Viola von Cydonia – now there’s a name I feel outdone by. Odette Toilette sounds rather vanilla in comparison…
For all you perfume-aholics, Viola brings an exciting perspective to the world of fragrance. She’s a vintage fashion dealer and scent collector who hails from Hungary, and has a wonderful collection of scents, bottles and stories from central and eastern Europe. Hungary in particular we hear little about with reference to fragrance – and in a way that’s no surprise given the country was under socialism for so long – so not particularly known for bashing out hit smells.
But recently, Viola flew to the UK to be our guest speaker at Perfume Lovers London, where she shared some of the scents from her personal collection.
We tried a couple from the Budapest based firm of Molnar and Moser, including an Eau de Cologne Russe from the 1960s, based on the Russian leather style (birch tar!), but thinned out using substitute ingredients. Before the war, the firm had been a prestigious outfit, but Hungarian perfumers eventually had to sell their formulae or make huge substitutions in ingredients, or redo their work completely as they couldn’t get hold of their ingredients (perhaps able to source some synthetics from Russia).
Viola is a rare collector in her country; it’s very much a niche of a niche, as most people desire mainstream fashion brand perfumes. Now training herself in perfumery, she hopes there’ll be a revival of some sorts as the country slowly rediscovers and reinterprets its heritage.Read More