Atelier Cologne Silver Iris ~ fragrance review


Sometimes I think iris perfumes should come with rootiness scales, with ten being “Smells like a head of dirty hair” and one being “You mean there’s iris in here? I thought that was grape juice.” Perhaps perfume houses could post labels along the line of “This fragrance rates a 9 for rootiness” (Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist) or “This fragrance registers 2.5 on a 10 turnip scale” (Frédéric Malle Iris Poudre). With this scale and information about the fragrance’s fruit, powder, cream, and earth, the iris lover would be able to quickly zero in on a few to sample from the growing number of iris soliflores on the market.

On the rootiness scale, I would give Atelier Cologne Silver Iris a solid 6, making it a good bet for most fans of iris perfumes and a terrific introduction for the iris newbie. Silver Iris’s rootiness is present but never veers toward the odor of composting carrots. That said, the iris aficionado might find his or her attention wandering before long.

Perfumer Jérome Epinette developed Atelier Cologne Silver Iris, and its notes include tangerine, pink pepper, blackcurrant, violet leaves, mimosa, iris pallida, patchouli, white musk, amber and tonka bean. What I mostly smell is lots of iris and a hint of cassis and burnt amber.

I first sniffed Silver Iris at the Atelier Cologne boutique in Paris. I was on my way to Annick Goutal to try to score some Mon Parfum Chéri par Camille (discontinued! ack!) and stumbled on the store by accident. It was calm and dim, and a plate of croissants sat on a side table. A sweet sales assistant sprayed strips with Silver Iris and Gold Leather, the other new cologne absolue in the line. I didn’t give the leather the attention it deserved, because I was too busy huffing iris. 

Over the next few weeks, I wore Silver Iris now and then. I started to notice that once the thrill of having iris within olfactory range wore off, Silver Iris didn’t have a lot more to offer me. The hint of cassis, while subtle, started to get on my nerves. Plus, the fragrance’s tonka and amber seemed at odds with the iris’s touch of root, giving it an almost burnt sugar smell. The real kicker, though, was that the fragrance didn’t change. It was a delicious, sweet iris from start to its finish many hours later with sturdy but not overwhelming sillage — and no surprises.

To many perfume lovers, all the qualities I mentioned might make Silver Iris exactly what they’re looking for. Many people like to know that the perfume they apply in the morning is going to be what they smell when they get home from work at night. Many people love a hint of sweetness and fruit in their perfume — they don’t want something overly austere or fancy. They like friendly. And did I mention the iris?

If you already have a treasured iris already in your collection, you may not need to spend a lot of effort getting a sample of Silver Iris. But if you are starting out on your iris quest, or you haven’t found your go-to iris, Silver Iris is definitely worth seeking out.

Atelier Cologne Silver Iris Cologne Absolue is $175 for 100 ml and $275 for 200 ml plus a 30 ml travel spray. (I can’t find the 30 ml offered for sale separately.) The bottles are a sleek, cool silver and come in a purple goatskin sleeve and have a goatskin covered cap. For information on where to buy Silver Iris, see Atelier Cologne under Perfume Houses.

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  1. flannery says:

    Iris is one of those notes that immediately captures my attention, for certain types of days nothing will do for me but an iris scent. Luten’s ISM is too far off the carroty iris charts for me to wear, but Chanel 19 Poudre, Iris Pallida, Aedes’ new Iris Nazarena are all some of my must have irises. And I gladly put my decant of Atelier’s Silver Iris in that group as well. It is a spicier iris to my mind and a perfect cold weather iris. Love its depth, its moderate sillage and pretty good tenacity, definitely fbw for me.

    The Gold Leather in this line is equally splendid with a soft sueded feel that is warm and bright. Atelier does it again, love this line!

    • Angela says:

      I’m so glad the Atelier Cologne iris is working for you! One thing I love about this line is that they have 30 ml bottles.

  2. austenfan says:

    Why, oh why do they always discontinue the great scents. I am really disappointed that they have chosen to stop making MPCPC. One of my favourite Goutals.

    Back on topic, the Silver Iris sounds lovely, I only wish they had chosen a name that was a little less like one of the best irises around.

    • Angela says:

      I know what you mean about the Goutal! The super nice SA at the main Goutal store tried to interest me in a rose or violet soliflore, but, really? Nice try for sure and lovely fragrances, but not the same at all.

