When we go into Iris’s home, we are led to a small room overlooking the garden. It smells so good in there, and there’s a pleasant atmosphere of peace and serenity. Just a few minutes later, Iris joins us, so elegant in her pale blue dress rippling around her. She’s wearing little moccasins. She greets us with a smile and sits down next to us. Relaxing in the warm spring weather, she begins to tell us about herself.
Iris was born in the dry and rocky areas of the eastern Mediterranean. Because of this she was able to resist variations in the climate and now thrives in all sorts of environments. Ever since the 19th century, her family has worked for perfumeries, who were always on the lookout for her because of the olfactive treasure she had hidden deep inside her roots. Still today, her name figures proudly in the formulas of the most renowned brands in the perfume industry.
What Iris loves best about life is when it’s nice out: she begins to bloom as soon as the sun comes out and only goes back when summer draws to an end. She has a subtle fragrance: it has a powdery scent (we describe it this way because rice powder, with an iris fragrance, was used to perfume wigs, people and gloves during the Renaissance), one that is almost chocolate flavored. Both soothing and comforting, Iris displays her presence both with delicacy and sophistication.
Airy, positive and beaming, Iris is truly a gift given to us by nature. Discovering this gift though requires a great deal of patience. It takes her six long years before she can unveil her perfume. During the first three years, the irone that composes it is secreted patiently, day after day. When its root is ready, it is dried and cleaned by hand, so it won’t be damaged, then stored once again for another three years. Finally, using a distillation process, the perfume finally reveals itself and dons a beautiful name: “Absolute Iris.”
With a glimmer in her eyes, Iris then tells us stories of yesteryear, ones passed on from generation to generation. She originally was the flower kings preferred, called “Louys’ flower”, thus named in tribute to Louis the Pious, King of the Franks, later called Fleur de Lys in popular language, the stylized iris so popular in French royal designs and symbols. She had also been considered as the messenger to the gods in Greek mythology, and we also can see pictures of her in Egyptian pyramids, as they considered her to be a sacred flower.
This intoxicating story the young lady was telling us filled our heads with wonder. As centuries went by, Iris conquered the hearts and noses of people, and still today her fragrance makes olfactive masterpieces. That afternoon, during this interview beyond the limits of time, we discovered a royal, divine, unique, noble and delicate flower. When all is said and done, Iris does deserve her nickname: the blue gold of perfumeries.