Infusion d'Iris by Prada offers this well-known contrast metaphorically referred to by the expression "the iron hand in a velvet glove"; well not quite perhaps. It is not as velvety, nor as harsh as the expression might imply. But this is just an image and it helps define this principal contrast one finds in the fragrance between soft, fresh, floral-aldehydic and feminine facets and the more masculine and assertive woodsy vetiver and cedarwood notes that emerge later on to reveal a rugged side to the fragrance. The scent was created by perfumer Daniela Andrier working together with Miuccia Prada over a two-year period and is considered to be "the biggest launch in the Prada portfolio", which already includes Prada Women, Prada Tendre, and Prada Men. Miuccia Prada wanted a modern interpretation of iris pallida, of the much sought-after root of the flower originating in Florence, for the modern woman...
The perfume starts like a thirst-quenching citrus-y and fruity (mandarin, orange blossom) eau de cologne made more sophisticated by the addition of aldehydes and softened by a floral undercurrent of orange blossom further softened by orris as soft and suave as a ribbon of mauve guimauve as if the sweet had been rolled in an elegant orris powder from Florence instead of confectioner's sugar. Gradually the distant woody notes become more prominent to the point of imparting a somewhat rough character to the perfume which then offers nuances of rubber, asphalt, and smoke. The dual refined and rustic sides of orris are thus both emphasized, the latter with another root-y note vetiver, then also lentisc, incense, and woods. These more assertive rough-hewn notes are nevertheless ultimately enveloped in an elegant and feminine aura of sparkling and confident aldehydes.
These impressions conjured for us spontaneously, inexplicably at first, the image of a classic Coca-Cola ad, the kind in which someone has crossed the desert to finally arrive to an outpost serving chilled refreshing bottles of Coke. Experiencing Infusion d'Iris at first is as exhilarating as that moment when you are feeling parched and sun-burnt and you feel the cooling life-saving sensation of an icy soda drink that quenches your thirst for a time before you hit the road again, which smells of hot asphalt, rubber tires, smoky woods, and dry air. Fortunately for your ideal of quality of life, the ending is all poise and urbanity reconquered.
Infusion d'Iris is thus deceptively light and pretty at first, but moves on to an earthy stage with a strong presence, before drying down to a clean skin scent smelling of a refined eau de cologne with a sillage that could be modulated depending on the strength of the application. It is not that light a perfume and can be quite strong, like the hand that rocks the cradle....and the "iron hand" in the kid-glove seen on the ad.
The personality of the scent is elegant and versatile and we might add, likable. Its well-calculated complexity makes it a supple scent enjoyable by many persons and on many occasions. We feel it is one of those perfumes that would be one of the safest ones to offer as a present and could become a staple perfume for a number of happy wearers. It bears the hallmarks of a classic as it ingenuously plays with familiar references while transcending them
Top notes are orange blossom and mandarin; heart note is orris; base notes are galbanum, lentisc, benzoin, incense, vetiver and cedarwood.