If you have been reading, you might remember that I recently took a natural perfumery class with Laurie Stern, owner and nose at Velvet and Sweet Pea's Purrfumery, based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Laurie was gracious enough to invite me to her private atelier, a beautiful and fragrant sanctuary, and I simply could not resist.
It was so incredibly relaxing to spend time in this vintage-inspired hideaway. While chatting away about our love for kitties, other animals, and natural perfumery, Laurie treated me to some sniffs of her collection of rare and exquisite botanical essences, including different varieties of frankincense (I am a Boswelia carteri addict and huffer), and a lily of the valley enflourage.
I sampled two of her new perfume: Eze, which is named after the tiny mountain village on the French Riviera, a town that both Laurie and I have visited. It smells like sweet lemon and green herbs and really captures my memory of the fresh air of that itty bitty town. Rose Encens, is a slightly citrusy, sweetly rosey, balsamic perfume that smells very elegant.
Here are some photos from inside Velvet and Sweet Pea's Purrfumery! Click to enlarge individual photos:
I could seriously live in that beautiful place forever! It was not easy to control the urge to dab perfume on every spot of available skin. Some of the things I smelled were so intoxicating that occasionally I could not follow the conversation.
A little bit more about Velvet and Sweet Pea's Purrfumery. To be totally clear, the purrfumery is Leaping Bunny Certified, which means that the house is cruelty-free. She does not use animal essences, in her perfume, except for beeswax that comes from the bee swarm that chose to make their home in her garden.
Conscientious, transparent perfumers know that there is no such thing as "ethically harvested" civet.
If you ever see the term "vintage civet," please be aware that it is a common term in niche perfumery, and it is misleading to consumers. In the world of perfume, you can refer to almost any perfume or ingredient as "vintage" for all sorts of reasons that a perfumer can simply make up. Synthetic civet exists and is often used in perfumery, so consumers often assume it means that natural civet is no longer collected, since it is barbaric and cruel, and that "vintage civet" is like some kind of buried treasure that a perfumer attains by happenstance. This is rarely the case. The world of perfumery is full of smoke and mirrors, and it is up to us, the consumers, to do our homework and ask the meaningful questions.
Any addition of natural civet (or other animal essences such as castoreum or deer musk, which contrary to popular belief, still very much exists) to a perfume creates a demand. If there is a demand, it means that people will want to capitalize on it, and more helpless animals will be confined, tortured, and killed for their essences.
I checked out the Purrfumery's website ahead of time, so I already knew that I needed one of their darling vintage-inspired lockets. They offer a few styles, and they are filled with solid perfumes in a beeswax base from the Purrfumery's own bees. I chose the Honey Cat locket (this time), but I need to bring attention to her Pigeon Perfume Lockets because all of the proceeds go to Palomacy Pigeon and Dove Adoptions, an organization that helps to find homes for "unreleasable" birds that would otherwise be euthanized.