// August 7th, 2012 // Bath & Body
Orris root is a term used for the roots Iris germanica, Iris florentina, and Iris pallida. Once important in western herbal medicine, it is now used mainly as a fixative and base note in perfumery, as well as an ingredient in many brands of gin. It is also the most widely-used fixative for potpourri.
Fabienne Pavia, in her book L’univers des Parfums (1995, ed. Solar), states that in the manufacturing of perfumes using orris, the scent of the iris root differs from that of the flower. After preparation the scent is reminiscent of the smell of violets.
After an initial drying period, which can take five years or more depending on the use, the root is ground. For potpourri, this powder is used without further processing. For other uses, it’s dissolved in water and then distilled. One ton of iris root produces two kilos of essential oil, also referred to as orris root butter, making it a highly prized substance, and its fragrance has been described as tenaciously flowery, heavy and woody (Paraphrasing Pavia, Dutch translation, page 40). Typical iris-perfumes (where the compound of the ingredient prevails over the other components) are: “Orris Noir” by the London based perfume house Ormonde Jayne Perfumery, “Infusion d’iris”(Prada*); “Tumulte”(Christian Lacroix*); “Aqua di Parma”* and “Iris nobile”(Aqua di Parma*); “Irisia”(Creed*); “Y”(Yves Saint Laurent*) and “Vol de nuit”(Guerlain*). The black orris used in Orris Noir is a highly prized oil and the national flower of Jordan.
Orris root is often included as one of the many ingredients of Ras el hanout, a blend of herbs and spices used across the Middle East and North Africa, primarily associated with Moroccan cuisine.
Orris root has been used in tinctures to flavour syrups; its taste is said to be indistinguishable from raspberry.
(info and picture via Wikipedia)
Orris root co2 extract (Iris pallida), 1% irone content, is a viscous but pourable beige liquid. It displays a delicate, warm, sweet-violet floral, precious woods-rooty, powdery odor with a lovely fruity undertone with good tenacity and radiant power.
In natural perfumery is used in amber bases chypre, fougere; forest bases, oriental accords, colognes, in natural re-creations of freesia, orchid, cyclamen, violet, lilac perfumes.