Perfume Directory

Violettes de Toulouse (1936)
by Berdoues


Violettes de Toulouse information

Year of Launch1936
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 19 votes)

People and companies

PerfumerHenri Berdoues

About Violettes de Toulouse

Violettes de Toulouse is a feminine perfume by Berdoues. The scent was launched in 1936 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Henri Berdoues

Violettes de Toulouse fragrance notes

Reviews of Violettes de Toulouse


The beginnings of violet production in Toulouse are unknown. Historians date its debut at more or less precisely the year 1854.

They were exported to Europe and to Russia. This production involved 600 producers over twenty hectares.

The beautiful Violettes de Toulouse has been on my radar for about 45 years. The only violet I was exposed to growing up in the Boston, MA area was Yardley’s violet facial powder and violet soaps, a gift I would always buy for my mother every Mother’s Day. When I moved to New York City in 1972, the Berdoues Violettes de Toulouse was being distributed by Caswell Massey, and was the height of elegance at the time.

Housed in a round band box with a violet rope, the box covered with paintings of violets, the small squat one ounce bottle of parfum came with an atomizer, all swanked about with violet colored tassle and bulb. It sold for $30 and was the gift of choice for a new lady friend’s birthday or Christmas offering.

In the early 1980s Caswell Massey underwent the first of their violent modernizations, eliminating dozens of items that had been carried for decades. Many of their imports suffered and the Berdoues was one of them. I moved to Vermont in 1983 and still recall a vast display of fifty of these band boxed bottles on a discount table, selling for $10 or $15 in an effort to deplete inventory. It was the last I saw of it until a recent vintage decant caught my eye.

Other reviewers on Basenotes and Fragrantica mention a fruity sweetness, the scent of candied violets. I do not get this at all. I get a very grounded violet, a deep violet. This may be due to the age of the original. There is a chypre-like quality to the base, indicating a large dose of orris root. There is the impression of a roasted nut cluster beneath the violet, which gives it a unique twist among soliflore violets.

Top notes: Bergamot, Violet, Violet Leaves
Heart notes: Cyclamen, Almond Blossom, Muguet, Jasmine, Lilac
Base notes: Orris, Sandalwood, Musk

It takes one and one quarter tons of violet flowers to make just 2 lbs. of the precious violet oil! When you buy the vintage Berdoues, you are getting the real thing, not the chemical used today to suggest violet. By the way, avoid the new Berdoues re-formulation, which uses those chemicals. Buy only vintage, which is not hard to do, given the very distinctive presentation of the original production.

This is truly a lovely violet and appropriately unisex. Still available on the internet from private sellers. Buy vintage only.

28th August, 2017 (last edited: 22nd March, 2019)
My sister bought this for me in the late 1980's, after a trip to London. It was inexpensive back then — maybe $10-15.

I was charmed by the "hatbox" package, with the verse in the Langue d'oc dialect. And the scent was natural smelling, like actual candied violets.

It's still charming. Light and ephemeral, it captures the smell of Parma Violets.

Agreed with 30 Roses, that it's not powdery, nor is it earthy like iris root can be. Think of how violet candy smells, and this is it.
04th April, 2013 (last edited: 02nd September, 2014)
Violettes de Toulouse is a sweet violet with a raspberry note. I do not find it powdery. The edp is significantly stronger than the edt. Having owned both, I find that I prefer the lighter edt version, which is lovely to spray on sheets or to wear to bed. The edp is better suited to day wear. It is less green than Penhaligon's Violetta, less sweet and candy-like than Annick Goutal's La Violette. The bottle with the bulb atomizer is more decorative than functional (I decanted to a purse atomizer, which produced a finer spray.)
19th May, 2011
The bottle I am reviewing is approx. 10-15 years old.

Violettes de Toulouse reminds me a lot of violet flavored Pastiglie Leone (Italian candy) and a bit of the violet note in Balenciaga's Le Dix.

It is sweet, dry (as opposed to fresh) and powdery.
I like some retro and powdery violets -the ones evocative of makeup items from times gone by- but this one just doesn't make it for me.
It smells more old than vintage, but it is quite comforting -nevertheless- on days I crave a simple scent.
It is by no means as cheerful as Violetta di Parma.

The ultimate violet scents to me are Borsari Violetta di Parma and some violet essential oil (10% dilution) I bought in Czech Republic.
03rd January, 2011 (last edited: 12th April, 2011)
The city of toulouse is known for growing the best quality violets in the world for perfumery use. It takes 6000lbs of flowers needed to obtain 2.2lbs of pure violet essence as told in the introduction text.
Top Notes of: Fruity Floral, Jasmine, Spicy Bergamot, Absolute of Violet Leaf
Middle Notes of: Floral, Cyclamon, Almond Tree, Flowers, Lilac and Violet
Base Notes of: Woody Floral, Iris, Sandalwood, and Sweet Musk.
It has a violette colored round glass bottle with a lilac vintage styled pump atomizer. Atomizer has even a long tassel.
The scent itself is not complicated and tempting. Mainly sweet powdery violet note which was popular as violette colognes of the past century. But I would buy it even for the cute vintage looking bottle.
04th November, 2009

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