Today kicks off A Week of Violets, a joint blog project at Redolent of Spices and Scent of the Day. We’re each reviewing three violet scents this week, so be sure to go read their reviews today, and then check back later in the week for more reviews. First up here: Caron Aimez-Moi.
In general, I haven’t been a big fan of Caron scents so far. It’s true that I’ve largely limited my Caron testing to the currently-available fare, without resorting to the vintage ebay finds that make up most of my vintage experience, so I’ve never smelled, say, Narcisse Noir or Tabac Blond as they were before the current round of Richard Fraysse reformulations. Those classic Caron scents are fairly rare and sometimes available, but at long-lost-love prices. It’s true that, with a few exceptions, I haven’t been all that impressed with the current Caron offerings.
Aimez-Moi is one of the exceptions. Two years ago, I was trolling along looking for recommendations for violet scents, and ran across a review of Aimez-Moi by Robin at Now Smell This. It would eventually become clear to me that Robin’s tastes and mine share a very small area of overlap, but I didn’t know that at the time, and her description of Aimez-Moi as “deep, cool and mysterious” pulled me in. Shortly after that, a sample became available to me via swap – and I was hooked.
The scent opens with a dry, almost nail-polish-y overlay, which is more noticeable on fabric than on skin, and which might be a bergamot note beginning to go off. It doesn’t matter, because very quickly, AM blooms into an anise-violet accord which is both sweet and pungent. If you think of candy at all – you may – you’ll think of those odd, old-fashioned British candies called Liquorice Allsorts, which are bits of stiff, chewy licorice, tougher and less sweet than the American stuff, encased in thick, chalky-tasting pink, orange, or green candy coating.
Shortly after that, a pleasant rose note appears, staying to hang out with the anise and violet for at least an hour or two, while gradually a dry, powdery vanilla-heliotrope accord surfaces under that. It actually reminds me a good deal of Apres l’Ondee, if Al’O were less misty and ephemeral. Aimez-Moi becomes cheerful and friendly, a sort of perky, quirky yet wholesome ingenue version of Apres l’Ondee’s ethereal, wispy poetry-writing maiden. Think Emma Woodhouse, from the Jane Austen novel, and you’ve got a pretty good idea. She’s known some sadness in her life, but generally things go her way, and since all she really wants is to make all the people in her life happy, she’s optimistic and rather naive.
The first time I wore Aimez-Moi, I thoroughly enjoyed it, only realizing toward the end of the four-hour ride that I wished that I’d known of it when I was young and optimistic myself. I thought it was the perfect scent for falling in love – and then the moment that thought occurred to me, I became terribly sad that I was no longer that young, optimistic, in-love person.
Heliotrope tends to make me unaccountably wistful.
The second time I wore Aimez-Moi, and every time since then, the entire experience was cheerful. No sadness – which after all had more to do with my life than with this scent – at all.
If Apres l’Ondee is a silk chiffon scarf in lavender and silver, Aimez-Moi is a fluffy, girly sweater in mauve and pale silvery purple, cuddly as a basketful of blue-eyed kittens. It is a fairly quiet scent, and not very sweet beyond the brief initial blast of weirdness. It’s also good for what I like to call a “handkerchief scent,” one that’s feminine and unobtrusive enough for spritzing your linen handkerchief before tucking it into your purse. If you just said to yourself, “Tucking a what into my what?” then it’s possible that Aimez-Moi may not be for you. But, of course, I might be wrong, and who am I to say that biker chicks in black leather who carry wallets chained to their belt loops might not love it?
Notes for Aimez-Moi, which was composed by Dominique Ropion (Dominique, will you marry me? I’d at least like to thank you for Carnal Flower, Alien, Ysatis, Jungle L’Elephant, Safari and Une Fleur de Cassie, as well as Aimez-Moi) and released in 1996: Top notes include bergamot, star anise, mint, and violet. Middle notes are jasmine, iris, magnolia, vanilla, peach, rose. Basenotes are musk, amber, woody notes and heliotrope. What I mostly smell, as I mentioned, is anise, violet, rose, vanilla and heliotrope.
I bought a small 1-ounce bottle for about $17 at one of the discounters, and I’ve been very happy with it. I was lucky enough to discover one of the pretty, original-release bottles; it looks like an ornate Victorian cushion with tassels on each corner, interpreted in cut glass. I don’t care much for the standard Caron bottles, and have been known to call them “butt-ugly,” but who cares about ugly bottles when the scent inside them is so pretty?
A few more reviews for your consideration: Robin at Now Smell This, Bois de Jasmin, Marina at Perfume-Smellin’ Things . Tania Sanchez, in Perfumes: The Guide, says of Aimez-Moi (****) that it “begins with a pretty fresh violet and ends in sweet powdery vanilla, and has a humor and cheer largely missing from Caron’s current lineup of feminines.”
Images of Aimez-Moi ad and bottle from Fragrantica. Image of Liquorice Allsorts from Wikimedia Commons.