Please understand that this website is not affiliated with any of the perfume companies written about here in any way, it is only a reference page and repository of information for collectors and those who have enjoyed the classic fragrances of days gone by.

One of the goals of this website is to show the present owners of the various perfumes and cologne brands that are featured here how much we miss the discontinued classics and hopefully, if they see that there is enough interest and demand, they will bring back these fragrances!

Please leave a comment below (for example: of why you liked the fragrance, describe the scent, time period or age you wore it, who gave it to you or what occasion, any specific memories, what it reminded you of, maybe a relative wore it, or you remembered seeing the bottle on their vanity table), who knows, perhaps someone from the company brand might see it.

Vintage Perfumes For Sale

Monday, August 11, 2014

Maison Violet/Veolay Perfumes

Maison Violet (Pronounced VEOLAY) Perfume Company of Paris France and New York City. The name was often marketed phonetically as "VEOLAY" when products were sold in English speaking countries.

Maison Violet was established around 1810 in Paris and the business was originally known as "A la Reine des Abeilles".  The shop was located at 317 rue St. Denis.

Their first perfume was "Josephine", and named after the Empress. I believe that the company made a strategic decision to incorporate the Napoleonic "bee" symbol into their name and trademark (the queen bee - Josephine, herself).  This may have been a way to curry favor from the court and wealthier citizens and to help the new business build up a reputation by aligning its name with that of a royal. It must have worked, because not longer after, the company gained approval by the Empress herself and was declared an official supplier to her majesty.

Products were created for Empress Josephine, such as her namesake perfume, as well as a violet scented soap, Savon au Baume de Violette, created as an homage to her. However, by the 1850s, items were made for other important people too, such as Empress Eugenie, for whom, he remained a royal supplier. For her, Violet created a facial lotion called Eau de Beaute de Sa Majesté L'Impératrice, and a rose tinted face powder Fleur de Riz Rosee.

For the Russian Empress Violet created the perfume Brises de Mai. The perfume Gouttes de Violette was heralded in one advertisement as the perfume of her majesty Queen Victoria of England. It was said to possess the natural scent of the flower. For the Prince of Wales, the company created the perfume Champaka, based on the flowers of India.  By the 1850s, Violet was also officially supplying the royal court of the Queen Isabella II of Spain with their sumptuous perfumes and cosmetics.

By 1828, the company was using the name Parfumerie Violet as their business name, but still retained the brand A la Reine des Abeilles", now regulated to a subtitle. My suspicion is that the company decided to name themselves after the empress's favorite flower as a veiled thank you. The company began to be referred to as "Maison Violet"coupled with "Parfumeur-Chimiste" as well in the advertisements.

Parfumerie Violet had a laboratory located at La Plaine St. Denis in France, where they manufactured their perfumes and cosmetics. In addition to perfumes, Violet also manufactured compacts, nail enamel, face powders, talcum powders, bath salts, lipsticks, rouge, soaps, creams, bath cubes, and other toilet preparations.

Some popular mid 19th century preparations were Savon Royal de Thridace soap made of lettuce juice, Baume de Violette for moisturizing dry skin and hair,  Creme Sevigne an anti-wrinkle cream, Creme Pompadour for the face, Creme Froide Mousseuse a cold cream, Rouge de Chine for the lips and cheeks, Noir Indien for darkening the eyelashes and brows, Blanc de Lys for the face, Poudre Orientale for the fingernails, and others.
To maintain an air of aristocracy, Violet also sold ivory brushes and perfume bottles in ebony and tortoiseshell caskets with figures and crowns in gold and silver. The bottles were of cut crystal and often featured engraved coat of arms piqued out in colored enamel. The shop also boasted a museum of Louis XIII mirrors, Louis XVI châtelaine flasks of and a whole collection of combs and pins in blond tortoiseshell, amongst a thousand artistic trinkets that lined the tables and windows.

Successful products helped the company expand and by the 1860s, Parfumerie Violet had offices in New York City, St. Petersburg, Russia and in London (in 1846). The London office, located at 11 Great Castle Street, Regent Street was managed by L. Claye, successors, in the 1850s.
Parfumerie Violet maintained a luxury image throughout much of it's existence and won many prize medals at exhibitions: 1849, 1851, 1855, 1862,  as well as the Grand Prix at the Exposition Universelle in both 1867 and 1900, where the Violet products as a whole were awarded the prize.

In newspapers starting around 1900, I noticed that the company was often advertised as "Violet (pronounced Ve-o-lay)" emphasizing the French pronunciation of the name.

