Aedes de Venustas is a jewel box of a niche perfume store located on Christopher St. in NYC. Owners Robert Gerstner and Karl Bradl have offered top niche perfume lines like Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier, L’Artisan Parfumeur and Jovoy since it opened in 1995 making it a Mecca for perfumistas.
In 2008 Gerstner and Bradl became more than fragrance retailers when they teamed up with L’Artisan for the creation of Aedes de Venustas Eau de Parfum by L'Artisan Parfumeur. This sumptuous oriental woody was created by Bertrand Duchaufour. Then in 2012 they launched their first fragrance: Aedes de Venustas Eau de Parfum. Once again, Bertrand Duchaufour was the nose creating a gorgeous chypre is built around rhubarb.
Now comes Iris Nazarena. This time the nose is Ralf Schwieger and the flower at the centre of the scent is iris. The Iris bismarckiana Regel to be precise. Also know as Iris nazarena because it grows in the hills of Nazareth. It is a breathtaklnig beautiful flower with. The flags of the Iris nazarena are a creamy pale gray with a subtle violet cast while the falls are sprinkled with dark dots closely spaced so that it makes a dark line. The Iris nazarena is as opulent, rare and unique as the Aedes de Venustas store in NYC making it the perfect muse for their second fragrance.
Iris Nazarena opens with cool, earthy – dirty or rooty - iris followed by ambrette, its pear, rose and musk facets round out the iris, making it fuller and more accessible. Then a camphourous note of juniper berry shows up and takes the iris further. Don’t be scared by the juniper – it’s handled gently, very gently here so that Iris Nazarena doesn’t become Iris Silver Mist. It seems perfect and complete, until a note of star anise appears and you realize then that a hint of herbal/licorice makes it better. As it blooms, leather and incense come forward wrapping the iris in gentle warmth, aided by oud and clove. Rose de mai is a surprise at the heart and is the perfect floral foil for the leather and incense. The base of woods, musk and vetiver give it a rich warmth that is sensuous and comfortable without being heavy or dark, making it perfectly wearable in any season.
The iris is present throughout the entire development of the scent while other notes enhance or highlight it. The drydown is surprisingly soft and elegant given the ingredients that are in it, which is a testament to Schwieger’s skill.
Notes: iris, ambrette, juniper berry, star anis, leather, oud, clove, rose de mai, incense, woods, musk, vetiver.
Parfumeur: Ralf Schwieger