Suzanne's Perfume Journal

Voile de Violette has notes of violet, iris, rose, cedar, vetiver, violet leaf, tonka bean, hay, and myrrh. It can be purchased from the Sonoma Scent Studio website, in prices currently ranging from $17 for a 5-ml purse spray to $75 for the 34-ml bottle pictured above. Sample vials of all of the Sonoma Scent Studio fragrances can also be purchased there as well.

Photo of Mehgan Heaney-Grier (U.S. Freediving Champion, model and actress) is from Wikpedia Commons;photo of the 34-ml bottle of Voile de Violette is from the perfumer's website.

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Charting the Waters with Sonoma Scent Studio Voile de Violette

For the past couple days I’ve been thinking about the act of perfume blogging: about how frivolous a hobby it might seem to the uninitiated, and yet I feel like each and every week I get something out of the reading of other people’s blogs and the writing of my own that goes far beyond entertainment. The benefit of reading other people’s viewpoints is obvious—it enriches and expands one’s world in a number of ways—and writing one’s own blog is a natural means of joining the conversation. Of the latter, the consistent practice of writing about perfumes, whether in blog form or not, I’ve come to believe there is also a therapeutic benefit, one in which you can begin to understand your own inner workings and find a way to navigate through life better. Not by learning to analyze perfumes via their notes, nor by searching for creative ways to describe them, but simply in examining one’s feelings while wearing them. I realize how simple that sounds—an aim that seems lacking in ambition and might smack of being too New Ageish for some—but for me, studying the emotional impact that perfumes exert on my psyche and recording these feelings over time, I’ve come to have a better sense of where my strengths and hang-ups lie. And in coming to this conclusion, I realize the perfumes themselves hardly matter—they are simply the vehicle that gets me there—but because the act of smelling and trying to make sense of a scent is so deeply personal, it’s one very efficient (and very beautiful!) vehicle.  

Which is not to say that I always make the best use of the terrain I’ve traveled, but I try.

Picking up where my last post left off, I spent a good many days last week wearing Guerlain Habit Rouge and thinking about the color red—and considering how the wearing of either could serve as a prop, of sorts, to help me feel more assertive. I did that for five days in a row, and then on Friday night I let myself retreat to the place where I am most familiar: a Lonely Heartsville kind of place where I can be found singing the chorus to Jason Collett’s Rave On Sad Songs (“Rave on, you sad songs/Sad songs, rave on”), where I go to be alone. Music is usually the boat I float in on to this little island, and quite easily too, for unlike real-life travel, the problem is not in arriving, it’s in staying too long.  What can I say? The music is so damn good; the soundwaves travel far. I can listen to Feist (lovely Leslie Feist) singing all night long in Paris and never sounding better—all those songs that speak of solitariness and of holding oneself with a certain dignity in the acknowledgement of that state. Words my heart understands as truths both private and universal, and there is no small amount of sorrowful beauty to them.

So when Friday night spilled into Saturday morning, I moved onto a new scent and a new color. Sonoma Scent Studio Voile de Violette, which smells exactly as it name suggests—a veil of violet (you can’t miss the violets in this perfume)—and yet which occupies an oddly cool and beautiful shade of green in my olfactory nerve center. It’s not green like grass or forest, despite the woody notes in this perfume: for me, it’s the olfactory equivalent of green water, or a neon-green jazz note played on a shiny trumpet in a darkened club, or any other form of green that could be described as cool, murky and swaddling.  I put on this perfume and from across the room I hear my husband say that it smells fresh. Perhaps it does from afar, but violet is such a queer and enigmatic smell, and sniffing my wrist up close, there is the pretty, cosmetic odor of the flower … which smells like its being worn by a mermaid. Or a pretty French barmaid.  I’m not sure. I only know I’m submerged and swimming in that place where all other voices are a murmur. I hear the quiet beating of my heart and the siren song of the mermaid; I feel the press of water that is as velvety as the low light of a darkened room.

Voile de Violette is one of the quieter perfumes from Sonoma Scent Studio. It has a detectable sillage for the first five minutes that it’s on my skin, but it soon quiets down and is the soft yet distinct smell of violets floating on an amorphous green body that I would name the Loch Ness accord, if I were put in charge of naming things. To my nose, this perfume is mostly linear (unchanging) for the duration of its long wear: the scent of violets never fades or gets powdery or plays peek-a-boo; it somehow manages to be gentle yet ever-present. I also detect the accent of a dewy and beautiful rose within the scent, a rose that bolsters the violet note rather than standing apart from it, and which only perfume lovers who have spent a goodly amount of time sniffing and trying to parse fragrance notes would likely identify. Overall, a violet soliflore is how Voile de Violette presents itself, and while it doesn’t have a complex unfolding, it is not a perfume I would ever call simple. The lake of cool greenness the violet accord rides on lends it a sense of enigma and depth that is hard to put into words.

A beautiful privacy—not a place of privacy but privacy that resists any kind of modifier, that is all-encompassing—is how I think of Voile de Violette.

Then it occurs to me, as I finish jotting down this thought, that it is now late Sunday night. Very late—almost the start of Monday morning. I need to come out of the water and let sad songs rave on behind me, without me. My sample of Voile de Violette is almost gone and I’m glad to have written about it. It’s what made me realize I am ready to return to the mainland, where I am learning how to whistle and to love everything on dry earth a little harder than I did a few days before.

January 21, 2013: