Violette-Menthe (Violet-Mint) was released in 2005. It is one of the perfume heirs to Ombre Rose, introduced in 1981 by the same designer, hatter Jean-Charles Brosseau. His latest fragrance in this series, which bears the title Fleurs d'Ombre (Flowers of The Shade), is Jasmin Lilas, only just recently introduced this spring. Another fragrance in the series, Ombre Bleue, was also released in 2005 although another source indicates 1987...
Violette-Menthe perpetuates the tradition of Ombre Rose, now a classic in its own category; it is a very powdery fragrance if ever there was one. The bottle comes also from the same mold, one that was used in the past for a perfume called Narcisse Bleu.
Some people appreciate a beautiful powder in a fragrance and others dislike this very trait in it. It seems to me that there are more people now in the camp of powder-haters. However, officially the American perfume market is perceived as powder-loving. It has been speculated that this preference only reveals the depth of early attachment to baby powder smell in America.
In seeking inspiration for his first fragrance, Brosseau wanted to recapture memories of his childhood, in particular, the memory of the powder used by his grand-mother, of Sunday luncheons spent at leisure with his family, of pastries, hats, and furs. Violette-Menthe recaptures once again those nostalgic olfactory memories, offering the same powdery base now perfumed with soft violet and cool mint.
I cannot stress enough how much deftness and application are key in this case. Because the texture of the perfume is essentially powdery, it needs to be applied all the more judiciously. A light mist sprayed from a cautious distance is strongly recommended for the perfume not to transform itself into an obnoxious cloud of candied violets decorating you, the unwilling pastry du jour. If you apply the perfume lightly, it will render the texture of the powder finer and the scent will be allowed to develop subtly enough. It can make all the difference between creating the impression of a little girl's candy-sweetish scent or of a grown-up woman's sophisticated gourmand fragrance.
Although Violette-Menthe is classified as a green floral, I find that describing it as a powdery gourmand violet (floral) scent is also possible. The opening of the fragrance is somewhat herbaceous, minty, slightly woodsy, but the violet that shows its first petals make you think of sweets already. At times, the fruity wild blackcurrant note appears very prominent, as if forming a duo with the violet in the opening stage of the perfume.This sweet, fruity impression is confirmed by the development of the fragrance as the mint and herbs recede, now and then cooling down the powder, but not to the extent as to steal the show from the central impression: the sweet powder.
In fact, Violette-Menthe now starts to smell exactly like those delicious Japanese desserts called mochi which are made of pounded rice and filled with sweet red bean paste. It is the most unusual part of the fragrance. The powder becomes very softly sweetish, gourmand and even evokes very accurately the odor of the rice flour dusted upon the mochis. If you like L'Artisan Bois Farine, you might enjoy this aspect of Violette-Menthe.
Further along, woods become more apparent, in this case sandalwood and oak. In the end you will have, hopefully, the impression that you are wearing a seductive violet powder with musky overtones but you might, alternatively, have the impression that your arm was rolled into some sweet Parma violet-scented flour covering a pastry chef's chilly marble board.
Top notes are bergamot, wild blackcurrant, peppermint, mint leaves
Heart notes are Parma violet, peony, hawthorn, white flowers, rose
Base notes are sandalwood, oak, sweet notes, musk