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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Red Flower Champa

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Red Flower was founded by Yael Alkalay in 1999 with a set of six candles, two organic teas, and a vision for people to create ritual and beauty in their everyday lives. Ms. Alkalay’s heritage is Russian, Bulgarian and Argentinean and she acknowledges her lineage within her products. For example, the mint and lavender used in select Red Flower body products are sourced from Cordova, Argentina where her mother’s family is from. She also spent five years in Japan when she was the creative director for Shiseido and one can sense her admiration of Japanese culture just from perusing the Red Flower website. Additionally, there is a Red Flower Japan line dedicated to the traditional Japanese bathing ritual. Ms. Alkalay’s tranquil aesthetic is matched only by the peaceful energy she seems to exude.

Lucky for us perfume lovers, Ms. Alkalay branched out from candles, tea and body products and into the world of fragrance. She has created three USDA certified organic perfumes that contain no petro-chemicals, no phthalates and no synthetics. I will be reviewing Champa here;  Ambrette and Guaiac will follow in a few days.

42100Several floral notes are listed for Champa including champa flowers, mimosa, jasmine, osmanthus and ylang ylang. And while there are some potentially grating choices for me in this blend (I’m talking to you mimosa and ylang ylang), the flower that predominates is a soft spoken champaca. Champaca flowers have several names. Champa is a common Hindi name, as well as the Joy Perfume Flower, since it is one of the primary notes in Patou’s Joy. It is native to Southeast Asia, and the flowers are used to scent rooms, decorate bridal beds, and anoint the hair. Of course the essential oil is also used in perfumery, such as in Joy and in Red Flower’s Champa.

Even though champaca is the namesake flower and predominant note of this perfume, Champa ultimately is a blend of delicate florals that serve as the foundation for a nag champa incense experience. Although it’s not so much the smell of incense smoke or even smelling the sticks of nag champa in their box. Red Flower’s Champa smells of a freshly burnt pile of nag champa ash, which generates a new take on the incense fragrance. Its heart is floral, flowing, and smoky.

Once Champa settles and the drydown emerges, the smoky quality dissipates somewhat, allowing the osmanthus to surface and its accompanying apricot accord. The fruitiness is mellow, with hints of melon. Overall, Champa is a gauze-like floral layered over a smoky beginning and an osmanthus/apricot ending. Very worth trying in the oil-based roll-on version that is small, but easily portable and a little goes a long way.

Red Flower Champa is available at Beautyhabit.

Champaca flower photo by rbuzatto on flickr

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