Chopard has just revealed the first of a new Imperiale collection of fragrances, inspired by the iconic maison’s high-jewelry line with the purple amethyst playing a leading role, and the essence of powerful women. Which is precisely where the fragrance gets its name - the new Chopard Iris Malika borrows the Arabic word for queen, for its blend of French and Middle Eastern traditions of fine perfumery.
Dora Baghriche is the perfumer who created Chopard’s Iris Malika, having grown up in Algiers surrounded by the scintillating scents of jasmine, pine, cypress, and the Mediterranean Sea.
“Algiers is a land of mixtures and everything blends together harmoniously: I lived in a Moorish-style villa with Western elements,” said Baghriche. “I was confronted with several cultures: Ottoman, Roman, Arab-Moorish, everything coexists. This has influenced my way of understanding smells and associating them. I don't like clichés. In Algiers, there is a spirit of challenge. I used to regard it as a burden, now I take it as a gift: I create with a free spirit”, she explains.
It is often customary for perfumers to start creating a new fragrance by choosing two foundations, and Baghriche selected to contrast the blend with a duo of a seed and a root: the tonka bean and the iris, because in fact perfumers ignore the odourless flower of the iris, and instead go directly for its rhizome, its root.
“I wanted to start with something powerful, earthy,” said Baghriche. “The bean harks back to Eve, the original woman, the queen of the world. That's the idea of this perfume. In olfactive terms, iris is very woody, with a slightly buttery, harsh smell. It is not an easy scent to tame. Neither is the tonka bean, with its silky tobacco notes. It has a little more character than vanilla, with an element of almond.”
For its rich, sophisticated tones Baghriche also worked with sandalwood, benzoin, patchouli, and more Middle Eastern materials such as labdanum, olibanum, cinnamon and cardamom.