A Week of Violets II: Annick Goutal La Violette

My second review for Violet Week, a joint blog project along with Redolent of Spices and Scent of the Day, is for Annick Goutal’s La Violette.  This scent is actually a violet soliflore, where Caron Aimez-Moi is not, though it’s not as violet-focused and simple as some of the other violet scents I’ve tried. It’s part of Goutal’s “single-flower” series, which also includes Le Chevrefeuille, Le Jasmin, Neroli, Rose Absolue, and Tubereuse. Released in 2001, it was composed by Isabelle Doyen and Camille Goutal.

The Perfumes: The Guide review is fairly complimentary, giving it four stars and the description “vivacious, fresh and pink-cheeked,” while also mentioning a slight off smell of glue or paint thinner and comparing it to L’Artisan’s girly Drole de Rose (also four stars). I don’t get the “vivacious” description; to my mind, it’s shy and pretty and romantic instead.

Here’s part of the ad copy from the Annick Goutal website:

This fragrance is mischievous and flavorsome like a violet candy, tender as an ancient lipstick, shallow like the little stem once worn in women’s décolleté.

And from Lucky Scent:

Annick Goutal loved the subtle and extremely feminine smell of this flower. This is why Camille decided to dedicate this perfume to her mother with whom she liked to nibble lightly on violet stems to get its sweet taste.

Harmony of flower, leaves, and stem, for a floral fragrance subtly touched with a green note. When a touch of rose is added, the violet becomes even more seductive. This scent is mischievous and savory like a violet candy.

The notes for La Violette are bare-bones notes: violet leaf, violet, and rose, and darned if that isn’t just about as simple as the fragrance actually is. There may be other materials in there, but if so, they’re awfully quiet and serve only as supporting cast members technical crew. There is indeed a very fleeting haze of paint thinner or nail-polish remover in the top, but it is literally gone within seconds. There seem to be no basenotes to this fragrance: no musk, no woods, no moss… My experience with it is this: fresh green and intense violet to start, then powdery-woody violet and a bit of pale rosewater later, and then a fade into skin. The scent experience, even “sprayed wet” the way I do to increase a gentle scent’s impact and staying power, is ephemeral and light, and only lasts two to two and half hours on me.

The whole thing is about as girly and innocent and sweet as you could ever want – if you’re looking for the perfect smell for the flower girl in your wedding, this is it. If you’re looking for a fragrance to announce, “I’m harmless and lovable” to your dorm mates or new neighbors or prospective in-laws, this is it. This is actually a terrific handkerchief scent, too: the tiny hint of powder along with the sweet violets makes it extremely ladylike without calling to mind the dreaded “old lady” soubriquet. It’s perfect for wearing while lifting a flowerlike face to your young swain for that first chaste kiss, or for worshipping from afar.

It is definitely not a scent for seduction, however – it’s far too innocent for that. It’s too gentle and retiring for an office scent, too (you don’t want to smell innocent and romantic at the office, or people will dump their work on your desk and expect you to do it for them).

That said, La Violette is downright pretty. It’s as pretty and shy as the flower that inspired it. If “just pretty” tempts you, you couldn’t go wrong with this one.

Here’s a lovely review from Abigail at I Smell Therefore I Am.

Top image is from LuckyScent; lower one from Rainbows4All.

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6 thoughts on “A Week of Violets II: Annick Goutal La Violette”

  1. You’re not fooling around, it really does sound pretty. The violet I reviewed today is “just pretty” as well and just not a good fit for me.

    I love your advice not to wear La Violette to work. Hilarious! Where I work, employees are told not to wear fragrance so I don’t have to worry about that happening to me.
    BUT….
    if I could wear perfume to work, I’d wear something that would stop groups of people from hanging around my desk gabbing loudly (they are not even talking to me). Perhaps one of the 80’s powerhouses. I’ve heard stories about a ex-employee who “bathed” in Poison and it’s the ONLY story they tell about this person.

    1. JE – I never mind “just pretty,” though I sometimes decide that I have QUITE ENOUGH JUST PRETTY, THANK YOU! I didn’t want more than a small decant of this one, but it is lovely on a summer day.

      If you ever worked with someone wearing one of those 80’s powerhouses, you’d be telling the stories yourself… I mean, there’s got to be a balance between So quiet you can’t smell yourself and So loud people can smell you from 50 yards away. What a shame you can’t wear something big to encourage those gabbers to go gab in the lunchroom, or somewhere else! If I were doing that, I’d probably wear something like Balenciaga Michelle (big floral chypre with tuberose/rose/carnation), or I’d go really big and wear Carnal Flower!

  2. Oh this sounds exactly like what I was looking for when i first started looking for violet perfumes. Sweet, pretty, shy, lovely. I will have to look for it. And it’s a good candidate for my niece.

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