Every so often, I "gamble" on a fragrance, ordering without a sample. I don't always know the line, although I knew L'Artisan when I purchased Verte Violette Eau de Toilette ($145 or $57). L'Artisan created two of my favorite orange blossom scents, both limited-editions from annual blossom harvests. I selected Verte Violette for two reasons: it was on sale, and it sounded enticing.
Described as a haunting still life of violet leaves, flowers, and stems, Verte Violette appeared to combine two genres I love, florals and greens, in a single scent. Created by Anne Flipo and launched in 2000 for L'Artisan Parfumeur, Verte Violette is a union of the green note of leaves with the fresh powdered note of the violet flower. There is a little darkness too (very little), a touch of the forest floor, shadows, and flickering sunlight amid the sweetness. Iris notes deepen the delicacy and iridescence of the powder as Verte Violette lies softly on the skin, making this haunting take on violet beautiful on the skin.
I learned at Now Smell This that the notes are violet leaves, raspberry leaves, rose, heliotrope, cedar, iris, and white musk. The notes promised a fragrance that was soft and relatively uncomplicated - a plus when you're gambling.
I could not be more pleased with Verte Violette! When it arrived, I sprayed it on my arm immediately to get a first impression. I feel in instant love. I've been wearing it ever since. Violets have a delicate fragrance. They are a scent for a lady - one who wants to be remembered for her femininity, one who would have worn white gloves and carried a parasol in earlier times.
Verte Violette is, to me, more floral than green. It's definitely soft and powdery (not dusty, though), a quality I love. There's something about powdery florals that reminds me of heirlooms, precious items passed from one generation to the next, preserved to allow their contemporary holders to experience the treasures of their ancestry.
Eau de toilettes suit those looking for a light, natural scent that will complement the skin, never overpower it. Eau de toilettes were originally designed as refreshing body splashes to help people wake up, as part of their morning toilette. However, Verte Violette is not a bracing scent. It will awaken only your senses, so make sure to spray some on your arm to give your nose as much pleasure the fragrance will give those near you. I'll bet you'll find your nose diving in now and then.
Verte Violette lasts on my skin for eight hours, surprising for an eau de toilette. The dry-down is subtle. The cedar that graces the dry-down reminds me the lingering soft fragrance of a cedar fence, months after its installation. The powdery violet never departs. I can still smell it late in the afternoon. All in all, perfect!
Right now, Verte Violette is on sale at L'Artisan. You can purchase the 50 ml spray for $57. For some reason, I feared that meant it was about to be discontinued. Now, I need - seriously need - the 100 ml bottle just in case it's L'Artisan's intention to recall this beautiful fragrance. This is one heirloom that has joined the antiques among my own treasures.
Photos courtesy of L'Artisan and Wild Violets for Mother's Day painting by artist Paul Wolber