Monday, July 4, 2011

L'Artisan Verte Violette Eau de Toilette

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


Eileen said...

I will have to purchase this simply because my grandmother always wore a violet scent that has not been made in over fifty years. It is a scent, though, that haunts my memories and I'm always searching for THE one. Perhaps Verte Violette . . .

Charlestongirl said...

I hope so, Eileen! This scent is old fashioned in a sense. Maybe it will be the one!

Eileen said...

I just ordered this and am eagerly awaiting it. I am one of those people for whom fragrance is extremely evocative. It doesn't take much to transport me to another time; another place or bring a departed loved one back into focus. Ah, the sweet power of fragrance.

lovethescents said...

I'm thrilled you're loving this so much, Charlestongirl. I hope you'll love it too, Eileen! Eileen, do you remember the name of the fragrance your grandmother wore?

I love violets too. I don't get much powder from this one, it stays green on me for longer, I think. Isn't skin chemistry fantastic? Other violet loves are, of course, Guerlain's masterpiece, Apres l'Ondee, both edt and parfum, Borsari's Violetta di Parm (violet soliflore), and I also quite like Balenciaga's Paris. So many interpretations! There's those two little violet oddballs (at least to my nose): Comme des Garcons Stephen Jones--violets and space rocks (!); and Nez a Nez's Unicorn Spell---violets with a little cold metal and a touch of celery leaf, I think!

Thank you for this review. It was fun to read. Sorry for the long post. You got me talking! (as usual :-) )

Eileen said...

Hi Lovethescents,

Unfortunately, I don't remember the name. My grandmother died over twenty years ago and the only other person alive who might have remembered it said, "Oh, good lord, Eileen, I never paid any attention to what Mom wore. She just smelled like Mom." So, there you go. And, as your examples pointed out, it's as much about the personal body chemistry as what's in the bottle. It's true that we often don't realize what we've lost until it's gone.

Thank you for all the violet suggestions. Of course, I know and love Après L'Ondée, but violets and space rocks(!) not so much LOL

lovethescents said...

Oh, Eileen, you must sample it! Aren't you curious about what space rocks smell like? :-))

I miss my grandmother too. She wore Chanel No5 and I wear it on occasion for good luck and courage. It brings me back to my childhood. I have a job interview tomorrow, you can be sure I'll be wearing that aldehydic glory.

Eileen said...

Good luck tomorrow, Lovethescents. You're a very nice lady.

Charlestongirl said...


Wishing you good luck and good karma tomorrow! Hope the interview goes well. Go easy on the never know when you'll run into a fragrance phobe!

I had this gal who sat near my office door in a cube, and she complained about my diffuser. Everyone else thought it was wonderful. She told me it made her congested and sick. So, being nice, I took it home. I think she was a bit of a drama queen, given the distance from my door. You just never know!

lovethescents said...

Thank you kind, Eileen! You are so nice too. Love reading your descriptions of makeup application. I learn so much around here :-)

Charlestongirl, you are very right about the fragrance application. Even though I own an obscene amount of perfume, more than I could ever use in two lifetimes, I don't apply heavily. I have a 3 year old and a 7 month old to consider. I use fragrance as therapy, actually :-) When I'm getting ready for work, I dab a tiny amount inside each elbow, and bury my nose in there when I need a lift. Some colleagues go for a smoke, perfume in elbow is my inhalation therapy!

I work with the critically ill, many have allergies or are nauseous, so I am very aware of my 'aroma' :-)

Thank you for the well wishes!

(too much talking again, ooops!)

Anonymous said...

This sounds wonderful. I may have to try it. I love violet based scents. My grandmother wore Shalimar and Motsuko. Both of which I wear to remind me of her. It is so comforting. My mother wears Chanel No.5. I am lucky the women in my family have/had great taste. :)

denise_22315 at yahoo dot com

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Anonymous,

I've been lucky that way with jewelry! I get so many compliments on the "old family diamonds." :)

TJ said...

Love your post about Verte Violette! It's been a favorite of mine, maybe THE favorite, for several years now. I took advantage of the sale as well. You're not the only one suspicious that it may be discontinued. I picked up two bottles, just in case.

Charlestongirl said...

Thanks, TJ! I am "that close" to ordering another one. :)