Also the products were often compared to high quality brands, such as the case of one perfume, Bouquet Farnese which was said to be "new and not unlike Houbigant's extracts." Houbigant had already established itself a fine reputation in the United States, and to be promoted as being in the same class as Houbigant, Americans could be confident that their purchase of Violet's products would be just as satisfactory.

 In 1897, the company was styled as "La Parfumerie Violet" and their address was located at 29, boulevard des Italiens, Paris. Around 1902, letterheads on invoices showed that the company was being managed by successors AM Rehns & Cie.

Because the perfumery trade could be cutthroat and competition fierce, in 1923 a trademark was taken out on the name "Veolay" so that no one else could use it but Maison Violet.

Another Grand Prix was awarded to Violet for excellency, this time at the 1925 Exposition in Paris.

Violet/Veolay went out of business around 1953/1954.


Veolay presented some of it's perfumes in exquisite crystal bottles produced by well known glassworks such as Lalique, Saint-Louis and Baccarat.

However, in the mid 1920s, most of Veolay's perfumes were housed in the simple, inexpensive "omnibus", standard bottles meant to hold various perfumes. These bottles were of a tall, square shape with rounded corners, and featured button shaped colored glass stoppers. The perfume's name was molded into the glass in a long rectangular cartouche in the center of the bottle. The omnibus bottles held 1.75 oz of parfum and can be found in the following scents: Chypre, Niobe, Ambre Royal, Jasmin, Brise de Violettes, Fleur d'Alize, Princia, Valreine, Sylvaine, and others.

Other bottles used in the mid 1920s were the Flacon pour Sac which was a small glass bottle to be carried in the purse, it was made of clear glass and molded with stylized floral designs in a circle on the sides, enhanced with applied patina. You could find the perfumes: Niobe, Chypre, Ambre Royal, and others in these charming bottles.

In 1925, Veolay also had another small purse bottle, made up of flat glass with a metal overcap, that they called the "Mannequin". The Mannequin bottle held the following scents: Ambre Royal, Chypre, Les Sylvies, Sylvaine, Fleur d'Alize and others. The Mannequin bottles retailed for just 65 cents in 1926 and the Flacon pour Sac sold for $1.50.

The bottle for Josephine was made by Saint-Louis, while Rene Lalique supplied some of the luxury bottles for Niobe.

Brise de Violette was first presented in a bottle by Lucien Gaillard, then in Baccarat crystal (model #1) in 1904. Bouquet Farnèse was first presented in a Lucien Gaillard bottle in 1924, and then in a flacon by Baccarat (model # 398). Lucien Gaillard also lent his creativity to the bottles for Si J'étais Reine, L'Heure Jolie, Tanagra, Écoutez-Moi, Les Sylvies and Pourpre d'Automne. The bottle for Les Sylvies was manufactured by Verreries Brosse. The Pourpre d'Automne and Les Sylvies perfumes retailed for $5.95 each in 1926 when housed in their sumptuous Gaillard bottles.

 Other perfumes were sold in Baccarat bottles: Fleurs de Lys, Lobelia, Pompadour, Cyclamen (model #1), Lilas, Royale Tubéreuse (model #43),  Vôtani, Eternelle Chanson, Chypre ( model #650), Lily (model #440), Valreine, and Brise de Violettes.

The perfumes of Violet / Veolay:

