Prada Infusion d’Iris Absolue ~ perfume review

Prada Infusion d’Iris Absolue advert

I love Prada's Infusion d'Iris. I bought a bottle when it launched in 2007, and it's nearly drained — that probably doesn't seem too impressive, but I own a lot of perfume at this point. To finish off anything, I must really like it.

I haven't been so fond of the flankers (the Prada "Ephemeral Infusions") and I didn't see the need for the Eau de Toilette version of the original Infusion d'Iris, which was more citrusy and floral, less "rooty" — the rooty / earthy part of iris is the part I'm generally after (although mind you, Infusion d'Iris was not a root-fest in the manner of some iris fragrances). So the newest iteration, the Eau de Parfum Absolue, was more likely to appeal, and yes, that's just how it turned out.

Like all the others in the Infusion series, Infusion d'Iris Absolue was developed by perfumer Daniela Andrier. It starts with a whisper of citrus and orange blossom (thankfully without the orange baby aspirin effect that annoyed me in Infusion de Fleur d’Oranger), but from the outset, it's a deeper, richer fragrance, with a heavier concentration of iris. The iris itself is slightly earthier and rootier, just the way I like it, and almost as buttery-smooth as Chanel's 28 La Pausa.1 It's also sweeter than the original Infusion, but it's not so sweet (or woody) as, say, Van Cleef & Arpels Bois d'Iris. It isn't as clean as the original, or as green, and while it isn't what I'd call heavy, it doesn't have that same transparent "veil of scent" feel that has characterized the whole Infusion series to date.

Do I like it better than the original? That's a hard question to answer. The original fits into a very particular niche in my collection — it's light and airy, and you can wear it anywhere, anytime. The new Absolue is gorgeous, arguably more gorgeous than the original, but I don't think I'll necessarily wear it as often. Still, it's worth having, and I'm very thankful to the kind reader who passed on her unwanted decant. When I drain that (and I will), it will go right on my "to buy" list, and we'll see if I ever really purchase it.2 I will say that it smells every bit as luxurious as iris fragrances that cost far, far more (and are way harder to get your hands on).

Oh, and the gold bottle is stunning.

As a side note, I'd love to know how Infusion d'Iris Absolue compares to Prada's No. 1 Iris, but I no longer have that one on hand. If anyone has compared them, do comment!

Prada Infusion d’Iris Absolue flacon

Prada Infusion d’Iris Absolue is available as a limited edition, in 50 and 100 ml Eau de Parfum Absolue. The 100 ml is $117; I have not yet seen the smaller size in the US. The notes include orange blossom, neroli, iris, tonka bean, benzoin, vanilla and white musk.

1. It's hard to describe this particular iris without resorting to comparisons with other iris perfumes, so apologies to those who haven't smelled them and therefore have no idea what I'm talking about. But for iris fans, I will add that it isn't as nearly as "dirt-caked roots" or "turnip-y" as Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist.

2. Long-time readers know I don't always end up buying everything on my buy list, and if I did, my already too large collection would be even more ridiculous than it is. I do try not to buy anything that isn't on the list, but like many people, my buying is sometimes driven by impulse more than careful consideration.


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99 Comments

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  1. lucasai says:

    I’ve been impatiently waiting for you to review this Prada Infusion d’Iris Absolue, Robin! All perfume by Prada make me excited, but this particular one is something more than exciting for me. It sounds great and promises feelings better than the original or Infusion d’Homme. I need to try and probably get a bottle. Unfortunately Infusion d’Iris Absolue didn’t make it to Poland so far, and there’s a high chance that it won’t make it at all. If only some good fragrant sould could get me a few drops of it so that I could try it on my own. You’re lucky someone shared that decant with you.

    • Robin says:

      It has only just barely made it here…so far as I know, only Neiman Marcus has it so far, but would guess it will have wider distribution eventually? Good luck!

      • ggperfume says:

        I’ll have to stop by NM next time I get up that way. . .

      • lucasai says:

        I need it to be available in Sephora or Douglas. No Neiman Marcus or any other known us perfume shop here…

        • Robin says:

          Douglas in Germany has it…hope that means you’ll get it too!

          • lucasai says:

            There’s a light in this tunnel.

  2. Sharon C. says:

    I also love the original Infusion d’Iris EDP (especially in summer), and have been looking forward to trying the Absolue. But I also have Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile EDP for fall/winter–has anyone compared Iris Nobile to the new Prada Absolue? Would appreciate your thoughts on how the two compare.

