de un rato se suaviza, dejando un aroma empolvado, amaderado y a cuero realmente único, que va contigo durante muchas horas, su duración es increíble. No podia perderme esta interpretación literalmente oscura del Iris por “Ensar Oud” – Alex, Spain
It is very, very nice. The dry down smells very much like Oud Extraordinaire. I have worn Dior Homme Intense and Tom Ford's Black Orchid, and was expecting to smell an Iris comparable to those. But this is different. I like. – Steve, USA
So, I got another bottle while it's on sale... I almost never do this and it may be the 3rd time or so I've ever bought more of anything. Why? Because it's that good. :) It's a true 5-star fragrance, and very few exist in the world. From what I've tried less than .1% are in this league. Some of the things that make the difference:
- It has balance from beginning to end, and is great all the way through.
- It's not too loud and not too soft, it doesn't project in a way that's impossible to escape but instead has a silliage that makes it intriguing.
- It's suitable for almost every occasion.
- It has a human element to it, an enhancement of body odor but not so close that it's mistaken for someone who doesn't shower enough.
- It doesn't lean too much toward the masculine or feminine.
- It's never fatiguing, rather something that could be worn every day.
While there are a lot of excellent fragrances, Iris Noir is a standout and in the top few of anything I've ever tried. – Dave, USA
When I applied it initially I thought it would be the first wrong blind buy with Ensar Oud. “This is too strong, smells good but too strong,” was my initial reaction. A few minutes in, however, it mellowed down and I love the way it develops over time. I made a red eye flight as a result—it has been over 24 hours since I applied Iris Noir! I doubt if anybody else can still smell it, but there is this beautiful scent on my skin that makes me not want to take a shower. Definitely a keeper and will order a second bottle for my strategic reserve. – Marcel, Singapore
Thank you so much for Iris Noir — takes me back 50 years. This is a kind of root I have grown up with although not black, but very dark violet. My grandpa had a small area beneath the red and blackcurrant bush where he grew a couple of iris plants, and took care quite a lot. Where I live now, we only have Iris siberica, a blue-blossomed plant, in some spots, growing wild. I am fond of root fragrances... – Erhard, Austria
Now this is how a perfume should be. For a good number of us the note of iris is either irredeemable or just pleasantly boring. Iris Noir changes that game entirely. It opens with a stunning three-dimensional floral .... Buried within its base is something strong and potent, indiscernible yet ever present: a gloriously booming woody note. As the journey goes on .. sandalwood and oud announce themselves with a timeless grace alongside the florals. It is almost baffling to the nose how rich and nuanced these notes are. Words like ‘sweet’, ‘floral’, and ‘woody’ can be used but they don’t serve to do the experience justice.
Ethereal and rich this sparkles on the nose. Vibrant, sharp notes dancing alongside smooth and relaxed ones. There is a stunning series of contrasts within this experience: light and dark. Tropical and spiritual. Introverted and exploding outwards, reaching into the cosmos. It is as bright as either sunlight or starlight, depending on your mood. Fun yet deeply soulful. It plays on the skin like a beautiful Zen ko-an: unable to be understood by the intellect but able to be fully experienced beneath the words. This really is magnificent. – Royce, USA