Maison Violet Compliment Review


Maison Violet Compliment (photo collage/digital editing by Despina Veneti©)

My fondness for the reborn Maison Violet and its remarkable – wholly composed by Nathalie Lorson – Héritage Collection has previously been expressed in my reviews of Pourpre D’Automne and Nuée Bleue. Apart from basic dates and events, however, the detailed history of the once illustrious (and then nearly forgotten for 60 years) French Perfume House remains largely elusive even for its three current owners: when Anthony Toulemonde, Paul Richardot and Victorien Sirot acquired the name “Violet”, no business archives, photos, ads, perfume bottles – let alone formulas – were handed to them; only some tantalising fragments of the past were unearthed after months of personal research. Considering that the 1827-founded Violet used to have several Parisian shops and even its own factory, as well as that it had released dozens of fragrances within a period of 126 years, one would expect hundreds of documents and objects to have survived (after all, the brand ceased activities as late as 1953). Yet, unless some private collectors or members of the family that once owned the House come forward and share some precious elements of documentation, the current trio of owners will just have to keep struggling to acquire bits and pieces of the mysterious puzzle of Violet’s past.

Maison Violet Compliment by Nathalie Lorson

Counter-clockwise: Victorien Sirot, Paul Richardot & Anthony Toulemonde of Maison Violet, Nathalie Lorson of Firmenich, vintage Violet Compliments & the new Violet Compliment (collage by Despina Veneti, photos courtesy of Maison Violet)

All the memorabilia and perfume bottles that Anthony, Paul and Victorien managed to amass so far were purchased with their own funds in auctions or antique shops (let it be noted that many important Violet flacons, like the Lucien Gaillard hand-painted ones from the 1920s, are hard to obtain; such bottles are always highly sought after by collectors willing to spend thousands of dollars on them). When the Maison Violet trio decided to launch a new fragrance inspired by the 1939-released perfume named “Compliments”, they had no concrete knowledge of what the latter had smelt like. Dropping the “s” from the original name, they decided to call the new creation “Compliment”, signifying “the one that really counts”, and make it a white floral. As Anthony Toulemonde told me, Mme Nathalie Lorson had already started working on the composition when the Maison Violet team managed to acquire a relatively well-preserved bottle of the old “Compliments”: it had also been a white floral, albeit an animalic one. Wanting to communicate a sense of heart-warming luminosity and comforting energy, the creative trio decided to follow a different olfactive path than the original scent’s.

Compliment by Maison Violet

Maison Violet Compliment (photo collage/digital editing by Despina Veneti©) 

Anthony tells me that the team kept a certain French expression in mind while trying to create “a fragrant hymn to sharing praise for others, and for oneself”. That expression was “jeter des fleurs”, literally meaning “throwing flowers”, and can be used to compliment others, or even oneself (if one is so inclined). Maison Violet Compliment indeed conveys a gratifying feeling of self-pampering that nonetheless feels motivated not by selfishness, but by sheer joy for life. The fragrance immediately displays its euphoric, exuberant white floralcy with the spicy, buttery tuberose appearing to dominate one minute, and the bright, intoxicating jasmine the other. Exotic ylang-ylang and sun-warmed orange blossom add to the scent’s humid, sensual vibe, creating the additional impression of a gardenia (especially during the first hour of application). In all real-life bouquets, some green contrast is necessary to showcase the whiteness of the flowers; in Maison Violet Compliment, eucalyptus and violet leaf serve as the fresh-green accents of the composition. Expanding that freshness into dewiness, tea-like freesia and peony-like palmarosa function as delicate counterpoints to the tuberose and jasmine. The protagonistic role of the white florals is not challenged by the fragrance’s base: the latter exists to discreetly support the flowers, to highlight and deepen their inherent aromatic properties with coumarinic hay, creamy vanilla and sweet benzoin. Overall, Maison Violet Compliment is not so much a fragrance that evolves in strikingly distinct stages, as it is a playful dance between its two stars, tuberose and jasmine, alternating in the lead; what essentially evolves are the floral tones, moods and nuances.

Asta Lee with flower, photographed by Paul Huf©, 1948

In the trying times we’ve been going through, many of us have found ourselves gravitating towards the emotional certainty and dependable comfort of undeniably beauteous scents. Maison Violet Compliment is such a fragrance: an olfactory expression of grace and generosity not only towards others, but also to oneself. After all, if we wish to bring solace, positivity and happiness to those around us, won’t we be so much more successful at it if we first manage to feel comfortable in our skin, serene at spirit and overjoyed at heart? The bright and beaming, instantly and universally perceivable beauty of Compliment accomplishes just that. Its soulful appeal is hard to leave anyone untouched.

Notes: Orange Blossom, Palmarosa, Eucalyptus, Freesia, Jasmine (Sambac and Grandiflorum), Tuberose, Ylang-Ylang, Benzoin, Vanilla.

Disclaimer: Many thanks to Maison Violet for my bottle of Compliment. The opinions are my own.


– Despina Veneti, Senior Editor

Maison Violet Compliment

Maison Violet Compliment 75ml bottle (photo by Despina Veneti©)

Thanks to the generosity of Maison Violet we have a draw for a 75ml bottle of Compliment (value: 145€) for one registered reader in EU or USA. You must register here or your comment will not count. To be eligible, please leave a comment saying what you enjoyed most about Despina’s review, if you have tried any Maison Violet fragrances, and where you live. Draw closes 6/21/22. What fragrance gets you the most compliments?

Follow us on Instagram: @cafleurebon @despinavnt @violet.parfums @nathalielorson_masterperfumer

We announce the winners only on our site and on our Facebook page, so like Çafleurebon and use our blog feed… or your dream prize will be just spilled perfume…

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