Iris in Perfume: Refined, Relaxed and Calm…

I love iris. It can be a challenging scent, and not every iris perfume is for every lover of iris. It can smell like dirt, paper (Hermes Hiris!) or even a bit medicinal if it isn’t blended with notes that make it sing on the wearer’s skin. Because you know now that everyone wears every perfume differently, right? That we all “cook” the scent in a different way, depending on so many things. Our skin type (dry vs oily) our internal temperature (you know how some people are just warm? Or always cold?), what we eat, how we sweat etc etc etc. I wrote about my number one gorgeous iris scent, Guerlain Après L’Ondée, which is mixed with violets and heliotropin for a soft powdery sweetness. Some others I have enjoyed are Le Labo Iris 39, which is the definition of a rich and sensual iris, with the iris note being propped up by the earthiness of patchouli- which also makes it easy for a man to wear. Guerlain Iris Ganache is the gourmande delicious iris, with notes of white chocolate, musk and vanilla making you smell like edible iris. Yummy. The one that really works for me when I crave simple unadorned iris, however, is Chanel 28 la Pausa.


Roquebrune, Cap Martin 

Chanel 28 la Pausa is part of the Chanel Exclusif line, which is sold at Chanel Boutiques and at some special Chanel counters in certain department stores. I have not been able to find a list of “notes” on line, which is ok actually. In most cases, the notes listed for perfumes aren’t actually the actual notes, but more of an approximation of what the designer is trying to convey. Or, more often, they are basically ad copy disguised as legitimate information. Chanel 28 la Pausa simply smells beautiful, which isn’t surprising given that Chanel has access to some of the finest perfume ingredients in the world. Every note is perfect. 28 la Pausa is named after the address of Mademoiselle Chanel’s estate on the French Riviera outside Roquebrune Cap Martin. She would holiday there, often surrounded by luminaries of the time: the Duke of Westminster, Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau. From Chanel’s site:

“28 la Pausa is a scent full of contrasts — radiant yet delicate, simple yet luxurious, earthy yet powdery — with a tranquil, soothing character.”


 What do I smell? Hm. Let’s see. On the top, I get some gentle fruit notes. Citrus? Maybe a bit of a tart lime note but it is definitely more green than fruity. Earthy vetiver, for sure. Chanel knows vetiver, and there are hints of all her perfumes in, well, all her perfumes. The distinct vetiver note from Chanel Sycamore (another Exclusif) is here, but it is softened by the powdery aspect they have coaxed from the iris. It is cool, but not cold, as some iris scents can be. Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist is a frigid example of a cold iris. Brrrr.  No, the cool feeling in 28 la Pausa is soothing and calming, like meditation. I almost think I smell a white tea like scent in here, but who knows. It’s probably a delicious musk, some kind of perfume illusion cast by Chanel’s perfumer, Jacques Polge. Whatever it is, I adore it. And there it is- that earthy sensual iris note we love so much. It’s not sensual in the carnal way jasmine and tuberose are, but more of a smoldering quiet sensuality. And luckily for me, la Pausa lasts hours and hours on my skin, which is made for perfumes that many find fleeting. 



It is cooling and soothing, and does indeed make one feel relaxed and refined. It smells like clean skin, but with an oh so subtle undertone of sophisticated sensuality. Perhaps it is the iris combined with whatever magical musk note Chanel has cooked up in their labs? It smells like skin, freshly showered skin, sitting in a cool ocean breeze, with perhaps a light silk scarf draped across your shoulders. Cool, silky and smooth. Yes, I will have another G & T please.

The new 75ml Exlusif bottle

In the past, you could only get the Exclusifs in honking 200ml bottles. They are gorgeous bottles, with a simple Chanel design and the most genius magnetic cap that always sits just right with the conjoined Chanel Cs sitting just as they should. But, now most of the Exlusifs are available in a 75ml bottle.

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