    • Robin says:

      The Prada is richer than the original Infusion, but still has what I’d call a pale base. The AdP, going on memory has a darker, more ambery/patch/modern chypre sort of base — to me, it is a cool weather scent, whereas I’d call the Prada seasonless.

      Hope that helps some — haven’t worn the AdP since it came out.

    • Abyss says:

      Does anyone actually get much iris from Iris Nobile? To me they are primarily about orange blossom with ambery drydown (more so with EDP) plus something like gardenia (it bugs me so I assume it’s gardenia :D).

      • Robin says:

        The EdT to me is kind of evenly “about” ob & iris. I thought the EdP was more irisy (?)

      • austenfan says:

        Luca Turin calls it an Iris Gardenia in Perfumes; the Guide. He also mentions that he doesn’t find it very iris like.
        I love Iris Nobile, but find it very different from my other iris fragrances.

      • Abyss says:

        Thanks! I like the EDT; even though I find the name misleading, the juice is lovely in the summer. The EDP was just too heavy handed for my liking.

        • austenfan says:

          I have never smelled the EDT. But own a bottle of the EDP. I need to smell the edt as well though. Over at Bois de Jasmin there is another really good review of both fragrances. ( As there is on this site)

      • nozknoz says:

        Abyss, Iris Nobile did not smell like iris to me, either. Not sure which concentrations I tried.

  3. LaMaroc says:

    I have a large decant of Prada No. 1 Iris on its way to me. Now I have to figure out where I’m going to get a sample of this Absolute. I haven’t liked any of the concentrations so far, but your review has piqued my interest, so I must try it!

    • Robin says:

      Do report back if you ever smell them both together! I’m curious what you’ll think anyway if you didn’t even like the original. I liked but didn’t adore No. 1, so maybe we’ll turn out to be opposites.

  4. ringthing says:

    I’ve been looking forward to your review of this, as I know you like the original, R. The Absolue sounds gorgeous and I like the idea of a richer scent, as the original is a bit light for me.

    • Robin says:

      Then do hope you’ll like this better! & hope people will report back when they try it, as I don’t think all that many people have smelled it yet. Would love to hear other opinions.

  5. Abyss says:

    Thank you, Robin! The original Id’I left me mostly cold so I never paid attention to any of the follow ups but this review got me curious. It sounds like this would be more up my street so I’m definitely going to try and get hold of a tester this weekend.

    • Robin says:

      Please report back — as I said above, looking forward to hearing what everybody else thinks!

      • Abyss says:

        Will do as long as my local branch of Debenhams have it! I just checked and it’s on the website and there’s even a 10% off at the moment.

        • Robin says:

          So interesting. Dept stores in the US virtually NEVER put fragrances on sale.

          • Abyss says:

            Wow, seriously? You guys should stage some kind of protest or something :D

          • Robin says:

            I think they take price fixing more seriously in the UK, but that is what it is — they don’t let the dept stores knock the prices down.

          • hajusuuri says:

            In the past 12 months, I had seen some exceptions with Lord & Taylor. Over the 2011 holidays, there were $25 off coupons for which there were very few restrictions. I bought my Chanel No. 5 EDP Travel Spray Set and with another coupon, Prada Candy (for my sister).

          • Robin says:

            Good to know…most stores that do coupons specifically don’t include anything in the beauty department!

          • hajusuuri says:

            Since I am now addicted to this blog, I will be sure to mention a sales in a comment when I’m aware. Also, it was actually a Chanel No. 5 EDT (not EDP) Travel Spray Set that I bought.

    • Lys says:

      @Abyss my reaction to original IdI sounds like yours, agree you should definitely try this one; for me, the qualities I did not like about IdI were not present in the Absolue.

      • Abyss says:

        Oh, fab, thank you for chiming in! I’m definitely going to seek it out, especially after reading all the comments below about it being the best mainstream release so far.

  6. austenfan says:

    I recently got myself a vat of the original Infusion d’Iris. ( 400mls.) I really adore it, it is so very versatile, especially because it is quite airy. I will have to try this one as well. Because one can never have too many iris based fragrances. The only other Iris I d’I reminds me of slightly is l’Homme de Coeur.

    • Robin says:

      Wow, that really is a vat!

      I am always forgetting about L’Homme de Coeur, that’s a great scent.

      • austenfan says:

        It was actually cheaper than a smaller bottle. Only 69 €. It came in a nice box, with the vat, a small splash bottle and a funnel. Now that is a bargain!