  • 1810 Josephine 
  • 1857 Jacinthe Blanche
  • 1859 Brise de Mai
  • 1859 Fleurs d'Italie
  • 1859 Gouttes des Violette
  • 1859 Les Gouttes des Violettes d'Italie
  • 1864 Benjoin
  • 1864 Magnolia
  • 1864 Mille Fleurs
  • 1864 Rose
  • 1864 Violette
  • 1872 Eau de Toilette de la Reine des Abeilles
  • 1872 Essence Bouquet
  • 1872 Farnese
  • 1872 Fleurs de France
  • 1872 Fleurs de Lys
  • 1872 Foin Coupe (New Mown Hay)
  • 1872 Jockey Club
  • 1872 L'Eau de Cologne Impériale de la Reine des Abeilles
  • 1872 L'Eau de Cologne Impériale des Souverains
  • 1872 Lys de Cachemire
  • 1872 Rose Mousseuse
  • 1872 Violettes de Nice
  • 1880 Extra Violettes
  • 1882 Champaka 
  • 1882 Eau de Fleurs de Lys
  • 1882 Gardenia
  • 1882 Heliotrope
  • 1882 Opoponax
  • 1888 Chypre
  • 1883 Kadoura/Kadsura
  • 1883 Pompadour 
  • 1883 Violettes de San Remo
  • 1888 Muguet des Bois
  • 1888 Peau d'Espagne
  • 1889 Brise de Violettes 
  • 1890 Lilas Blanc
  • 1892 Marechal
  • 1892 Mealys (a line)
  • 1897 White Rose
  • 1897 Tatiana
  • 1897 Ambré Royal (later re-branded as 'Sketch')
  • 1900 Acacia
  • 1900 Aubépine
  • 1900 Chèvrefeuille
  • 1900 Cytise
  • 1900 Daphne
  • 1900 Essence Violette
  • 1900 Extra Chypre
  • 1900 Fleurs
  • 1900 Freesia
  • 1900 Heliotrope Blanc
  • 1900 Katalpa
  • 1900 Kiss Me Quick
  • 1900 Lavender
  • 1900 Lobelia  
  • 1900 Meiza de Perse
  • 1900 Miel d’Angleterre
  • 1900 Musc Tonkin
  • 1900 Quintessence de Violette
  • 1900 Rose Thé
  • 1900 Rosita
  • 1900 Valdora
  • 1900 Veldor
  • 1900 Verveine
  • 1900 Victoria
  • 1900 Violette de Parme
  • 1900 West End
  • 1900 Bouquet Pompadour
  • 1901 Cyclamen  
  • 1902 Carnation
  • 1902 Jacinthe
  • 1902 Verveine Ambree
  • 1903 Lily of the Valley
  • 1903 Tanagra  
  • 1903 Bouquet Farnese
  • 1904 Azalia
  • 1905 Cyclamen Fleuri
  • 1905 Princia
  • 1906 Extra Nugget
  • 1910 Rose Concentree
  • 1911 Valreine
  • 1913 Kassya
  • 1913 Si J'étais Reine
  • 1914 Altys
  • 1915 Niobe 
  • 1918 Prelia
  • 1918 Rameau Fleuri
  • 1919 Lilas  
  • 1920 Royale Tubéreuse 
  • 1920 Ylang
  • 1920 Eau de Cologne Violet
  • 1921 Curieux Parfum
  • 1921 Charmose
  • 1922 Amorosa
  • 1922 Brise Ambrée
  • 1922 Contes des Fees
  • 1922 Fastuosa
  • 1922 Fleur de Giroflée
  • 1922 Fougère d'Ecosse
  • 1922 Gerbes Folles
  • 1922 Kiloe
  • 1922 L’Heure Jolie 
  • 1922 Musc
  • 1922 Nacreine
  • 1922 Oryane
  • 1922 Parfum Ancien
  • 1922 Parfum de Violet
  • 1922 Pourpre d’Automne
  • 1922 Rosamine
  • 1922 Sylviane
  • 1922 Viborg
  • 1923 Violet Extra
  • 1923 Violette Vegetale
  • 1924 Vôtani
  • 1925 Eternelle Chanson
  • 1925 Mannequin (a purse bottle)
  • 1925 Flacon Pour Sac (a purse bottle)
  • 1925 Flaconnettes
  • 1925 Fleur de Jasmin
  • 1925 Sketch
  • 1926 Écoutez-Moi 
  • 1926 Pour Rever
  • 1926 Satan
  • 1928 Bon Voyage
  • 1928 Pois de Senteur
  • 1930 Gardenia  (sub-titled 'Imperial')
  • 1930 Heliotrope
  • 1930 Titayna
  • 1930 Ambre
  • 1930 Abîme
  • 1930 Abricot
  • 1932 Apogée
  • 1933 Chypre 
  • 1933 Flamme Ardent
  • 1933 Lily  
  • 1933 Quatre Étoiles
  • 1933 Rose Violet (alternative name for 'Rose Violette')
  • 1933 Violet (also launched as 'Violette')
  • 1933 Violette
  • 1939 Prologue
  • 1939 Cuir de Russie
  • 1945 Intelligence
  • 1948 Compliment
  • 1948 Imagination
  • 1948 L'Or Joli
  • 1953 Refrain
  • Nuée Bleue
  • Primrose

Parfum Amorosa

Parfum Oryane

Country Life, Volume 7, 1905:

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments will be subject to approval by a moderator. Comments may fail to be approved or may be edited if the moderator deems that they:
contain unsolicited advertisements ("spam")
are unrelated to the subject matter of the post or of subsequent approved comments
contain personal attacks or abusive/gratuitously offensive language