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My first exposure to the best violet perfumes in existence was Guerlain Insolence. Unfortunately, that ended in a headache because, at the time, I didn’t know how strong Guerlain’s fragrances could be. Now I know better, and I wear it better.
At first, I thought I should stay away from the sweet, powdery, almost candy-like note based on that experience. But something kept me going back for more. I’m glad because violet perfumes are typically delicate, feminine, and a little old-school.
Bottom Line Up Front
No other house does violet fragrances like Guerlain, but they’re intense. So is Tom Ford’s Violet Blonde, but it’s not quite as powerful as Guerlain’s perfumes.
If you want something more lighthearted, check out Marc Jacobs Daisy. Is something a little dark and unusual more your style? Try Lolita Lempicka, but only if you like the idea of a licorice note.
My Top Picks at a Glance
The best violet perfumes, at a glance, are:
- Guerlain Insolence, carefully applied (I spray it near my ankles because it’s that strong) because it smells like vintage makeup, candy, and a field of flowers.
- Tom Ford Violet Blonde, because it’s got a warm, cozy vibe, like a favorite suede jacket.
- Lolita Lempicka, because it’s unexpected; a lot is going on here, but the powdery violet and green leaves are detectable along with a licorice note. Plus, the gold and lavender apple-shaped bottle adds a touch of whimsy to your vanity.
Tips for Finding Your Perfect Violet Perfume
Violet notes in perfume are a little sweet. They’re powdery. In most instances, they add a whiff of decades past, conjuring up images of vintage lipsticks and powders.
Note: Violet leaf, on the other hand–which I didn’t focus on in this article–is more of a green, fresh fragrance that adds a bite.
So you know you want a perfume with a violet note, but how do you narrow it down?
What other notes do you like? Violet plays well with citruses, vanilla, other florals, sandalwood, and other woods…it’s all about what you want.
What vibe are you going for? Light and airy, with a bit of violet for grounding? Something vintage? A beautiful floral that’s neither old school nor too modern?
Keep reading to find the description of the best violet perfume for you.
Violet’s a versatile middle note that works with a few different types of perfumes, so I looked for intense, lighthearted, and unexpected uses.
There will almost always be a touch of powder in any perfume violet’s in, so that’s a common theme between them.
I added violet perfumes that will be easy to get your hands on at a department store, Sephora, or Ulta, but I mentioned a few that are harder to find. You may have to purchase those online (try to find a sample before committing to the whole bottle, if you can).
The 12 Best Violet Perfumes
Here are some of the best violet perfumes out there. You’ll be able to find some of them easily at department stores, Sephora, or Ulta. Others, though, will require some searching, which can be part of the thrill for some people (I enjoy it).
This was my introduction to violet perfumes, and the scent was so powerful, it gave me a headache. Not the best first impression, but I came to love it.
I had to start spritzing it near my ankles to enjoy it (the scent would waft up in a nice, light cloud of powdery, candy-like violets, berries, and sandalwood. I have heard this has been reformulated since I purchased my bottle; it sounds like it might not be as strong as the one I have.
Notes include red berries, bergamot, lemon, orange blossom, violet, rose, iris, resins, tonka beans, musk, and sandalwood.
- Good sillage
- Good projection
- Lasts all-day
- It has the powdery-candy-berry scent down perfectly, so it smells modern and like vintage makeup at the same time.
- Expensive, as Guerlain fragrances tend to be.
- It’s not as easy to find as it used to be (I got mine at Sephora, but they no longer carry it).
If you’ve ever tried the light-reflecting makeup product by the same name, you’ll have an idea of what this one smells like. Both items have that delightful makeup-from-yesteryear kind of scent. It’s the powdery scent of the violets working here.
Notes include bergamot, apple, green notes, rose, violet, white musks, and woods.
- It can take you on a mental journey to another era.
- It’s a bit livelier and fresher than Insolence, so if that one’s too powdery or berry-heavy, this one might be better for you.
- It may feel too old-fashioned for some people’s tastes.
- It may be challenging to track down (but it’s on the Guerlain website).
Guerlain Aprés L’Ondée
Guerlain compres Aprés L’Ondée to L’Heure Bleue, which is another Guerlain scent heavy on the powdery notes (mostly iris).
Aprés L’Ondée is the toned-down version, a blend of violet, carnation, iris, and vanilla, which combines the powder of iris and violet with the sweetness of vanilla and the spice of carnation.
- It’s more delicate than some of the other heavy-hitter violet Guerlain fragrances.
- If you like L’Heure Bleue but it’s too much for you, this one could be your best violet perfume.
