Green is the New Black

Last week, I came up with something persistent, bright, and reeking of iris. Kate and I concur that it’s green, not black, and considering it’s spring and the stuff is so knockout, I’m going to go ahead and call it Green Iris. Kate warned me, “Now, Jim, don’t funk it up,” she, knowing my proclivity for adding smelly animal things.

Having read that certain aldehydes quickly breakdown, I bought new ones and diluted them to 50% with alcohol to preserve them. Then I started experimenting. At first, they seemed overwhelmingly powerful, but as the fragrance accords sat, the aldehydes went in and sort of disappeared, but they gave the perfume a new dynamism, boldness, and clarity. 

A few other things helped too. I used costausol for the first time as a substitute for the now-forbidden costus root. I was surprised that it reinforced the iris. I added a tad of a violet complex as a way of providing ionones in a well-balanced way. 

At this point I felt that the perfume had lost some of its iris character, so I reinforced it with a small amount of carrot seed and vetiver. Then, at the risk of making the stuff too pricey, I added a bunch of orris (iris) concrete, some violet leaf concrete, and some frankincense.

The stuff smelled great, but I was confronted with the age-old problem of fixation—getting the perfume to last on the skin.

Frustrated, I did some research and hit upon benzoin absolute. As it turns out, I had always confused “plain” benzoin with benzoin Siam. Benzoin Siam has a pronounced character and couldn’t be used in anything more than in minute traces. But, benzoin has so little aroma that I was able to use a fair amount of it. I am excited to finally have a strong base for my new iris fragrance. 

Next post: the top notes and a few final manipulations.


--