9/10/18

Irisch Moos Eau de Toilette (Mäurer & Wirtz)



This is a tricky fragrance. I've been wearing it for a week now, and have come to the conclusion that there's two ways to think about it. I could be super picky, parse through all the notes, break down accords piece by piece, and focus on the quality of the aroma chemicals that were used, and if I do it that way, I'll wind up with a review similar to the one I posted on Fragrantica. When I obsess over every stage and every accord, it kind of smells like a leather chypre that morphs into a green floral, before finally settling into a drugstore oriental, not unlike Old Spice.

But the other way to approach Irisch Moos is to appreciate the forest for the trees, and just shift my mental gears away from the question, "How is this barbershop?" Because when I first smelled this fragrance, its structure felt very eclectic as a "barbershop" scent, with too many notes and disparate olfactory concepts clashing. A couple days ago I wore it again, and this time it clicked in my brain: Irisch Moos is not a barbershop scent. It's supposed to be. It uses Irish visuals and the color green to imbue the buyer with a sense that he's purchasing an old-school "moss scent" aftershave from the sixties, back when brands like English Leather and Skin Bracer were releasing "moss" aftershaves of their own. Hey, Irisch Moos was just Germany joining the trend, right?

Wrong, totally, totally wrong. It has nothing to do with that old barbershop trope. When I shift gears and get very literal with what I smell, Irisch Moos reveals itself to be Mitsouko done on the cheap. This is an old-fashioned French chypre in the Guerlain mode - a massive slug of bergamot up top that pervades the entire drydown, a pine-like dusting of cistus labdanum soon after, which settles into a hefty wallop of synthetic oakmoss (actually a somewhat competent reconstruction) in the base, with a generous array of floral notes buttressing everything. It actually resembles the much dryer and "manlier" Aramis in the first ten minutes of wear, but rapidly softens into a feminine variation of the fruity chypre theme popularized by Guerlain in the 1900s.

When it hit me, I thought, "Holy shit, they've been selling this thing to guys for decades, and it's a Katherine Hepburn-in-Herringbone chypre." Then I suddenly remembered my Charlemagne, and realized that the great barbershop fragrances of a bygone era were feminines in disguise. Let's face it, Old Spice was a tweaking of Tabu, and English Leather was merely another sweet chypre that would have gone to the girls at any other price. So yeah, Irisch Moos smells pretty good, but also smells cheap, and the spicy clove and carnation in the dry down haven't won me over yet.

Lastly, the name is wrong. This isn't about Ireland. This type of scent is one hundred percent French. It should be called "French Mousse." But whatever.



12 comments:

  1. "Old Spice was a tweaking of Tabu"
    Ummmm......Tabu with it's obnoxious 10% patchouli & hellish Mellis accord is a forerunner of Old Spice? Nah, Old Spice is a tweaking of Fougere Royale. The original FR had a hefty dose of oakmoss in the base creating that fern-y forest floor.

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    1. You smell a fougere in Old Spice? Maybe, but I get a definite "drugstore oriental" vibe in line with Tabu. For the record, I also get that vibe in the far drydown of Irisch Moos, which is meant to smell like a complex chypre, but lacks the budget.

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    2. Old Spice has the skeleton of a fougere with the oakmoss dialed back and the amber amplified. Sort of the Bay Rum version of a fougere.

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    3. Hmmm, interesting. By amber, you mean ambergris?

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    4. No, I mean amber as in vanillic caramel.
      In OS & FR the heliotrope, vanilla, & tonka make for an amber base. OS has the same amber base but no oakmoss & potpourri spices making it an Oriental Amber.
      Now granted I have never sniffed the "Original" Fougere Royale (I'm not that old).

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    5. Thankfully, neither am I.

      I get what you're saying. I always thought of amber as being a concept based around either vanilla or wood (or coumarin by proxy).

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  2. Oh my I don’t get any Aramis or Old Spice at all in SIM. Maybe some Krizia Uomo but lighter and soapier with a dash of Bowling Green. I have both the aftershave and EDT. Interesting to hear your take on it nevertheless.

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    1. Ben, I know it's your favorite aftershave, and it's a worthy pick for that distinction in any man's wardrobe. However, I definitely don't get Krizia Uomo from it. Stopped by my house earlier this evening and did a side by side comparison between the two. They treat citrus in a similar way, except in Krizia the fruits are actually more fleeting (the cedar overtakes everything pretty fast in the drydown).

      With Irisch Moos, the bergamot is pounding for hours, without exaggeration. That's what made me smell this fragrance as a chypre. A lot of guys say there's pine in there. It's a weird analog of pine, and the way it's blended into the citrus and woodier heart notes feels more Guerlain-like, maybe even Rochas-like.

      Ever wear Mitsouko? Its a different fragrance for sure, but the general structure is identical: strong bergamot that pervades the top and heart, gentle cistus labdanum, a bit spicy and piney, and a strong, mossy base. Irisch Moos is doing all of that but on a relatively spare budget. It's a very interesting frag to say the least.

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  3. Yes it is love the stuff and it’s interesting that you don’t get that slight resemblance myself and other reviewers get. Look they’re not identical twins far from it and they develop in totally different ways with different facets etc. I for the life of me can’t think of anything even remotely close to it apart from the Krizia and I have over two hundred classic men’s scents. I wonder if any one else can chime in on this who has smelt the two.
    I guess some scents can share facets and a similar accord or stage of development(even at different points) that reminds us of another scent but can be end up being quite different as a whole. For instance I find Bogart Signature shares an opening and some facets that remind me of Dunhill for men, but they are VERY different scents. Maybe it’s the old school oakmoss, rose and leather they share who knows.
    Thanks for the heads up and that’s interesting will have to smell my girlfriends Guerlains including Mitsouko and compare to the SIM.
    Anyway I’m glad you finally got round to buying it and glad you enjoy and find it compelling. It’s a lovely scent and a worthy addition to ones collection.

    Cheers

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    1. You know Ben, I'm getting a bit of an Irish Spring vibe from Irisch Moos lately, particularly in the top notes. An interesting soapy/woody take on the bergamot note that I've not smelled in other frags. This definitely lends it a masculine edge, and makes it something unique.

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  4. A friend came back from Europe and gifted me with a bottle of Irisch Moos aftershave. As a wet shaver, I had heard about it for a few years but never thought of buying it. Was I surprised! Not only did I enjoy the lingering scent, but the soothing quality of face and neck feel was on the level of Floid and Proraso aftershaves (as well as the Clubman line).

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    1. I'm not as enthusiastic about it as I hoped I'd be, but the cologne is definitely a solid frag that smells good and is very well made. I'm a bit disappointed that it isn't as rustic and piney as I thought it would be, and I really hoped it would have an intense cedar base, but instead I get a soapy chypre with intense bergamot and just enough lavender to keep it from smelling frumpy. Nice stuff but I wanted a little more.

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