The olive groves of the Jordan valley have been my adopted home for over a decade; the palm trees, the wadi waterfalls, the Sufis there.
But lately the tropical jungles have taken me prisoner and the blessed soil of Judah is a place I get to walk on less and less.
Iris Noir is dedicated to this land.
This is not a waltzing-down-the-Arabian-souq scent. It wasn’t inspired by spices and bukhoor. This is a New Yorker’s take on the Hashemite twilight that has beckoned his return year after year. The honeysuckle you smell on the way to the zawiya. The Melissa wafting though your kitchen window at sunset, the thyme and orange blossom and rosemary. Gaze at the galaxies lighting the caves of Petra. The Shaykh handing out swipes of jasmine; murids asking about that rose he used to wear. And the scent par excellence of Sufis: oud.
It’s an ambitious perfume to create. That’s why it’s taken me forever to perfect this composition. Visit me and I can show you the various renditions composed over the years – but all lacked that quiet harmony that gives you a scent that echoes the heat of the desert noon and the cool valley breeze that brings solace to your night time dhikr.
In perfumery terms, a gentle exchange of dry and wet aromatics, top notes with the freshness of morning that takes you to noon, warm heart notes that lead you to sunset and base riffs that let you sit down and invoke the Name in the dead of night.
So, no. You won’t see a poster of a celebrity endorsing Iris Noir at the Duty Free. It’s not for the confident and independent men or women in those ads they tell you to be. It does not assert one’s masculinity or accentuate your femininity. It’s not a scent for your ego – it’s a genderless aroma that lets you step outside yourself and lets you see a world of beauty, an olfactory scentscape as real as the purple fig trees on the green hills as you drive towards Jerusalem.
It’s a scent of the river Jordan, the wadi waterfalls; the Sufis there.
Ingredients include the legally obtained Siberian musk, three of my most unusual ouds, and a number of rare ruhs and select extracts only available now and then, in very limited quantities. One of the key additions to this new artisanal Cambodian oud, which would sell for a lot if sold neat, but add a flare of encens to the composition I couldn’t be happier with, and its superior exalting properties make this new rendition of Iris Noir a cut above the previous one. If that wasn’t enough, add a generous dose of orris butter and among the most precious sandalwood oils in my atelier, and you’ve got the most delectable Iris Noir to date.