- It has a beautiful, simple bottle style with intricate details that keep it from being boring, and it’ll look gorgeous on display.
- As with most of the Guerlains now, only one size is available, and it’s not exactly inexpensive ($110.00).
- You may have to order it online. I haven’t been able to find it anywhere that has a retail store you can visit and sample perfumes.
Suppose you were hoping to sample some of the best violet perfumes before deciding or purchasing. In that case, you’ll be happy to know that Tocca Colette is available at Sephora. This is a softer scent that many people compare to the much more expensive Byredo Gypsy Water. Each scent stands on its own, but there are similarities.
It’s brighter than many scents on this list, focusing more on the citrus than the powder notes. It’s more boho than classic vintage.
- It’s easy to find.
- A mini size is available (0.68 oz. for $46.00), so you don’t have to make a substantial financial commitment right off the bat.
- Even the full-size bottle is relatively inexpensive, at $76.00 for 1.7 oz.
- It comes in a beautiful glass bottle with a gold cap for an overall design that looks like it’s from another era.
- It’s a softer scent than some of the others.
- Thanks to the pink peppercorn, if it’s powder you love, this one may be too upbeat and spicy for you.
- The projection isn’t the strongest, but that may not be a con for everyone.
- Not the best longevity
Tom Ford Violet Blonde
There’s something incredibly cozy about Tom Ford Violet Blonde, and it’s a more subtle scent than I expected. Sniffing this one on my wrist made me think of being dressed up for an event but slipping into a slightly-oversized suede jacket for coziness and warmth once it was over.
It’s sweet, but not too sweet. It’s powdery but not suffocating; there’s pep and warmth to it, too.
Fragrantica lists the notes as violet leaf, iris, jasmine, orris root, mandarin orange, pink pepper, musk, suede, cedar, vetiver, and benzoin.
- It’s good for most seasons, though I’d save it for nights in the summer.
- It’s not too heavy on the powder, nor is it too sweet. It’s sophisticated and warm.
- It’s been discontinued (but you can still find bottles floating around online).
- It could be quite expensive.
Creed Fleurissimo was Grace Kelly’s favorite perfume; she wore it on her wedding day. The powdery note is tempered by something fresh, almost minty (maybe violet leaf?), that’s easy to miss at first.
This is a delightfully feminine scent like fresh florals until it dries down to a warm, woodsy, powdery finish.
Notes include tuberose, violet, iris, Bulgarian rose, and ambergris.
- The epitome of a beautiful floral, so perfect for weddings and spring.
- Good longevity.
- It’s maintained a vintage feel, but it doesn’t smell especially dated.
- It’s so expensive at $390.00 for about 2.5 oz.
- You have to order from the Creed website, and at that price, it’s hard to justify a blind buy.
- It may be too soapy for some people.
Marc Jacobs Daisy
If you’re familiar with any perfume on this list, it’s probably this one. It came out in 2007 and was an instant hit. Its popularity has decreased since about 2012, so if you do love it, there’s less of a chance you’ll smell like everyone else now.
Notes include violet leaf, grapefruit, strawberry (this one really stands out to me), violet, gardenia, jasmine, musk, white woods, and vanilla. It’s pleasantly light and sweet, with a sensual, musky undertone.
- It’s easy to find.
- It’s easy to wear–light, feminine, and pretty.
- It’s suitable for all ages, including teens and early-20s, whereas some of the scents on the list probably won’t appeal to the younger crowd.
- It’s been so popular over the years that it might feel overdone to you.
- It’s missing much of that vintage vibe that violet perfumes tend to bring to the table.
- Some people may feel that it’s too youthful and not complex enough for them.
Annick Goutal La Violette
This is your scent when you want all the violets you can get. I love that this one puts violet front and center and doesn’t deviate much with other notes. It’s basically violet, violet leaf, Turkish rose, and raspberry interlaced to create a timeless, sweet, powdery masterpiece.
This one is often compared to Guerlain’s Insolence. If you like one, you may not need the other (or that may be a reason to believe you do need this one, depending on how much you love violet perfumes).
- It’s not that hard to find online (compare prices), even though you probably won’t find it in an actual store.
- You won’t have to dig much to find samples (check out Lucky Scent for a $4.00 sample).
- Everything about it has a vintage feel–from the fragrance to the bottle.
- Though it fits into the vintage category, it doesn’t smell “old.” It’s simply beautiful, elegant, and not overly sweet or powdery.
- Though it’s not as expensive as some of the other options on the list, the $100.00+ price tag for 3.4 oz, still isn’t necessarily easy to stomach.
- The projection isn’t the best, though this won’t be a con for everyone.
