Perhaps you've noticed the elegant blooms of Iris before, but the real treasure is hidden underground! Iris flowers, while pretty, don't offer much in the fragrance department. Their roots, however, are another story entirely.
Iris materials in perfumery come entirely from the roots of the plant, a process that takes 7 YEARS to complete. Yes, 7 years. Once the plants are harvested, they are stored underground for 3 years to dry out, then they are washed and peeled, then they go back underground for another 4 years before being extracted.
This lengthy process makes Iris materials some of the most expensive in perfumery - over USD$80,000 per KG!!! (the cheaper version is only USD10,000 per KG ;-)
The end results (usually a concrete or absolute) smells creamy, velvety, buttery, rich, cosmetic and floral. Iris plays best with floral and fruity notes, adding an extra layer of depth and complexity to any fragrance.