Guerlain Figue-Iris (2008) {Perfume Review} {New Fragrance}




As each year, Guerlain releases a set of two Aqua Allegoria perfumes to usher in the summer. This collection of scents established in 1999 wishes to explore in a less formal setting materials and main accords - of two notes usually - while elaborating upon the idea of freshness by tapping each time into different tonalities, shades and meanings of the notion of freshness. Jean-Paul Guerlain who composed Figue-Iris this year has said that he is personally very much interested in this sensation as conveyed by perfumery. Laurier-Réglisse and Figue-Iris are the two new odes to pristine, more transparent impressions or their indirect suggestions in 2008. We will review Laurier-Réglisse separately.




While it is still spring now, smelling the new Figue-Iris made the days of summer suddenly magically appear out of thin air like images projected by an invisible movie projector with no silver screen in sight. If one can sometimes judge perfumes as art-for-art, at other times it is also relevant to evaluate them as wonderful successful magician's tricks, examples of the art of the illusionist or alternatively, little scintillating nuggets of fool's gold that make you believe in and crave for the reality suggested by the illusion. Figue-Iris creates an exquisite sense of longing for summer......

Still Life (Fig) © Alex Edgar 


Guerlain Figue-Iris was created by perfumer Jean-Paul Guerlain and artistic director Sylvaine Delacourte.

The composition starts as a deliciously milky and fruity fig perfume composition with well-pronounced cool and shady green, herbaceous nuances. Olivia Giacobetti made this note and type of lactonic and green interpretation very popular with L'Artisan Premier Figuier (1994) and two years later, Diptyque Phylosikos (1996). It even made milky fig perfumes popular in the toiletry sector in France as suddenly one could notice this new scent appearing in all sorts of different soaps and shower gels.

With Figue-Iris, one literally envisions oneself plucking a heavy, plump, and decadently ripe fig from a gnarled centenerian tree somewhere on the Mediterranean coast and pressing out its milky goodness.

The leafy-green facet evolves into a soapy-green one after a little while, evoking such familiar references as Badedas bubble bath or Clairol Herbal shampoo for American consumers (or Estee Lauder Private Collection). Then the fig impression darkens, becoming more deeply fruity and a bit dusty with blackberry and violet nuances. The scent never feels heavy, and the complex and complete fig motif always stays remarkably fresh, never candied.

As the development progresses, the iris note peeks through in a more obvious fashion with its root-y, powdery, and doughy facets. Figue-Iris then becomes more vanillic, oriental and soft, while keeping a certain fruity tartness in the mix of sensations.

Further down in the perfume progression, the iris also becomes whiter, more bread-like, a bit buttery. The longer dry-down is fruity and musky (clean white musks), a bit reminiscent of L'Artisan Mûre et Musc. That latter part is more average-smelling.

Together the fig and the iris composition here suggests something very simple, almost biblical, like a table set under a fig tree in the summer with fresh bread, butter, milk and a handful of fruits. Then some modest Assisian fioretti seem to appear and complete the picture, violets.

Notes are: grapefruit, bergamot, fig, iris, violet, vetiver root, vanilla. 

The scent is available at Sephora for $ 50 with free shipping 

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5 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. Sounds great. I've been tempted to buy this unsniffed since first hearing about it. Thanks for the review.

  2. Just when I think I'm done with fig perfumes. . .comes one that may be light enough. And the image you chose is just mouth-watering! Worth a try for sure.

  3. You're welcome. If you like the scent of figs, it's worth trying. It is sunshiny figs in a bottle.

  4. Yes, it's quite a joyful fig perfume counterbalanced by the more quiet, meditative iris.

  5. I tried this for the first time on the weekend. It's beautiful. One small spray had me smelling delicious all day. I'm incredibly dissappointed that this is a limited edition fragrance because it's absolutely wonderful. It's one of the few perfumes I can wear that develops with my skin without turning into a sugary mess, or smelling like toilet cleaner....


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