Flower by Kenzo
I fell in love with Flower by Kenzo a long time ago, but I never bought a bottle because, though I loved it, everyone else in my life thought it smelled like simple baby powder. There’s so much more to it, though. I regret not buying a bottle when it was more readily available.
This may be one that you wear primarily for your own enjoyment, as you get to sit with it as it blossoms. Don’t be thrown off by the name, though. This is more of a warm, comforting, powdery scent than a traditional floral one.
- It’s warm and comforting.
- You can find it at some department stores (Macy’s, for example).
- It’s not the most expensive on the list, at $90.00 for 1.7 oz.
- The tall, thin bottle with a simple red flower is elegant.
- It’s a light, complex scent.
- It doesn’t last all day (at least on me).
- Not available at Sephora or Ulta.
- Some people only smell baby powder and don’t love it.
Lolita Lempicka is a fun scent with a gorgeous, whimsical bottle and an anise-and-licorice twist on the scent that makes it stand out. It’s a warm and seductive scent that’s good for any time of year, day or night. It’s not too heavy or overpowering, but it’s so intriguing, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re asked what perfume you wear often.
Notes include star anise, violet, ivy, licorice, cherry, iris, orris root, amaryllis, vanilla, praline, tonka bean, white musk, and vetiver. It’s like a walk in a forbidden forest–a little seductive, a little earthy, sweet, and spicy.
- It’s available at department stores. Even Walmart carries it (online).
- The unusual periwinkle-colored bottle is a stunning addition to a vanity or counter.
- It’s one of the least expensive options, at under $50.00 for 3.4 oz. (Walmart).
- That licorice note makes this one a love-it-or-hate-it scent.
- Its lasting power wasn’t the best on me.
- Not a ton of projection.
Juliette Has a Gun Lipstick Fever
Juliette Has a Gun Lipstick Fever is a celebration of that traditional old-fashioned makeup scent many of us have come to appreciate. It uses violet as a top note (with juicy raspberry), another powdery note–iris–as a middle note, and patchouli.
These are parked on a base of cedar and vanilla for an intoxicating powdery, woody fragrance with a touch of sweetness.
- It gives off that old-school, vintage lipstick vibe.
- Fruitier and sweeter than many other options, so if you’re a fan of berry scents but want something nostalgic, this is it.
- It’s a bit linear.
- It could be a little heavy on the patchouli for some noses.
Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose
The Frederic Malle website describes Lipstick Rose as vintage Hollywood glamour. That probably tells you about everything you need to know to determine whether you need this perfume in your life. (You probably do if you love violet scents, just saying…) However, let’s take a look at the notes:
Grapefruit, violet, rose, iris, raspberry, vanilla, and white musk. As you probably expect, this one’s a powdery fragrance that can help you imagine you’ve stepped back a few decades in time if you close your eyes.
- It’s the epitome of vintage glamour, the old-school lipstick scent that can transport you back in time.
- It’s sophisticated and glam.
- It’s not incredibly trendy right now, so you’ll probably be the only person you know who wears it.
- This one may be good for evoking a feeling when you sniff it, but it may not be what you want to smell like overall.
- It may be too powdery for some.
- It’s costly at $295.00 for about 3.4 oz. Smaller sizes are available, but you can still expect to pay at least $145.00 for a bottle.
Question: What do perfume violets smell like?
Answer: They remind me of that classic, old-school makeup scent. A little powdery. Kind of like candy. Sweet, but not gourmand.
Question: What perfumes have violet in them?
Answer: Guerlain Insolence, Lolita Lempicka, Marc Jacobs Daisy, Tom Ford Violet Blonde, Juliette Has a Gun Lipstick Fever, Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose, Tocca Colette, Molinard Violette, Annick Goutal La Violette, Guerlain Météorites, Jo Malone London Violet and Amber Absolu Cologne, Paco Rabanne Ultraviolet, Creed Love in Black, Creed Fleurissimo, and Guerlain Aprés L’Ondée.
Question: Is violet a top note?
Answer: Violet is usually a middle note. Occasionally, it’s used as a top note.
Question: Is there a perfume that smells like parma violets?
Answer: Guerlain Insolence, Borsori Violetta di Parma, or Flower by Kenzo might be what you’re looking for. Hayley Hall says Jo Malone’s Orris & Sandalwood smells like parma violets. The World of Kitsch recommends Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh.
Question: What scents pair well with violet?
Other florals, like iris (which is powdery, like violet), jasmine, rose, vanilla, dark berries, carnation (spicy and powdery), amber, sandalwood, tuberose, citrus fruits, and musks all pair well with violet. Some bring out its powdery side, while others liven it up.