About Orris Butter in Perfumery

Orris butter is the Queen. I can sit an meditate on her for hours. There is no other material like her! You can find natural orris butter in my "Winter Melon" perfume. 

Orris butter, also known as iris butter, is extracted from the root of the iris plant. This rare and EXTREMELY expensive natural materials (sometimes more than $150K dollars per kilogram) and has a long history of use in creating fine fragrances. Its unique aroma and fixative properties make it one of the most sought-after ingredient by perfumers from around the world! 

The History of Orris Butter in Perfumery

Orris butter has been used in perfumery for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians used it in their incense and cosmetic preparations. Louis XIV of France adored orris and it continues to be a key ingredient in high-end perfumes. 

The Process of Producing Orris Butter

Making orris butter is complex and time-consuming. The iris plant must be harvested after several years of growth, at which point the roots are carefully extracted and dried. This drying process - which takes several years - is crucial because it allows the natural aroma of the iris root to develop and mature, resulting in a high-quality product that is rich in fragrance. The dried roots are then ground into a fine powder, macerated and distilled to extract the orris butter. This gentle extraction of the delicate fragrance compounds found in the iris root. Once extracted, orris butter is carefully preserved to ensure its quality and longevity. This is typically done by storing the orris butter in airtight containers, away from light and heat, to prevent the degradation of its fragrance compounds.

The Aroma of Orris Butter

Orris butter has a distinctive, floral aroma often described as earthy and slightly sweet. It's a base note that it contributes to the longevity and depth of a fragrance. The aroma of orris butter is said to be similar to that of violets, and it is often used in combination with other floral and woody notes to create complex and nuanced fragrances.

Here are some adjectives that describing orris butter; talcum powder, powdery-woody, fatty, waxy, creamy, green melon skin waxy, waxy leaves, violet, green, earthy, carrot, potatoes skin, slightly sweet, warm-earthy-rooty

Orris Butter vs Synthetic Alternatives

Orris butter is a natural ingredient with a rich history and unique aroma, but most perfumers use synthetic alternatives in their fragrances. These synthetic alternatives are often created in a laboratory and designed to mimic natural ingredients' scent, such as orris butter.

Synthetic alternatives DEFINITELY lack the depth and complexity of natural orris butter. Orris butter's rich aroma and fixative properties make it a valuable element in creating high-quality fragrances, and its unique character sets it apart from synthetic alternatives.

The Fixative Properties of Orris Butter

In addition to its unique aroma, orris butter is prized in perfumery for its fixative properties. It helps to anchor a fragrance and extend its longevity. Small amounts enhance the staying power of other fragrances.

The Different Types of Orris Butter

Orris butter can be produced from several different species of iris plant, each with its own distinct aroma and properties. Some of the most commonly used iris species in perfumery include

  • The Florentine iris (Iris germanica)
  • the Moroccan iris (Iris pallida)
  • Spike iris (Iris missouriensis)

Each of these species imparts its unique characteristics to the orris butter, making it an essential ingredient in creating high-quality fragrances.

I prefer white, Florentine Iris above all others. To me, this is the finest quality perfume material in the world! 

 Some of the most famous perfumes that contain orris butter include:

  • Chanel No. 19 the orris butter adds a soft and elegant quality to the fragrance, contributing to its classic and timeless appeal. The scent of Chanel No. 19 is described as fresh and green, with dominant notes of galbanum, a resin from a type of cypress tree, and jasmine, a sweet and floral aroma. The orris butter complements these notes and helps to give the fragrance its distinctive character.
  • Shalimar: This classic oriental perfume was created by Jacques Guerlain in the early 20th century. It has a warm, sensual, and luxurious aroma, with notes of bergamot, lemon, jasmine, rose, and orris butter.

     I purchase my orris butter from Eden Botanicals, https://www.edenbotanicals.com/orris-butter-15-irones.html