Library of Fragrance gives you the chance to be your own bespoke Perfume Mixer Upper and with this trio of summer florals, I found myself layering and mixing and matching until I found just the combination that suited me.
I must confess, in the interest of full disclosure, that I was sent a selection of bottles free from Library of Fragrance to see what I thought. This is very kind and always very deeply appreciated. Opinions are my own, however.
So here’s my opinion on Library of Fragrance Iris, Peony and Wet Garden, separately and together.
Library of Fragrance Iris
Iris and I have a complicated relationship. It was the name of my beloved late grandmother, who was deeply loved by all who knew her, and I so wanted to love her namesake fragrance. But I didn’t. Then, after a complicated route that went from carroty, to violetty via stifling and powdery, I ended up falling hard for Prada Infusion D’Iris and ended up putting it at the top of my Christmas list. Finally Iris and I were friends.
Library of Fragrance Iris has the best of Iris: no carrots, no stifling open-a-window-stuffiness and all of the translucent violetty florals. Giving it a bottle of its own, undiluted with anything else is also a great way to explore single note fragrance. Library of Fragrance Iris is perfect with the next two fragrances because it tones them down to give you a smoother, calmer summer garden floral.
Puzzlewood, Gloucs. Photo my own
Library of Fragrance Wet Garden
I was expecting this to smell more earthy and rainy. With Library of Fragrance they don’t just give you the pretty stuff, you get the whole shebang, so I was half expecting a whiff of soil and rusty watering cans. In fact this is more evocative of the scent when walking through the bedding plant section of a Garden Centre in the rain. This is the smell of buds, a little moss, wet petals, but mostly, and quite dominantly in my opinion, it is the smell of a hyacinth. The hyacinth is one of my favourite scents and it doesn’t always translate into perfume, but sometimes you get lucky. In this case, I did get lucky, but then it got a little sharp after a while. No matter, I had my trusty bottle of Library of Fragrance Iris which toned it back down again. Once I’d done this, the violets that were barely a whisper in Wet Garden stood out more prominently and I ended up with the happy scent of a springtime bouquet.
Library of Fragrance Peony
The Peony is one of the prettiest and most feminine notes I know, often used for girly effect and a note that is very seldom used in the crossover between masculine and feminine. However, in this case, I have to say it was the most complex of the three, being a bit more high pitched than I was expecting, and resembling first a spicy, soapy rose, then a sour plum. The plum thing was a bit of a funny moment. The smell was so familiar but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I walked away from my blog and had a think. Then I tried Mary Greenwell Plum on one hand and Cacharel LouLou on the other. Yes, it did indeed resemble plum, more in fact than peony. No bad thing, I’m just telling you what I smelled. If it was a colour it would smell purple.
However, here comes our friend Iris to calm down the Peony like a sober friend on a hen night. Together, they work better than they do alone.
If you buy Library of Fragrance Wet Garden, Peony and Iris you get a bouquet you can mix and match. Iris is great alone or with friends. Peony needs a chaperone to really shine, and Wet Garden is full of hope and optimism. Like a trio of sisters, these are cut from similar cloth but different enough to blend or stand alone. This is your English Country Garden fragrance wardrobe kit.
Have fun experimenting and coming up with your own combinations. I liked all three at the same time for a real blast of summer garden.
Library of Fragrance scents cost £15 each in Boots, or two for £25. There is a large range in Boots and an even larger range on the Library of Fragrance website. Several, including Iris, cost only £9.99 online) .