Mancera Aoud Violet (2014) is a very well-made unisex take on violet masculine perfumery, with a thicker, sweeter and prettier variation on the violet note that typically is reserved for feminine or gender-neutral perfumes, transposed onto the typical Montale/Mancera synthetic oud base, rounded out with spices, musk, and patchouli styled in a way common with men's fragrances. The result is a really soft, rich, and slightly sweet velvety violet experience, that still checks all the woody and green boxes most men expect from a violet leaf cologne vis-à-vis Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel (1975), Dior Fahrenheit (1988), Kiton Men (1996), Burberry Touch for Men (2000), Kenneth Cole Black (2003), or even Bleu de Chanel (2010). Since modern men seem to prefer a bit more sweetness with their sophistication, this seems a perfect pairing, as it brings the modern traditionalism of violet fragrances made for men within the last 50 years or so into the future to merge with the affable roundness they enjoy in things like Paco Rabanne Invictus (2013), while also adding a touch of exoticism with the synthetic oud base note. Aoud Violet won't light the men's niche perfume world on fire quite like Mancera Cedrat Boise (2011) or the later Mancera Red Tobacco (2017), but it definitely sits proudly alongside them in a collection. There's not a whole lot more I can say in introduction than that, besides maybe that this feels a tad common-smelling, so let's move along to the scent itself.
The opening comes across citric, bright, strong, and sweet. Juicy bergamot borrowed from Cedrat Boise mixes with some galbanum and coriander spice as the full violet floral note emerges. This violet note is achieved with the usual mix of ionones for the chemistry nerds among us, but it has less of the petrol vibe found in scents like Fahrenheit, Grey Flannel, or Kiton, being sweeter and more like the kind of flowery violet found in a soliflore on the subject, being full of color. The sweetness comes from benzoin and vanilla, dialed low and paired with patchouli, but one that has been scrubbed of any camphoraceous elements so don't expect head shop or minty patchouli here. All together, this mix feels a bit oily with the slippery violet vanilla patchouli benzoin mix that then glides as expected over the medicinal musk synthetic oud elements that themselves are submerged in laundry musks, smoky vetiver, and amber. You might as well say this isn't an oud at all, because the oud note as presented is really just doing the heavy lifting of a standard guaiac wood note would do in the same amber/patchouli context, with a mild mossy riff from everynl also weaving between to butter up the already slick approach to the dry down. When all is said and done, Aoud Violet feels like a luxury take on an old drugstore cologne, and I couldn't be more pleased with that mix. Wear time is going 10 hours plus, with moderate sillage that will get you through a work day or a casual weekend outing. Best use in going to be in spring through fall but this could perform in winter too.
Most of the hate or confusion with this one seems to stem from comparisons to Givenchy Gentleman Only (2013) because both deal with violet and came out a year apart. It's typical "only wears fragrances for schtupping" FragBro logic that anything coming out on the heels of something else and sharing a single prominent note must automatically be trying to steal its thunder because everything is a competition, meaning if it doesn't out-do whatever came before it did, that means it sucks. This becomes a pretty silly premise when you consider Mancera doesn't even sell in the same places as Givenchy or even chases the same market, nor is Aoud Violet even technically marketed as a masculine fragrance. A more fair comparison would be Mancera Wind Wood (2014), which while also technically unisex, displays more of a violet leaf note than a floral violet, tosses in pink pepper, and replaces the oud with cedar. The two scents are so close in structure that if you remove these key differences, you're left withe the same core accord under them, including the amber, patchouli, green notes, and mossy vetiver vibe. Wind Wood goes more for outdoorsy utility, while Aoud Violet put the prerequisite Middle Eastern opulent spin on the subject matter, but both are effectively modern violet fragrances compatible with conventional CISHET male taste. For me, Aoud Violet is kept from being just short of downright gorgeous because of that drugstore aftershave vibe (from the laundry musks), but is otherwise worth the price if found at a discounter. Thumbs up
Heavy and thick opening, very very green/herbaceous. I don't detect any violet in the opening, which is a shame. Settles down to a spicy wooden notes with hints of musk here and there, almost the epitome of 'fresh'. Longevity is incredible and a little bit goes on and on.
Sweet, juicy opening with plenty of green/fresh violet notes. With the violet being so noticeable up front, my first thought was that this is like a sweetened version of Fahrenheit. However, I think the better comparison is to Carven pour Homme, which I like very much.
Sweet, sexy, clean violet throughout, almost soapy. You only get the oud note if you sniff right on my skin. Later into the drydown, the oud goes away leaving a classic, clean amber behind.
I'm sure this would smell great on women too but I really like this for me as a guy. Like I said before, it's like a sweetened Fahrenheit or Carven Pour Homme, so I really like it.
Mancera usually delivers in the performance category and Aoud Violet doesn't disappoint. Projection isn't beastly but should be more than adequate while longevity is very good, lasting all day.
Strong, bitter opening with bergamot, green notes, and a spice / herb I can't identify. Tarragon, maybe? Very masculine. The bitterness fades as violet and patchouli take over. There is an almost soapiness overtone. Vetiver appears. Then a mossy-ness. Amber on the bottom. Overall, I'd still say this is more for men. Rather herbalish.