Last Christmas, my husband surprised me with a bottle of 2017’s new Tiffany & Co. eau de parfum, and I loved it! I have been on something of an iris kick for a while, and Tiffany & Co. is mainly an iris scent, brightened by a citrusy opening and softened by a musk base. The only notes listed on the Tiffany website are: top — “vert de mandarine”, middle — noble iris, and base — patchouli and musk. Fragrantica lists its notes as follows: top notes are mandarin orange, bergamot and lemon; middle notes are iris, black currant, peach and rose; base notes are patchouli and musk.
2018 has brought a new version, and it is one of those fragrances that save the good name of “flankers”, as I think it is an improvement on an already excellent original: Tiffany & Co. Intense. Again, the Tiffany website lists fewer notes: top note: vert de mandarine and pink peppercorn; heart: noble iris; base notes: amber and benzoin. Although Fragrantica doesn’t provide a separate list of notes, its graphic shows the following: top — pear, mandarin leaf, pink pepper; heart — iris, jasmine, rose; base — amber, benzoin, musk, carrot, cashmeran, and vanilla.
The opening is a pleasantly citrusy burst of light green, which lasts only minutes until the iris takes center stage. The iris remains strong throughout the scent’s progression, which I enjoy. Good thing I do, because this flanker lasts a long time! Although it becomes more of a skin scent after a few hours, I can still easily smell it on my wrist several hours after application, and the base that remains is delicious: a warm, musky floral.
The nose behind both fragrances is Daniela Andrier, who knows her iris: she was the creator of Prada’s Infusion d’Iris and its many flankers. I found a fascinating article on a marketing website about Tiffany’s strategy and brief: Brandwatch: Tiffany & Co. Intense. Much of the story begins with the launch of Tiffany & Co. in 2017:
To understand Intense, it’s necessary to view it in the context of the original 2017 launch. This saw a completely new approach to the category for the famed US jewellery house, which sought not simply to put its name to a product, but to create a perfume that was as much a part of the brand (and a reflection of it) as any of its diamond rings.
Every element of the product – from the packaging to the ingredients – was to be inspired by the history and heritage of Tiffany.
From the very beginning, every element of The Fragrance was chosen for its intrinsic ‘Tiffany-ness’, from what the scent reflects to what it contains, to the flacon and the box that contains it, and of course the name itself. Tiffany knows its brand, and both the debut and follow-up fragrances are authentically Tiffany.
Apparently, the brief was to create “a fragrance that would evoke the touch of jewellery on bare skin; a scent (and sensation) that Tiffany no doubt knows well.” Weaving both fragrances around a strong presence of iris was a brilliant choice. As the article notes:
Tiffany has a long association with the iris, says the brand, noting the flower’s appearance in some of the house’s earliest sketches. In 1900, Tiffany won the grand prize at the Paris Exposition with an iris-shaped brooch, and the motif has continued to be a frequent reference in the century since.
The founder of Tiffany & Co., Louis Comfort Tiffany, was not only a brilliant jeweler but one of the greatest creators of stained glass in the world. Iris flowers blossomed in some of his most iconic images, such as this portion of the great “Magnolias and Irises” window he created as a memorial to the Frank family of New York. It was originally installed in a mausoleum of a Brooklyn cemetery but now resides at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Stained glass window, Louis Comfort Tiffany; Magnolias and Irises, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
This view of the window perfectly captures Tiffany & Co. Intense. It retains the cool blues of the original fragrance’s iris notes, but deepens them and adds the warmth of amber and benzoin, evoking the soft sunset shading into twilight that the Tiffany studio captured so brilliantly in stained glass. Or is it dawn? Only the artist knows.
The bottle for both Tiffany & Co. and Tiffany & Co. Intense is gorgeous. The Brandwatch article describes it:
Diamonds proved the perfect inspiration for the flacon of a house world-famous for its work with such stones. The base of the bottle features faceting inspired by the Tiffany Diamond, one of the largest yellow diamonds ever discovered. The shoulders recall the geometric lines of the Lucida diamond, a signature cut of the house that adorns many solitaire engagement rings.
The first fragrance’s bottle was clear, with a “Tiffany blue” collar. As beautiful as it is, the new bottle is even more gorgeous — its glass is itself “Tiffany blue” and the collar is silver, another material for which Tiffany & Co. is famous, especially in its long collaboration with designer Elsa Peretti, whose designs in sterling silver have become as iconic as the founder’s stained glass. Needless to say, both fragrances come in the legendary Tiffany blue gift box; their packaging is lined in silver. So, so pretty!
Every aspect of these fragrances and their launches has been carefully considered and rendered as beautifully as possible, from the creation of the iris butter — said to be “an extraction method exclusive to Tiffany”, in which French-grown blooms were chosen and harvested only in July and August, to the ad campaign using a cover of one of the Beatles’ most famous songs as its soundtrack:
One final, perfect detail: the Tiffany website includes a special link on each product page to “Drop A Hint.” Genius! You click on the link, choose one of a few designs, fill in the email for the intended recipient, and this is what s/he gets, with a link to the desired item:
Subtle, right? Honey, if you’re reading this …
Readers, what’s on your holiday wish list? Have you dropped any hints?