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I am besotted with Violet Blonde. It's been going on for years now and likely, will go on for many more. I suppose it was inevitable, given my penchant for violet-centric fragrances, that I would fall hard for this beauty from American fashion designer Tom Ford.

Reading up on the fragrance, I realized that Tom Ford is almost as interesting as Violet Blonde, but I'm eager to get to the fragrance, so I have condensed Mr. Ford's very interesting, textured life into this very small paragraph:

Tom Ford is an architect, filmmaker, and fashion designer born in Texas in 1961. Before graduating from The Parsons The New School for Design in New York City, Ford lived in Paris for a year and a half, working as an intern at French fashion house Chloé's press office. The experience inspired him to seek a future in fashion design. His rise was meteoric. In 1990, Ford was hired as Gucci's chief women's ready-to-wear designer. In 1992, Ford became head of Gucci's ready-to-wear, fragrances, image, advertising, and store design. In 1999 Gucci took over the house of Yves Saint Laurent, and Ford was named Creative Director of that label as well. Along the way, there were achievements, accolades, awards and professional ups and downs. So, in April 2004, Ford left the Gucci group, and in 2006 he launched his own brand, Tom Ford, with a line of womenswear, menswear, eyewear, beauty, accessories and fragrance. In 2011, Violet Blonde was brought to market as part of Ford's Signature Collection. It was signed by nose Antoine Lie.

On me, it opens with sweet, juicy mandarin and fresh, herbal, spicy pink pepper. They set the stage for the violet. The violet here comes mainly from the leaves – crisp, cool, green and metallic-tinged – it adds excitement to the fragrance.  But there are also flashes of violet flower, that true to form, play their game of now-you-smell-me-now-you-don't. As it settles on my skin, iris adds a sophisticated powderiness to Violet Blonde that makes it beg to be sniffed. Creamy orris root adds a gentle earthiness and woodiness while boosting the powderiness just as Sambac jasmine, sweet, opulent and indolic, appears. The jasmine counters the powderiness, so that Violet Blonde never wanders into old-lady territory. The notes list something called sampaquita. A quick Google search tells me that it is a reconstitution of the Sambac jasmine scent made by Givaudan, whereby 'The delicate fragrances of carnation and ylang together with a slightly green note were artistically grafted onto a rich basic accord of jasmine, tuberose, honeysuckle and rose…. It gives a new floral-jasmine effect to formulas.' It works beautifully here to give the florals in the fragrance more depth and presence. At the base, sexy musk makes it alluring, while a suede note adds softness and sensuality. Cedar and vetiver provide a green woodiness, while benzoin gently sweetens the blend.

Violet Blonde is a scent built upon contrasts, as the name suggests: demure violet, sexy blonde, powdery yet indolic, cool and warm, austere and lush. It's a fragrance that smells old-school but isn't. What is, is a well-crafted, elegant and polished fragrance.

Tom Ford has described his customers well-travelled, international, cultured, and with a high disposable income. Of his female clientele he says they are "strong women, … intelligent women who know their own style".  If you see yourself in that last sentence, Violet Blonde is for you.

Violet Blonde is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml.

Image - Violets in the garden - perfumeniche.com

I don’t pay much attention to flankers. Give me the original fragrance, please, and don’t confuse me with Black, Intense, Sheer or Souffle. A flanker is never as good as the original, except possibly when it’s from Chanel, and when it isn’t a true flanker because the only similarity is the name COCO, and when it is so good that it becomes a monster success, a Top Ten seller year after year right up to this very day. Then I pay attention. 

I’m talking about COCO Mademoiselle. It’s namesake, Chanel COCO was launched in 1984, created by the new Chanel creative director at the time, Jacques Polge. Coco was a brand new version of oriental fragrance - brighter, assertive, intriguing with dried fruit notes mixed in with the traditional spices and florals and warm resin notes. It had a rich, plush warmth and revealed a level of sophistication that lifted it out of the mainstream into the realm of wordless beauty. 

Seventeen years later, in 2001, Coco Mademoiselle was launched, created by Jacques Polge with Francois Demachy, a new Chanel fragrance for a new and younger audience, the twenty-first century woman.  These two master perfumers took the sweet patchouli gourmand trend started a few years earlier by Mugler’s Angel, and “Chanel-ed” it with the famous brand’s iconic design style, giving birth to the first Fruitchouli fragrance, COCO Mademoiselle. Using British model Kate Moss wearing a string of pearls and not much else, the fragrance was a runaway success, vastly exceeding Chanel sales targets. The print campaign continues twenty years later in 2021, using another British beauty, Kira Knightly.

COCO Mademoiselle EdT is ultra feminine and sleek right out of the bottle. Vibrant and juicy with sweet orange and bergamot, the fresh citrus accord becomes spiced with dewy rose in the heart, sweetened with an abstract of white florals - jasmine and ylang-ylang and mimosa - and hints of creamy peach and lychee. The sensation is full of life, not overpowering but warm and sunny, and very appealing. 

