The violet may be a spring flower, but I seem to enjoy violet-scented products most in the summer. A few years ago I even wrote a round-up of violet-fraganced body products and Robin titled it "A summer of violets." Now that time has become weirder and more fluid than ever in 2020, why not enjoy any flower whenever we choose — via perfume? Since violet fragrances often make me feel a little more serene and pulled-together than I really am, I've been wearing them often these days.
Netherlands-based indie perfumer Hiram Green has just launched a new natural fragrance named Vivacious, with notes of bergamot, violet, carnation, orris and amber, that promises to "zing your life" as it shifts from "bright and joyful" to "warm and luxurious." Green says he started working on a violet-centered perfume about seven years ago, then set it aside and only recently returned to the idea. I'm glad he did.
Vivacious is described as a violet fragrance "updated for the 21st century," the kind of phrase that often makes me nervous. However, violet-lovers need not fear. Vivacious preserves violet's green and soft aspects, situating them within a streamlined composition that doesn't dumb anything down (or fruit-berry it up). It opens with a sunny, outdoorsy impression of violet, in which notes of grass and hay make me imagine a field of the tiny purple flowers. The violet note goes more candied in Vivacious's heart, but never sweet enough to turn this into a "girlish" scent. Instead, the violet's powderiness is balanced by a lightly spicy carnation note. If you're someone (like me) who loves Guerlain Après l'ondée, you'll smile during this phase of Vivacious.
An hour or so after I've applied it, Vivacious smells less like a violet-and-carnation bouquet with green leaves and more like a scattering of violets in a wooden trinket box. Its base is a very gentle amber; like the rest of Vivacious, it has no hard edges or corners. The violets linger, turning duskier and a little waxy. Although Vivacious smells more conventionally feminine in its introduction and heart, its dry down is more gender-neutral. This fragrance has low sillage and lasts four to five hours on my skin.
I've enjoyed sniffing Hiram Green's Slowdive and Arbolé Arbolé before, and I know that Kevin and Angela (respectively) have enjoyed reviewing them and others from this line. Vivacious feels more "me" than any previous Hiram Green fragrance I've tried so far (Lustre is still on my to-sniff list) and I'm craving a full bottle. It makes me feel calmed and quietly cheered rather than vivified (if that's a word), which is exactly what I need right now.