Ingredient Focus: Violets

Ingredient Focus: Violets


Violet flowers have a soft, tender aura, a bit similar to iris, and smell powdery and romantic.

Aroma compounds present in violets known as ionones play a central role in the perfumer’s palette. They range from a scent that is reminiscent of violet blossom fragrance—soft, sweet, candy like, to a woody floral tonality. Their versatile character predisposes them to function as the bridge between the middle and the base notes and are used in many fragrances. Prior to their discovery in 1893, the violet note was derived from Parma violet (Viola odorata), a very expensive flower oil.

Violet leaf absolute is still widely used to lend a green note to fragrances, reminiscent of cucumber peel and cut grass.

Violets have been popular since Ancient Times. It was used in Ancient Athens as a symbol of the City and early Arab perfumers were distilling its perfumed oil.

It was brought to popularity amongst the fashionable circles of 18th Century France by Empress Josephine‘s fondness of their heart shaped leaves and distinctive fragrance.


Violet was, quite simply, Josephine’s favourite scent. And every year on their anniversary, Napoleon sent her a bouquet of violets. When Josephine died, Napoleon returned from exile on Elba and hand-picked a posey of violets to lay on her grave. Upon his deathbed, a locket was found about his neck – it contained a portrait of his beloved Josephine, a lock of her hair and dried violet petals……..

Considered a symbol of innocence and femininity, violets were particularly popular during the 19th century, its scent was used in the production of many cosmetic fragrances and perfumes.


Angela loved violets, and we celebrate this most romantic of flowers with a selection of perfumes showcasing its extraordinary qualities.


Josephine showcases the true violet note at its heart and nestles it upon a bed of oak moss. This brings out the violet’s naturally earthy, greenish facets. With a subtle nod to another of the Empress’s favourite flowers, rose, Angela softened the melange with a hint of sweet rose that brings out the violet’s sweeter, candied side. This is an achingly beautiful floral perfume, and a powerful homage to one of History’s most iconic couple, whose love immortalised this humble, tiny, purple flower.



Angela’s fascination with violet appears throughout her collection, in various guises and usually in combination with rose. Violet and rose are natural olfactory allies, harmonising and complementing one another beautifully. (And, indeed, Empress Josephine was also famous for her extensive rose gardens at her palace in Rueil!)


Rose Poudrée is a gossamer-light, feminine creation that appeals to all ages. Violet and rose combine in the top notes and rest on an ethereal heart of iris and heliotrope, lending an earthy, powdery texture. The base is comprised of musk, ambrette and sandalwood, so soft and dusky, deep and tender.


[originally published on 11/08/2017]