Earthy violet and orris. I don't smell any rose or muguet here. There is a touch of jasmine mixed with heliotrope. Later, a touch of hyacinth - nothing more come of this except maybe musk (I'm unsure). VDP vanishes rather quickly on me - a mere 1 1/2 hours. Overall this isn't a sweet violet perfume. It is dry, cool, and mostly singular.
Borsari had perhaps the greatest number of scents based on the violet flower in perfumery. His Violetta di Parma originated in 1870 and was re-released in 1920. It is this pure parfum I will be reviewing below.
Borsari then went on to give us: Bouquet di Violette in 1890; Violetta Classica in 1928; Vera Violetta di Parma in 1940; and since then at least two (Borsari di Violetta and Miss Violet) for which I have no release dates.
The violet flower was first distilled by the monks at the Monastery of the Annunciata. The natural essence was created for Marie Louise, the Duchess of Parma and second wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, the woman he married to secure his throne by marrying into the Hapsburg dynasty. [Pauvre Desiree Clary, pauvre Marie Waleska; pauvre Josephine Beauharnais].
This distillation occurred somewhere between 1791 and 1847, her life span. Ludovico Borsari obtained the formula from the Annunciata and created his first violet scent in 1870. This was, unusually for the times to follow, not the simple combination of violet flower, violet leaf and orris, but a more elaborate formula, which added to these three ingredients the following: rose, jasmine, muguet, hyacinth, heliotrope, vetiver, musk and vanilla.
The result is the effect of the pure flower, dusty, dry and soft. There is no sweetness, nor darkness here, just a dainty and jaunty presence. Simplicity itself.
Borsari is still selling on the open market a scent entitled Violetta di Parma, but I imagine, though I have not sampled it, it is a modern chemical creation, suggesting violet. It seems quite popular and is well reviewed.
However, one can never better the use of pure oils in vintage formulae. Look for the vintage Borsari di Parma. You can still find it on the Internet.
I'm not usually a fan of very flowery scents, so I did not expect to like this.
But it turns out I really dig it after all. Like really, really dig it. It's light, cool, airy, innocent, and a little haunting. The smell is anachronistic, in a classic, Greek-sculpture way. (It's definitely not frumpy or outdated.)
Just straight violet. That's it. And yet, its absolutly beautiful. Bright and clean, refreshing and green. I am usually not a fan of flowery perfume, but the green in this gives it a depth that makes me want to roll up inside this smell.
This is the flagship of the Borsari line and justifiably so.
A basic but utterly satisfying violet note -- silvery-grey with a hint of green.
Classic, haunting, minimalist. Pared down to a pure expression of the violet note. Not sweet or heavy. Wears very well. Creates an aura of quiet mystique.
I'm addicted to violets, discovering Violetta Di Parma was indeed like finding my HG.. I have worn it daily ( sometimes hourly) and yes, even ten minutely... since that fateful day 5 years ago. I'm faithful, loyal, I wanted this to be a lifetime relationship, really I did.
Its difficult to pin point the stages, top notes, a packet of Parma Violet Candies, the kind which made your tongue purple, quickly followed by roses after a rain shower, then beautiful powdery, sweet violets, delicate, innocent.........
Sadly it then vanishes into thin air on me. I don't think anyone has ever commented on it outside of my bedroom, or if they happen to be walking past as I spray it on from the lovely bottle. I don't think it has actually made it out of my front door.
If you adore Violets, and you are blessed enough to have the kind of skin which allows this to have a life of more than ten minutes, I envy you, it is truly beautiful.