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Once again, I am unearthing crypts of forgotten words scribed in the prior year, and then reinterring them to rest here at last, among all of their sleeping brothers and sisters. What follows are the reviews of three scents (EDP, perfume oils) from the gothic spirits of the Violette Market.

Hesperian Apples

The first of the weird sisters debuts with ripe apples – a deep, real scent; then different notes bloom – mead, a little bit of benzoin, apple wood, and hints of vanilla. My attention is caught like a butterfly on pins. By an hour, however, the benzoin is dominating, and the middle stage one suffers through – benzoin plus vanilla. Just shy of eight hours, it turns gets faintly sweet and powdery. When it is over, I pine for the top notes and mourn their evanescence.

Bordeaux Garden

At inception, it is a shockingly realistic tart grape – almost tastable – like the aroma of Welsh’s grape juice. After a few moments, the cinnamon arises and the two interweave. Soon, an arid spice interrupts the olfactory tryst. Is that a dapper cardamom or a gentlemanly vetiver? At five hours, the scent turns sweet, and at eight, the denouement of sweet musk appears (the way my skin usually smells post-fragrance). This is an interesting, natural scent, though not a complex one. Completely and utterly unisex. If a woman wore this, it’d be a woman like Aitana Sánchez-Gijón from A Walk in the Clouds.

Sleepy Hollow Churchyard

Sleepy Hollow Churchyard opens its act in the muted and sombre scent of dirt, slightly icy. Act two is a faintly otherworldly tobacco/vanilla. Next, it changes into a heady vanilla musk, and in the final act, it shows up as woody and alchemical. The projection is arm’s length and it lasts 12 hours.

When sprayed, the scent transforms into tobacco/vanilla, fallen autumn leaves, apples, and a little bit of benzoin. Tragically, this does not last. Benzoin disrupts this masked ball and stinks up the ballroom with its suffocating, bland, but not choking stench, retaining only a tease of tart apples. Again, one suffers through three or four hours. After that, the benzoin and the tobacco/vanilla change places, and someone opens a window to a cinnamon world. By eight hours, only cinnamon remains, but then benzoin returns for its revenge and chokes the scent to death.


I no longer own any of these scents. The Violette Market did not offer samples of them; nevertheless, I purchased them, unsmelled and unsampled. Why did I do such a thing? The words — always the words — and the list of notes proved to be my downfall. All three scents featured some striking notes, but like so much other art, they didn’t hold together; for every grande note, two or three strutted their mediocrity, or were drowned out by my arch-enemy benzoin, and her perverted sister, vanilla.

Natural? Yes. Interesting? Yes. Purchase-worthy? No. These scents could use further refinement.