Profumi de Firenze lists Violetta de Bosco’s notes as simply “sweet violets in the Italian woods”, and while I’m sure this perfume contains many ingredients, that short description does in fact sum up the feel of the overall fragrance. At first sniff on skin, there’s almost an apple undertone to Violetta de Bosco. Only mildly candied, and tart and wet and woodsy. I’m not sure what’s causing that impression but I like it very much. It doesn’t smell fruity in the sense of modern fruity florals, but rather tangy in an old fashioned way that gives the fragrance further complexity and sets it apart from any number of powdery candied violet scents.
To me, Violetta de Bosco smells like nothing more than clumps of violets blooming in an overgrown orchard during a gentle rain shower. There are apples just ripening in the trees and a lightening struck tree is slowly decaying into the moss in the heavy humidity of late Summer. Somewhere in the distance you can hear the sea and there is a hint of salt in the air. On Makeup Alley, a user named darkharbour said:
“This is the Italian version of violet, so you know it will be one of two things: extremely stark and modernistic, or extremely voluptuous and over the top. This is the latter. This violet does not shrink, and in fact it expands mightily. Large, candied, rounded, fruity, and somewhat mossy it blossoms on the skin. This is the smell of the violet flower faeries on May Eve, wildly ecstatic, potent and lush. Can a note associated with all things shy and demure be overtly sexy? Indeed it can.”
This is certainly a woodland violet, and one that glimmers with an underlying fae magic that only this particular flower can have when presented in a composition true to its dusky yet earthen nature. Violetta de Bosco is semi-transparent in texture, but there’s also a polished feel to it, as apple wood inlaid with fresh violets had been sanded to a silken finish. I’ve seen a few comments by women saying that it’s too masculine for them, but it doesn’t seem to have any those sharp, splintery edges that aftershave can have… it’s glossy and smooth, especially in the opening, a cluster of cool violet blossoms with damp woody undertones. I think that this smooth texture contributes to what a few interpret as a plastic feel to it. Other reviews comment upon the innately feminine nature of the fragrance, as well as its natural feel:
“It is the first I’ve found that is voluptuously beautiful, so totally feminine. I get no plastic scent as some have mentioned, it is just like a nosegay of violets that I want to bury my nose in forever. Makes me think of my favorite opera, La Traviata, this is definitely what Violetta would wear!” – flannerygrace on Makeup Alley
To me, this perfume could easily be worn by any gender, as long as they love woodsy, wild violets! I’m not one for gender designation on fragrance to begin with, but I cant see this skewing in either direction.
In the drydown, Violetta de Bosco becomes darker and muskier, less about the apple tinged violet, and more about earthy, woody violet. I still smell the sea, or perhaps the memory of the sea, bringing to mind the mythic Isle of Apples of mythology. But don’t be deceived by all this talk of other notes, they do exist, but the violet remains center stage for the entirety of the perfume’s life, with the slightly soapy scent of decaying wet wood just behind it.
I’ve seen several people call Violetta de Bosco the single best violet soliflore currently available, and there are some rave reviews on Makup Alley, a few of them referring to the wine-like untertones of the fragrance:
“An explosion of voluptuous flora in this. No shrinking violet, this is a serious violet fragrance that is pervasive, somewhat fruity, and long-lasting. Less green and more candied than some. What violet wine would taste like, if it existed. ” -AngelZoe
I do think it’s very lovely, and I enjoy wearing it, but it’s not my absolute favorite violet focused perfume. It’s not a criticism of the fragrance that I don’t find it melancholy enough to fulfill my primary violet cravings. Not everyone wants to cry every time they put on a perfume, and this one is tranquil without being hysterically happy or even annoyingly chipper. In fact, this is one the violet perfumes I tend to get the most compliments on, with people looking up when I walk into the room to sniff the air and ask what that wonderful smell is.
I think Violetta de Bosco is an excellent choice for those wanting to avoid both powder and syrup. It’s a well balanced fragrance that avoids the typical violet cliches common to the genre. I do have some trouble with the bit of soap in the drydown, it may add depth, but it’s one of my least favorite smells. However, I’m not at all sure that it’s notable enough to bother others less sensitive to it than I am. If Violetta de Bosco was a textile, I think it would be layers of raw silk in a rich purple.
When first applied, it has very significant projection for a violet perfume. Within two hours the projection drops a great deal, and then hovers a couple of inches above the skin for most of the rest of its life. Longevity is very good (and really exceptionally good for a violet soliflore) on my skin, one spray lasting about nine hours, with the last hour being just a skin scent.
Violetta de Bosco is available in a 50 ml bottle of unknown concentration (but wears like an EDP) for $110 from Beauty Habit in the United States.