I bet lots of Now Smell This readers can relate to the following scenario: you’re in, say, Paris (somewhere “foreign,” far from home) and you find yourself in one of those shops that sells expensive little rarities — red silk Chinese lanterns with hand-painted calligraphy, tiny porcelain monkey figurines from Thailand, gold-and-horn letter openers from Kenya, babouches from Morocco — and you come across a gorgeous box of soap; each hefty bar of soap is wrapped in handmade paper and tied with a heavy ribbon. The scent of the soap is lovely but you don’t recognize the manufacturer, have never heard of or seen this delightful product before. The enticing perfume rising from the box of soap makes you imagine using it back home: it will make you feel confident and happy, it will remind you of your trip, it will make you feel rich and glamorous. You look at the price tag: the box of soap is $120 — $40 a bar!
In shock, you put down the box of soap and start wandering around the shop. You think: “This is outrageously priced!” “Decadent!” You attempt to gauge how long the box of soap will last…a month? six weeks? “So each bath will cost.…” As you pace around the shop, listening to Shirley Bassey singing Diamonds Are Forever on the sound system, your mind becomes calmer, your thoughts clearer: “Thanks, Shirley! This is SOAP, not diamonds! These are a bargain!” “I can’t find this soap back in the States!” “WHEN will I be in Paris again?” “This is less expensive than the monkey figurine!” “I’ll have a baguette and some cheese for dinner tonight and it will all even out!” Next thing you know, you’re saying “Merci beaucoup!” to the chic sales clerk and walking down the street with your precious box of exotic soap (and, if you’re me, probably the monkey figurine and a pair of orange babouches too). “LIFE IS SHORT!”
Smelling Prada Infusion d’Iris and Prada Infusion d’Homme makes me think of wonderful, high-quality soaps, expensive soaps, but both fragrances are much less expensive than many boxes of soap I’ve bought over the years.
Prada Infusion d’Homme was developed by the creator of Prada Infusion d’Iris — Daniela Andrier — and it contains neroli, iris, vetiver, cedar wood, incense and benzoin. The ingredients in Infusion d’Homme are not so different from those in Infusion d’Iris (mandarin, orange blossom, galbanum, iris, incense, benzoin, cedar, lentisk and vetiver) but they are used in different proportions. In a Wallpaper article, Andrier said she wanted the scent of Infusion d’Homme to mimic the smell of a man who had bathed with Infusion d’Iris soap.
Infusion d’Homme begins with citrus, neroli and soapy (yet fresh) iris and proceeds quickly to notes of silky incense, cedar and a “burnt-vanilla” benzoin note. The incense and benzoin start strong and then become soft; as this transition takes place, to my surprise, iris makes a comeback. To quote from Robin’s Infusion d’Iris review, Infusion d’Homme is not…
…wildly innovative, but it has a kind of quiet elegance that isn’t often found in mainstream designer offerings, and it is so nice to find something in a department store that doesn’t smell like it has been focus-grouped into banality.
Infusion d’Homme is perfect for a day when you want only a hint of fragrance on your skin or when you don’t want others to be aware of your perfume (Infusion d’Homme lasts over 10 hours on my skin but stays close to the body). Infusion d’Homme would be great to wear on a long-haul flight: you’ll smell clean and “freshly showered” but your perfume will not be intrusive.
I’ve been waiting for Infusion d’Homme’s debut before buying a bottle of Infusion d’Iris (which I also like); both scents are unisex to my nose. At the moment, I can’t decide which of these perfumes I want to buy; I only need one because they are so similar (Infusion d’Iris has more iris and Infusion d’Homme more incense and benzoin). In the meantime, I’m heading to the store to buy the Infusion d’Iris soap — $42 for two bars of soap!
Prada Infusion d’Homme Eau de Toilette comes in five sizes: ranging from 50 ml ($54) to 754 ml (that’s over 3 cups of fragrance!) for $275; grooming and bath products are also available.