‘The sweetness of the violet’s deep blue eyes, Kissed by the breath of heaven, Seems color’d by its skies’, wrote Byron.
And who doesn’t adore those tiny nodding blossoms, with their almost-candied, sweet, powdery scent? Perfumers, that’s who. Because violet petals are really reluctant to give up their scent naturally. (And when they do, the essence is prohibitively expensive.)
Happily, ionones recreate the scent of Parma violets almost perfectly. Actually, the discovery of these synthetics – by two German chemists, Tiemann and Krüger – was a breakthrough moment in perfumery, changing the face of modern perfumery. And today, thanks to their sheer versatility, notes from the ionone family appear in almost every fragrance creation. ‘Noses’ – professional perfumers – love, love, LOVE ionones…
Different ionones have subtly different characters, though, ranging from soft violets in full bloom through the iris/earthy/woodsiness of an ionone variation by the name of methyl ionone. And they can be used subtly – like backing singers – or be pushed out into the spotlight, in a scent that’s pure violet femininity.