Scent Sample Sunday: Iris Dragees

Lancome has launched another in its “Maison Lancome Haute Parfumerie” line, and it’s a winner! I am coming to love this higher-end Lancome line, as it is launching some truly gorgeous florals, my first loves in fragrance. Iris Dragees , launched in 2018, is by perfumer Nathalie Lorson. Fragrantica lists its notes as follows: “top notes are bergamot and pink pepper; middle notes are freesia, orange blossom, almond, sugar and iris flower; base notes are iso e super, orris, vanilla and white musk.” The box and the Lancome website list only three notes: iris distillate, iris resinoid, and sugared almonds. The latter are the “dragees”, which are literally almonds coated in a hard sugar shell, usually in soft pastel colors.

Iris Dragees is very true to its name. Contrary to Fragrantica’s list, I smell iris right away, although there is a brief, fresh pop when first sprayed that could be a hint of bergamot. The iris jumps forward almost immediately, and it is a sweet iris, but not too sweet. (I’m not much into gourmand scents, though I do like some gourmand notes, like vanilla and coffee). Although iris is often perceived as “powdery” because of the note’s long use in, and association with, luxury powders, this iris feels less powdery to me although still floral, and  I think that’s because of the almond note. To my nose, almond lends a creaminess that is very appealing. Here, it is a light creaminess, so maybe more like almond milk — subtle, and enhancing the iris rather than announcing itself.

The “dragee” aspect of Iris Dragees also shows up quickly, with a light vanilla undertone  that also subtly supports the iris heart note. As the scent dries down, the iris becomes more and more pronounced, but it never loses the underlying sweetness from the “sugared almonds.” Iris Dragees lives in the same realm as its sibling from the same Maison Lancome line, Jasmins Marzipane, which Tania Sanchez gave five stars in the new “Perfumes: The Guide 2018.” It is a land of elegant sugared flowers, so artfully composed that to the human eye, it would be hard to tell whether the delicately tinted decorations on a gorgeous cake were real flowers or their idealized facsimiles.

Sugared iris flowers on wedding cake by Amanda Earl

“Iris” cake by Amanda Earl; image from

A little goes a long way with Iris Dragees; a small spray on each of my wrists is ample for me to enjoy it, and its longevity is good. The base has a lightly woody vibe, which is probably from the Iso E Super listed among the base notes by Fragrantica. It is a soft landing from the soft heart notes.

Another aspect of this fragrance and its siblings which I appreciate is that they can be bought in a 14 ml size, just right to bring the price down to “impulse purchase” range (suggested retail $35.00), but enough to enjoy more than once or twice. These travel-size bottles are as pretty as the big ones, with their artwork based on cut paper.

Iris Dragee bottle

Iris Dragees by Maison Lancome; image from

If you like iris fragrances, I suspect you will like this one a lot! I’m a relatively new convert to iris as a fragrance note; not that I ever disliked it, I’ve just always gravitated to greener florals and notes like muguet, rose, and lily. But I have discovered in the last couple of years that I really do like many iris-centered fragrances, such as Miller Harris’ Terre d’Iris and Laboratorio Olfattivo’s Nirmal.

Have you tried Iris Dragees or any others from Maison Lancome? What did you think? Can you recommend any other iris fragrances?

Edible iris flower cake toppers from Sugar Butterflies on Etsy.

Edible flowers from Sugar Butterflies

21 thoughts on “Scent Sample Sunday: Iris Dragees

  1. Wow! this sounds amazing!!! You know I sprayed this on a notebook during my summer visit into the city but I had samples perhaps 30+ fragrances that day and I think my nose was on overload. I was also drawn to the fact that they come in smaller bottles for a very reasonable price.

    excellent review, as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Yes, I’m really taken with these — I may go out of my way to try some of the others like Parfait de Roses. Normally I avoid department stores and malls, but I’m also hankering to try the new JM winter fragrance White Moss and Snowdrop, so I may have to comb my hair, put on some respectable clothes, and present myself to a patient (I hope!) SA at Nordstrom or somewhere, lol.


        • So I went to Nordstrom this afternoon to try White Moss and Snowdrop, and the jury is still out! It is really different from most JMs, but not in a bad way. Two of my young adult kids said they liked it on my arm (which the nice SA did spray, generously). This is DEFINITELY one to try before you buy. And yes, I’ll post my further thoughts on the blog!


      • and to answer the question..have you tried Berdoues Arz el Rab which is ginger, iris and cedar or Masque Milano L’Atessa which is a dry rooty iris? Also, I adore the d/c Hermessences Paprika Brasil which believe it or not is also an iris….I can really smell it in the drydown.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nice to compare iris in different compositions isn’t it? Bear with my simple reviews: Iris de Nuit is cool and earthy with a little softness from the violet perhaps has the most of the iris/carrot note?. Athalia is warmer and more floral with orange blossom top note and perhaps the amber base with the iris? It’s the iris I get the most compliments on while wearing. I’ve read Prada Infusion d’Iris is more woody and soft floral powdery? I love all three, very different yet all with the beautiful iris note.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have never tried anything from Lancome’s Haute Parfumerie line, but you are making me very intrigued! Iris Dragees and Jasmins Marzipane both sound lovely! I’ll have to check this line out next time I’m in the city and near Saks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d love to know what you think! I got these two small sizes online from Neiman Marcus. I must say, I’ve always had the best SA treatment at NM and at Nordstrom, in my city. I’ll be interested to know what you think of the Lancomes!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You know what was the best part of your review? The news about a smaller sizes! 🙂 I have a couple of samples for this line but I wasn’t testing them heavily because I didn’t plan on getting any 100 ml of Lancome perfumes. But now it changes everything. And I definitely will try this new perfume because I love iris in perfumes though almond isn’t a note that usually works for me – but we’ll see. Thank you for the heads-up.

    I have many favorite iris perfumes, some of them are the same as you liked, if I remember correctly. But I want to mention one recent “find” in that genre – Houbigant Iris des Champs.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Iris des Champs is one of those quiet and elegant perfumes that do not produce the “Boom!”/”Wow” effect but keep their pretty and soft presence for hours.
        I would have never paid the full retail price for it, but FragranceNet’s price was more than perfumista-friendly, and I went for it (but it wasn’t a blind buy, I tried it before).

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Perfume Chat Room, May 22 – Serenity Now Scents and Sensibilities

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