I first saw Violet Eyes at my local Belk store last year and immediately grabbed the tester. I liked the ad, even though purple is definitely not my color. And it sounded pretty, so I spritzed away. I didn’t check the notes list, so I was surprised to not find a violet note in it. Violet in the name, violet in the packaging… no violet in the fragrance. (What gives? I don’t get it.) Then recently, I found a small 15ml bottle at my CVS on sale for $8.99, which I thought was worth purchasing for investigation and possible wear. It’s a pretty bottle, a little cylinder in pale violet, with the sparkly silver band at the top familiar from the White Diamonds packaging.
At first spray, this reminds me of Marc Jacobs Daisy, which I also like very much as a “wallpaper” scent, the kind that just sort of smells quietly nice in the background. Fragrantica calls it a floral, but I would amend the category to “floral woody musk,” the same as Daisy and many other department-store fragrances. Violet Eyes is indeed pretty, but not distinctive – which is just fine if you need a wallpaper scent, one that simply smells nice and doesn’t cost a lot.
The notes according to Fragrantica are: “fresh white peach, jasmine, purple rose, peony, amber, and cedar.” I don’t get peach, I get a sweet, vaguely citrusy fruit aroma for about a minute before it’s gone. I also pick up on a very light dusting of aldehydes, of the soapy-powdery variety. Violet Eyes is very floral, with a pretty jasmine-rose combination that, while smelling mostly synthetic, doesn’t have the plasticky-metallic feel that many El Cheapo florals do. This may be because the overriding floral note here is peony, bright but not as neon-pink as many peony fragrances can be.
The peony-jasmine-rose lasts a long time, over a nondescript but comfortable woody-musky base. I can distinguish cedar in there, with its bright, almost-astringent quality, and also there is a powdery vanilla element in the base along with a soft, suedey musk. This stage goes on for a considerable while on me, and one spray can last about seven hours – excellent staying power for an eau de parfum on my skin.
The overall effect is a bright, cheerful, pinky-purple floral muted by the velvety, powdery base, a clean, soft and pretty scent. It’s clearly mostly synthetic, but I find it easy to wear and very comfortable. Violet Eyes is, possibly, not up to matching the intensity of its namesake’s beauty, but it is a fitting tribute to her femininity. La Liz was perhaps at her most stunning in jewel-toned evening gowns, with dramatic makeup, but there are quite a number of early photos of her in soft colors, less glamorous and more pretty, and Violet Eyes edp is a good recap of that gentle, non-threatening, feminine side.
I find it reassuring that as time went on, Ms. Taylor embraced bolder fashions and colors with dramatic contrasts, as that seems to have been suited to both her striking looks and her flair for personal drama. Of course, her early perfumes are dramatic and bold as well. Passion was not and probably never will be the sort of thing I like, with its strong balsamic oriental cast, but the Hollywood-sized white floral White Diamonds is better than I remembered it being. (I’ll be reviewing that one soon.) Violet Eyes, composed by Carlos Benaim and released in 2010 – probably the final entry in the Elizabeth Taylor Perfumes line, or at least it will be if the owners of the brand have any decency whatsoever – is more reminiscent of the fragile prettiness of Taylor the child-and-teen star, the glowing youth of Velvet Brown (“National Velvet“).
Violet Eyes may have been dedicated to and inspired by the “iconic eyes,” but it is not iconic itself. Still and all, it’s attractive and gentle, and I expect I’ll get some mileage out of this small purple bottle. Wish they’d thought to toss a little violet into the mix; it would have been perfectly appropriate!