Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens – And A Giveaway

Iris Pallida, Galbanum, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Clove, Incense, Vetiver, Labdanum, Musk, Benzoin and White Amber


When I visited the Serge Lutens flagship store in Paris back in April, I was talking to a member of our group about how we loved fragrances that evolve on the skin. Then I promptly purchased a perfume that pretty much stays consistent from beginning to end: Iris Silver Mist. It’s a reminder that we don’t always need twists and turns. Sometimes consistency is what we crave.




The sleek black atomiser of ISM I bought in Paris


I owned a small decant of ISM maybe 5 years ago and wanted to fall in love with it quite badly. Howver, it was a bit too metallic; as if a cold knife were pressed against my skin. Like a lot of the Lutens fragrances, it appears to have been reformulated since then. It is not only less metallic, but less reminiscent of freshly dug carrots. For once, reformulation had worked in my favour to make Iris Silver Mist considerably more wearable.

While it may not be as evocative of orange vegetables as it used to be, it is still satisfyingly rooty. I love this about it because when I’m in the mood for iris, I want it in all its raspy, rootsy glory.

Released in 1994, I’d forgotten that this Paris Exclusive was composed by Maurice Roucel and not Christopher Sheldrake.



It’s not worth spending much time pondering the notes list. This is such a cohesive composition it’s hard to unpick and really, why would you? It’s all about that spectacular overdose of orris. Everything else is merely there to enhance and complement that striking effect.

Iris Silver Mist is likely to cause the uninitiated to take a step back. It’s unearthed bulbs, freezing fog, green shoots, rich soil, purple violets and even a crisp ream of paper. The dusting of powder serves to soften its edges somewhat and gives it a silky feel. However, it is still most definitely a statement fragrance rather than a pretty perfume.

On me, it swathes the skin so closely, others’ reactions are not of any concern.

ISM is as much an atmosphere as a scent. It’s introspective and wistful but it is also rarefied and mysterious. Has a name ever fitted a pefume more perfectly? I doubt it. You inhabit it the way you might inhabit an otherworldly mist at dusk.

It doesn’t need to mutate. It just has to be.

I find it more soothing than sombre, though I lean towards the melancholy so maybe I simply feel at home. Lately my nerves have been on edge and Iris Silver Mist has been s supremely calming influence, grounding and pacifying me. It’s a beautiful, ethereal filter through which to view the world.


iris silver mist.png

When people ask me what my favourite perfume is, I now have an answer: Iris Silver Mist.

A Giveaway

When I bought my atomiser the SA at Serge Lutens gave me what I think must be close to a complete set of wax samples. If you’d like them, please let me know in the comments and I’ll do a draw next week and announce the winner on Thursday 28th June.



Filed under Perfume Reviews

32 responses to “Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens – And A Giveaway

  1. Doug

    I would love to have a complete set of SL samples! I have only smelled a few over the years.


  2. I tried ISM years ago and it’s immediately become my nemesis iris. I love iris but that one was something I couldn’t wear, I had to scrub it off my skin.
    I wonder if reformulated version would be easier to bear for me?


    • Hmm, I’m not sure it would be if you had such an extreme reaction to the original. It’s still relentless iris root. Always worth a try if you come across it though.


  3. What a coincidence, I just sampled this! I’d love the wax samples.


  4. Your words are beautiful Tara. I loved that day at Serge Lutens Paris, what an experience. I haven’t opened my Travel Spray yet, but now cannot wait.


  5. Vanessa

    DNEM thank you, as I have owned one of these sample sets in the past and may even still have it. Your review is dreamy and beautifully atmospheric – like the perfume itself, no less! This certainly used to be another of my ‘cryogenic’ iris perfumes, with a bit too much rootiness and metallic bite for my liking. Plus I probably am not drawn to melancholy scents unduly – I even find Apres L’Ondee difficult to wear these days, and as you know I am also not at all sure where I am going with iris as a note generally, hehe. 😉 BUT if ISM has been reformulated it may well be more to my taste while staying true to its character. And you do say it is soothing rather than sombre so it would be well worth another try.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lady Jane Grey

    I might have the original formulation – and while I don‘t exactly love it I definitely very much respect it, in its icecold, freezing glory.
    I will have to try the new version !
    I have the wax sample set, so pls don‘t include me in the draw.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have a few mls of the original stuff. Seriously weird stuff, but I still think it is absolutely amazing. I have never worn it out of the. house. I like it in the evening, in the winter, after a bath, and for lying around on the sofa reading. It is an intensely thought provoking and personal scent. I would love a bell jar of it. Enough to have planned to get one at some point. Very good review Tara. I have just dabbed little to go to bed with. xxxxx


  8. Ana Maria Andreiu

    I love your ISM review Tara. I wrote one too on Fragrance Daily a good while ago. I fell in love so decisively and undeniably that I had to have a bell jar. I will wear this beautiful, otherworldly perfume tomorrow. Thank you for the impulse. No need to enter me in the draw.


  9. I tried, liked and wore the original ISM (from the decant), but never fell in love with it enough to go for a bottle. Your review is so lovely, that it makes me want to try the new version: who knows, maybe I’ll love it? (The last picture is just perfect!)



    • Sorry for the late reply. I didn’t get the comment notifications after the first two, strangely. I don’t think the new version is different enough to move people form dislike to like but I do think it’s enough to tip you over from like to love.

      I was so happy with that picture!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. What a great review and how nice that reformulation, in this case, worked for you! I’d love to try the samples–thanks for doing a draw.


  11. Wonderful review of one of my favorite perfumes. I’m 1000% fine with cold and carrotty and it seems I would like the reformed version as well. That said, DNEM as I have 2 sets of the wax samples, one of which I have given away.


  12. Great review. Me please!


  13. Pingback: Musc Ravageur by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle   | A Bottled Rose

  14. Pingback: Serge Lutens Wax Samples Winner | A Bottled Rose

  15. Pingback: Perfumes That Work For Everyone Else But You – Mood Scent 4 | A Bottled Rose

  16. Pingback: Irisistible by April Aromatics | A Bottled Rose

  17. Pingback: Most Worn – Summer 2019 | A Bottled Rose

  18. Pingback: Memoire d’Une Odeur by Gucci | A Bottled Rose

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.