Malle Iris Poudre EDP Perfume Review

Malle Iris Poudre

Purple Flowers Week 2014*

I’ve always liked Francis Malle Iris Poudre because I love aldehydes. When I have talked to other perfume people about this perfume, I’m ausually surprised by their reaction. In my mind this is a pretty, soft and approachable aldehydic floral. Other people were comparing Iris Poudre to aloof, snobby blondes or uptight gray-haired church ladies in pillbox hats. It occurred to me that Iris Poudre must smell similar to something else, one or two other classic perfumes, that I have no experience with. This is one of the benefits from growing up in a rather perfume adverse household. I have no associations with perfume, negative or positive. I can go into sampling perfumes like Iris Poudre and not be reminded of teachers, great-aunts or the widow next door.

Iris Poudre opens with softened aldehydes. There’s a “gentle” cedar with a juicy raspberry-violet. The perfume at this stage wears more like a goose down powder puff than actual powder. It has that “marabou” texture. It’s a marabou-floral. Soft yet enveloping. It’s a full-on aldehydic floral with ylang-ylang and a “fatty” jasmine. Somehow, maybe with magic, the heart manages to still be aldehydic. It’s soft, still “feathery” and not really powdery. I swear I get a hint of black licorice with “pink florals” and a candied violet. The dry-down is a soft orris with woods and a “vanilla dusting powder”.

Being a person with a tendency to wear sharp aldehydic fragrances or icy, cool florals (and the occasional aggressive patchouli or leather chypre), Iris Poudre is my “nice gal” fragrance. It’s soft, feminine, so much so that it is borderline campy like walking around in a feather boa and marabou mules. My life has been too serious lately and I admit that I need more of this frou-frou camp in my life. Iris Poudre makes me smile.


Notes listed include tonka bean, vanilla, musk, sandalwood, vetiver and iris. Launched 2000. PERFUMER – Pierre Bourdon

Try Iris Poudre if you love classic aldehydic florals. Or if you like perfumes like Chanel No. 22, Ramon Monegal Impossible Iris, Keiko Mecheri Cuir Cordoba, Histoires de Parfums Blanc Violette, Agent Provocateur Maitresse, Tom Ford Violet Blonde and/or Ferre. And yes, many compare it to Chanel No. 5 because that is the aldehydic floral that they know. Personally, I think Iris Poudre is a thousand times better than the current version of No. 5 which is weak and pitiful.

Projection is average. Longevity is above average.

The 1.7 oz bottle of Iris Poudre retails for $190 at Barneys. A larger size and a travel size are also available.

Victoria’s Final EauPINION “Goose down powder puff” style aldehydic floral. I think it is a great fragrance and I’ve been meaning to buy a bottle for years. It’s definitely not one for everyone but what perfume is?

*Not as “purple” as other florals featured this week, but “iris” is in the name and it has violets. I do think of this perfume as a soft violet shade. You know, that shade that is always popular with bridal parties. Subjective, I know.

Want more reviews? Try…

Olfactoria’s Travels

I Scent You a Day

Bois de Jasmin

The Perfume Dandy

Scents of Self

Muse in Wooden Shoes

Eiderdown Press

*Sample obtained by me. Product pic from Fragrantica. Sally Rand pic from

8 thoughts on “Malle Iris Poudre EDP Perfume Review

  1. Victoria, I think your characterization of Iris Poudre as having a goose-down powder puff feel to it is really accurate. I think this might be the aldehyde perfume for aldehyde phobes (if they wanted to try to appreciate aldehydes, I mean) because you’re right, they’re present but so gentle here.

    Thanks for the link love.

    And thanks, einsof, for making me laugh. Iris Poudre would make a great stage name for a drag queen!

  2. Oh, I love this thing.

    You’re right, it isn’t in the least snobby or uptight. It’s as fluffy as an angora sweater. Pastel, of course.

    I’m fairly familiar with a whole slew of “old-lady” perfumes, and Iris Poudre doesn’t remind me of anything vintage at all – except with the aldehydes, and I think that must be the common ground. Most of those “old-lady” scents were far dirtier in the drydown, far fuller with the florals, more powdery with moss. IP is pale and clean and bunny-rabbit CUDDLY.

    1. Oh, another expensive thing to love 😉

      Out of the “old lady” scents that I’ve tried, I agree that they are dirtier – mosses, patchouli, leather and civet. The bases are always “dark”. Iris Poudre’s base is “clear/light”. And yes, soft as a bunny rabbit…that rabbit image will tie it into spring 🙂

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