Finally, this mysterious, dark and bewitching perfume tailored in the anxieties brought upon us by nocturnal lore, legend and myth arrives on the shores of North America to alllow my input after an exclusive debut at Harrods of London. L’insomnuit was released at Harrod’s in July of 2016 so unless you were of the privileged few perfume cognoscenti that resided in London to hoard this fabulous fragrance-or shall I say gorgeous-the insomnia theme really hits home in a subtle but distinct way. While L’insomnuit really attempts to exude the ‘Witching Hour’ or the macabre with their marketing L’insomnuit results in a very romantic experience. It is a soothing and romantic late evening fragrance despite the two main-stern-notes of Iris and wood to produce a sort of self imposed antagonism. You can detect a reasonable amount of ‘dark’ and ‘red’ fruits and possibly a hint of citrus that brings about this wonderful fermented scent that is tempered with milk and honey and that is only just the beginning. Robert Piguet, known for assembling masterpieces with pristine ingredients and blistering detail conjures a special brew for all of our delight.
L’insomnuit begins with two main iris notes that are directly aimed at your psyche. They are strong but what I find most interesting is that they have a more velvety feel than your ‘scratchy’ iris smell. In terms of scratchiness there is Iris Cendre by Naomi Goodish where her version of ‘Purple iris’ is heavy laden and intense with a considerable amount of assistance from incense, cistus and tobacco, I feel as though L’insomnuit picks up where Iris Cendre ends. In this elixir there is an Iris Concentrate and Iris absolute. Trying to discern the differences between the two can be tricky but it is indeed enjoyable. The iris notes of concentrate and absolute smell a little suede-ish, buttery and at times earthy but they are purposely not overbearing while retaining the qualities of iris. In a subtle way L’insomnuit can smell like Tom Ford’s Oud Absolute but this is more distinctive with the fermented dark and red fruits mixed with fir balsam and an unforgettable addition of Tonka bean. You will marvel in just how great the iris absolute and concentrate appear and project. Like mentioned befor L’insomnuit has blistering detail.
After the Iris there is the woody component consisting of cedar, sandalwood and a suggestion of oudh-if it is really there. One highlight of the woody aspect is that you can smell the cedar blending in with the iris at different intervals while the notes settle in. Somehow it smells spectacular with the chosen iris notes. The sandalwood comes later but with a stipulation of another absolute version only this time it is Tonka bean and it makes this perfume delicious. After you’re finished, L’insmnuit might taste like a pastry with a little gourmand and a touch of merlot…it is even intoxicating. The Tonka bean absolute chosen is milky, earthy and sweet which goes well everything as L’insomnuit melts into your skin. Remember, there is no dry-down here only notes melting to form this indescribable scent that will leave you dizzy! The quality of this perfume is an EDP but with the concentrates and absolutes it feels like Extrait de Parfum. This is well done and not easy to put down once you sample it. Just remember, think merlot, iris pastries (maybe some scones) and a little gourmand. L’insomnuit is well worth the anxiety.