Velvet & Sweet Pea's Songbird

“Songbird” is a lovely name. It’s a pretty word to speak, and the thought of songbirds is a charming one. But after several wearings, I have a new name for this perfume. I find Sensual Chameleon to be more appropriate since Songbird flows through several alluring transformations. No disrespect to Laurie Stern of Velvet and Sweet Pea, creator of this beauty. She has outdone herself with this fragrance, but sometimes a gal needs to come up with a nickname for a loved one.


Juicy blood orange is the entree to Songbird, reminiscent of the fruit dripping in its perfectly ripened sweetness. This opening is most succulent and reminds me of Laurie’s Orange Blossom Body Frosting -a decadent treat for the skin and soul- and I hoped Songbird would linger in this familiar scent for the duration. I so enjoyed the floral and gently spicy citrus aroma wafting about me, but sometimes it’s better to not have your wishes come to fruition as what laid before me was much more fullfilling that anything I could have hoped for.


Just fifteen minutes in, I was swooning over the evolution from citrusy fullness to the tea-like and slightly herbaceous glistening of boronia. I have grown to love boronia more and more as I explore it in natural perfumes. I adore its wild, all encompassing scent as it moves from woods, to jammy fruits, to culinary herbs and tannic teas. Boronia is also slightly floral, in a breezy way as if the blossoms have been baked in the beachside sun and then moistened again by the salt drenched water.

As the orange faded and the boronia became more pronounced, an enticing beeswax note appeared and brought Songbird to the level that made me think of it as the Sensual Chameleon. I was not expecting to be struck by a thick, dark honey scent after I had just been mesmerized by boronia. Songbird became suggestive of beeswax melting in a pan over a kerosene stove; a mix of heat, oil and pure sweetness, possibly an aspect of tuberose absolute.  I’m a little crazy for this particular scent in a perfume, and it’s a rare one. (There’s a Strange Invisible Perfume that shares this scent, and I will get to its review as some point I promise). Clearly, I reveled in this stage of Songbird’s metamorphosis.


One can remain in an olfactory stupor for only so long, so sandalwood came knocking at the drydown. Fortunately, the wake-up call was a gentle one. Smooth, vanilla soaked sandalwood kindly nudged me awake and I was pleased to spend time with such a grounding and smooth essence. And as you can surmise, I was more than pleased to spend time with Songbird in its entirety and experience its gorgeous evolution.



If you haven’t peeked at the Velvet & Sweet Pea website, please take some time to peruse Laurie’s enchanting aesthetic. I also encourage you to read her FAQ page in order to read more about how devoted Laurie is to using all natural essences, artisinal perfume making and her dedication to helping animals. Here is some information from her site that I find very salient:

Velvet and Sweet Pea’s Purrfumery perfumes are made by hand in small, carefully crafted batches, using only natural ingredients. (Commercial perfumes are made using a dizzying list of chemicals and synthetic fragrances.) The distinctive use of the word “botanical” is key to one of the core principles of the Purrfumery. Many perfumers who call themselves “natural” perfumers use animal products (such as civet cat musk or beaver castoreum) in their perfumes. These products are harvested from the animals under terribly cruel, species-endangering conditions, and so Velvet and Sweet Pea designate their perfumes as botanical to indicate that only nature’s plant treasures – flowers, fruits, seeds, leaves, and aromatic woods – are used in creating their delicious scents.

All Velvet and Sweet Pea perfumes are created in a base of organic alcohol or beeswax (because the base comprises 65-95% of a perfume, all our perfumes are almost entirely organic). Laurie also uses as many organic, wildcrafted, and sustainably grown ingredients as possible in all her creations.


Songbird is available at Velvet and Sweet Pea. 8 ml for $185, 15 ml for  $325, or 1 oz for $550.

In The Orange Blossoms by Hadley Hutton at etsy.

Posted by ~Trish

Disclosure: A sample of Songbird  was sent to me for consideration by Velvet & Sweet Pea. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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Velvet & Sweet Pea’s Orange Blossom Face & Body Frosting

If you’ve read Scent Hive over the past several months, you know that I adore Velvet & Sweet Pea’s Face and Body Frostings. (You can find my praise for Kashmir Rose here, and Tuberose Gardenia here). Although I have not given Tuberose Gardenia the full attention it deserves, nor have I reviewed V&SP’s Orange Blossom,until now.

