One of the most prized and expensive raw materials is iris absolute, extracted from the aged roots of the Iris pallida, germanica and florentina. Also known as orris, the roots mature for a minimum of three years, before being steam distilled to form ‘iris butter’, which can be further purified to give the iris absolute. Being a root, orris is earthy and can lend soft and powdery elements, as well as an ethereal floral note to perfumes. Its primary aromatic compounds are irones and ionones, which can be replicated synthetically, making iris a more accessible note, particularly with composers of mass-market fragrance.
Learn more about iris/orris and its history, production and use in perfumery with NEZ's insightful and brilliantly illustrated Naturals Notebook on Orris.