Tom Ford Violet Blonde : Perfume Review

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Tfviolet

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

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16 Comments

  • Suzanna: I thought VB was exceptionally well done and, given its distance from the fruity muck, a Big Girl perfume that pairs well with Mr. Ford’s color-saturated lipsticks. And I think the name is brilliant; there’s an immediate intrigue in the idea of that tonality.

    I am glad that we didn’t get Katy Perry with purple hair here. October 6, 2011 at 8:37am Reply

  • Victoria: Wearing Black Orchid and Violet Blonde over the past couple of weeks, I'm coming to a realization that I by far prefer this collection to Private Blends. It has a coherence, quality and elegance (and the price point is within reason.) Private Blends are nice, but not striking enough for their price.
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile October 6, 2011 at 9:10am Reply

  • OperaFan: I’m generally not a violet lover, yet Apres L’Ondee is an HG. I recently acquired a decant and have only sampled once. First impression – just beautiful. In spite of the name the violet serves more as an accent rather than the centerpiece and it works beautifully. I’m looking to spending more time with this one! October 6, 2011 at 12:57pm Reply

  • rosarita: I’m really looking forward to trying this one. I like all of the Tom Ford Signature Collection and own several. Violet in perfume usually sends me running, but I’m intrigued, esp by the description of leafiness. October 6, 2011 at 4:13pm Reply

  • Elisa: I just really love the name. (Haven’t tried the perfume yet.) I think the ads for this and Candy are so well done, both retro and modern, and not oversexed (just a head, not a naked body). October 6, 2011 at 5:18pm Reply

  • Victoria: I also like how the violet is blended with iris. Of course, iris shares some of the violet notes to begin with, but when they are accented, the effect is so appealing and elegant. October 6, 2011 at 6:49pm Reply

  • Victoria: I love violet notes, but the green violet is also a favorite. It is rendered nicely here. I do wish that the fragrance were bigger, but as it is, it still very good. October 6, 2011 at 7:00pm Reply

  • Victoria: I love the ad! Considering that purple is my favorite color (hence, the blog color scheme!) it really captured my heart. 🙂 October 6, 2011 at 7:00pm Reply

  • Paeonia9: I was curious about this one. Sounds fantastic. I’m a huge fan of both iris and violet. I’m wearing Insolence (EDP, of course!) today and enjoying it, although I do prefer my violets just a bit drier. Serge Lutens Bois de Violette is my top choice. Wondering how these would compare. Which do you think is sweetest? October 6, 2011 at 7:16pm Reply

  • Victoria: Bois de Violette is more violet flower than Violet Blonde (it is more violet leaf+iris), and Bois de Violette is much sweeter to me. While I prefer Bois de Violette (well, it is one of my top favorites in general,) VB is a sophisticated daytime perfume. October 6, 2011 at 7:50pm Reply

  • Paeonia9: Thanks so much for the info. Bois de Violette is a hard act to follow, so I’ll remember to cut Tom Ford some slack when I try Violet Blonde… October 6, 2011 at 10:07pm Reply

  • Victoria: 🙂 That it would need! Few perfume compare with Bois de Violette for me. 🙂 October 7, 2011 at 8:39am Reply

  • Persolaise: Thanks for this review… but am I the only person who sees a strong link between this and current Apres L’Ondee? October 7, 2011 at 4:30pm Reply

  • Debbie: I’m a bit late to this post but I think this smells so like a hybrid of Volupte by Oscar de la Renta and Balenciaga Paris, with the drydown and skank of Vivienne Westwood’s Boudoir. Having owned and enjoyed all of these scents at some point, I do really like Violet Blonde but I’m not sure it offers something new or different enough to make this a purchase for me (well not until my Volupte and Boudoir run dry). November 2, 2011 at 5:06pm Reply

  • Melinda: Is this scent really being discontinued? August 14, 2014 at 8:15am Reply

    • key change: I wonder this as well, actually. When I was in Bloomingdales this past July, an SA said that it was being discontinued and I was surprised and disappointed. I feel as though I never got a chance to fall in love with it, and I would have liked to. September 4, 2014 at 9:17am Reply

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