Welcome to our annual Drugstore Week, where I’ll review an easy-to-find, bargain fragrance every day! This year, I won’t be sticking strictly to the drugstore, but will be foraging through the offerings of Target and Avon, as well. To kick off the week, I present Avon Flor Violeta.
It’s been a while since I’ve sampled an Avon fragrance. Truth be told, the Avon perfumes that come to mind first — Bird of Paradise, Cotillion, Sweet Honesty1 — are names I remember from the bottles in my grandmother’s vast Avon figurative bottle collection, which seemed to center around poodles and old cars. I know Avon has busily released fragrances since then and has even ventured into the celebrity perfume game. But since the Avon lady no longer seems to make her rounds, and since the sinks in public restrooms are no longer littered with Avon catalogs left by hopeful sales representatives, the company’s fragrances have fallen off my radar.
Flor Violeta has been getting a lot of love on Avon’s website, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars. (The tougher customers over at MakeupAlley only give it 3.7 stars.) Actress Kate Castillo fronts the perfume. The folder my spray sample came in says, “Delight in an extraordinary moment of sparkling green apple infused with a beautiful bouquet of violet blossoms and soft musk.” Green apple, violet, and musk is a simple description, but it's about as true a description of Flor Violeta as I could come up with.
Flor Violeta launches with an aldehydic burst rimmed with sweet green apple. The apple plays the clever trick of hanging around the fragrance’s edges but disappearing when I lean in. I smell it most clearly about eight inches from skin. At center stage is violet buoyed by a combination of laundry musk and a woody musk that hints — just a tiny bit — at bug spray. To its credit, despite the green apple, Flor Violeta isn’t fruity or sweet. All in all, wearing the fragrance feels like having washed with a nice guest soap, one of the small ones shaped like a flower and tinted pale purple.
On my skin, except for a musky residue, Flor Violeta vanishes within the hour. It would be a fine fragrance for someone who wants to smell clean and pretty and who is terrified of an intrusive scent. Hardcore perfume lovers probably won’t find much here to interest them.
I tested Flor Violeta against two other drugstore violet fragrances, Elizabeth Taylor Violet Eyes and one of last year's Drugstore Week picks, Forever Elizabeth. Forever Elizabeth smells positively exotic next to Flor Violeta. I get a touch of patchouli and — could it be? — nutmeg that I never noticed before. Violet Eyes is packed with pink pepper (try saying that ten times quickly) and is surprisingly lively in comparison to Flor Violeta.
So, is Flor Violeta for you? Judged from the fact that you’re reading Now Smell This, I’m going to guess you’d buy this one for your middle school niece rather than yourself. But if you love violets, it’s worth a try, especially at its reasonable price.
Avon Flor Violeta Eau de Parfum spray is $28 for a darling, puff-topped 50 ml bottle. It also comes in a shower gel (6.7 ounces for $12) and Eau de Parfum “rollette” (10 ml, normally $12 but on sale now for $4.99). It’s available at Avon’s website or, presumably, from your Avon lady.
1. A quick internet search shows that Sweet Honesty is still in production. What do you think — is it worth a future perfume review?