Perfume Chat Room, September 9

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, September 9, and the news is full of yesterday’s passing of Queen Elizabeth II, at the age of 96. There are many other places to debate the future of the monarchy, the British Empire’s impact, etc. This is not that place, as I know how widely opinions vary on those subjects. Today, I am focusing on Her late Majesty as a unique human being, who was born to privilege but also to lifelong service, including her unexpected ascension to the throne at the age of 25. At her birth, she was not expected to become the monarch but was thrust into the role of royal heir when her uncle abdicated, leaving her father to become King. He and her mother were models of duty and service — before, during and after World War II — and the young Elizabeth absorbed those lessons fully, performing official duties from her childhood until two days before her death, when she welcomed and appointed the UK’s new Prime Minister, Liz Truss. Extraordinary. (Ok, one political side note: I’m glad she lived long enough to see the changes in leadership in the USA and the UK, given the markedly poor manners of the two former leaders).

Full disclosure: I was raised by an English mother who, although she chose to leave England and its post-war constraints when she herself was in her early 20s, kept a high regard for Queen Elizabeth, her contemporary, and even identified with her as the older of two sisters, engrained with that sense of responsibility and duty. Her younger sister, my late aunt, had a personality more like Princess Margaret’s, but they were devoted to each other until my aunt’s early death from cancer in her 40s.

Bringing it back to fragrance, I’ve read that Queen Elizabeth’s favorite fragrances were Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleue and Floris’ White Rose. I haven’t tried the latter, but I have and love L’Heure Bleue. I also have a new fragrance that had already reminded me of Elizabeth, and will now be forever linked to her in my mind: Miller Harris’ Violet Ida. I received it earlier this month as a birthday gift, and it is lovely! As regular readers here know, Miller Harris is an English brand founded by London perfumer Lyn Harris. Violet Ida is actually based on iris and heliotrope, with top notes of bergamot and carrot seed, and base notes of vanilla and amber. It was inspired by the heroine of an English novel, whose name was Ida, whom the Miller Harris says “represents goodness, tenacity and morality.” That does seem appropriate for the late Queen as a person; and the pale violet color of Violet Ida‘s bottle evokes one of the pastel shades she favored in her public outfits.

Queen Elizabeth II in lavender
Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

It always made me foolishly happy that the Queen had such a lovely meeting with the late rosarian David Austin, the year they both turned 90, at the Chelsea Flower Show and the display of his gorgeous English Roses, my favorites. I will think of this great lady when I wear Violet Ida. Rest in peace, Elizabeth, and may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Queen Elizabeth II and David Austin at the Chelsea Flower Show

9 thoughts on “Perfume Chat Room, September 9

  1. Aha, I had just started to wonder what fragrances she might have favoured. Now, Violet Ida, absolutely gorgeous. I had a sample of this a couple of years back but have always found it difficult to track down a bottle at a decent price. I have it firmly on my radar if one should pop up.

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  2. The Queen was remarkable, RIP. Violet Ida sounds lovely. For my part, I’m wearing SJP Stash in hope of bringing some good mojo to our high school football team, still searching for their first win.

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  3. Violet Ida sounds very lovely. I must try it. I always admired Queen Elizabeth’s great sense of humor and good nature, as she went about her duties. I think being a royal would be such a hard life. They get to wear the fancy jewels and the lovely clothes, but having to dress up every day and be charming and gracious to everyone, while standing around listening to God know what type of boring stuff all the time sounds like torture to this introvert! Being a royal is definitely a life of service that I would never envy.

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      • It was! A sum from each bottle was to go to the Queen’s Canopy of trees planted to mark the Jubilee.
        I have enjoyed some of Floris’s output & own Madonna of the Almonds.
        The opening of Platinum 22 reminded me of prepping horse feed, porridge oats, rootiness, leafy then morphed pretty quickly into a generic masculine cedarish wood.
        The cost of £200 for 100ml whereas White Rose is £80 for 100ml. P22 is an EdP & WR an EdT but that’s a huge mark up!

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  4. I tried White Rose and was quite disappointed when I discovered that it was discontinued.

    I hope the UK keeps their monarchy: I don’t believe that any of the current changes in the world are to the better, so Zia’s rather people respect and stick to traditions.

    I know that 96 is a respectable age, but the Queen was one of those figures I wish would live forever.

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    • Hi Undina
      White Rose is still on Floris’s U.K. website £80 for 100ml so excellent value if you enjoy it. Last time I tested it, I was with another scent lover, the SA sprayed a blotter & holymoly was that tester off!

      As for the Monarchy. There doesn’t seem to be any appetite for a change or abolition in the U.K. After the behaviour of our recent Prime Minister the alternative to a constitutional monarch is not a happy one. King Charles III has made it known for some time it will be a far more streamlined affair, largely concentrated around the direct line of succession. One of the reasons Harry threw his toys out of his pram.

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