I got an email out of the blue recently with this photo from my friend A in London (she works in the Houses Of Parliament and doesn’t like to be identified), saying :

“I blame you”.

There was a photo of a flower attached.

“I was re-reading something you wrote about Keats and Rome and violets …..”

“So I blame you.”

It turned out that A had also coincidentally been to the very same cemetery that I used to languish in as a university student many years ago, and through the intensity of those recollections had now felt compelled to order some quite expensive violet plants to place on the balcony of her London flat ; a selection that had included

Viola Odorata ‘Alba’.

Viola Odorata ‘Colombine’.


Viola Odorata ‘Donau’.

She sent me a picture of another one – a rather unimposing little thing – that had just flowered.

‘Oh my god. Does it smell like a violet?’ I asked (I would love to have perfumed violets in my proximity).

‘YES’ – came the reply.

Somehow, violets have come up several times in our conversations (we met thirty years ago at Cambridge and then again at my book launch last year at Rouillier White – an amazing gathering of people I hadn’t seen for decades). She was persuaded enough by my review of Geoffrey Beene’s green-violet heavy Grey Flannel to go and check it out (now a staple, I believe);both of us love the scent of these passionately timid flowers in their mauve and green vulnerability, and are always on the lookout for a new one.

While it is sometimes satisfying to wear a florid, regally powdered number like Violetta Nobile , or a sweet, fluorescent violetta such as Insolence, it is also rare to find a more natural, violet perfume that isn’t overly concentrated on the bitterly head-piercing note of natural violet leaf absolute, which I only personally enjoy in traces. Mandy Aftel’s new Violet Ambrosia does have an undertone of that sharply green oil, but it is blended skilfully with a classically floral proper violet heart note as well as an unexpecteddance partner of genista monspessulana :: broom absolute.

This is an interesting choice of contrast : the cheering, yellow floral broom note makes a sunny counterpoint to the more doleful violets, even if on my own skin there is a slightly sour, oily, ‘vintage Caron’ aspect for a few minutes before the violets decrescendo into a calming and soothing mimosa-soft finish with violets still apparent throughout (and probably more so on paler, more delicate skin types). Samantha at I Scent You A Day fell in love with this one immediately, and it is definitely recommended for anyone who likes the small privacy of violet flowers respiring from a carefully appointed place on morning wrists. A scent to potter around the house to.

A – I don’t know if Violet Ambrosia quite has that edge you seem to like in scent (and I don’t know if you would go for the hints of sandalwood and vanilla in the heart), but for its deceptive simplicity, and the lovely gentle and sincere finish on the skin – a perfume ‘for a new day’, I do think you might want to add a sample of this one to your violet purchase list. X


Filed under Flowers

14 responses to “VIOLET AMBROSIA by MANDY AFTEL (2020)

  1. Yesterday, I also received an email about this new Violette perfume Violette Ambrosia from Mandy Aftel, which I found to be an odd coincidence since recently I have been craving violet perfumes. I would love to eventually own it but right now will use my craving for Molinard’s Violette which is a bargain at less than $50 for a 75 ml purple glass bottle.

    • I LOVE those Molinards : proper thick, perfumey perfumes : they are underrated. For a florid fix, I would definitely go for one of those. For a more ‘I need to be alone’ quiet, but encouraging violet, though, this is just the ticket.

  2. Yes I have several of the Molinard’s besides the Violette (Figue, Vanille, Patchouli, Cuir and Musclewoman) and they are definitely underrated.

  3. Nelleke Oepkes aka Booknose

    What a rare combination of flowers. I like the scent of all of them separately and would never have thought of combining violets and mimosa: intriguing. Broome feels as a a nice go-between with sandalwood, but you lose me at vanilla.
    The homely connexion appeals to me: as I am scarcely out of pyjama these days. And sadly out of touch with scents: They seem to belong to movement, adventure and remembrance.
    Thanks for the floral injection. I needed it!!

  4. Tora

    I bought both the EDP and Parfum of Mandy’s Violet Ambrosia. I love the delicacy of this scent, and it is nothing like my other violet, Jolie Madame. Now I need to try the Molinard!! On another note, I am completely addicted to Mandy’s Geranium cleansing oil and jasmine face elixir. They are the most gorgeous skincare items!

    • Ah…….that sounds gorgeous.
      Actually, I have neglected geranium recently and as soon as I saw that word in what you have written here I felt some kind of loosening bodily need. SO rejuvenating when the right moment comes, and I agree about the Violet Ambrosia. Pleasing and pure.

  5. Robin

    I love the mood you created here, dear N. Just in the mood for that quiet, tender intimacy of certain fragrances like this one, and reading about them. I think I’ve been wearing a lot of senses-bombarding blockbusters lately and it’s a welcome relief.

    • Seriously, after all the roil and boil of this year, I am ready for quieter, more contemplative posts as well. Since………well you know, some clarity has returned to me : this year I have been ballistic (I can’t believe how much I have written this year on here, actually, how many words, and I do like incandescent rollercoaster posts as well as they can be quite amusing as well as allowing me to let off steam), but Jesus. Just give me some quiet violets in a silent house at this moment. x

  6. PS. Curious about the sense bombarding blockbusters in question.

    • Robin

      “Just give me some quiet violets in a silent house at this moment.” Yeah.

      David Yurman Limited Edition, Calligraphy Saffron, Rose d’Or, Giorgio Beverly Hills Red, Black Aoud, vintage l’Heure Attendue, vintage Magie Noire parfum, Piguet Casbah, Sonoma Scent Studio Tabac Aurea, vintage Cabochard parfum and an unidentified — and very good — Middle Eastern honeyed oudh blend with no English on the label that was given to me by a friend traveling through various countries in the region ten years ago or so. To name a few. I go through periods, with the shitstorm that is our world, wanting to block it all out with huge doses of strong fragrances.

  7. I enjoy violettes in fragrance, but sometime they are just overwhelming. I truly like a gentle violette.

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