Monday, November 18, 2013

Best Woody Violet Fragrances (Violet Series)

After the top soft, powdery violet fragrances list, it was natural to follow with another popular category among violet fragrances; those which take on earthier and woodier tonalities, which recall the environment in which the little flowers grow, beneath low foliage, tangled weeds and upturned dirt.
This gothic image of the impenetrable woods is a natural for violet perfume, which grew as a fragrance trend right when the gothic novel became a household name, in the Victorian era. Although woody violets are not Victorian reminiscent in their fashion style (the 19th century favored clean and transparent violet waters), they have something of the darker romanticism of a Dickens novel or Serge Lutens photography.

In perfumery terms dosing a greater percentage of methyl ionone in a fragrance formula creates a woodsier element to the finished scent as opposed to other ionones; particularly 6-methyl alpha ionone gives a silvery sheen to the scent, such as in Serge Lutens deep Bois de Violette, with the background of a woods littered with hundreds of violet bushes beneath the dried fruits compote consumed near the hearth on the front.

But of course context and the imaginative additions on the part of a perfumer accounts for nuanced effects that range from intensely mossy with upturned dirt to lighter pencil-shavings-swirled scentscapes. Notes of oakmoss, sandalwood and cedar complement the violet for a more austere or dangerous direction, like a red riding hood gathering violets in the forest oblivious to the big bad wolves in sheep's clothing lurking.

The following is a list of the more worthwhile darker, earthier violets in the woods. As always you're advised to sample before committing.

Violets by Pre-Raphaelite painter James Dromgole Linton

Some of the best woody, earthy violet fragrances include:

Amouage Library Collection Opus III (an opulent take on Insolence and Apres L'Ondee)
Creed Love in Black (among the better modern Creeds)
Fresh Index Violet Moss (what its name says)
Geo Trumper Ajaccio Violets Cologne (woody and masculine)
Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel (a classic masculine fougere with the unexpected note of violet)
Keiko Mecheri Genie des Bois (a less calculated alternative to Bois de Violette)
Tom Ford Black Violet (Private Blend collection) (a proper darker violet with moss and a light citrusy top note)
Serge Lutens Bois de Violette (Feminite du Bois with violets in the forefront, dense and nuanced)
Sonoma Scent Studio Wood Violet (what its name says)
Sonoma Scent Studio To Dream (a more feminine woody violet, sans the usual cosmetic powder tones of retro violets for women)
Soivohle Violets & Rainwater (like violets trampled underfoot on a rainy day, extremely fetching)

Related reading on Perfume Shrine: 


  1. Anything Feminite du Bois is perfect for me so I adore all her daughters, in particular, Bois de Violette. How timely the writing of this post! I was crouching in the woods in search for violets just now and here I have the answer. Thanks so much!

  2. Anonymous08:14

    You are such a good writer. You took me there!

  3. WFTG,

    I'm always happy to hear that something written hear has a specific timing to a reader's real life. Serendipity is such a great thing!

    Thans for commenting!

  4. Denise,

    you're so sweet to say so. Thank you! And for taking the time to post.

  5. i've been longing to try ford's Black Violet for ages...dark violet & moss sounds very good to me.

  6. You know Helg - Annick Goutal's Violette is lovely too :)

  7. Miss Heliotrope00:05

    You had me at woody -

    & given I love Grey Flannel, a new sampling may be coming soon.

  8. NFS,

    it's sample worthy. You will be the final judge. Sometimes no matter how highly endorsed something is, one has issues with it. I think it's a good one.

  9. M,

    very true, I'm keeping it for the sweet violets later on! ;-)

  10. MH,

    woody is good most of the time, in my books. ;-)

    GF is a gem, worth having in your arsenal!

  11. Dina C.13:18

    I have been enjoying some vintage Lou Lou, which has a beautiful violet note in its oriental mix. Would this fall in the woody violet category? Thanks for another educational post. :-)

  12. Cheryl14:25

    Grey Flannel, vintage Violette Pr├ęcieuse, and Lou Lou have been my violet experiences. Many thanks for a lovely post.


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