Monsieur Robot – Iris Prima

We absolutely adore Penhaligon’s here at Robot HQ, so you can imagine our excitement when they release a new fragrance. You might think that after having spent over 140 years creating classic fragrances Penhaligon’s might want to take it easy for a bit; but no – they continue to push forward crafting some of the most exquisite and original fragrances I’ve ever had the pleasure to inhale. I consider Penhaligon’s  Sartorial to be my signature scent, it’s not merely a smell I like, it is a smell I am obsessed with. It also now comes in a beard oil which is literally perfect for me. The latest addition to the Penhaligon’s line-up is Iris Prima a fragrance inspired by ballet. My experience of ballet sits somewhere between the coven of witches posing as a ballet school in Argento’s Suspiria and Matthew Bourne’s ‘Edward Scissorhands‘ so I wouldn’t really call myself an expert. I’m not sure what I expected Iris Prima to smell like, floral I suppose, and girly – but that was a mistake on my part. Tutu’s aside the world of ballet is one of intense physical exertion so the fragrance isn’t nearly as feminine as you might imagine. One sniff and it instantly transported me to the theatre – the dusty floorboards, heavy velvet curtains and the unique scent of the performers own bodies as they toil to entertain the audience. Penhaligon’s enlisted the help of the English National Ballet to create Iris Prima and in the video below some of the dancers describe what ballet smells like to them.

It’s a powerfully evocative scent with head notes of bergamot, pink pepper and green amber. Heart notes of the eponymous Iris, Jasmine Sambac, Hedione and Paradisone eventually give way to base notes of leather, vanilla, sandalwood, vetiver and benzoin. I find it difficult to describe a fragrance beyond listing the ingredients – somewhere in the combination of the individual elements something magical happens and that’s where Iris Prima comes in. Words really don’t do it justice. In fact I might just have to reconsider my signature scent.