Wednesday, February 8, 2012
The Violet Haze
At least once a week, sometimes twice, I remove the saturated violet flowers from their soak in organic grape alcohol and replace them with fresh flowers. The spent violets are a pale lavender tone when I remove them and drain them. However, once dry the rich violet hue returns, although somewhat dimmed.
This week there has been an over abundance of violet flowers, probably due to it being their correct bloom time. Thus, I started a second tincture, which I will add to the first as the alcohol slowly evaporates.
These violets come to me via my mother who has a plethora of them in her garden. I've tried growing them here but our clay soil is not right for them. Thus I have a few in a pot, but they are still not nearly as happy as the ones that come from my mothers rich soil.
The traditional violet used in perfumery is the heavily fragranced, double petaled Parma violet with origins the warm climate of the Mediterranean region. According to the American Violet Society they came to Italy by way of Portugal via the Bourbon royal family. The infamous Parma violet is a hybrid from the Viola alba, V. odorata, or V. suavis. Experts lean toward the ancestry being the Viola alba. If you are searching for the old varieties look for Duchess de Parme, D’Udine, and Lady Elsington. The Marie Louise is another variety of the Parmas that is very fragrant.
I do not know the Latin name of the wild volunteers in my mothers garden, I would take a guess that they are a very, fragrant variety of the Viola odorata. The fragrance is quite beautiful with strong hay notes.
The tincture I have going is finally starting to take on some of the aroma after many months of "working" it. By working I am referring to straining the tincture, removing the spent flowers and adding new ones. This tincture is featured in my violet chypre natural perfume called Gracing the Dawn, one of the sheerest of all my fragrances.
Images: Most of them ©RoxanaVilla, Gracing the Dawn by Greg Spalenka