The common scented thread amongst all of them, is the vanilla infused organic jojoba oil that is sublimely smooth and creamy, and very sensual. Tuberose Gardenia benefits from this milky velvet base as it grounds the unbelievable tropical decadence of tuberose and gardenia enfleurage. (Enfleurage is a very expensive and lengthy process that you can read about near the end of V&SP’s web page here). The blend of pure gardenia, tuberose and Tahitian vanilla beans that have been infused in the jojoba oil for at least 6 months is intoxicating, and only a tiny amount is enough to send me into a blissful stupor.

But I digress. The focus of this post is Orange Blossom, another incredibly gorgeous Frosting that Laurie Stern, the artist behind V&SP, has created for us orange-loving fools. Orange Blossom is a bit of a chameleon. One moment she has me sitting on a comfy couch, ’round the fire at a holiday party… hints of mulled spices in the air. Neroli sometimes has that effect, it can be slightly herbally and aromatic. Then within a moment, Orange Blossom will hasten me away to a beachy holiday that’s all tangeriney and breezy. I love that about Orange Blossom, its dichotomous nature.

Of the three Frostings, Orange Blossom has the smoothest vanilla quality. It is luscious. It’s easy to think Creamsicle because of the orange/vanilla duo, but don’t. All of them have a very sophisticated vanillic base that lean gourmand, but never in a foody or cloying manner. Only in a swoon-worthy, I-hope-I-can-always-get my-hands-on-this-stuff kind of way.

Matisse Odalisque at galanart.com

Disclosure: Samples from the company were provided for this review. The opinons in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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Halloween Treats For Grown-Ups

Skyclad Witch by WinonaCookie

As a mom, the focus of Halloween tends to be on costumes, post trick-or-treat candy negotiations, and not so much on grown-up-time fun. I’d like to change that with this post, and focus on some delicious treats for those of us out of our tweens. So pull up a chair, and get to deciding which scent you’d like to wear for Halloween.


Aftelier’s Chocolate and Saffron Body Oil

I almost needn’t say more after you read this product’s name, right? Chocolate and Saffron Body Oil. It’s luscious, luxurious and very sensual. But there is one element missing in the name, and that’s jasmine. The oil smells as if it’s been infused with jasmine, bittersweet cocoa, and a boozy-honeyed quality that I’m assuming the saffron imparts. The chocolate oil is so dense, you must shake it vigorously to disperse it before using, and it’s beautiful to see it mix and meld with the golden saffron tinged oil. On the skin, the fragrance is decidedly chocolatey, in a dark and sexy way. Imagine walking down a tropical moonlit path with night blooming jasmine surrounding you, and impossibly, the blossoms are dusted with bittersweet cocoa powder. Like a dream, the cocoa melts into the petals and the petals into your skin, and you’re far far away from any children asking you how much candy they can eat on Halloween night. And…end dream sequence. Go get some Aftelier Chocolate and Saffron Body Oil, it’ll make trick or treating much more pleasant.


Velvet and Sweet Pea’s Black Cat

Black CatAs I’m sure many of you have noticed, 100% all natural perfumes can run on the expensive side, and Laurie Stern, the artistic mind behind Velvet and Sweet Pea, has answered her clients’ calls for something a little more affordable. Black Cat is one of Laurie’s newest offerings, and not only is it appropriately named for Halloween, its scent is perfect for the coming festive winter months. Cocoa, ylang ylang, aniseseed myrtle and biodynamic Italian blood orange blend beautifully, like biting into a bittersweet chocolate-orange holiday confection, spiked with anise. The drydown is gorgeous as the base of this Eau de Parfum is Tahitian vanilla infused organic grape alcohol. This freshly crushed vanilla bean essence alluringly opens in the fragrance’s final stages, and lasts for hours.

Anise has become one of my favorite notes over the past few months, most notably in Honoré des Prés’ licorice tinged Sexy Angelic , Ayala Sender’s The Purple Dress, and now in Black Cat. Its anise component is from Aniseseed Myrtle, a tree whose oil smells just like anise, and its bitterness tempers the beloved chocolate/orange duo perfectly. I have a feeling that at $35 for 6mls, Laurie Stern’s Black Cat will get much play throughout this fall and winter from many a perfume lover, including me.


