New Perfume Review Maison Violet Compliment- The Epitome of Balance

One of the characteristics which separates a great perfume from a good perfume is balance. When every ingredient used is part of a delicate construction built upon a keynote that is modern perfumery at its best. A recent heritage brand, Maison Violet has been showing their desire for fragrances which are like this. The creative team of Paul Richardot, Victorien Sirot, and Anthony Toulemonde have been behind the rebirth of this heritage brand. What they have achieved through the first five releases is re-imagining of the idea of translating vintage to contemporary. Maison Violet Compliment is the culmination of this effort.

(l. to r.) Paul Richardot, Anthony Toulemonde, and Victorien Sirot

Since the resurrection of the brand they have been exclusively working with perfumer Nathalie Lorson. She has collaborated on a blueprint for how to keep a vintage brand from feeling old. Throughout the releases they have understood this is 2021. Which means they take the intense ingredients that typified early 20th century perfumery and modernize them. Most of that comes through working on an opaque template. These perfumes are relevant because they hew to the current trend of transparency. They do this without becoming so ephemeral as to be unmemorable. These have just a couple extra pounds of weight. Which is why Compliment is such a beauty because the keynote is one of those hallmarks of the early days of modern perfumery, tuberose.

Nathalie Lorson

Tuberose is one of those gigantic white flowers. It can be a narcissistic scene stealer if you’re going to make that less obstreperous you have your work cut out for you. Mme Lorson does it by using smart choices to tease out parts of the tuberose to make a dynamic fragrance.

The tuberose is here throughout. The one she has chosen is light on the indoles and high on the creamy quality it displays. In the opening she uses orange blossom as a complement to that. Eucalyptus acts as an activator for the green streak inherent to tuberose. She adds it in and like a sputtering filament of green neon the floral’s hidden piece peeks out. Two sources of jasmine come next; this is the pivot upon which Compliment moves. The jasmine confronts and harmonizes with the tuberose. With ylang-ylang pushing the rotation it arrives at a base of vanilla and benzoin. The sultry quality of tuberose has found a place to smolder on the resinous sweet base accord.

Compliment has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

This is the best perfume this brand has produced so far. It is such a marvel of placing each piece of the formula in just the right place. It also is a summer weight tuberose which are rare. I wore this on hot days expecting to find it difficult. It is at such a level that it was fantastic in the warmth. That’s what you get when you prioritize balance.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Maison Violet Nuee Bleue- A Blue Cloud, Indeed

As the number of heritage brands continues to expand there is a burgeoning road map on how to succeed. The best path is to apply a modern sensibility to the aesthetic of the heritage perfume. That is the one chosen by Paul Richardot, Victorien Sirot, and Anthony Toulemonde with Maison Violet. That they learned about the brand while in perfume school gives them a little more freedom to experiment. Many of the heritage brands are in descendant’s hands making it feel like a family decision. The Maison Violet team was driven by their own vision of what a modern heritage perfume should be. Throughout the first four releases there was an admirable attempt to provide a vintage-y undercurrent. Maison Violet Nuee Bleue is a flag planted firmly in the 2020 world of modern perfumery.

(l. to r.) Paul Richardot, Anthony Toulemonde, and Victorien Sirot

As the trend towards transparency has taken hold, I have been most interested in perfumes which take classic sets of ingredients while imposing this new aesthetic upon them. Perfumes from the time of Maison Violet’s previous heyday were not delicate. Nuee Bleue is something much opaquer, suitable for the present day.

Nathalie Lorson

Perfumer Nathalie Lorson is again behind the composition of Nuee Bluee; as she was for the previous four new releases. Working with the creative directors it took them over two years to finalize a formula, according to the website. The original Nuee Bleue was the last release of Maison Violet before it disappeared. The new version is the last release looking back towards the origins of Maison Violet. As such it signals a new direction.

Mme Lorson uses iris and orange blossom as the heart of Nuee Bleue. If there is anything which has a callback to the past perfumes it is the way she uses lemon as a whetstone to sharpen the iris into a silvery floral scalpel. There was a time when this kind of sharp iris was all the rage. Mme Lorson takes that sharp iris and softens those edges by making it more expansive. A series of white musks don’t allow those edges to cut. It creates a lightness to it all which is immensely appealing to me. The airy citrus tinted iris cloud lives up to the translation of the name, blue cloud. A sturdy sandalwood keeps the cloud from drifting away.

Nuee Bleue has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

Nuee Bleue is a remarkable re-interpretation of that classic vintage iris and orange blossom heart of many perfumes of the early 1900’s. The creative team has modernized it by hewing to the current trend for opacity while keeping it from falling into insipidness. Lots of time I think the name of a perfume has nothing to do with the liquid inside the bottle. This time the perfume allows to me ride on a scented blue cloud all day.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Maison Violet Tanagra- Personal Grace

When it comes to heritage brands if they are working for a retro nouveau style they sometimes lean too hard on the retro. To be relevant in today’s market I think a heritage brand has a challenge to keep the past as part of the future. Easier to write than achieve. One which has done it is Maison Violet. I was quite impressed with their first three releases for finding this sweet spot. It made me look all the more forward to trying their fourth release, Maison Violet Tanagra.

