Description and usage notes:
The most floral and violet of the ionones, that is, as Arctander points out: “used widely in perfume compositions of almost all types. It is many decades since the single floral Violet note was appreciated as a fragrance for cosmetic purposes, but lonone has found numerous other applications. The use of lonone in Rose bases is very common and generally well liked, and smaller amounts of lonone are used in woody, herbaceous, floral, balsamic, piney or Citrus-like fragrances. It is almost not possibe to name a fragrance in which Ionone has not been tried for modifications, blending, floralizing mellowing etc. It is often part of the highly desirable complex that displays ‘powdery’ undertones in a fragrance.”
If you want a distinct violet note, in the view of this perfumer, alpha-Ionone is the best way to get it. Naturally present in the scent of a surprising number of flowers other than the sweet violet. Don’t be fooled if you find within a few seconds you can’t smell anything at all when you put your nose to the bottle: ionones are notorious for overwhelming the olfactory system, but you’ll find it soon sneaks back up on you.
When it was first synthesised, this was thought to be Irone (the key scent component of orris root) because the scent was so similar (though now that we have real pure irone we know it isn’t quite as fine): the mistake derived from the researchers’ belief that the two scents were the same and working with Orris rather than Violet Flower Absolute because it was so much cheaper. Now orris is the expensive product and violet flower absolute has not been produced on a commercial scale for over a century.