Violet is my favorite flower. I have been fascinated by them since childhood. But after many years of experience, I started to question this fascination. Is it the natural smell of a bouquet of flowers from my garden? Is this the conceptual or ideal scent of violet? Is it the deep visual impact of the flower itself? Perfumers tend to make abstract versions of their real-life experiences. This is why violets, as you can smell them in nature, are not exactly the same as violets in perfumes. These flowers have a very short flowering period. The smell changes from the time you pick them up to ten hours later. They also change every year in terms of nuances. Leaves and flowers contribute to the scent perceived in a garden. When the flowers are not in bloom in my garden, the smell of the leaves is present several months later - nonadienal and nonadienol mainly - a specific and very diffusing note of cucumber, not really linked to the absolute of violet leaves. . This scent contributes to the nostalgic smell of late fall, when most of the flowers are gone. Among the five fundamental flowers, violet and lily of the valley share a unique position. The natural reference shows little variation, unlike the multiple shades of a rose. In fact, we are talking about two very characteristic plants without many botanical versions and without much echo among other botanical families in the northern hemisphere. Most of the scent interpretations of these flowers are artistic definitions devised by talented perfumers. They show the shift from natural smell and reference to concept. This concept is often very realistic, but it is nothing more than the figment of the imagination. It takes a lot of skill and work to create a flower that smells natural despite the obvious differences from the source. Indeed, in perfumery, the power of the imagination and its capacity to generate a new reality is much greater than the power of memory. In fact, it's almost impossible to compare violet and lily of the valley to many scents based on these themes. Bouquet of violets, Edouard Manet 1872 These flowers have a very short flowering period. Perceived realism is not based on a true comparison of perfumes, it is based on our ability to conceptualize a perfume. The smell becomes abstract in our memory and this mental image is not static. This idea is very important in flower arrangements because you, as a perfumer, do not need to collect all the molecules indicated in the headspace analysis. You are not imitating a scent; you evoke his presence. We memorize a scent through analogies and differences with previous experiences; memory is never exact, and it is rather vague because the mental image changes with new knowledge. This is why there is always a difference between the portrait of a flower under the nose and the reconstitution of the same flower out of season in order to generate a similar olfactory realism. Bouquet of violets in a vase, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec 1882 Many purple scents of the past are pure concepts. They are based on the very characteristic ionone and methyl ionone family with accents of the acetylene family Neo Folione and company. But this is nothing more than an exaggerated sketch. When you analyze the natural scent, you will detect multiple nuances, such as those related to flowers such as black currant, narcissus or cyclamen. Creating a violet perfume is very simple and extremely complicated at the same time. Most of the character-defining elements have been available since the end of the 19th century, and their combinations generate an obvious and immediately recognizable profile. But it is not the real violet flower, if you know a bouquet of violet. For many years I have been perfecting my purple bases. It is much easier to recognize the ionone chord than a true purple chord. A violet flower is extremely easy to simulate, but it is more complicated to reproduce all the nuances, its subtlety, the freshness and the naturalness of a bouquet. It is also much more difficult to formulate a product. Indeed, ionones and other high impact elements - natural or synthetic - have many variables and their adjustment from one batch to another is not easy. I won't talk about the differences between the many ionones that you can find on the market. Bouquet of violets, Albrecht Drer c. 1502 The natural extracts of violet flowers almost disappeared after WWI. In 1935, Ernest Guenther, then chief chemist at Fritzsche Brothers NY, wrote that the cultivation of violets had all but disappeared in France. Violette de Parme and Violette Victoria Luxonne were cultivated in the south of France, mainly Grasse, Hy�res and Toulouse cut flowers. Violet flower oil was used in several late 19th century perfumes from Pinaud, Delettrez and Millot. Later, a very small amount was mixed with new ionones in several specialties to give them naturalness. In 1938, Charabot was still making violet flower oil from Parma and Victoria flowers at an astronomical price: eight times the price of ordinary jasmine absolute. This product was obtained by fractionating Parma violet flower absolute and was the equivalent of contemporary molecular distillation. This is why many vintage perfumes from the 1930s cannot be made today without having access to these high fashion natural extracts typical of the time. April Violets Yardley was a long time ago and a really good rendition maybe too much emphasis on the green aspect, but when it was rephrased, maybe a decade ago, a lot went wrong. gone bad. EDT, deodorant, soap, and powder . . . after reformulating it all went wrong, and the imbalance revealed the bad sides of a classic theme. The vintage versions show the evolution from class to mass. Because we are drawn to contrasts, and perhaps overdose, the purple type as it is known through perfumes Guerlain, Caron, Berdoues, Penhaligon's is much more appreciated than the natural scent. However, the natural reproduction of the flower represents a major theme in classical perfumery. This scent - subtle, but very characteristic if you know the flower - is a theme in several classic Molyneux or Balenciaga perfumes, between the 30s and 60s. Purple, along with any other element of the five fundamental floral themes, is capable of generating a very long list of chords. Also, this flower is able to generate even more themes with little related families, going further in woody and amber scents.