  7. Janice says:

    I liked the original Id’I well enough but thought I was the only one who didn’t love it. All the differences you describe—deeper, richer, slightly earthier—sound like changes in the right direction for me so I’ll definitely sample this.

  8. rendangboy says:

    Almost as buttery-smooth as 28 La Pausa?! Oh my, that’s something. Especially since the Chanel is so fleeting (now surely this one must surpass the Chanel in that department????).

    • Robin says:

      Yes, it lasts longer than the Chanel. I get pretty good lasting power even out of the regular EdP Infusion.

  9. Limbic says:

    The original is in my top-ten-perfumes-of -all-times, but I do love the Absolue as well. I think they’re so similar though, that I believe it’s no risk buying the Absolue unsniffed if you like the original. My favorite is still the original though. The airiness is the most haunting thing, as you put your finger on, Robin. To a hardcore atheist like me, I think spraying on the original is the closest I will ever get to a religious experience ;) Thanks for the review!

    • Robin says:

      Ah, so glad to hear a comment from someone else who has tried both, thank you!

  10. zubi says:

    So interesting… I loved the original, but it went away way too fast, so I decided not to spend money on something that I cannot smell after an hour. When I saw Absolue at the airport, I was super excited! Only to find that the floral heaven doesn’t even come out with Absolue on my skin; it just retains its slightly masculine opening freshness and stays sharp until… well until I washed it off with sadness. :(

    • zubi says:

      I’m starting to think my nose is broken :( I just loved Santal Blanc (SL) after a spree of testing at the department store, and excitedly showed my bf the yummy brown sugary goodness, only to hear about how it smells like fermented rotten eggplant. Yes, that’s how specific he got.

    • Robin says:

      Oh, too bad! And so sorry about the Santal Blanc. It is one of my favorites, but I know many people who don’t care for it — it is not universally loved by any means!

      • zubi says:

        Well, I’ve decided that I’d like to smell like a pencil thankyouverymuch. :P He doesn’t mind the drydown too much, so that’s awesome. I’ve decided that when I’m feeling in the mood, I’ll pass by my department store and liberally spray myself with it in the morning (to see how it goes on in the day, as I only put a small spray on one wrist yesterday), to see if a decant/sample is worthy of my money.

  11. Rappleyea says:

    “…it’s a deeper, richer fragrance, with a heavier concentration of iris.”

    How I wish! Here’s the view from your EST – a very sweet, mainly orange blossom frag with the musk base kicking in just about the time the cloying florals fade.

    WAAAAA – why couldn’t I get what you got?? :’-(

    • Robin says:

      So interesting, thanks for chiming in! I get almost no orange blossom at all. Maybe I am anosmic to ob & you are anosmic to iris!

      • Rappleyea says:

        I’m not anosmic to iris (or at least I don’t think I am) as I can smell it quite well in any number of iris scents. But it is definitely some weird combination of chemistry and/or perception that changes this scent for each us.

        • Robin says:

          I was only kidding!

          • Rappleyea says:

            Oh! Duh! :-D

    • zubi says:

      That’s exactly what I got! Only my comment above yours doesn’t explain it as well as you did :P

      • Rappleyea says:

        Thank you! But I’m so sorry your experience matched mine. :-(

        • zubi says:

          I say you and I give it another chance and wear it all day without mixing with other scents (at least that’s what I did – I had already worn a lovely bit of Insolence EdP (YUM) and then just casually put Id’I Absolue on my hand at the airport. I suspect that being at the airport didn’t help my judgment either.

  12. Emily says:

    This sounds lovely, Robin — thanks for the review. That being said, I’ve never found a Prada that works on me and I already own a large, unloved bottle of Infusion de Fleur d’Oranger, so I’m not inclined to be overly optimistic. (The IdFdO was instrumental in teaching me to sample something a couple of times before buying — I loved it at first, but after about a week the baby-aspirin note emerged and became unbearable.)

    But hey, expensive-smelling yet reasonably priced iris is always worth a shot, right?

    • Robin says:

      Ugh, sorry about the FdO. I really didn’t like that one either. The packaging was so pretty, too!

      • Emily says:

        I still have the box, which I much prefer to the juice.

  13. RusticDove says:

    I remember your fondness for the original Id’I and was wondering if/when you’d get around to reviewing this! It sounds fabulous. The orginal is so light & airy it just disappears on me almost immediately. I do love iris fragrances – I have a bottle of L’A Iris Pallida and nice size decant of VC&A Bois d’Iris and I love them both, especially Pallida, so I definitely want ot check out Absolue!

