Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Iris Poudre by Pierre Bourdon: Behold My Nemesis


 I’m amazingly lucky to have been able to try Iris Poudre.  It doesn’t exactly fill the shelves at my local branch of Superdrug. Thank you LisaWordbird and your sample collection that would make a grown perfumista weep with joy (she has a phial of vintage Schiaperelli Shocking. Oh boy!).

For the Editions de Parfums range Frederic Malle used many of the greatest Noses in the world to produce their own scents under the Frederic Malle umbrella, giving them complete creative freedom.

 Iris Poudre is in no way a bad scent. It is well made, by expert Nose Pierre Bourdon, who I can now spot a mile off.  If there is a scent that repels me or disturbs me, you can bet that it’s a Bourdon. But that’s just me. Worth Courtesan had a similar effect. A growing sense of unwashed underwear bloomed on my skin when I wore it.  Who made it? Yep. M. Bourdon.  Serge LutensFeminite du Bois with its beautiful opening of smoky Woods turned to knickers on my skin.  Who made it?  Yep. You’ve gusset correctly, sorry guessed correctly, it was my old friend Pierre.

 Iris Poudre was the start of my realisation that when it comes to perfume, Monsieur Bourdon is my frenemy. That is to say, he is a great name in his field and his work is to be admired, but he and I are just a NO GO.

Iris Poudre had a profound effect on me. It was a vehement dislike that induced vivid visuals in my mind. A stuffy car, some kind of threatening menacing female presence (Cruella de Vil?).  An inability to find fresh air.  Someone open the window. I need to breathe!

It is as, the name suggests, a strong Iris that dominates. The Iris has been muffled , like a blanket over the face. Notes include: Iris, Tonka Bean, Vanilla, Musk, Vetiver and Sandalwood.

The Musk does give it a femininity and softness, although to me it still feels like being suffocated.  The Iris is in its Sunday best, having had a good wash.  There is no carroty soil smell here. All is dry and powdery and there is no relief. In keeping with the Perfume Law of Sod, since I dislike this, it lasts nearly fifteen hours.  I had to scrub it off and it was still there, getting on my nerves like a drunken bore at Christmas.  If I had liked it, it probably would have faded pretty quickly. That is the Perfume Law of Sod.


 Iris Poudre costs megabucks, which is a good thing if it stops people wearing it around me.  However, if you like it and cannot find it or afford it, try the much cheaper Gianfranco Ferre: Ferre for Women.  It is the spitting image of Iris Poudre ( Myself and 60 Fragrantica users agree).  Guess who made it?  Yep, Pierre Bourdon.   Try not to confuse it with  Gianfranco Ferre Essence D’Eau which is a bright honey like yellow flowers scent.

My views are purely subjective of course, you may well love Iris Poudre, especially if you are a fan of Iris.  However I always think smelling a scent you hate is never a waste of time as it helps you establish what you love.


12 thoughts on “Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Iris Poudre by Pierre Bourdon: Behold My Nemesis”

  1. How can you not love a review that inserts the name Cruella de Vil!! This is probably one of the least heard of FMs and I have never really heard anything about it myself until your review. I have to admit, now that you gave this very picturesque portrait, next time I have a chance I’m going to give it a sniff!!! Fun read my dear!

    1. Dear Mr Hound,

      I am flattered that a blogger of the Hound’s calibre appreciates one of my reviews. Iris Poudre is not one I had come across until my friend Lisa introduced me to Frederic Malle and his Ravaging Musks. If you don’t come across it (and I’m sure you will find a way), then the Gianfranco Ferre that I mention is a Dead Ringer. In fact I was saying to Lisa that it’s a bit cheeky of M Bourdon to take his recipe and do it for someone else, but she pointed out that he was trying to perfect an idea and so repeated it.

      Thank you so much for dropping by.

  2. As the owner of the Iris Poudre in question, I feel I have to defend it a little, though IScent’s review made me laugh out loud, as so many of them do. 🙂

    I get absolutely zero panty from any Pierre Bourdon perfumes and he’s my favourite perfume nose (just ahead of Jean Claude Ellena, so IScent and I don’t have totally disparate tastes). Iris Poudre was one of my ‘gateway’ perfumes into the world of perfumistas and scented delights beyond the make up counter in my local department store.

    I was torn between L’Eau d’Hiver and Iris Poudre, but chose IP for its ladylike femininity. (Yes, I know that probably tells you a lot about the rough diamond I am in real life.) It’s got a cheerful, full-bodied beauty that I reach for on dressy occasions as it makes me feel womanly yet sophisticated.

    Now I know I’m no angel (thankfully also no Angel-wearer, or IScent wouldn’t let me in her house), but I swear I get no skanky, musky or otherwise saucy elements form Iris Poudre. L’Air de Rien? In spades! (Lovely stuff!) Yet IScent wasn’t scared off by that one at all.

    I shall have to try her with Bal a Versailles, shan’t I? 😉

    1. Dearest Wordbird, yes it is indeed your fault that Iris Poudre and I ever met! You will note however, that I did not include it in my Top Ten Worst Ever perfumes, because I don’t actually think it’s a bad perfume. It’s just not my type. It also taught me how to recognise Iris, which prior to this, I could not recognise.

      You may be relieved to learn that I got no knickers from this! Normally M Bourdon is the King of Knickers where I’m concerned, but Iris Poudre is a clean, powdery scent with no “off” notes. It’s just that she and I will never be friends, unlike you and I, who always will be I hope.

      1. I have a tiny bottle of Bal a Versailles somewhere and it always makes me laugh when I wear it – it’s so hootingly inappropriate! 🙂 I shall take it to IScent forthwith so I can giggle at her facial expression when she tries it. 😀

  3. Dearest Iscent
    Now, as my mater said… “if you don;t have anything nice to say….”.
    So glad you ignored her advice, a splendidly splenetic review… in the best possible taste!
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

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