I had all but drained my bottle of Iris ganache over the last three or so years, with no intention to restock. But last April, in the big Galeries Lafayette, one of the most wonderful SAs in the world confirmed that that the stuff would soon be history. Blame it on iris root (one of my favorite notes), blame it on the little taboo thrill I get from disturbing fragrance blends, blame it on Paris, or blame it on the fact that the SA is a fellow enthusiast whose real name, she swears, is Dalida: I fell for Iris ganache all over again. This is how Osmoz describes the scent: An opening of cinnamon-spiced bergamot. Then we divine a white-chocolate note nuanced with floral. They come from an iris butter worked like a ganache pastry cream. At once unctuous and light, it reveals a powdery, woodsy aspect. An impression that is extended with cedar and patchouli leaves. The long-lasting iris trail becomes more and more melting thanks to vanilla, amber and musks.
I have always found white chocolate to be a mythical member of the cocoa bestiary. I do not detect that cloying confection–the smell of it, the idea of it–in Iris ganache. If most fragrance notes are but a construct, then I’ll buy into the ganache myth (“iris root worked into a pastry cream”), but white chocolate? Naaah. Not much cinnamon there either–a plus, as I like my cinnamon in savories only.
A good ganache gives chocolate a rich texture without adding sweetness: slowly blend a warm, heavy cream mix with dark chocolate, and deepen the flavor with cognac. Can you smell it? Iris Ganache delivers the scent promised by its name: a strange, lush, all but gooey gourmand warmth tempered by cool, long-lasting, dry iris root. Polar scent opposites, the iris and dark chocolate either thrill or repel. There’s no middle ground–not for long. I think of the fictional courtesan Rosanette (she contributed to Frédéric Moreau’s sentimental education), whose dressing room exhaled benzoin and almond paste, while pages of her letters offered a dirty-girl mingle of sloppy penmanship and orris perfume. Consider me thrilled.
A blend of kitsch and tragedy worthy of singer Dalida (who also left us too soon), Iris ganache only disappoints in the eventual dry down to twenty-first century Guerlain vanilla. Enough already. But this did not prevent me from going for seconds.