Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Parfums de Nicolai Odalisque


Look at them, all huddled together in the corner, those snooty sorority sisters—Hiris, Iris Silver Mist, Iris Nobile, Gris Clair—all trussed up in lavender silk and silver organza, doing their best to be cool, regal, and ethereal. Enter our iris, Odalisque, all got up like Sheila E. backing Prince on his Purple Rain tour. At some point during every show she takes the stage and sings that 80s anthem, “The Glamorous Life.” The sisters look down their noses and shake their heads. Who is this Odalisque?

Odalisque is an iris scent, but maybe like no other iris scent you’ve tried. From what I’ve found online, the main notes are iris, lily of the valley, and green notes. (Unfortunately—or fortunately, depending on how you look at it—the network at work blocks Luckyscent, where I got my sample and could probably find the exact notes, as pornography. I find this incredibly funny.)

The iris sisters you love and know primly sip vintage Clicquot. This iris drinks Cristal out of the bottle with a straw. She does shots with her friend, lily of the valley. Lily is sweet, and she amps up the iris, makes it a star performer, loud and bright, but still powdery and royal. The green notes barely restrain the sweetness, much the way a teeny-tiny chain somehow manages to hold back a giant dog. In the dry down, the iris remains prominent, but I think I smell a bit of pepper in there among the heightened powder. Something about Odalisque reminds me of those heady scents that were so popular in the early 80s. This scent is so shout-it-out purple, it could be easy to overlook how pretty it is, how very strong but also intensely feminine. I don’t find it at all cloying. At times I find it tiresome the way people work so hard to be subtle and refined, and I wish someone would come crashing in, someone interesting and loud and a bit wild, yet elegant in the end, despite it all. That’s Odalisque.

Update: Now that I'm home, I was able to look up the notes: lily of the valley, jasmine, iris root. Yeow!

*photos from Wikipedia