"I love floral fragrances, and wanted Violet Eyes to make women feel beautiful, sophisticated, and sensual. It was a great joy to create Violet Eyes with a bouquet of fragrance notes that I adore, carefully fine-tuning every aspect of it. Everything, down to the last detail, comes from my heart and my soul. I send this fragrance into the world with love..."
Violet Eyes, the new perfume by Elizabeth Taylor created in collaboration with Elizabeth Arden opens on an absolutely lovely violet and vanilla accord with undertones of exotic fruits, and some amber and woods. The perfume makes me think most of the vanillic softness of Hervé Léger (a hidden gem) but I am sure that the delicious vanilla peach skin of Hanae Mori will also come to mind easily. On a more intellectual level and towards the very end of the drydown, I am reminded of the wonderful vanilla-and-vetiver accord of Habanita by Molinard.
After this velvety, soft overture, Violet Eyes becomes citrusier creating a delayed sparkling quality. Given the thematic of the fragrance - Elizabeth Taylor's legendary violet-colored eyes - you get some sort of allusive olfactory accord to her eyes sparkling in the spotlight, framed by a movie camera. It's a close-up to her scintillating eyes...
As the scent progresses, the slightly tart citrusy facet seems to sandwich the violet and vanilla accord from the top while the base notes continue to be woodsy and a bit sharp (cedar wood.) The violet-colored floral accord is in fact abstract resting on jasmine, violet peony and a purple rose. The creamy facet is a bit almondy-smelling.
The blended effect of it in the air above the skin is that it smells like a deep-amethyst-colored light chypre, but in fact the base is much more that of a vanillic fruity-floral. It strikes me that the whole effect could be described as the rendering of the scent of an exotic purple orchid. This is in part what perfumer Carlos Benaïm was going for. He wanted to recreate the color of Elizabeth Taylor's eyes through the olfactory form and he has succeeded in doing so. Purple is also Liz Taylor's favorite color.
The perfume is both fresh and intimate. There was this bestseller by Revlon called Intimate in the mid-1950s; I see Violet Eyes as a variation on that type of feminine fragrance dating back to an era when silken slips were commonly worn under day dresses. It suggests in passing the warm skin of a woman just beneath her silk lingerie where a little bit of hot air is trapped. And of course, the iconic image of Liz Taylor in her satiny slip in the film A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof comes to mind.
Violet Eyes is a lovely feminine fragrance which offers a brand of, I want to say, "calm sexiness." It's the work on deep purple which adds a certain meditative, serene calmness to the perfume. The fragrance makes me think of depth of experience, a smiling reserve, a soft melancholy, a purple lake in Avalon surrounded by dark mountains, a landscape with mystery and varying planes, but also a certain stillness. It makes me think, I realize, about Elizabeth Taylor's persona in her old age. Violet Eyes betrays a certain quality of poignancy and conjures up the personality of a woman with rare calm and strength. I am aware that this goes counter-current with portrayals of Elizabeth Taylor as a drama queen but I'll stick to my perfume perception. I also think that Carlos Benaïm somewhere in his perfume wrote "I love you Elizabeth."
Notes: white peach, jasmine, purple rose, violet peony, cedar wood, warm amber.