Xerjoff Irisss - Luxuriousss Abandon
February 22, 2012

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By Mark David Boberick
Managing Editor
The Italian fragrance house of Xerjoff has done it again. They have driven me to the point of obsession. First, it happened in November with Homme, an exceptional masculine leather fougere and now it happens with Irisss – a fragrance so hauntingly beautiful that it makes many of its iris-based predecessors seem like bottled water.

One of the most outstanding things about the House of Xerjoff is that the entire fragrance range is seemingly laden with precious orris butter from the Iris Pallida plant that grows in abundance in the region outside of Florence. At over $75,000 a kilo, this is one raw material that is hardly ever used anymore. Its cost is far too difficult to work around. Difficult for many fragrance companies, yes. But then, Xerjoff is not your average fragrance company. When most would shirk at cost, Xerjoff embraces it and in doing that, they maintain the ability to offer fragrances that exist on a plane of quality that is not being shared by very many other brands – or, any, for that matter.

Xerjoff Irisss is the culmination of the iris theme found throughout the Xerjoff line. Offered in the ultra-exclusive XJ 17/17 collection, the scent is produced in limited quantities in fine crystal bottles with a faceted piece of semi-precious stone on the front – in the case of Irisss, the deep green Malachite is the stone of choice.

The scent itself features such a shocking abundance of orris butter that It may cause a true fragrance aficionado to hallucinate. The scent of iris is typically an acquired “taste,” refined, and often proving to be incomprehensible to inexperienced noses.  The smell is floral at its very core, but it is often shrouded in unusual facets ranging from sweet to earthy. The finest of iris fragrances tend to work with several of those facets simultaneously. Irisss explores the territory between powdery and earthy; upon first sniff, it is a dry, veiled portrait of the flower, from root to bud and everything in between.

Carrot seed imparts the haunting earthy texture to the composition while the musk propels the longevity of the fragrance, carrying it along for hours on a bed of clean air. The strength and power of Irisss is in direct parallel to its occasional fragility. The structure is perfected in such a way that if anything is even slightly disturbed, the entire thing might fall apart.

When I first smelled Irisss, I had the feeling that I had experienced it before, even though I knew that I had not. At least not by my sense of smell. But rather, by my sense of sight. Georgia O'Keefe, in her series of flower paintings, executed in such a way that seems to render them as works of abstract art, perfectly captured the feeling that is conveyed through this fragrance; swirling layers of white, purple, and green blend together to paint the perfect olfactory portrait.

As founder of the House of Xerjoff, Sergio Momo has released a fragrance of such immense beauty and luxurious abandon that it still manages to render me speechless, at times. The cost is steep, but is it worth it?

It absolutely is.

Xerjoff XJ 17/17 IRISSS from the Stone Label Collection:

$715 | 100 mls

This fragrance is available for purchase in the United States through LuckyScent and MinNY.

In London, it can be purchased in the Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie at Harrod's

It can also be purchased directly through the Xerjoff website.


Special Thanks to:

Khaled Nasr