African Red Iris and Zebra Wood Essence – sounds fantastic! :)
Oh yessssss! Naiviris opens with one of the best iris notes I’ve smelt. I briefly tried this on a tester strip in London and thought “nice” – but on skin, it warms up instantly and it is truly something wonderful.
The iris has this leathery warmth to it, an animalic iris if you will. I’ve just picked up on what the leathery smell is… SAFFRON. It’s gorgeous, lightly powdered and wonderfully dusty. I’ve been on the hunt for a good saffron (and iris) – so this combination is perfect.
Whether I just get used to it – or it does actually tame down, Naiviris’ gorgeous opening does become more muted and not quite as plush after ten minutes or so – but it’s still a gorgeous accord. I’m sure there isn’t but it even smells like there’s a tiny dabbing of oud in here. Naiviris smells like a much more subdued and refined Montale – quieter, with the signature saffron/oud accord running underneath a doughy iris – yes it’s as lovely as it sounds.
So I said “quieter” – like most of the Huitieme Art fragrances (minus Fareb) Naiviris is quiet, close to the skin and cleanly composed. What I mean by that is they are generally uncomplicated; but instead, crisp, clear examples of individual notes and accords that work in a perfectly balanced harmony – orchestrated so that they are pretty much instantly safe and likeable. That’s not normally my style I know, but they are great examples of this type of perfumery.
Unfortunately for me, what started with great promise dries down pretty quickly to something I don’t enjoy half as much as the beginning. The saffron notes evaporate and the iris goes from rooty and vegetal to lightly floral. The zebrawood (I have no clue what this is supposed to smell like but I know it looks pretty…) I’m assuming is the only thing providing the support – a very delicate, slightly bitter woodsy note, clean and pleasant.
I do wish the volume of this were amped up and it lasted a good while (with a more complex drydown), it would probably be one of my favourite iris scents. Pierre Guillaume’s main line Parfumerie Generale still has some wonderful iris fragrances so I may have to head back over there for my fulfillment.
All in all, a lovely, delicate (and a little too quiet) scent, unusual at first with a generic floral drydown – short-lived but pretty while it lasts. Manguier Metisse whilst not the most original fragrance – still appears to be my favourite of the line.
Huitieme Art Naiviris 50ml – £88 Les Senteurs