    • Robin says:

      Do try it, betting you will like it better than the original.

  14. Lys says:

    Thanks for the review Robin. As a hater of IdI EDP (sorry!), my perspective is different, but I think I agree with your descriptions. From my perspective, I found this one to be much closer to Prada Candy than IdI EDP, with the benzoin-tonka-musk base prevalent. Consider this an evolved Prada Candy, decidedly unisex and very well done. It seems like Andrier has developed a signature accord in Candy and realized its potential more fully in IdIA.

    This new one I recommend without reservations, best mainstream fragrance so far this year.

    • Robin says:

      Oh, excellent point — yes, I can see the influence of Prada Candy in the sweetness of the base.

      I think it’s my favorite mainstream so far this year too.

      • Lys, I agree with Robin, you’ve nailed it. I saw the Infusion d’Iris lineage in Prada Candy, and you’re right, it looks as though Andrier kind of flipped that around to tweak Infusion d’Iris into the Absolue.
        Personally, though I believe the original Infusion is a true modern classic, it vibrates at a level I find almost blindingly white. The Absolue version takes that down a notch, and I’m much more comfortable wearing it.
        And I’m with you both: it’s my favorite mainstream launch of the year so far too…

        • Marjorie Rose says:

          Well, you’ve all just convinced me that this won’t likely be for me. I don’t have much affection for IdI and I dislike Candy. I have a pretty adversarial relationship with iris as a note, but I *want* to like at least one iris perfume. Doesn’t sound like this will be the one, though! (Besides, not a fan of orange blossom in anything.) Ah well, more for the rest of you!

  15. eminere says:

    OT but “root-fest”? That has got to be one of the funniest naughty puns I’ve read in a long time. Even funnier when you probably didn’t intend it to be a pun, Robin.

  16. Merlin says:

    I’m HOPING this one comes to S.A. but I doubt it will. I adore IdI but found Candy sort of ho-hum. Also I cant really imagine a softened, sweetened less airy IdI.
    In any case, I’v been checking the department store for the absolue every week for a couple of months now! I guess I cant pretend to be indifferent…
    Thanks for the great review!

    • Robin says:

      Oh, good luck, hope it will get there! Did your stores get the EdT?

      • Merlin says:

        Sorry to reply so late – the internet connection’s been down a day or two! I don’t actually know if we got the E.D.T. I think I have the EDP version, and that that is the one that is available here.

  17. FragrantWitch says:

    I just smelled this today! I agree with your assessment of the root-ier and sweeter elements. Like others have noted above you can ‘see’ Candy in the base of Absolue. I so wanted to like the original I d’I but all I ever got was the baby aspirin note followed by some passing iris and then in 30 minutes it’s gone. I did go spray the tester of the original on the other arm for the sake of research and it smelled much more astringent than the Absolue, with a more watery aspect to my nose, as it was sniffing the iris roots through a wet cloth . The Absolue was warmer and earthier, sniffing the roots through close of earth with breeze blowing the floral scent into the mix as well. And it lasted!

  18. mals86 says:

    Thanks for the review – I HATE that baby-aspirin thing and am glad this doesn’t have it.

    All the same, I think I won’t bother. My daughter, who’s picky about her fragrances, really likes her I d’I decant and wears it often. It’s so pleasant on her – more pleasant than it is on me, to be honest.

    • Robin says:

      Do see the comments above, though — some people found the orange blossom much heavier than I did!

  19. Omega says:

    I’ve never sniffed Infusion d’Iris. Actually, the only women’s Prada I have sniffed is L’eau Ambree and I loooove it. I really need to sniff more Prada!

    • Robin says:

      I like the Ambree too. Do try more Prada! Prada Homme is also lovely.

  20. lupo says:

    I actually liked the EDT version, and I found it uncannily similar to the beautiful Eau d’Hiver F. Malle. Did anyone notice any similarity among the two?

  21. I like both of these too – for different reasons as you say! I have a big decant of the former and sense I will probably leave it at that.

    • Robin says:

      I do wonder just how “limited edition” it is…so far, the Prada limited editions have hung around for ages & ages. If this one hangs around long enough, I’ll probably buy it.

  22. zubi says:

    Non-related, but is there a way to get notifications when someone responds to you, or does one have to check manually on every blog post? I feel rather silly.

    • Robin says:

      So sorry, but there isn’t any such function. It’s very annoying, I know!