      I know what you mean about the name. I had to keep checking myself not to type Iris Silver Mist.

      • austenfan says:

        La Violette is actually a great scent, but nothing like MPCPC. When it first came out ( only 2 years ago!) the only other Goutal it reminded me of slightly was Heure Exquise. It also reminds me a little of the 40th anniversary edition of Aromatics Elixir.
        I shouldn’t panic, really, I have about 50mls of the EDT and a nearly full bottle of the EDP, but suddenly that doesn’t feel like it’s enough.
        Was the shop you went to the one near St.Sulpice or the one on Rue Castiglione? I got my Eau du Fier there in 2009. Ever so glad I did, as it is another gem gone.
        Back to Atelier. I was checking their website and they have a really good sample deal. It seems like a nice line. And relatively affordable.

        • Angela says:

          It was the store on rue Castiglione. Eau du Fier is a good one. I adore Duel, too.

        • flannery says:

          Be sure to try their Sous le Tout de Paris, my favorite violet fragrance! It is a special edition and doesn’t always appear in their line up of what’s available, though thankfully, it still is!

          • Angela says:

            I’ve never tried that one, and I do love violets. Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. prism says:

    with that scale in mind… what would ‘Infusion d’Iris’ fragrances get? and Iris Nobile?

    • Angela says:

      I think Infusion d’Iris would be similar–about a 6 on the rootiness scale. It’s been too long since I’ve smelled Iris Nobile to remember how rooty that one is! What do you think?

  4. lucasai says:

    Dear Angela!
    Great and to the point review. Bravo!
    I as an iris fan consider Silver Iris a perfume that was worth making my nose busy with it and that was worth my money. I bought a coffret of 200ml + 30ml.
    Petit flacons of Collection Metal won’t be available separately for sale. They only come with a huge bottle. But I know in secret that Atelier Cologne is up to something nice.

    • Angela says:

      I’m glad you like it, and how exciting to hear that something good is coming up!

  5. morgana says:

    Glad to read your review, Angela! Some NST commentators were really excited about this one, and being an iris lover (10 on a turnip scale doesn’t scare me), I was looking forward to try it. What a disappointment …

    • Angela says:

      It’s a fine iris, and I bet tons of people will adore it, but I’m not sure it’s more to get excited about than, say the Prada Absolue, that’s all.

  6. Merlin says:

    For a while I thought I was a definite iris fan, but I’v discovered that its only a few very particular irises that I adore. ISM, in its present version – which is the only one I have smelled – is a little low in sillage and in longevity. Despite that it is the most perfect and complete iris ever: I love its cool wetness. Infusion d’Iris, dry and addictive, is my second iris love. My Heure Exquise sample ran out to soon, and it is perhaps too elegant for me but I would say it is on the same glorious level – less versatile than I d’I ris, and less freakishly beautiful that Iris silver Mist. It is the most ‘coiffed’ of the 3.

    I find both Aqua di Parma, EDT and EDP Iris pretty, floral and banal – similar in feel to Crabtree&Evelyn. VC&A Bois d’Iris is more distinctive but I prefer my iris to have a cool feel – this one is somehow lethargic, like the iris meandered into the sweet woods and passed out!

    • Angela says:

      Heure Exquise truly is wonderful. I love that one, too. I’m also a fan of Le Labo Iris 39 for its earthiness, and I adore the iris note in Chanel Cuir Russie and DelRae Mythique. Xerjoff Irisss is pretty fabulous, too, although verrrrry expensive.

  7. nozknoz says:

    What? No composting carrots? Where’s the fun in that? ;-)

    Angela, FYI, when it first came out, I ordered Mon Parfum Chéri par Camille from Celeste Parfums in the Hague NL. (I wanted the EdP, which wasn’t slated in the U.S.). They were wonderful to deal with, and the higher shipping was balanced out by the generous helping of nice samples they included.

    I just checked, and it looks like they still have the eau de toilette – on sale for 70 euros. The webshop is

    It’s sad that MPCpC is discontinued already. I was just wearing it – it’s one of my favs for early fall and spring. True, it is edgier than anything else in the romantic AG line, but there’s nothing else like it anywhere. The garnet bottle is nice, too.

    • Angela says:

      Thank you for the lead! I never would have found that myself. I have a 10 ml decant of the EdT coming my way before long, and that may be enough, given my ridiculous collection of perfume bottles.

