violet: 6 posts

Penhaligon’s The Favourite : Perfume Review

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I try not to read the marketing material before testing a perfume–and with good reason. If I had learned that Penhaligon’s The Favourite was inspired by Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, I wouldn’t have described it as soft, ethereal and tender. It’s hard to imagine those adjectives applied to the favorite of Queen Anne and a prominent personality of 18th century Britain. A strong-willed woman who wielded power behind the throne, she evokes for me something more assertive than a musky floral. That being said, The Favourite is a lovely thing, and however mismatched its character and its story might be, I’m reaching for it whenever I want something comforting and elegant.

The appealing aspect of The Favourite is how it combines floral and fruity notes with a hint of powder. It starts with a bright and sweet citrus and immediately plunges into a floral accord combining soft, rose-like notes with violet. The effect is delicate, but once the musk becomes more prominent, The Favourite gains more richness.

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Vintage Violets

Swan-down puffs, lace camisoles, ivory fans, tulle skirts, satin shoes… If these words evoke an appealing vision for you, then you’re the right candidate for a Victorian violet perfume. While the 19th century under the reign of Queen Victoria is often described as conventional and stuffy, the favorite aromas are anything but. Despite its reputation for being dainty and demure, violet has a complex scent with a fascinating history. This perfume note is the subject of my latest FT column, Vintage Violets.

I explain how this flower became one of the favorite scents during the Victorian era and what made it even more popular–and ubiquitous–in the 20th century. Then I describe some of my favorite violets, both the sweet and powdery ones associated with the Romantic era and the modern green ones. To read the article, please click here.

As always, I’d love to hear about your favorite violets.

Image via FT

Chanel Les Exclusifs Misia : Perfume Review

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Misia Sert and Coco Chanel shared deep affection for each other. Sert comforted Chanel when her lover Arthur Boy Capel died in a car accident. She inspired the designer and introduced her to a glittering circle of artists, writers and musicians. Misia’s salon in Paris attracted such luminaries as Marcel Proust, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Odilon Redon, Paul Signac, Claude Debussy, Stéphane Mallarmé, and André Gide. She was a talented pianist, captured by Toulouse-Lautrec at the piano, but she was also a cultural icon and a muse. In this last role, the spirit of Sert returns to the house of Chanel in the form of a new perfume, Misia.

misia sert
Imagine a vintage silk purse that still holds the aroma of violet bonbons, rose scented lipstick and rice powder. This, in a phrase, is Misia. Tender and romantic, the fragrance settles on skin in a soft powdery layer, and if it suddenly makes you feel like painting your lips a retro crimson and watching The Red Shoes, I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s a perfect vintage vignette fantasy.

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Candied Blossoms and Flower Perfumed Syrup

Andy describes how seasonal blossoms can be captured in sugar.

If you love spring as much as I do, you may agree that it always seems to come and go quicker than it should. One week, I was strolling under pink clouds of cherry blossoms, and the next, the petals had all floated away from the branches. I didn’t have time to be dismayed though, when richly perfumed purple lilacs had begun to steal the show. The season always seems to play out like a vaudeville show of flowers, with one beautiful act following the next.

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A few weeks ago Victoria wrote about salting cherry blossoms, but you can also use sugar to capture the delicate flavors of spring. If you have never tried candying flowers before, it is extremely easy, and after you’ve done it once, you will find the task an irresistible way to extend the season of flowers like jasmine, lilac, rose and honeysuckle, to name a few. This spring, for instance, I found myself longing to preserve the beauty of sweetly scented violets, which are common in my area in the springtime. And since I had so many, I decided to candy them and make some perfumed syrup. My instructions below call for violets, but use whatever favorite edible flowers you can find, from pansies to roses.

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Caron N’Aimez Que Moi and Aimez Moi : Perfume Review

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N’Aimez Que Moi

In 1917, Ernest Daltroff creates a fragrance that captured the promises made by the couples separated by the WWI to remain loyal and to await the return of the loved ones from the front. N’Aimez Que Moi was the name given to  this new perfume by Caron. “Love Only Me!” Alas, it is not a promise I can make. While undoubtedly beautiful, N’Aimez Que Moi is too heavy and powdery even for this fan of makeup-like notes in perfume. The top notes are of creamy rose and violet intertwined with soft lilac. The lush floral bouquet is wrapped in sandalwood and cedar, with an accent of earthy vetiver and iris. Unfortunately, that’s when the fragrance becomes unbearably powdery and opaque, and N’Aimez Que Moi and I part ways.

Aimez moi

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Latest Comments

  • Sebastian in Recommend Me a Perfume : October 2020: Salome would interest you in the context of your question. It is a perfume that is reminiscent of the 70s, and in that time would have been considered definitely feminine. October 30, 2020 at 3:42am

  • Ninon in Recommend Me a Perfume : October 2020: Hello Peter! Anubis is on my to-try list, I think perhaps because of your recommendation (unfortunately the samples are currently out of stock at LS). I do not usually get… October 30, 2020 at 1:23am

  • Ninon in Recommend Me a Perfume : October 2020: Totally agree–I’m another non rose person who loves Mohur, especially the extrait. The other “rose” I like is Une Rose de Kandahar, but it’s really more about almond, apricot, tobacco,… October 30, 2020 at 1:19am

  • Peter in Recommend Me a Perfume : October 2020: Hello Ninon. Have you tried any of Liz Moores’ Papillon perfumes? Salome is a slightly skanky retro potion. Fragrantica classifies it as a Chypre Floral with woody, leather, musky, white… October 29, 2020 at 11:04pm

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