(l. to r.) Paul Richardot, Anthony Toulemonde, and Victorien Sirot

The same creative team has returned for Tanagra. The three Parisian perfume students who acquired the name, Paul Richardot, Victorien Sirot, and Anthony Toulemonde, collaborate with perfumer Nathalie Lorson. Because the creative team never found any of the Maison Violet perfumes to smell themselves, they combed the newspapers and magazines of the time to get an idea of what the original was like. For Tanagra what they found it was named after small statues of Ancient Greece which celebrated femininity. This provided a wide-open opportunity to compose something for Tanagra which captured that.

Nathalie Lorson

What I wasn’t prepared for was Tanagra is a skin scent. It is a risky play for consumers who desire projection. After wearing Tanagra I can’t imagine it any other way. Mme Lorson creates a beautifully subtle floral surrounded by fruit and wood also dialed way back.

It is those fruits which show up first. Mandarin and pear form a delightful juicy pair. Out of that a shimmering iris shaking powder off itself arises. That is supported by fresh floral notes of freesia and peony. Jasmine provides a little depth. It finishes on a clean foundation of cedar and vetiver.

Tanagra has 10-12 hour longevity and very little sillage. On the days I wore it Mrs. C thought I wasn’t wearing anything.

I know many are not fond of close wearing scents. Tanagra might change that notion for some. If it was more intense the gorgeous grace inherent would be lost, I think. As I walked around wearing it, I felt like I had my own bit of personal grace with me.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Maison Violet Un Air d’Apogee- Walking the Line

I’ve written often about the rise of Heritage brands. When done with respect I’ve generally found the result to be better than the average new perfume brand. It is most interesting to me when I have no knowledge of the brand being revived. It leaves me to assess the new perfumes without referring to the past. Then the question becomes; has the new creative team effectively designed a retro nouveau style?

There was an example I was eager to try. Early in 2018 I learned of the new Heritage brand; Maison Violet. The name cam from the founder M. Violet and not the flower. Founded in 1827 M. Violet would scent the royalty of the time. In 1867 under the creative directorship of Louis Claye, Maison Violet was awarded at the World’s Fair in the same year. This would allow Maison Violet to thrive for decades until World Wars would find the perfume house one of its casualties.

(l. to r.) Paul Richardot, Anthony Toulemonde, and Victorien Sirot

Most of the time a Heritage brand returns because someone who is related to the family decides to become involved. Maison Violet was lost to history unto three students at the Paris perfume school, Ecole Superiure de Parfum discovered it. While studying how to make perfume they spent their effort learning about the history of the brand.

Paul Richardot, Victorien Sirot, and Anthony Toulemonde would go through the legal effort to acquire the name so that they could bring Maison Violet back. They would then turn to perfumer Nathalie Lorson to produce their first three perfumes.

Nathalie Lorson

I spent most of last year trying to source a set of the perfumes they produced. That effort finally realized in a package arriving after the first of the year. Of the three perfumes I found Sketch and Pourpre D’Automne more vintage-y in their tuberose and fruity chypre constructs, respectively. The one which really captured the retro nouveau style was Un Air d’Apogee.

That this is more modern comes from the name as it refers to one of the later releases of Maison Violet; 1932’s Apogee. Un Air d’Apogee lets you know it is meant to be a flanker eighty-seven years later. That undersells what the creative team has done here. None of them had ever smelled a single Maison Violet pefume of the past. All their information came from combing through the media of the time. What drew me to it is the two phases this perfume goes through with both accords excellently constructed.

The first phase is composed of mimosa, orris, and sage. This is a gorgeous accord of the sensual sweetness of mimosa over the rooty scent of orris and the green herbal-ness of sage. This is one of the things that marries vintage style with modern sensibilities. Mme Lorson creates an effusive effect without becoming overwhelming. As much as I thought it was going to be disappointing when we moved to the tobacco-focused base it turned out to be equally adept at capturing a modern vintage effect, too. A gentle suede leather accord moves across the top accord followed by the dry woodiness of ambrox. They act as dividers of a sort. Out of that rises a honeyed tobacco infused with all the sweetness of the dried leaf. Mme Lorson adds in two clever choices to tune the sweetness in different ways. Hay adds in a dried sweetgrass to the dried leaf. A filament of gingerbread inserts a subtle spiciness. This base accord is as compelling as the top accord.

Un Air d’Apogee has 16-18 hour longevity and average sillage.

I’m not sure what the eventual plan for Maison Violet is. While trying to get the first three they released a fourth, Tanagra, which I am hopefully getting faster than I did these three. I hope they will continue to create perfume in this style. The first efforts show they understand how to stride the retro nouveau line.

Disclosure: This review is based on a travel sprays I purchased.

Mark Behnke