Soivohlé Oudh Lacquer Parfum

Oudh LacquerThis is a fragrance that brings together oudh and chocolate. Some might feel this is a meeting of exasperation and the ultimate in comfort, respectively. I have not had the experience of oudh being unapproachable or difficult to wear. Maybe it’s because I have mostly worn it in all-natural formulations which possibly gives it a warmer, rounder impression. So while Liz Zorn, the nose behind Soivohlé, has created a fragrance that boasts a dry and robust oudh, the perfume will not keep you at arm’s length. From the get-go, dark chocolate envelopes you and guides you into this deep, spicy, smoky scent encounter.

Anise and orange are subtly blended in Oudh Lacquer Parfum, steeped into the tangy woody texture of the perfume, and imbued into the cocoa absolute. An expert hand and artistic mind was clearly used in achieving the fine floral balance of the honeyed linden blossom and spicy/heady champaca. Several other blossoms are present, such as orange blossom, rose, aglalia, as well as orris butter, but the linden and champaca are the florals that give luster to this Oudh Lacquer. And thankfully, the warm, rich cocoa never strays from beginning to end.


Please visit Nathan Branch’s blog for his two part review of Oudh Lacquer. It truly deserves a Part I and a Part II. All three of these fragrances merit more words than I have room for here. They are all sophisticated, compelling, and most importantly, beautiful to wear.


Aftelier’s Chocolate and Saffron Body Oil is available at Aftelier.com $40 for 4.6 oz.

Velvet and Sweet Pea’s Black Cat EDP is available at Purrfumery.com $35 for 6mls.

Soivohlé’s Oudh Lacquer Parfum is available at soivohle.com for $95 for 4.5mls or $260 for 1/2 oz.


Posted by ~Trish

Skyclad Witch by WinonaCookie on etsy.com
Disclosure: Samples from each company were provided for this review. The opinons in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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Velvet and Sweet Pea’s Narcissus Poeticus

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Narcissus Poeticus is one of those rare fragrances that holds both darkness and light in its grasp. The darkness of the soil that we don’t dig into, so as to not disrupt the burgeoning bulbs below our feet. And the light of the sun hitting delicate petals once they emerge victorious after the harsh winter. Wearing Narcissus Poeticus for the first time felt like my springtime emergence from the damp, cold soil. 

 

The fragrance began dark and bitter, like pulling up a half-buried stone covered with rich soil and moss. Beautiful and haunting woody notes swirled around as well, like deep oily resin from an old-growth forest. I had to ask the creator of the fragrance, Laurie Stern, about this and she confirmed that Blue Spruce is in the mix which I can assure you is not piney, but deep and earthy. Ms. Stern has used narcissus absolute in this fragrance which allows for narcissus’ pungency to shine through in the opening, but not overpower it. Once the soil dried and dusted off, the narcissus subdued and made way for the fleshy sweetness of osmanthus and the green charm of violet leaves. The drydown evolved into an alluring floral blend that retained hints of the initial earthiness, but rather than being linear, the remaining darkness became slightly smoky and weightless. What a complex and stunning fragrance! 

 

Narcissus absolute is very rare and very expensive, so Narcissus Poeticus is a special perfume to have in your collection if you are so lucky to have it, or plan to own it. It is a limited edition, and there are not many bottles left, so don’t delay in your decision to buy a bottle.

 

Velvet and Sweet Pea’s Purrfumery has loving care and attention in every last detail. The sample sets that I received from Ms. Stern were impeccably and gorgeously packaged and her website, scent descriptions and handwritten notes exemplify her dedication to natural perfumery and her joy of creating beautiful fragrances. One only needs to read her FAQ page on her website to discover more about her devotion to 100% all-natural perfumes, humane treatment of animals, and use of rare and limited essences. You can also read an inspiring and educational interview with Laurie Stern at Sniffapalooza Magazine: The Natural’s Perfumers Corner where you will learn many things about this perfumer, including her early days of hand making lingerie for high end stores like I. Magnin. (A big shout out to those of you who remember I. Magnin!!) Once you hit the link, you’ll need to scroll down past a few of the interviews to find Velvet and Sweet Pea’s.

 

Narcissus Poeticus is available at Velvet and Sweet Pea’s Purrfumery

 

Posted by ~Trish

 

Narcissus by dianamarshall on etsy.

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