A light dusting of snow on the ground this morning reminded me that yes, we're deep in mid-winter. If you love iris, this is when you can wear the richest and darkest irises in your collection. I've picked my five favorites for cold weather, and do add your own in the comments! And if you missed them, do see my list of iris picks for summer and iris picks for fall. The spring post is coming up in April, and then I'll move on to a year of vetiver.
Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist: Arguably the queen of iris perfumes. Serge Lutens describes Iris Silver Mist as an iris fragrance for summer, and likens it to the smell of white linen. Perhaps, but the vegetal / earthy notes can be hard going in a heat wave. If you're not sure how much you like the smell of turnip roots, just harvested and still heavy with soil, better to try it now, in the cold. I probably wear it most in spring and fall, but there's something lovely, and comforting, about its cold veil of iris on a bleak winter day. (If Iris Silver Mist is too much root vegetable for you, the alternative might be Xerjoff Irisss, but you'll pay dearly for the substitution.)
Van Cleef & Arpels Bois d'Iris: A spicy / woody (slightly charred driftwood) iris with plenty of vanilla and creamy powder, Bois d'Iris is one of few fragrances I really do segregate pretty strictly to cold-weather wear. In January and February, the vanilla seems just right. By early May, it's already too sweet.
Aedes de Venustas Iris Nazarena: Iris, spices, vetiver, woody leather and a touch of incense — this one isn't quite as heavy as it sounds, but it isn't Infusion d'Iris either, and while all of today's picks could be easily worn by women or men, Iris Nazarena is probably the closest of the five to masculine.
The Different Company Bois d'Iris: It's sheer enough that you could wear it year round, but earthy enough to stand up to a decent chill, and when you've been cooped up indoors for days, the suggestion of freshly-turned soil is a lovely reminder that spring is bound to come eventually.
Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile: I adored the original Eau de Toilette version of Iris Nobile, and it would have easily made my spring or summer list. It's gone, and while I don't love the newer (and very different) Eau de Parfum version, many people do, and now is the best time to wear it. The chypre base, with patchouli and moss, is modern rather than heavily mossy, but it's deep and warm enough to hold its own through the worst of winter. (An alternative for a warm, dusky iris would be Ormonde Jayne's Orris Noir.)
Note: top image is iris [black background extended] by zenbikescience at flickr; some rights reserved.