Cat's Meow

Time to stop and smell the flowers By Tonie Minsal Le Parfumeur Rebelle I could dedicate an entire review to Perfumer Laurie Stern’s aesthetic for her luverly company Velvet & Sweet Pea’s Purrfumery--it’s that sweet and special. To my mind, only one other company has ever impressed me this much with the care and attention paid to the beauty of presentation--it’s that impressive. From the lush purple box the products arrived in, to the shredded paper packing, to the silver wrapping paper, to the little velvet pouch with a rhinestone buckle, to the sweet little info cards, to the silver box with the faux gem on top--I was blown away. Laurie was a wedding florist in a previous incarnation--lucky us that she does perfume now! The scents themselves are nearly impossible to describe, they’re so complex and delicate--they’re like a fine lace or filigree. They are a testament to Laurie’s love affair with flowers. It’s trippy, but instead of being heavy and overbearing, these fragrances invite you to come closer to inhale their loveliness, like a flower inviting a bee. The Terrain is probably my favorite; it smells incredible with mitti attar. Laurie employs the most delicate hand, but it’s still strong enough for me. This is what I want to smell constantly and forever. Indescribably beautiful. When I look on Velvet & Sweet Pea’s site, I was shocked to discover that this was an eau de cologne, not a perfume. I am always drawn to scent in its strongest concentration, and yet I am completely smitten with this. Laurie outdoes herself with this blend. Narcissus Poeticus is kind of low and warm and deep. Kind of gummy and resiny, polar opposite of the high, white, clean smell I expected. Velvet & Sweet Pea’s Gardenia is not your granny’s drugstore jungle gardenia. Laurie’s version of this hypnotic flower is not at all the funereal, cloying choker that most of us grew up with. This interpretation is all softness with notes of candy and powder--and I mean powder in the best sense of the word. Dry down brings out an ambery spice anchor. I detect some juicy citrus notes as well. Another one I cannot stop sniffing. Jasmine Dawn To Dusk was another surprise--citrusy sweet. I wanna say bubble gummy, but in the best possible way. Three different jasmines meld warmly with citrus oils to give an edible quality to this potion. Songbird--clear light orange blossom champagne with a tiny little anchor of a sparrow’s foot of sandal or mitti holding it from completely ascending. Jewelry Of Heaven is complex; starts with a winey note, drying down to kind of a sweet, clear orange candy with a powdery top, then settles into a sandaly, mitti-ish heart. Veddy veddy nice indeed. You’ve just bathed in a pool of clear, crisp mountain spring water. You roll down a hillside, still naked, through a riot of wildflowers. As you crush the blooms, they release their fragrance--a rainbow of sunny smiles, lifting up to Heaven. You run exhilarated, through the fresh spring breeze, petals clinging to your still damp body. Oh no wait--you’ve just used Velvet & Sweetpea’s Calliope Bath & Body Oil. Laurie also does Solid Perfumes in a base of organic jojoba and beeswax. These are packaged in the dearest little silver poison boxes with a big faux gem on top. I tried the Honey--tuberose predominates with a citrus top note. This is bee juice, man, for sure. Sweet, gooey, and tasty. Lovely. Victorian. Velvet Sweet Pea’s Bath Salts are just grand. Highly scented and packaged dearly, they come in Kashmir Lavender, which is a must have. Really clear and sweet. Passionflower is a surprise, with spearmint, ylang, blood orange, and lime. I am not a fan of mint, but it works wonderfully in this blend. Monkey Cat smells like essential oil of monkey and cat. Kidding--I’m kidding. Named for one of Laurie’s kitties in residence, try this one yourself and see. Terrain is lovely, with frankincense, geranium, and lime. Different than the perfume version, methinks. Laurie also stocks some splendid organic hydrosols: Bulgarian Rose, Orange Blossom, Rose Geranium, and Lavender. Staples. I’ve tried others, and I’m very impressed with the strength and quality of these. So much so that I ordered more of the orange blossom and the rose. Laurie also offers Perfumery Adventures--check her site for details. Um--she has a claw footed tub in her back yard--enough said! Any of Laurie’s products would make the dearest, most impressive gift. You heard it here first, at good old LPR--expect big things for Laurie Stern and Velvet and Sweet Pea’s--just look at her last name--she’s a star!

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