When Penhaligon’s invited me to the launch event of Iris Prima, I didn’t think I would be blown away by the smell of ballerinas. Iris Prima, is the new scent from British fragrance house Penhaligon’s, is a work of olfactory choreography, with Iris Absolute in the role of Prima Ballerina.
In partnership with the English National Ballet, Penhaligon’s was set about capturing the very essence of ballet, turning to master perfumer Alberto Morillas as choreographer. During the course of making the fragrance, Penhaligon’s was granted exclusive access to English National Ballet dancers Nathan Young and Lauretta Summerscales, as well as rehearsals and hushed glimpses from theatre wings; Alberto has captured every aspect of this remarkable artistic world in the iconic Penhaligon’s bottle. I was given a tour round the Soho gallery where the event was held and was blown away by the attention to detail paid during the process and the finished product of the fragrance.
Speaking with perfumer Alberto Morillas was a fantastic way of learning more about how much work went into the product. Alberto Morillas is known as the world famous “nose” behind iconic fragrances designing perfumes for fashion houses like Calvin Klein, Valention,Bvlgari, Givenchy Yves Saint Laurent etc.
Photo by- Gemma Betts
Describing the process as though it was a ballet show;
“A fresh and transparent bergamot opens the dance: its citrus freshness mimicking the graceful flight of the prima ballerina as she leaps into the spotlight. Green amber softens the effect and contrasts with sparkling pink pepper, which resonates like the steps of the ballerina on pointe.
Iris soon takes centre stage, eclipsing all around her with her natural grace and powdery charm, until she begins a sensuous pas de deux with potent Jasmine Sambac.
A sense of luminosity comes courtesy of two innovative molecules; Hedione and Paridisione. In the base, Alberto introduces an intimate, musky leather note to represent the pointe shoe and then light touches of sandalwood, vetiver, vanilla and benzoin to signify the soul of ancient theatres, as well as the rehearsal studios and corridors of English National Ballet’s home in South Kensington, Markova House. Effortlessly elegant and faintly melancholy, Iris Prima offers a fascinating glimpse into the secluded yet magical world of the ballet”