Bowie, Suffragettes and April Aromatics’ new release Purple Reign (2015)

I was just sitting down to write this post, when I heard the sad news that David Bowie had passed away.

Despite it being a chock, it might not have hindered my writing had it not been because ever since I first sniffed the final version of Purple Reign back in December, the song accompanying me upon wearing it, has been curiously not the classic Prince song but David Bowie’s Suffragette City. And so it became a different task altogether, more melancholic and slower than I could have anticipated. Suffragette City is from Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars album.image

”Oh don’t lean on me man, ’cause you can’t afford the ticket
I’m back in Suffragette City
Oh don’t lean on me man
‘Cause you ain’t got time to check it
You know my Suffragette City”

The suffragettes, which are in the title of the song, even if what the song is actually about seems to be still up for discussion, would make the colours green, white and violet their own, the first letter of each colour making up the same letters as those of the slogan; Give Women Vote. To begin it was a secret language; women would wear jewellery in these colours, ranging from the more affordable enamel jewellery to the stones emerald, diamonds/ pearls and amethyst to signal their stand point to other like-minded.



Purple Reign is about purple flowers, but to me it feels also very emerald-green and even has a pearl like lustre, reminding me of Suffragette jewellery. It also feels to me like the most ‘natural’ smelling perfume yet from the hand of perfumer Tanja Bochnig, which I feel like stating here as a guide for how to understand my description below. Obviously a natural powderiness is not like that of powder bomb Teint de Neige, and the faint lilac is nothing like the photo-realistic but also screechy flower created in a lab. The palette here seems to embrace the natural materials, removing itself from the ideals of non-natural perfumery entering into its own natural habitat.


The purple in the opening is like the scent of ‘ploppy’ unseeded sweet grapes. Later on it is purple like tiny glimpses of amethyst through the fragrance, a jasmine dressed up as a lilac sniffed in the distance. A tiny bit of powder, like dry ice lighted up purple at a concert, more than actually sweet.

The green of the violet leaf together with the natural osmanthus gives the perfume a sort of muted emerald haze experience, like walking on fluffy clouds in a green dream. Not green as in acidic, fresh or grass-like, it also doesn’t smell of moss, yet has some of the quality of touching moss on a spring day.

Pearls like dewdrops and a feel that the fragrance has lustre between the layers of natural ingredients, each adding their additional hue in the Reign of Purple.

Notes: Natural Lilac tincture, Violets, Lavender ,Osmanthus petals, Jasmine flowers, Orris Root, Opoponax.

Perhaps due to its focus on heart notes Purple Reign changes with its surroundings, on some it will turn sweeter, powdery, on some greener perhaps floral.

I’m thinking how someone wrote about David Bowie that he had been compared to a Chameleon, but he didn’t change with his surroundings rather the surroundings changed with him.

Purple Reign is unisex as when David Bowie takes on Ziggy, The Thin White Duke or any of his other androgynous disguises, not least the (much maligned) Jareth the Goblin King in Labyrinth, and it is as this reincarnation of Goethe’s Erlkönig, with heartfelt lyrics, that he croons:

“It’s only forever, not long at all…”



Pictures are mine, collages made by me with various photos.




15 thoughts on “Bowie, Suffragettes and April Aromatics’ new release Purple Reign (2015)

  1. Wonderful! Both the description of perfume (which sounds amazing) and your tribute to David Bowie.

    I don’t what’s happening lately, with all the deaths, but the one that hit me hard was Alan Rickman. An amazing actor but in my heart he will have a special place in the role of Snape.

    • Thank you so much Ines, it means a lot, it wasn’t easy as I was afraid it would feel like “exploitation” – the last thing I would do.
      I think many will have a special place in their hearts for ‘Snape’.

  2. Fabulous. How could I not know about the suffragette jewellery?!

    This perfume sounds gorgeous, especially because of your beautiful imagery. I love the jasmine dressed up as lilac, the purple-lit dry ice and the green dream. It makes me long for spring.

