Saturday, August 09, 2008


Girl in violet dress, originally uploaded by Chrissie White.

Lavender and violet have a few things in common. They are both a colour. They are both powdery (depending on context, of course). And they both have a strong Victorian-moral and olfactroy association - violets associated with modesty and lavender with cleanliness and purity (the Latin name for lavender - lavandula - is from the root "lavare" which means "to wash). It's easy to fall into one of these cliches when working with those materials, and difficult to avoid it and create something new. But it's possible.

After re-blending previous reference formulas from my past lavender endeavors, I set to try out my new idea: lavender and violet. I have already used violet in the formula for Branka's perfume (which along with the rose makes it more floral). At the same time, I really wanted to maintain that suave, velvety quality in my fougere sketch from 2001. And so on August 6th, I've experimented with adding on to the accord of lavender-violet-vanilla a few more notes to accentuate the violet. I've used orris butter to extend the violet heart note and make it more soft and floral and less green-leaf-like. At the same time, cassie absolute was added to the base, adding a perfumey complexity that has both the violet-like nuances as well as its own odd characteristics of wet wood. Tonka bean and hay absolute at the base along with ho wood (very linalool rich) at the heart complete the fougere picture and the pine was replaced by rosemary verbenone to add clean, herbaceous freshness.

It's only three days into maturation and all the notes have already smoothed into each other (i.e.: the orris and cassie don't stand out as much as they did in day 1).
To summarize, here are the notes I've used in this violet-lavender experiment:

Top notes: Kashmir Lavender, Lavender Mailette, Lavender (High Elevation, France), Rosemary Verbenon, Ho wood

Heart notes: Violet Leaf Absolute, Orris butter 8% Irone, Seville Lavender Absolute, Lavender Absolute, Clary Sage

Base notes: Lavender Concrete, Oakmoss, Tonka Bean, Hay Absolute, Cassie Absolute, Vanilla Absolute

I like the result, but think it's still too tame and it does remind me of both Viola and Lovender - combined with a little more lavender oomph added in (from both the Seville Lavender absolute and the lavender concrete - both very unusual and bold notes). Perhaps amplifying the cassie would create more of the quirky effect I'm looking for - something more unusual and less familiar. Another thing I might consider is adding some rosemary absolute, but than I might be repeating some of my accords from Gaucho too much.

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At August 10, 2008 6:08 AM, Blogger ScentScelf said...

Oh! This sounds so interesting, and so promising!! Am thinking about your current dilemma...and my own thoughts went to the garden, as yours have already--the orris root, the rosemary, the hay. My own reason being that sometimes it is what we encounter along with the violet and the lavender that makes them so...even though they are, conceptually, such unique, individual scents.

I keep on thinking something green...could it be as simple as grass? I don't know...

You have started my day on such a good "note"!

At August 10, 2008 2:10 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Thank you for your comment; I am so glad this was a good start for your day :)
The garden is always such an inspirational place to start. I haven't thought about this perfume that way though. I was more caught-up in the perfumery terminology and olfactory effects to even think about it in those terms. This often happens when I study a note, as opposed to more free and creative mode.

At August 10, 2008 7:21 PM, Blogger ScentScelf said...

You do give me an avenue to learn more about...I have been enjoying learning about "notes," but have a lot to learn about how the olfactory effects of given materials vary from nature to lab. :)

Will be very interested to hear about further developments. Thanks so much for posting and indulging comments.


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