Closely linked to the history of perfumery, and in particular to the development of the Parma perfume industry, the violet is characterized by a delicate and elegant fragrance that gives this flower a timeless charm. Known throughout the Mediterranean basin since ancient times, protagonist of myths and beliefs, it was only in the early nineteenth century that the violet achieved a certain fame. In fact, the flower was much loved by Napoleon, and even more by his second wife Maria Luigia of Austria, so much so that when in 1816 the Empress became Duchess of Parma she had a cultivation of violets planted, which took the name of the city and soon became a symbol of it.
With the Duchess of Parma, the violet became an emblem of purity and humility: as a tribute to her, the flower began to be used as an ornament in the palace, appeared as a decoration on everyday objects and was embroidered on her robes, while purple became the color of valets' uniforms and courtiers' clothes. At that time the friars of the Convent of the Annunciata in Parma, encouraged and supported in their research by the Duchess herself, succeeded in obtaining from the violet flower and leaves an essence that was used to make a perfume for Maria Luigia's exclusive use. The recipe for the fragrance remained secret until 1870, when Ludovico Borsari took up the legacy of the friars and made a production destined for a wider audience: with the Violetta di Parma the first major Italian perfume industry was born.
Although an absolute can be extracted from the leaves of the violet, the aromatic profile of this material fails to retain the typical scents of the flower but is characterized by an herbaceous, leafy aroma reminiscent of cucumber that is often used in men's fragrances. The characteristic violet scent, on the other hand, is obtained through a synthetic process using natural isolates called ionones, molecules discovered in 1893 by German chemists Tiemann and Krüger. Since then, alpha and beta ionones have been used to reproduce the delicate and elegant scent of the violet as well as that of iris: in fact, like iris, the violet's aromatic profile is not part of the floral notes but falls within the powdery, poudré ones.
The delicacy and elegance of the violet is found in Tzigana, an Aquaflor perfume which is part of the Nobles collection. Grapefruit and pink pepper open the fragrance with their enveloping, warm notes. A floral heart, the most precious absolutes of narcissus, jasmine and rose are revealed in their full splendor and seduce the sense of smell with magnetism. The impalpable sweet aftertaste reveals notes of heliotrope and vanilla, all accentuated by the unmistakable powdery touch of ambrette seeds.