Perfume Haiku Series: Violetta by Penhaligon’s

Violetta by Penhaligon’s

Dusty old violets
Adorn the Queen’s stately hat
Retro floral chic

~ The Smelly Vagabond

Happy World Poetry Day!

NB: On an unfortunately sad note, I can confirm based on the information given to me by someone who works for Penhaligon’s that Violetta has been discontinued.

Guerlain – Insolence

I remember wearing Insolence (EDT) while driving in my car to pick up some friends to go for supper. Supper, for those unfamiliar with the strange ways of the regular Singaporean, refers to the rather full-sized meal that one eats AFTER already having had dinner (the evening one, I know the meaning of dinner varies from country to country), usually anywhere from 10pm – 2 or 3am. To put this in context, we usually have dinner at around 6-7pm, unlike some countries where dinner starts at 9 and finishes at midnight, which was my experience when I lived in a French friend’s lovely home for a vacation! The size of our supper meals sometimes matches up to the size of our dinner meals, and can be anything ranging from nasi lemak (an extremely lip-smacking rice dish cooked in coconut milk and topped with plenty of other ingredients) to a bowl of steaming mee pok (blanched noodles with minced pork, braised shiitake mushrooms and lots of sauce). In short, supper in Singapore is pure gluttony.

Continue reading

CB I Hate Perfume – I Am A Dandelion + Giveaway

Some days I find myself wishing that the wind would come and take me to a far-away land, where no one can find me and where I can be contentedly alone. On days like these I wear I Am A Dandelion by CB I Hate Perfume [water perfume, not the perfume absolute]. For then I don’t just imagine myself as a dandelion floating in the gentle breeze, I become the dandelion, I inhabit its body in a way that Thomas Nagel could never conceive of what it is like to be a bat. Continue reading

Guerlain – Meteorites

If liking violet-centred perfumes makes me an old granny, then turn me into Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, pronto! Clad in a shapeless violet ensemble, and waving her mighty wand, she is every bit the caring grandmother who is both warm and sophisticated at the same time. She’s wearing Guerlain Meteorites.

Continue reading

Magnetic Scent – Tindrer


Tindrer by Magnetic Scent opens with an unconventionally green, dewy violet that smells like it’s just been freshly cut at the stem. It’s vegetal and… is that a hint of soil? Mmmm. Ten minutes in, Tindrer segues into its heart. There’s definitely something marine going on here that makes Tindrer salty fresh while the violet continues strongly in the foreground. Strangely, I keep getting the smell of new, unused erasers

Tindrer evokes the image of a young child running freely through a field of violets. It has just rained and the smell of the earth and flowers and grass fill the air. He’s smiling, but why are there tears in his eyes? He lies in the middle of the field and takes a deep breath. It’s the first time in many years that he’s been allowed out to play in the field. Tiny raindrops fall on his cheeks and mix with his salty tears, suffusing him with a sense of peace and joy.

"Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it." Mark Twain

“Forgiveness is the fragrance
the violet sheds
on the heel that has crushed it.”
Mark Twain

I wish I could live through the top and heart notes of Tindrer over and over again. Tindrer peters out after some time to a watery, barely-there musk that is pleasant but nowhere as interesting as the first hour of magic. Its sillage is moderate bordering on weak and its longevity is average, which is perfectly fine with me given that its charm lies in its ethereal nature.

Compared to The Unicorn Spell, a violet-themed fragrance by Lez Nez, Tindrer is more aquatic and transclucent, and definitely many shades brighter than its mossy counterpart. If The Unicorn Spell were a dark forest on a frosty morning, Tindrer would be an open field under a drizzle.

Overall, perfumer Spyros Drosopoulos (what a mouthful!) manages to take the violet and develop it in an original and compelling way. Where violet-dominated fragrances have typically been candied or fusty, Tindrer stands out as a delicate study on what happens when violets are looked at through a water prism. Definitely worth trying.


Tindrer is available at Bloom Perfumery, London, for £80. Alternatively, you could order it directly from Magnetic Scent for €110. Magnetic Scent also sells samples at €3.50 a piece, definitely a reasonable way to ‘try before you buy’.

[Review based on a sample I purchased from Bloom Perfumery, London]

~ The Smelly Vagabond