Thursday, July 24, 2008

The indies saved violet for me: three reviews

In one of my first blog entries, I made a list of the notes that I like and dislike. Among my dislikes was violet. My co-writer, Brian, happens to be a lover of anything violet, and mostly due to his enthusiasm for the note, I’ve tested several violet perfumes over the past few months.
For me, the indie perfumers make the most beautiful violet fragrances. I completely understand Brian's adoration of violet when I smell Ava Luxe Midnight Violet, Neil Morris’ Spectral Violet and Liz Zorn’s Domino Viole’. To a lesser extent, Serge Lutens has created a more-interesting-than-mainstream violet, Bois de Violette, but Lutens’ violet doesn’t thrill me, it’s all cedar with one tiny violet plopped in.
I’ll describe these gorgeous indie violets in alphabetical order – no favorite amongst them – they’re all beautiful and different:
Ava Luxe Midnight Violet – Midnight Violet was my first violet love. Serena Franco has created an amazing juxtaposition of light and dark, yin and yang, masculine and feminine in this fragrance. Ms. Franco takes violet, which is normally an uber feminine, sweet and powdery note and envelopes it in a forest of deep intense green with hemlocks, cedar, sandalwood and moonlight dancing upon mossy knolls. Midnight Violet is not cold, dirty or heavy on the skin; it’s just deep with emotion and imagination.
Spectral Violet by Neil Morris – Spectral Violet is, to my nose, the closest to a traditional violet fragrance. Mr. Morris, however, has removed everything I previously disliked about violet fragrances, and added a lovely complexity and dryness to the violet note. What I didn’t like about violet perfumes in the past, is that they were usually too sweet & cloying to the point of syrupy and always very powdery. Spectral violet is a sweet little candied violet that is balanced by being rested upon a bed of sandalwood, musk and vetiver. I love being able to enjoy an obviously violet perfume without all the powder puff sweetness. Spectral Violet has nice lasting power and just enough sillage for those close to you to smell it. Spectral Violet is just beautiful.
Soivohle’ Domino Viole’ – Domino Viole’, like Midnight Violet, is another deep and mysterious violet. Liz Zorn is the perfumer behind Soivohle’ and she has encased violet inside a gauzy cloud of incensey balsamic notes. Domino Viole’ is, if possible, both sharp and smooth as butter. The balsamic note is stunning and works magic when combined with the violet and green notes. Domino Viole’ is the least “violet-y” to my nose, but it’s still there, and it’s most likely what gives the balsamic, incense and green notes a lovely sweet pillow to perch upon.
Very soon I’ll be sampling two violet fragrances from Sonoma Scent Studio....can't wait.


Scentman said...

Hi Abigail!

Thanks for the great review of Spectral Violet! I'm very happy you like it so much. I have smelled Midnight Violet and loved it! But I haven't tried Liz Zorn's creation.

Fragrant Dreams!


Liz said...

Hi Abby,
Thanks from the Zorn camp as well.
Violet can be a tough nut to crack. It can work wonders in an ensemble, but often becomes invasive left to its own devices.
I need to try out some of Neil and Serena’s violets. Sounds like they know how to handle this delicate but fierce little jewel.
Best, Liz (zz)

Anu Prestonia said...

Don't know of any perfume that I can recall that's violet, but you certainly have me longing for a sniff.

I just have the raw form and I smell it from time to time and know I'm not ready for it. Now I will try to play with it. Thanks for the inspiration. Longing to check all of these out.