And then the genius of the two perfumers is revealed. By their use of Patchouli Coeur, a refined distillation of the herb which removes its camphorous musty notes, and by blending this special patchouli with salty musks and vetiver, the base takes on powdery facets, expanding a feeling of carefree elegance and sophistication, and balancing the fruity sweetness of the citrus and florals with a sensuous undertone of green earthiness. As other notes blend with the patchouli - dark Bourbon vanilla, nutty tonka bean and balsamic resins of opoponax (sweet myrrh) - the base becomes lush and rich and ambery, giving COCO Mademoiselle a warm and generous quality. Its beautiful waft goes on and on for hours, the perfect union of orange, rose and patchouli, its romantic floral warmth left on scarves and sweaters, a love note to yourself.

Since its launch twenty years ago, I’ve worn COCO Mademoiselle occasionally, but never truly warmed to it. Chanel COCO is my favourite Chanel, followed Cuir de Russie28 Le PausaChanel No. 5. I always loved its scent on others, but not on myself, until I tried the EdT, instead of the EdP. That made the difference, because of the stronger citrus and addition of lychee, and possibly other tweaks I’m not aware of. In any case, I’ve now joined the multitudes around the world who love and wear COCO Mademoiselle. 

Coco Mademoiselle is definitely not an exclusive or niche perfume, but it is undeniably a gorgeous fragrance, regarded as a contemporary classic from one of the most iconic luxury fashion houses in the world. It’s an example of what makes Chanel great. Their fragrance Chanel No.5 was launched in 1921, and last year in 2020 it was still listed as one the Top Ten selling perfumes by Glamour Magazine, and other surveys. One hundred years as a best seller!

Will COCO Mademoiselle be listed one hundred years after its 2001 launch, in 2101? Current trends would indicate YES. I know I’ll still be wearing it, wherever I am....

Coco Mademoiselle EdT is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml.

Image - COCO Mademoiselle EdT 50 ml. - perfumeniche.com

 

Welcome to perfumeniche.com

"She smelled the way the Taj Mahal looks by moonlight."

                                                                       Raymond Chandler

We are Gwen and Kay, two perfumistas making our scent journey in the cool, clear North.  We are also BFFs - we hang out together a lot, travel together - so we try, buy and share fragrances.

What started out as a shared interest grew into a hobby, and has now become our obsession.

We’ve spent many evenings with a glass of prosecco, a little cool jazz playing in the background, spritzing, sniffing - “How does this smell on you?” and, sadly, sometimes scrubbing.

We’ve tested and tried hundreds of samples over the years, and when we deemed a fragrance ”full bottle worthy” (FBW), one of us has tracked it down and bought it. We now own a lot of really great perfumes, and we continue to buy bottles of what we think is the best of "niche" as new scents are launched.

Also, we include many perfume "classics" that are the foundations of modern perfumery - like Shalimar, Chanel No.5, Eau Sauvage - plus other perfume "gems" that have been discontinued, or were ahead of their time when launched but now fit perfectly in the Niche category. 

With so many exciting discoveries, we can’t help but talk about our passion with other friends. Wherever we go, people ask “What is that perfume you’re wearing? Where can I get that?” So we end up sharing a bit of our “juice” with friends. But the circle has grown, so we've started this website to let others buy and try samples from our collections and experience the fragrant beauty we write about.

WHAT WE DO

We blog

We blog once a week and post a story about a scent from our collections, and add it to our Decant Store. We're not scent critics, so these aren't negative reviews. We love all our fragrances  - that’s why we bought them! But we describe how we think they smell, and share our stories about why we love them - maybe you’ll rediscover an old flame, or fall in love with a new scent.

Or we post conversations about whatever has grabbed our attention recently. Or we write about a specific perfume note,  and offer a Decant Pack, which allows you to explore new territory by trying 3 or 4 fragrances in a special pack at a special discount price.

We sell

We sell 1 ml. decants - .7 ml volume once you allow for the stopper in the vial - filled from our own bottles in our collection because the only way to experience a fragrance is to try it on your own skin. We take the fragrance from its original bottle and decant it into a smaller brand-new, 1 ml sterilized glass vials so that you can try it on your skin to see if you like it.

Through our Decant Store you'll have access to some of the world’s greatest niche scents, hard-to-find fragrances, and classic favourites. 

When you click on the Decant Store tab you’ll find our personal descriptions of each of the fragrances we currently offer from our collection, then you can add them to your Shopping Cart.

Let's be clear (this is a disclaimer!!)

  • We don’t sell full bottles of any fragrance - just .7ml decants. We only sell decants  from the perfumes we've bought.... because we love them.
  • We don't re-sell manufacturers samples.
  • We don’t represent any perfumers or distributors, so we don’t have every scent from a whole line of perfume.
  • We aren’t being paid to promote any product or scent.

If, after sampling a fragrance, you decide that you must have it, i.e. it is FBW (full bottle worthy), and you can’t find it, e-mail us and we will direct you to the best source we know – retail store or online source.

We provide

A place for you to learn about scent, and to share your fragrance experience with others. Click on the section called Resources, under My Perfume Notes (see top right), where  you'll find a Glossary, and fragrance FAQs. You'll also find two great tools we've created - Handmaps and My Sample Perfume Notes - so you can keep track of, and record your own scent experiences.
 
We hope you enjoy perfumeniche.com, and visit us often. Leave your preconceptions behind, look around, see what’s on offer, read the Blog, share your experiences and discoveries, and join the circle.

It’s just us.