      • nozknoz says:

        I wouldn’t have found them, either; a kind NST commenter recommended them when I mentioned my quest in one of the weekend polls.

        • Angela says:

          We perfumistas have secret underground supply chains!

  8. Marjorie Rose says:

    I got the sample set of Atelier Colognes this summer, and they are nice but too quiet for me, so I’m not likely to try this one.

    However, I love the notion of the rootiness scale!
    I would also like to suggest that there could be other useful scales–not just for notes but for sillage (0 to Carnal Flower) and other qualities!

    • Angela says:

      Oh, excellent idea on sillage. Maybe a clean to skanky scale could be useful, too.

  9. hajusuuri says:

    Iris! Cassis! Tonka! Amber! Sign me up please. I, for one, appreciate a fragrance that stays exactly the same from beginning to end so Silver Iris would absolutely be right up my alley. Nice review!

    • Angela says:

      Excellent! I hope it works well for you.

  10. annemarie says:

    The 200 ml bottles are interesting. Atelier must aim to appeal to the sort of person who likes to spend money on a niche product but feels no great desire to shop around. Once they find something they like, the stick to it, or so Atelier hopes, through 200 mls.

    So – it seems there may be people out there who don’t spend 10 minutes in the morning … 20 minutes … 30 minutes … the night before … choosing which out of dozens of perfumes they might wear? :)

    • Merlin says:

      Thirty minutes – we need to get you to a hospital! ;)

      • Angela says:

        I’m afraid I’d be in the doctor’s office, too…

    • Angela says:

      I met one of the brand’s owners and overheard her telling someone that 200 ml should last about 6 months (I’m pretty sure that’s what she said). It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the bottom of any perfume bottle! Although my decant of Cuir de Russie has run out. Must fix that.

    • nozknoz says:

      I would oppressed by such a large bottle!

      • Angela says:

        I think I’d love looking at it, but you’re right–I’d feel a lot of pressure to make it my go-to bottle, and all the other perfume bottles would be weeping quietly in the cabinet…

      • C.H. says:

        That’s exactly how I feel about it too. It would totally weigh on me, to have that much to use up!

        • Angela says:

          I know–I have a feeling I’d be giving away lots of decants.

  11. C.H. says:

    Ha! Angela, I love this review–yes please, would greatly appreciate a turnip scale affixed to labels of all iris fragrances going forward! And the way you characterize Silver Iris in particular is just how it wore on me as well. There was something about the way in which the sweetness was done here that got on my nerves too, but I think “friendly” rather than “austere” is exactly right, so it seems worth a shot for anyone in the market for a friendly iris. As for me, I think I’ll go put on some Hiris (but I should say, it does not wear as nearly so weird or melancholic on me as others report. I’m not a partisan for austerity!)

    • Angela says:

      I do love iris, but Hiris never has agreed with me–although it’s been a long time since I’ve tried it, and I should give it another shot. It turns super duper thin and turnipy on me. I’ve got to try it again.

  12. LaMaroc says:

    Hmmm, you had me until the cassis. Grapefruit doesn’t turn urinous (Is that a word? It is now! lol) on my skin but cassis sure does! But it’s iris and I am an iris slut, so I’m sure I’ll get a sample at the very least! lol Thanks again for another thorough and enticing iris review.

    • Angela says:

      The cassis is subtle, but it’s purple and fruity in this one. Maybe it will be fine for you! Or not…

  13. Annie says:

    I live on Cape Cod in the US of A, and adore Aftelier’s Silver Iris, just now finding it and loving exploring it’s nuances. What a fabulous offer!

    • Angela says:

      I’m glad you love it! It’s always nice to try a good iris when you adore the note.

  14. Lucy says:

    I finally got a sample and am finding a lot of similarities to Prada’s Candy. In fact, it is kind of what I expected Candy L’eau to smell like. Is anyone else noticing this or am I crazy?

    • Angela says:

      I wouldn’t call you crazy, but I do have to admit I didn’t get the similarity. Maybe if I smelled them side by side, though. (Hmm. A project for this weekend!)

  15. JackJReese says:

    Sounds like something Bond has released I think it’s Success? Very cool scent.

    • Angela says:

      I haven’t tried that one, but if it’s an iris I’ll definitely need to put it on my list.

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