Violet Perfume Ingredient: What is It? What Does It Smell Like?

Violet is a perennial flower with a sweet, powdery perfume that features a slightly fruity, floral scent. Perfumers associate its smell with romance, delicacy, and softness, making it a key ingredient in feminine and botany-inspired perfumes.

Today, violets are commonly used in aromatherapy and perfumery, as well as a natural remedy for respiratory or skin conditions.

Still, what do violets smell like? Continue reading to find out.

What is Violet?

Viola, commonly known as violet, is a perennial plant belonging to the genus Viola. There are over 500 varieties and the flowers are generally small and delicate. 

Their five petals can range in color from pure white to vibrant shades of violet. Its leaves, on the other hand, vary widely in terms of shape, adding to the uniqueness of this popular houseplant.

Because of their wide-ranging colors, violets have taken on significant symbolism. While white violets represent purity, their bright blue varieties are considered a sign of devotion. 

Meanwhile, yellow violets inspire high worth, thus turning them into a precious gift, even today. In fact, these beautiful flowers used to be the ‘official’ plant offered during Valentine’s Day, before today’s rose increased in popularity.

Violets enjoy the temperate Northern Hemisphere climate, although some subspecies originated from Asia, Australia, and even South America. 

Today, African violets are among the most popular houseplants worldwide.

What Does Violet Smell Like?

The delicate, floral smells violets emit are unmistakable. These stunning plants inspire delicacy, romance, and purity with a slightly fruity touch. 

However, some noses may detect a slightly bitter perfume, especially when it comes to its essential oil varieties.

Interestingly enough, violet leaves have a fresh aquatic hint, which matches the sweet perfume of the flowers perfectly. 

However, one can only enjoy this powdery smell only for a few moments. Lonone, a key compound found in almost every perfume with violets, can desensitize olfactory receptors, therefore numbing your olfactory senses temporarily. 

This is why, to many people, violets seem to have almost no smell at all!

It wasn’t until 1972 that researchers realized that this bouquet is not a chemical coincidence. This also helped them explain another delicious, violet-smelling treat: Parma Violets.

You can experience the soapy or floral taste of these gorgeous flowers through a popular dessert called Parma Violets. These breath-freshening sweets have been manufactured ever since the 16th century. 

Their disc shape and honey flavor is a similar aniseed confectionery served right after an Indian spicy meal.

Today, the sweet parma violet is used to make the so-called flower pastry, an ingredient used for cake molding and flavoring.

What Scent Family is Violet?

The violet fragrance oil belongs to the floral scent family, which is perhaps the most common one used in the perfume industry.

The powdery notes of blue violet flowers also place this fragrance in the soft floral subfamily. Since Parma Violets contain a sweetness with subtle, aquatic hints, you’ll often find them in summer and spring fragrances.

Viola odorata has been prized for its soft scent for centuries. In fact, Empress Marie Louise Bonaparte herself was mesmerized by these small flowers, which was enough to spawn an entire harvesting industry in Parma, Italy.

Today, we can smell viola odorata in many popular feminine fragrances, including Frederic Malle’s Lipstick Rose or Insolence by Guerlain.

What are the Benefits of Violet?

Besides their sweet fragrance, violets have long been used thanks to their medicinal properties. Their most popular health benefits include:

  • Lowering high blood pressure. The violet leaf is rich in alkaloids, allowing it to drastically improve blood flow. In the long run, this can also aid the health of one’s heart.
  • Improving digestion. The heart-shaped leaves of violets are filled with soluble fiber, which can restore balance for the intestinal flora.
  • Treating respiratory conditions. The violet flower contains plenty of mucilage, a renowned natural remedy for respiratory illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis, or dry sinuses.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties. Face infusions with petals from violet flowers have a soothing effect on the skin, thus reducing acne and even occasional rashes. 

Is Violet a Feminine or Masculine Scent?

To many perfumers, violets smell like a feminine and delicate love story that harps back to a more traditional, trobairitz period of romantic love. Therefore, you’re more likely to experience its lovely scent in feminine perfumes that inspire romance and beauty.

Often used as a top note, the fragrances’ fresh violets are occasionally complemented by woody base notes like amber for a touch of mystery. 

Best Perfumes with Violet Notes

There’s a good reason why African violets are such a popular houseplant choice. It’s also no wonder that their calming scents have inspired some of the world’s top perfume creators to design a soft, yet unforgettable fragrance.

Here are some of the best violet fragrances worldwide that can be your next favorite perfume:

1. Guerlain Insolence 

Sweet violets are perfectly combined with top notes of iris in this irresistible fragrance. The surprising hints of raspberry and lemon offer a modern touch to the mix. 

This delicious combination of spiced violets is also complemented by oriental base notes of sandalwood, thus turning this eau de parfum into a delicate, yet memorable scented cocktail.

2. Annick Goutal La Violette Eau de Toilette

La Violette Eau de Toilette is a romantic dance between sweet notes of rose and violets, often associated with vintage powder boxes. 

Most people who smell this perfume are pleasantly surprised by the fresh hints offered solely by the violet’s leaves.

3. Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose

Ralf Schwieger, the nose behind this outstanding eau de parfum, associated the African violet scent with his childhood memories. Both nostalgic and deep, the sweetness of this violet explosion is toned down by the mysterious, oriental base notes of musk.

4. Nina Ricci Coeur Joie

Coeur Joie, or “Heart’s Delight,” is nothing but a mesmerizing mix between oriental mystery and delicate, top flowery notes. 

The abundance of violets smells like warm spring. Its other top notes of rose and jasmine inspire romance, while the base notes of neroli add a mystical hint of oriental adventure.

The Bottom Line

Violets are colorful, perennial flowers that have been used for centuries for their healing properties, delicate typical floral smell. Violets smell both fresh and romantic as their leaves emit green, almost aquatic hints which make them a perfect scent for the warm season. 

Most violet perfumes are feminine, often combining beautifully fragrant notes of iris, rose, and violet for an indelible olfactory experience.