Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Favorite Violet Perfumes

I once said that my skin is where violets go to die. Like many too delicate notes, violet often falls apart when I try to wear it. Not always, though: when violet is paired with thick, bold or jammy notes they ground the ethereal little flower and give it enough body to survive. Occasionally the composition is still enticing enough for me to enjoy and appreciate it even if it's better that I don't wear the fragrance for too long (not that it has a chance to stay long. See the opening statement). I had to think hard and resniff a little before I was able to come up with this list, but here it is: my favorite violet perfumes.

  • Guerlain- Apres L'Ondee. If you only smell one violet perfume in your life, this is the one.
  • Giorgio Armani- Armani Privee Cuir Amethyste. Dark and leathery. Violet with an attitude.
  • CB I Hate Perfume- M4 A Room With A View. Violets in the great outdoors with the elegance of a costume drama.
  • Alexander McQueen- My Queen. Delightfully trashy. I wish I got a bottle when it was still around.
  • Tom Ford Private Blend- Black Violet. A violet with issues. Incredibly complex.
  • Soivohle (Liz Zorn)- Purple Love Smoke. Perhaps my favorite from this list, now back in production (note to self: get a bottle pronto).
  • Histoires de Parfums- Blanc Violette. Gentle, quiet, and entirely not me, but smells heartbreakingly pretty.
  • Parfums Berdoues- Violettes de Toulouse. The very first violet perfume I ever owned in my tween years. A sweet little classic.
  • Molinard- Violette. A cheap thrill of musky candied violets.
  • Serge Lutens- Bois de Violette. The Bois series injected with violet syrup. What's not to love?
  • L'Artisan- Verte Violette. Crisp, fresh, and gone in minutes. I wish there was a full line of body and linen products heavily scented with it.
  • Untitled No. 3- Sarah Horowitz. Thick and spicy. I tend to over-apply because it's just that pleasurable.
Are you a violet fan? Which versions of this note do you recommend?

Art: Bouquet of violets by Edouard Manet, 1872.


  1. Hi Gaia. I'm so happy you posted this, because I absolutely LOVE violets. Let's not forget the ultimate classic (but probably not everybody's cup of tea) Yves Saint Laurent Paris. This was one of my favourites as a child growing up in the 80's and still is. So feminine and elegant.

  2. I love violet notes, though they are too often used in bland compositions that don't do them any favor.
    My favorite violet perfume is the now defunct Attrape coeur (I have quite few backups luckily).
    I see it as feminitè du bois (another violet beauty) meets bois des iles...
    I also wish to give an honorable mention to Tom Ford Violet Blonde: though the development of the fragrance shows its mainstream origin, the violet note there is quite beautiful - and the composition is also very original for a mainstream release!

  3. My absolute favorite is Caron's Aimez-Moi!!!! I love both vintage and current EdT and LOVE it in extrait... To bad the extrait has been discontinued...
    BdV comes in second... Al'O is very pretty, but the EdT
    only lasts a very short while. The extrait... Swoon...
    Now my "to sample list" got longer :-) Thank you!

  4. Violet notes used to play hide-and-seek with my nose, and I was afraid I was one of those people who are anosmic to them. I acquired a partial bottle of Aimez-Moi from a fellow perfumista and - bingo! - the violets finally appeared and stayed. Now it is one of my go-to fragrances. You are right, violets do need to be paired with another note to anchor them, and in turn they enhance the other notes. I love the rose/violet combination of Paris as well.

  5. I dare to differ on L'artisan's Verte Violette, On my skin it lasts a good 8-10 hours! too sad it disappears rapidly on yours! Try spraying it on your clothes, you might enjoy it longer!

  6. Violets are a wonderful flower and scent. I agree with the other Anon about the role they play in YSL's Paris (at least the one from my teen years in the '80s)- plush and unmistakable. On the other hand, Apres L'Ondee smells like fresh dill on me, wan and morbid, instead of the usual adjectives like "haunting," "ethereal," etc. Kind of a bummer, but Ormonde Woman more than makes up for it, smelling like a pristine grove crowded with velvet soft patches of violets.

  7. I don't really like violets. But there is one version I like - Patchouli M.Micallef.

  8. I love Penhaligon's Artemisia. It's the only one for me to wear violets.

  9. I like Balenciaga Paris but then came Balenciaga l'Essence, launched almost one after the other and now I have both.

  10. I love Sonoma Scent Studio Voile de Violette. It was the first perfume that made me realize I love violets. Also, Le Vie en Rose from DSH is great, and at least as much about the violets as the rose.

  11. Ormond Jayne Woman. I love the violet notes weaved sweetly inside this wonderful scent

  12. Oh, I love violets. My favorites are TF Black Violet and OJ Woman. I also am very fond of Borsari Violetta di Parma, which is simple and beautiful. I used to wear Ava Luxe's Midnight Violet, but it's been discontinued. That was a favorite as well.

    -- Annunziata

  13. I adore violet perfumes. One of my first perfumes ever was a violet soliflore. A few of my favorites are Eau de Ciel by Annick Goutal, SSS Lieu de Reves and Woods Violet and Bulgari's Pour Femme.

  14. Hello from France...

    My favorite is "aimez-moi" de Caron...You have to try it !!!


  15. I like everything on your list of course, but for me the ultimate violet scent is Jean Patou 1000. After 30 minutes on skin, it is (or was) the most perfect violet imaginable.

    Also fondly missed is DVF's old Volcan d'Amour, a very strong violet chypre. I want ten bottles of the extrait, to last me forever!

  16. I've been trying on Pauline by Rancé the last couple of days and I LOVE its violet note! It is rather light and also braided with powdery notes as well as tonka and rose. I find it lovely and easy to wear. Plus it smells lovely close to my skin AND as little whiffs of scent that just happen to drift by my nose. simply lovely!

  17. I wear •Guerlain- Apres L'Ondee, La Base, and Faerie.


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