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An old base from Firmenich.

It was created in the 30’s, although it was possible to compose such accords back in the first decade of the 20th Century heliotropine was first synthetised in 1869, ionones in the 1890’s, methyl heptine/octine carbonate in 1900.


AD from a 30’s French trade paper


This is the very classical accord of violet, not quite reminiscent of the flower though. An elegant, powerful and longlasting violet, reminiscent of violet leaf absolute (that was possibly meant to replace).

I like to think that this very base shaped consumers for almost a century. This base is the archetype of perfumers’ violet  in fine fragrances and functional products as well. True-to-nature accords are easy to make using p-cresyl derivatives, indol and ionones as a foundation but unpleasant to the general customer.

Green, sweet, powdery, slighlty jasmine-like. You can have a beautiful example of such violet in Paris (Yves Saint Laurent), where I definitely smell this very accord (I cannot prove that Parmantheme was used though).

In Parmantheme I smell nonadienal and/or nonadienol as a powerful topnote: a green, cucumber-like, wet, oily note. This perception seems to be confirmed by S. Arctander in his monography on Nonadienal.

The base is founded on the main accord: methyl heptine/octine carbonate – ionones (an heavy dose!) – heliotropine – powdery musks. Some additional notes might be jasmin or rose.

A simple and beautiful composition that glorifies the green, violet leaf-like, extremely powerful methyl heptine/octine carbonate, quite difficult to use alone (and nearly banned by today’s IFRA standards).

I think that today Parmantheme features some methyl heptine/octine carbonate replacer.

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Pale yellow, ambery mobile liquid (denser than the redistilled quality).

Soft, sweetsawdust-like, patchouliy odour. Drier and more powdery than the redistilled one. Almost no trace of terpenic, mouldy, “cooked vegetable” notes.

In the opening it starts very softly, it has a very poor impact (if kept in cold you barely could tell you are smelling patchouli at all). Then, it opens up and blooms in a beautiful, well refined, cedary, dusty, camphory, clean patchouli. Fruity plum-like nuances. It’s less green-floral than the redistilled quality, but woodier. It does smell a little earthy, but in a clean way: without any mouldy effect.

I like to think this smells like a summery walk in the woods by night: you can detect dead leafs, wet wood and an earthy odour, while a cold humidity arising from the dark chills you to the bones. It also recalls me the smell of rain.

Modern (linear) and interesting. It is well-faceted and complex. I think it is special and different from a simply redistilled oil because here’s the intelligence of some mind that picked-up some fractions and put them together shaping a new character, different from any other patchouli oil.

I can also perceive an ambery (ambrox-like) captivating facet: woody, dry, musky and addicting. Do I detect an animal whiff? Maybe, or simply this oil recalls me some 70’s 80’s animalic bases (like the Animalis, Synarome) used not infrequently in those years in perfumes like Yatagan (Caron, 1976), Antaeus (Chanel, 1981) or Kouros (YSL, 1981): a patchouli-cedar theme, enriched by costus root castoreum and civetty notes, completed by fatty, incensey aldehydes (c12 MNA-like).

Long lasting and beautiful in the dry down. Dry and cedary, ambroxy, orris-like.

A 3D (sort of) gif I made. Photos taken in the woods near Versailles.

A 3D (sort of) gif. Photos were taken in the woods near Versailles.