The last review of this week’s joint blog project concerns Penhaligon’s Violetta. You can go check out Redolent of Spices and Scent of the Day for more violet scent reviews, as well as my list of violet scents.
Violetta, created in 1976, is a straightforward violet fragrance. That’s more or less what you need to know – except that where many other violet soliflores tend toward either the powdery (Borsari Violetta di Parma) or candy-sweet (Berdoues Violettes de Toulouse), Penhaligon’s is all flower and leaf.
The official notes, according to Penhaligon’s, include citruses, geranium, violet, sandalwood, cedarwood, and musk. However, I’m almost sure there’s some violet leaf in there too – it’s quite sharp and green for quite some time, and has a spicy, aromatic quality that seems to indicate violet leaf.
From the Penhaligon’s website:
Created in 1976, Violetta is a dark, dusky and mysterious fragrance suffused with the achingly nostalgic purity of violets. Surprisingly green and sharp to begin with, it becomes lush and velvety as it develops. The sweet violets are complimented by green notes of garden geranium and supported by subtle woods and musks at the base. One of our most surprising fragrances, it captures the elusive violet with incredible clarity and potency.
“Surprising?” Not really; like I said earlier, it’s pretty much all violet leaves and blooms. Violetta begins with the bright, clean green note of violet leaf, and the intense sweetness of deep purple violets. It stays here for most of its three-hour experiment, with an interesting spicy accent and a floral freshness to its heart – it’s violets All The Time, but for me very much like crushed fresh plants: no powder, no candy. Which is the way I like my violet scents, to be honest. The light woody drydown gradually becomes apparent during the last hour. There’s a whisper of musk, too, but not enough to be distracting, and I think this restrained, woody drydown may be the part of the fragrance that really sells me on it. It’s not entirely masculine, but there’s a dryness from the cedar and sandalwood that keeps Violetta from being wholly girly, like the Goutal La Violette. Too, it’s reminiscent of a walk through the woods, complete with patches of blooming violets among the trees.
This is an Eau de Toilette, and like most EdTs, it doesn’t have great staying power. I don’t mind that, though – three hours of this beauty is well worth it. After testing as many violet fragrances as I could get my hands on (oh, there are more I haven’t gotten to yet, but at last count my Violet Scents Tested list numbered 24!), I still think Violetta is my favorite violet solflore, with Soivohle Violets and Rainwater as runner-up. It blends well with other fragrances, it stays fresh and clean and woody-floral, and that bottle is just darling. I need one. My decant is rapidly disappearing.
Image of perfume bottle is from Fragrantica.com; image of blooming violet is from Wikipedia Commons.