Violets in perfumery tend to come in recognisable tropes. There are the delicious Guerlains, and other powdered classics that, while divine, if you are not in the right mood are sometimes just too much frou frou fin de siècle.  Then there are the the bizarre-for-the-sake-of-it violet futro-weirdos such as Malle’s Dans Tes Bras, D.S & Durga’s Vio-Viola and Tindrer by Baruti;  gaseous and volatile ; shrieking, made for urban hipster ‘iconoclasts’ to slice open a room. The third type is the prototypical violet soliflore by Berdoues, Yardley, Borsari – pretty and satin-boxed keepsakes for the hopeless Romantic.















I personally like a full-bodied violet, without too much violent experimentalism.  German independent perfumer Sven Pritzkoleit’s Violet Moss is a good one, opaque and dense with violet and dark mosses and wood notes, a little mushroomy in its inner morass as you lose your way in the forest of oakmoss, labdanum and nargamotha but perfect for spraying on a velvet cloak to conceal your person –  if you are a thirsting vampire about to keenly descend upon a timorous and rosy-cheeked boy or girl.


























Fresh of cheek and pulsing with natural vitality is Jasmine Rose by Essen Minimal, a new natural perfumery based in Liverpool. On skin, this gives off a triumvirate of jasmine, rose, and an overdose of raucous ylang ylang ( coming off as very cloved, my favourite spice).  The beginning of the scent will undoubtedly be too much for a lot of people as the tingling essential flower oils rouse each other into the air space around them











(Duncan, on smelling Jasmine Rose yesterday)






but once the perfume settles in on the skin you get a deliciously lily-like freshness that is long lasting and petal-spiced; vitalising. Wearing this one today I smell like freshly cut flowers in a vase.

















Both of these perfumes are definitely worth trying for those who want to ‘say it with flowers’ and are tired of wan, chemical florals that are essentially repugnant. Violet Moss has an intriguing depth, like a woozier Fahrenheit gone to the Other Side; Jasmine Rose the lily white creature who is sighing unselfconsciously with her stamens to tempt him (this perfume almost has the redolence of a starker, de-musked Caron Bellodgia)  : a clever and intuitive blending of materials that takes the lifeblood of flowers, and fixes them candidly in a perfume bottle.











Filed under Flowers


  1. emmawoolf

    Wonderful! (Love D’s swoonsome purple breeches) x

  2. matty1649

    This violet post has made me find my Molinard Violette. Wearing it now. Lovely

  3. Robin

    Great reviews. Violet Moss sounds especially intriguing.

    I like your quick sketches of the different kinds of compositional violets. BUT Dans tes Bras? Ha! We differ. Far from being bizarre, I find it really quite light, relaxing and natural-smelling, very much of the salty sun-dried skin at the beach effect. Another violet like this, along the same lines but more urbane, is Balenciaga Paris. A little metallic, transparent, green violet leaves along with violet, it is similarly both abstract and concrete, even slightly hyper-real, but real nonetheless. Do you know the Balenciaga, Neil? It’s got a few spin-offs that are not bad, but I think the original is the best. It has gotten me an unusual number of compliments over the years from strangers in the supermarket, library, etc. (Must have spectacular sillage.)

    I remember a massive violet, as pure a violet as I’ve smelled and nuclear strength, from Norma Kamali. Long gone, I think, but you might know it. Her Incense could burn a hole through paper, it was so concentrated. Bang for the buck!

    • I have never smelled the Norma Kamali, but I didn’t like the Balenciaga. Always up for smelling how things are on other people though – would have been great to have passed you in the aisle in that supermarket.

      • Robin

        We’re all so bean sprouts and crunchy granola here on the coast, it’s rare to smell anything on anybody except patchouli oil, and even then rarely. I’ve complimented pretty much every fragrance, good, bad or indifferent, that wafts from anybody and everybody, just to encourage them.

        I can see you not liking the Balenciaga. Up close, it’s a bunch of chemicals, in a way. But in the air, it’s something else. I would love to have passed me, too, lol.

      • Patchouli oil, much as I like it, would really get on my goat after a while. A total lack of glamour in that way would be exhausting after a while!

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