Parma violets - Viola alba
Parma violets - Viola alba.
The most fragrant of the Viola species, the Parma violet descends from two lines of Viola alba (white violet). It dates back at least to Italy in the 1500s and is less cold hardy than Viola odorata, the more commonly seen high fragrance violet. Parma violets bear cyclic whorled "double" flowers that resemble partially formed but conjoined moon snails; multiple flutes pinwheel out from a central corolla. Like curved fins, the tufts vary in color from white to pastel pink and lavender, often with gradient tones displayed within each petal. They prefer the shade. You might miss their blossoming if you don't look for their ruffled heads blooming beneath the thick cover of their leaves, close to the ground. Parma violets have a warmer scent than Viola odorata, their cooler cousin. It is less inky but heavy with powder and frosting. These violets are a gourmand flower but their strong ambergris low note makes them unique among violets. Like others in their genus, Parma violets have practically no top notes. Their confectionary heart and base notes of fondant, pastry cream, ambergris pudding, and valentine's ink, take you out of the shady woodlands and inside a European bakery. Outside the frosted windows, whaling ships dock in the harbors, loaded with the horrors of treasure.
Copyright 2021 Abby Hinsman for Wild Veil Perfume.