Bois d'Iris was launched in 2000 by The Different Company, who reportedly gave nose Jean Claude Ellena and designer Thierry de Bashmakoff (who also designed the bottle for Bvlgari Black) carte blanche to create a unique line of luxury fragrances. Bois d'Iris features notes of iris, vetiver, bergamot, cedar, narcissus, geranium and musk.
Like yesterday's Hiris, Bois d'Iris is an earthy fragrance, but it is a very different take on earthy. If Hiris is like a walk in the woods with a cool breeze blowing, the sensation of wearing Bois d'Iris is closer to being in an undergound tunnel, with the smell of damp wood and roots.
Bois d'Iris starts off peppery, but with none of the sharp edges that characterize the top notes of Hiris. The dry down, while very soft and restrained, emphasizes the raw, earthy nature of the iris root, complemented by vetiver and cedar. It is mildly spicy, with a touch of sweetness and gentle floral notes. Many reviewers mention violet, and there is a brief suggestion of violet in the early stages, although the geranium is considerably more pronounced to my nose.
It is a tranquil fragrance, with none of the playfulness of Hiris, and less of the feminine elegance. Of the two, Bois d'Iris is probably the more masculine. I would be hard pressed to say which scent I liked better — they are two completely different iris moods, and Serge Lutens' Iris Silver Mist, which I will review tomorrow, is yet a third. I need all three.
Like many of Jean Claude Ellena's fragrances, Bois d'Iris is sheer, and it stays rather close to the skin. It is an Eau de Toilette, and as with the other scents in this line, it performs much better when sprayed than dabbed.
Bois d'Iris is sold in 90 ml ($110) or 250 ml ($350, with a leather case) bottles; in the "48 heures" 10 ml ($120) travel bottles; or as part as a discovery set ($50) that includes 10 ml bottles of Bois d'Iris, Osmanthus and Rose Poivrée. The Different Company's packaging is beautifully designed but expensive, so those on a budget might want to look at the estagnon, a 250 ml aluminum refill bottle that sells for $120, or the travel spray refills, which are $50 for three 10 ml bottles.
For buying information, see the listing for The Different Company under Perfume Houses.