Violet is everywhere in perfumery and seems to be having a resurgence in popularity of late. No longer is this the scent of old ladies with purple rinses, Imaginary Authors have brought it bang up to date with this confident, intoxicating scent.
Plum, violet, dried fruits, balsam, amber, evening air and the month of May.
Imaginary Authors are not a brand for the faint hearted. Their concept is bold and youthful, and their fragrances are equally striking. The perfumer behind the line, Josh Meyer, and the creative director, Ashod Simonian, obviously had a very strong vision for what they wanted to create when they embarked upon this project. That said, what they have produced is surely one of the most conceptual perfume marketing projects ever conceived: scents based on fictitious books written by imaginary authors.
It can all get a bit too much like the film Inception, and end with you questioning reality when really all you wanted to do was smell nice! So let’s ignore the hyperbole of the marketing for a minute and concentrate on the scent itself…
The first thing to note about Violet Disguise is that it is a very heady scent. Right from the first spray it will leave you intoxicated with it’s potent mix of violets and, well…yet more violets. A simple test as to if you would like this perfume is to sniff a packet of parma violet sweets. If you do, then it’s game on for this perfume.
Initially, and fleetingly, other notes do come through. Dried fruits are listed on the blurb for Violet Disguise along with plum, but we felt that what came through quietly was more of a dried plum. Fresh plum can often have a sour green, tangy note to it, ripening to jammy as the fruit ages, however, we couldn’t discern those here. Instead there was a soft, gentle, dried fruit in there right at the start. It’s quiet though and quickly steps out of the limelight so that the violets can come through.
Once the perfume settles boy do the violets come through, like a punch to the sinuses. Heady, intoxicating, they almost have the quality of a strong cocktail, that sort of knock-you-off-your-feet type rush. In the top notes of the perfume the violet seems a little sweet and syrupy. It reminded us of the smell of a synthetic soft drink.
The violets are bolstered and intensified with a resiny balsam in there as well, it just gives them an edge of something pine-like that carries the scent through into the heart notes.
The resin notes transport and help shape the whole fragrance into something much more mellow as it wears. The synthetic violet smooths out into something less turbulent and much more natural smelling whilst still retaining that distinctly violet exuberance and lively quality.
The heart is very dry, very powdery, and with an almost musky-sweet edge. At times it smelt a little like washing powder, straight from the box. It really evokes that strong but dry, powdery scent.
The amber in the mix gives a sense of robustness and lends a sweet edge to the whole concoction.
The base of the perfume mellows again until it becomes light, flowery and amber-like in its composition. The youthful musky quality evokes the scent of someone skipping through a meadow wearing a linen dress and flower crown, long hair fanning out behind her as she twirls in the flowers.
At times the scent releases faint earthy and ever so slightly sulphurous notes, a bit like someone striking a match in the next room. The finish of the scent is chalky and crumbly with the remains of the violets streaked throughout.
The other stuff
The longevity of this scent is good, with it lasting well until the afternoon albeit in a mellower and smoother form to the start of the scent. The silage is strange, however. When we tested it, on at least one of our testers it had a scent reminiscent of the day after eating garlic (weird, right?). So much so that we checked back through what we had eaten a couple of days previously to make sure, and nope, no garlic there. It’s that sort of sweet, tang that you get after you’ve had a good garlic-bread feast the night before. We hope that this is just a quirk of our personal chemistry, and even if not, it isn’t unpleasant, just a little startling. Worth trying before you buy, though, just to make sure.
We felt that Violet Disguise would wear best on a Summer’s evening. It also struck us more as the sort of perfume you would wear to a lunch date than an evening soiree. Although marketed as a unisex perfume, we felt that this sat more towards the feminine end of the spectrum. As always though, don’t let any of this put you off if you are a guy who wants to wear it to a posh evening event, it’s all relative, and if it makes you happy then go for it. If you like the scent of violets then this is exactly the sort of scent that will really make you happy all day.
We have also reviewed Imaginary Authors’ fresh and clean, ozone-based scent Every Storm a Serenade, which is just about the exact opposite of Violet Disguise.