    Lovely Bowie tribute too.

    • I didn’t know about the jewellery until about two years ago, wonderful isn’t it.
      On me, Purple Reign wears a little ‘rougher’, I sniffed it on someone where it was a tad sweeter and a little more powdery, which I preferred, but yes definitely nice for spring.
      Thank you <3

      • Naturals really can differ much more significantly from skin to skin, I think.

  3. Beautiful review, doubly so because of the wonderful notes of the perfume coupled with your thoughts on David Bowie. I sang the song in my head as i read this. Anything purple attracts me, and i have had Purple Reign on my radar since i heard about it. I have seen Bowie live and it was a wonderful memory. One day i hope to try Purple Reign to create another lasting memory!

    • Hi Pats, and thank you so much for your beautiful comment. I normally add a link to the music I mention, but in this case I preferred it the way you describe; people singing the song, or hearing it in their head while reading 🙂 I went to a Bowie concert too, a wonderful memory for me, and had hoped/ thought there would be another one. I hope you’ll get to try Purple Reign soon.

  4. A lovely review and Purple Reign sounds quite feminine I’d have said, though apparently not. Maybe it depends on whether the powder or green aspects of the perfume dominate on skin.
    Anyway, I’m with Ines on the death of Alan Rickman, for most people he will certainly always be Snape. For me he is the muzzy wine aficionado of Bottle Shock. But what a loss!
    Bowie I think lucky to have avoided old age. He will remain Major Tom/ Ziggy/ The Man Who Fell to Earth/ The Young Romantic. Did anyone ever wear suits better?

    • Thank you 🙂
      It does sound feminine, doesn’t it? But it isn’t quite as it’s very natural smelling, nothing like what the notes might suggest. The powder is really just a hint, nothing make-upy.
      Perhaps you’re right about Bowie, you’re certainly right about the suit. He seemed to have been very contend with his life and achievements both atistically and personally, and I suppose one can’t hope for more than that.

  5. What a tribute to Bowie! I’m sorry for our loss(es).

    You know how partial I am about lilac (and I like the color too!), so this perfume sounds very interesting – I should try it this spring! Thank you for the great review!

    • Thank you Undina. I suppose I can’t really call it *my* loss, but it certainly is the first time I feel true sadness over the passing away of a ‘celebrity’, as opposed to merely ‘what a shame’ or something like that.
      I wonder if you will like this one, it could go either way, and you might not find it lilacy enough.

  6. Well, I never knew that about the Suffragette’s colour scheme, and I love how you have woven an elegy to David Bowie into this review – your collages and sketches are a refreshing change from the usual images that are doing the rounds in the wake of his death. As for the scent itself, it sounds just beautiful. I am well up for a ‘muted emerald haze experience’, bring it on! It’s the acidic grassy facet of some ‘green perfumes’ that I don’t care for, but this sounds like my kind of green.

    • Thank you very much Vanessa. I didn’t want it to in any way look like I was taking advantage – my admiration for the man and his music has lasted very long and not just an FB/media-induced mania 😉
      I don’t much care for the acidic green perfumes either, I can admire their beauty from afar, but it’s not something I wear, perhaps Purple Reign would indeed be your kind.

  7. Lovely review, Asali, I really enjoyed reading it. Very special link, Bowie and AA Purple Reign.

    Purple Reign sounds interesting. I am a bit intrigued by what you say about it being the most natural April Aromatics smelling scent so far, I thought Rosenlust and Jasmina were already quite natural smelling.

    • Thank you Esperanza, I suppose I mean that some fragrances are more similar to mixed media ones than others, and I think if you are unfamiliar with the whole idea of natural perfumery then PR might be a bigger difference for you than for example Rosenlust. Compared to that one, PR is more complex and its notes are less recognisable as a rose or jasmine. Does that explain it better?

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