Spring is still tentative where I live — we've had a few lovely days here and there, but plenty of days where there's still a decent chill in the air. If you're like me, you'll do your best to pretend it's sunny and 70 degrees even when it's not, so it's time to put away your darker, richer iris perfumes and reach for lighter, happier variations on the theme. Below are my five favorites for spring, and if you missed them, do see my list of iris picks for summer, iris picks for fall and iris picks for winter. Next up: a year of vetiver.
Do add your own picks in the comments!
Hermès Hiris: I am still hoping perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena will do a flanker for Hiris before he retires, but meanwhile, Olivia Giacobetti's 1999 original, in the lovely blue bottle, with its metallic-carrot opening and little whisper of hay in the background, is just right for a sunny spring day.
Honoré des Prés I Love Les Carottes: Yes, Giacobetti gets two entries, and she deserves them. Here she takes the little undertone of carrot in Hiris and puts it front and center. Admittedly, Les Carottes might test even an avid iris fiend's tolerance for the root-vegetable side of iris, and I considered it for the fall list but left it off. Now that it's spring and time to start turning over last year's soil in the vegetable garden (we already have arugula up and nearly ready to harvest) I cannot resist. What other iris smells like "a carrot martini with a twist of citrus peel"?
Chanel 28 La Pausa: Looking for a more elegant take on iris for spring? Chanel's 28 La Pausa takes the iris out of the vegetable garden and into pearls-and-a-twin-set territory. It has a price to match, and frankly, it doesn't last, but it's pretty close to perfect while it does. If I could have just one full bottle from the Exclusif collection at Chanel, this would be it. The alternative, of course, is Chanel No. 19, but I have not yet been able to make myself love Chanel No. 19. Never say never!
Guerlain Après L’Ondée: This 1906 masterpiece from perfumer Jacques Guerlain is arguably the quintessential springtime fragrance. It is admittedly less directly focused on the iris than any of the other fragrances I've included in this series, and certainly it's the most melancholy of them all, but what can you do? I have not tried a new bottle in ages, do comment if you have. The vintage Extrait is worth seeking out if you can get your hands on it without having to take out a second mortgage.
Naomi Goodsir Iris Cendré: A bit of a cheat, as I probably would have included it in the fall or winter posts if I'd smelled it in time (and many thanks to the perfumista fairy who sent me a sample!), but Iris Cendré is not so heavy that you can't wear it even as the weather starts to warm, and it's a perfect fit for a chilly spring night. Angie likened it to "a medieval monk who works in the garden during the day and faithfully attends incense-laden vespers, but who enjoys the comfort of his pipe and armchair in the wood-paneled library", and I cannot do any better than that.