Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Among the themes in today’s perfumery, violet and iris are becoming more and more common. Of course, creamy fruity and crisp green floral notes still dominate the fragrances we find at perfume counters, but if Balenciaga Paris, Shalimar Parfum Initial and Bottega Veneta are any indication, violet tinged florals are having their moment. The latest addition to this group is Tom Ford Violet Blonde. Launched in Tom Ford’s Signature Collection, where it shares company with White Patchouli, Black Orchid and Grey Vetiver, Violet Blonde is Ford’s attempt to make the cool violet-iris notes sensual.
Although the perfume is called Violet Blonde, the violet in this composition figures more as a green, crunchy leaf, rather than the raspberry redolent flower. As the fragrance settles into the skin, there is a flash of soft, tender violet petals. The delicate sweetness is a very appealing counterpoint to the peppery-green layers that follow. Soon, a strong jasmine note gives its rich hue to the floral and green notes. The cool iris lends Violet Blonde its austere, earthy quality, and when contrasted with the plush jasmine, the effect is memorable and surprising.
The wet, green woody notes underpin the radiant floral core of Violet Blonde, giving it an autumnal feeling of chrysanthemum petals clinging to damp earth. While the leafy and peppery sparkle persists throughout the perfume’s development, there is a musky softness to the drydown that makes Violet Blonde less edgy than it might have appeared initially. It is both a plus and a minus, because while the softness makes the fragrance more wearable, it also reduces its character. Like Balenciaga Paris, Violet Blonde feels too timid to truly make a statement. On the other hand, even if it does not strike me as a bombshell perfume, Violet Blonde is a well-crafted composition. Elegant and polished, it would make a great daytime perfume, a comfortable silk slip of a fragrance.
Tom Ford Violet Blonde includes notes of pink pepper, violet leaf, mandarin, iris absolute, jasmine, musk, suede, cedar, vetiver and benzoin. Violet Blonde is sold at the Tom Ford boutiques, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Sephora, Nordstrom and other retailers. The Eau de Parfum–$62 (30ml), $95 (50ml) $138 (100ml.)
Sample: my own acquisition