Violet is a limited edition "flanker"* of the signature Oscar fragrance, one of the group of limited summer editions by fashion designer Oscar de la Renta which launched through 2005 (Violet is from that season) and 2006: Soft Blossom, Soft Amber, Sweet Flower, Tropical Flower, Fresh Vanilla, Red Orchid, Pink Lily, Sheer Freesia, Citrus, Bamboo. [Wow they did a lot of them!] From this assorted progeny I always thought Violet was the best and though by no means a masterpiece or a must-smell, it's an easy to wear desert-like, yet judiciously restrained, vanillic fragrance. By all accounts a no-brainer, no need to steel-yourself-for-it scent, for days when you can't be bothered by complicated things and just want some cosiness and comfort.
The subtle overture is fresh and a bit "sweet peppery" thanks to the cinnamon touch sprinkled on a short-lived, citrusy accord. This very soon opens into the main plot: a dark chocolate accord, powdery cocoa shifted for angel's cake and 70% cocoa solids chunks for glazing it. This is quite a sweet perfume, which is a precarious balance to do right, but without the sickly candy notes of many a modern fragrance fare. More a cocoa-vanilla blend than one resting on violets, it's ironic it got named the way it was. (Even if consciously searching for violets when smelling it, you're getting the Violettes de Toulouse confectionary kind, not the Parma violet, even less so the metallic violet leaf note). The base is quite persistent, with inclusions of musk and sandalwood (creamy, goose-down soft), but the generic vanilla blend tends to overshadow these subtler, more discreet notes. This is the main drawback of the Oscar Violet fragrance and why it doesn't get out of the cabinet more. The drydown is lackluster compared to what a delicious, sophisticated gourmand like Angel Innocent, or Prada Candy can offer; and as to searching for a sweet violet or gourmand sandalwood combo I'll go with Bois de Violette, Santal Massoia and Praline de Santal. Still Oscar Violet is so cheap online it's worth grabbing for your curiosities cabinet or your little sister who likes "sweet stuff" and shouldn't be let to plunge too deeply into the vulgar end lest she never resurfaces again.
If a few well-judged comparisons illustrate a point like a thousand pages, Oscar Violet is reminiscent of Hypnotic Poison Eau Sensuelle by Christian Dior and Deep Red by Hugo Boss (but sweeter, creamier than the latter) with similar notes of pear, mandarin orange, sandalwood, vanilla and musk.
Discontinued, but still found discounted on etailers and Ebay.
For our readers, a bottle of this discontinued fragrance up for draw, for those commenting. Draw is open internationally till Sunday midnight.