“On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave…
Powdery and sweet, earthy and green: No wonder violet has long been prized in perfumery.
Each January, Pantone, the self-described design authority on colour, recognizes the New Year with a designated shade. For 2018, this colour is Ultra Violet 18-3838, an intense yet earthy, blue-based purple.
Defined as complex and contemplative, inventive and imaginative, spiritual and grounded, violet resonates with fashion, beauty and pop culture as a symbol for lush luxury and creative expression. It’s also definitively linked to the flower it’s named after, making it one of 2018’s dominant notes.
Violet: trendy beginnings in the Victorian era
A staple note in perfumery for more than a century, noses from around the world have favoured the violet bloom for its sweet, powdery and woodsy smelling petals and its wet, green and earthy-smelling roots and leaves.
While it’s rumoured that Grasse, France was home to the first violet plantations in 1867, demand for the petit fleur’s essence flourished in England during the Victorian era (1837-1901). Toiletries scented with violet were popular with ladies of social standing who also enjoyed plucking the flower from their gardens and pressing them into scrapbooks as delicately perfumed keepsakes.
In 1901, when the house of Caron launched Violette Precieuse, and later in 1924, when perfumer Pierre Berdoues created Violette de Toulouse in honour of the flower of his native French city, the violet became a must-wear for both women and men alike.
The violet eaus that followed…
Since then, a multitude of perfumers have mix-mastered the purple flower into their fragrances. Over the past 35 years, women’s scents such as Oscar de la Renta’s Oscar Violet, Annick Goutal’s La Violette and Thierry Mugler’s Angel Garden of Stars Violette Angel have featured the bloom’s complex essence, while men’s fragrances, such as Christian Dior’s Fahrenheit, Giorgio Beverly Hills Giorgio for Men and Creed’s Green Irish Tweed have used the leaves, not the flower, for its damp earthy greenness.
Looking for other violet perfumes, take a read at our Editor’s Picks story, here.
Modern day noses take a fresh look at the purple flower
In light of this year’s Pantone colour choice, both floral and green violet-infused fragrances are moving back into the spotlight.
Of course, the heady, sweet violet-inclusive bouquets of Christian Dior’s J’adore and Marc Jacob’s Daisy continue as today’s popular feminine spritzes. Ditto, sultry, sheer and earthy toilettes such as Serge Lutens’ Bois de Violette and Balenciaga Paris. They have a smooth and easy-to-wear elegance. There’s also the ultra elegant Misia in the Chanel Exclusifs lineup.
There’s also the sexy, moody Byredo Bibliotheque Room Spray which can boost the sultry atmosphere of your space with the essence of violet combined with leather, vanilla, pathcouli, peony and fleshy peach and plum.
Thinking ahead, we consider these violet-loving scents as a bellwether, leading us towards the future of new violet possibilities. umour has it that the latest incarnations from Lancôme’s La Nuit Trésor and Shieseido’s Ever Bloom celebrate the violet in new and imaginative ways. We can’t wait.
In the meantime, try these violet-infused perfumes:
Balenciaga Paris, $120 (50 ml), www.thebay.com
Christian Dior, J’adore EDP, $119/$165 (50 ml/100 ml), www.thebay.com
Marc Jacobs Daisy EDT, $96/$118 (50 ml/100 ml), www.Sephora.com
Serge Lutens Bois de Violette EDP, US$200 (50 ml), at www.luckyscent.com