Niche line Nomenclature "celebrates design in perfume chemistry by showcasing today’s most inspiring, exclusive molecules." The Nomenclature line presents synthetic perfume ingredients. I have a hard time thinking of an "inspiring" new scent molecule! Please comment if you have a favorite!
While natural essences bask in the limelight, synthetics are the clandestine infiltrators that spark off fragrant revolutions. It was the discovery of coumarin that yielded the first modern perfume, Fougère Royale, in 1881. Aldehydes lent their abstract sheen to Chanel N°5. Ethyl-vanillin enhanced Shalimar’s plush cleavage. Hedione® breathed its radiance into Eau Sauvage. And no contemporary scent could do without synthetic musk or the ubiquitous Iso E Super. Whether they imitate nature, tease out its innermost secrets or veer off into botanically impossible smells, synthetics are the true building blocks of perfumery. Elegant solutions discovered by scientists, wafting from labs onto skin and into your nose.
One certainly would expect such talk from firms like Firmenich who developed and patented Violettyne®, the focal ingredient in Nomenclature Lumen_esce.
I've certainly smelled Violettyne many times and was disappointed to encounter it again in Lumen_esce (especially after reading Nomenclature's description of this violet note and the perfume:
...a preternaturally bright violet with a metallic vibration, edged in fluorescent green.... Boosted by a cool-as-cucumber essence of violet leaves, the sizzling Violettyne® shoots high-voltage current from bloom to roots. Petals aquiver, the flower scatters scented powder on a springtime posy (freesia, jasmine, iris and rose). Patchouli Prisma, a high-tech natural ingredient distilled and reassembled to enhance its woody warmth, sheds black light on the radiant bouquet.
A-hem. After smelling many scents from the Nomenclature line, all I can say is: they don't make synthetics like they used to!
Lumen_esce starts with hard-edged, sweet violet, a combo of leaf and "flower." The dominant note is Violettyne and it may "quiver" a bit, between the opposing aromas of staleness (old violet soap in a musty drawer with some unwashed clothes) and soapiness (a clean, lady-like violet soap scent). I found the entire perfume dull and it (thankfully) disappeared within four hours of wear. The aforementioned Patchouli Prisma is so sheer and scrubbed clean I can barely smell it (to call the note "patchouli" is a joke).
Most often, I like my florals to be pungent, indolic scene-stealers, so this type of demure, unnatural violet does not appeal, but if you're looking for a new violet perfume, do give it a sniff.
After smelling Lumen_esce, I sought out a "cult classic": Royal Violets. Agustín Francisco Reyes started his perfume company in Havana, Cuba, in 1927. His most famous creation was Loción Violetas Rusas (Russian Violets — irony at its best, or worst...read on). The Reyes perfumery was shut down in Cuba after the revolution and Reyes and his family fled to Miami in 1960. Within a few years, the Reyes perfumery was reorganized in Florida and the company's most famous fragrance was resurrected and given an English name: Royal Violets. (I wish I could have smelled the original perfume, since today's version has no doubt gone through many changes.)
Royal Violets has been used for decades to scent babies and the fragrance's opening conjures weird associations with infants for me: there's an unpleasant light floral-chewy medicated pacifier accord (really discernible up close). As the "pacifier" dissolves, the floral component (soft, a teensy bit musky, but not smelling of violets at all to my nose) turns powdery and is joined by sugary vanilla-scented talc. This phase is pleasant and certainly a scent fit for babies. Royal Violets lasts all day on my skin but is a barely-there cologne.
Is Royal Violets something that will interest adults...or perfumistas? Let's just say I'm happy my big bottle (150 ml) cost only $9. I may put it in a spray bottle and fortify it with a nice dark-vanilla bean oil and use it this summer as a room freshener.
So far, no violet perfume has replaced my adored Geo. F. Trumper Ajaccio Violets. Please comment if you know of a bright, green, vibrant violet scent I should try (no vanilla, tonka bean or white musk need apply).