Weekly Fumes: Iris Nazarena Eau de Parfum by Aedes de Venustas

John Preston

It’s not ideal that my favourite iris scent currently retails for almost £200. I’m not a fan of the luxe end of the fragrance world – the majority of such scents fail to offer anything that justifies price points of up to £500 and beyond and are often depressingly conservative, cynically marketed and repetitive (another oud anyone?).

The New York brand Aedes de Venustas’ second perfume release Iris Nazarena proves a distinct and rare exception, although it only just falls into this category now with perfume prices increasing so rapidly, and for that at least my wallet is truly grateful.

Serge Lutens, Dior, Prada and Guerlain all include brilliant and well established iris scents in their lineup and I would gladly own any of them. Iris Nazarena can hold its own against these classics though. It is a spectacular and innovative creation that expertly misleads and seduces with its level of intensity, or lack of.

The Eau de Parfum goes on heavy with a rooty iris but it’s all really an illusion as it develops quickly to an airy leather and warm smoke accord. Although it never quite dispense with the iris note, the flower does eventually fade.

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The official notes for this include iris, juniper berries, leather, woods, cloves, incense and vetiver and apart from the berries they are all present and clearly identifiable.

It’s not a quiet scent and you can smell it lingering in the rooms you have just left but it’s no scenery chewer and conjures up more a refined mood than a dominant presence. It has excellent lasting power on me and is one of the few fragrances I wear that will almost always attract a compliment.

I’m never quite sure what people mean when they say a fragrance smells expensive, but in this case I concur. It’s about quality I guess and an elegance that seems almost palpable – Iris Nazarena has it in abundance.

All of Aedes de Venustas’ scents are marked as unisex, but for some Iris Nazarena may play it a little too butch with its gorgeous vetiver and woody dry down. It provides a lovely layer of additional warmth in the colder months and would also make it through spring – I wouldn’t recommend it for very hot weather though.

All being said I’m glad that my price prejudices didn’t prevent me from sniffing Iris Nazarena out as, on this occasion, you really do get what you pay for. If you get the chance do sample all of the creations from this brand – there are now five scents in their current lineup and every one is interesting and well made.

Iris Nazarena by Aedes de Venustas 100ml £185

About John Preston

South London based music obsessive with strong opinions about most things. Doubts Madonna has another good record in her but would love more than anything to be proved wrong.