      • zubi says:

        No worries; doesn’t help my addiction though (I keep all the tabs open)! ;)

  23. happy888cat says:

    I knew my nose hadn’t failed me today! I was trying out IdI Absolute to day and upon first sniff, I told the saleslady “This is somewhat like Candy” and she just looked at me weird like my nose was not normal. Seeing that so many of you share my feelings about this perfume I am now assured. :D
    Liking Candy a lot, I am finding my self thinking about purchasing this (in the end, it is a limited edition right ;)) but then again, there is the calling of Bronze Goddess from Estee Lauder…..

    • Robin says:

      Bronze Goddess will probably disappear before this will — but of course I’m just guessing!

  24. smellifluous says:

    I’ve been so curious about this, since I enjoy the original EDP and was intrigued by the new notes for the Absolue. Wasn’t sure how they’d combine, but your positive reaction has made me more curious than ever. Thanks for the review!

    • Robin says:

      Hope you’ll like it! And of course let us know.

  25. Suzy Q says:

    HI Robin, I was on vacation when you reviewed this. You and I are scent twins, I’ve decided. This is an excellent review of the Absolue. I only discovered the edp six months ago–yes, yes, very late–and it was love at first sniff.

    Here’s what I like to do: wear the edp in the morning, then carry a decant of the Absolue to work to refresh later in the day. The edp has a deeper base and the Absolue sit sbeautifully on top of it.

    • Robin says:

      Ah, that sounds perfect — have both on hand.

      (and hope it was a fun vacation!)

  26. Robin says:

    Lost comment, reposting for sunsetsong:

    Just can’t wait to try this. Infusion D’Iris EDP is one of my staples, as is Eau Ambree. I think it is just in Selfridges in the UK at the moment which is frustrating for those of us outside London. Will need to strongly resist an emotional purchase when it is available and test test test first.

    • Robin says:

      Sunsetsong, I did not resist for long — already bought it!

  27. eminere says:

    The bottle IS stunning in real life. So stunning in fact that I completely forgot to actually try the fragrance. Doh!

  28. jonr951 says:

    My Nordstrom was selling this today but didn’t have a tester! TEARS! : (

  29. hajusuuri says:

    Ah….I just got home too, from shopping the Nordstrom Early Access Anniversary Sale. Although no tester was available, my SA opened one and gave me and my sister samples! I think I am in love!

    • jonr951 says:

      @Hajusuuri I’m SO jealous! Haha! Enjoy your sample and I hope you LOVE it! It sounds devine really! And I didn’t know you could shop the Early Access in-store! I thought it was only online! Dang it! Haha! Hope you got some great goodies! : )

  30. jonr951 says:

    FINALLY tested this one and guess what I’m asking for my bday in a month?! Seeing as how it’s a limited edition, which I did not know, I just have to have it! It lasts and lasts compared to the original on me. And like you said Robin, the gold bottle is STUNNING! Why oh why did I not ask for a couple of samples to test it more and more? It was not a hit for my brother and his gf but who cares! Haha! Less clean and green really made this one for me, even though I do really enjoy the original and even the edt. : )

    • hajusuuri says:

      Resistance was futile. I bought a 100mL bottle last Sunday :-)

      I had been using up my samples the past few days.

  31. bluegardenia says:

    Testing this right now at the duty free. I love it! Your review was spot on. Has the expensive-smelling and beautiful rooty iris of SL ISM, but is more wearable as an everyday scent. I dont smell anything of Candy in this, maybe because I hate Candy and haven’t spent any time with it beyond a tester strip. I’m happy to be rid of the citruses of the original Infusion d’iris, since I don’t like cologney smells (on me). For me Absolue is the best in this series by far, and the ONLY thing I’d change is that along with the beautiful iris root note I also get a ‘cold paper’ feeling from this. All the Infusions have that cold feeling (it’s almost like air conditioning in spray form, similar to the way Fracas is so heated and warming). I’m wondering, Robin or anyone else, if there’s an iris root scent you’ve tried that is a tiny bit ‘warmer’ than Absolue? I’m still searching for my perfect iris but this one is pretty close…

  32. bluegardenia says:

    Maybe by warmer I really mean creamier? I should try 28 la pausa perhaps?

    • Robin says:

      28 La Pausa is gorgeous and worth trying in any case, but not sure you’ll find it any creamier *or* warmer than this. Wondering if you might like Van Cleef & Arpels Bois d’Iris? But it is woodier & sweeter.

  33. bluegardenia says:

    Thanks! Will seek out both.
    It’s funny, in Italy I noticed the toilet paper was scented, and I swear it smelled of gorgeous powdery iris root.

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