‘Tis the season for gratitude, or perhaps even the decade for it, if benign shopping-mall messaging is any gauge. I am grateful for many things, including a livelihood that allows me to buy perfumes. One perfume for which I am particularly grateful is Velvet & Sweet Pea’s Purrfumery Pangolin Violette Rose, because I won it as a prize from a random draw hosted by ÇaFleureBon, a treasure trove of news and in-depth reviews about up-and-comers in the fragrance world.
I entered the draw because Ida Meister’s review made Pangolin Violette Rose sound absolutely divine:
[…] four exquisite ottos and absolutes reigning supreme in the foreground. Orgasmic jasmines and a dash of carnation contribute richness and intensity; a dollop of Choward’s violet candy dangles flirtatiously before your nose. The sly soupçon of cocoa slips in and provides nuance without overt chocolate; lashings of orris absolute and concrete lend a sprinkling of violet powder (more violet than powder, on my skin) resembling fairy dust. Another beguiling facet of this perfume is its utilization of fine sandalwoods combined with an aged Tahitian vanilla in the base: I appreciate that the effect is woody and smooth without skewing sweet. It would be very easy to compose this as an über-powdery floral gourmand – and there are plenty of these fragrances as it is. Pangolin Violette Rose stands out because it presents a floral woody perfume for adults composed of the finest essences one may obtain; it’s a voluptuous rarity which delights the senses. As is the case with each of Laurie Stern’s perfumes, it is a full-throttle, open-hearted fragrance which elevates the spirit – and the fact that it will benefit endangered wildlife is an added plus.
Knowing that perfumer Laurie Stern is an animal lover who is donating half of the proceeds of this perfume through the end of this year to the Pangolin Crisis Fund (and of another, Luminous Lemurs, to a conservation group that works to help lemurs) is indeed a bonus reason to want to get to know her philosophy and creations better.
I was pleasantly surprised to receive not only the 5-mL prize bottle of Pangolin Violette Rose with a kind note from Laurie but also a generous bag of samples, including Luminous Lemurs and solid perfume versions of both of these new offerings.
I uncapped the spray bottle with great anticipation and pressed Pandora’s nozzle.
For a moment, I’m speechless.
The scent is so familiar and yet so foreign, but on both fronts, it’s clear that it is made of precious ingredients that deserve quality time and attention. Precious is the operative word in the title that came to me for this post, which was inspired not by anything to do with weddings but rather by a fantasy of the era from which the original traditional rhyme emerged. Upon smelling Pangolin Violette Rose for the first time, I was transported to a time and place where people wore exquisite Victorian-style garments, standing and sitting prim. Images of lace and brocade flashed across my mind—every detail deliberate, every thing in its place.
Jasmine, violet, and rose are rich and articulate, having dedicated their essences to the message in this bottle. Orris adds a smooth, slightly powdery layer that also helps make the flowers more diffuse. These absolutes form a formidable presence, even formal, but soon they are joined by the comforting, reassuring, aged vanilla that is infused in the perfumer’s alcohol in which Pangolin Violette Rose is macerated. The recognition of this vanilla note somehow brings me back into the present and invites me to bask in the cozy luxuriousness of the perfume. There is sandalwood in the base, too, although I don’t perceive it prominently (as with the touches of carnation and cocoa)—the whole is so well blended together.
Pangolin Violette Rose is the kind of perfume to get to know closely over time and appreciate the botanical ingredients more with each inhalation.
With thanks to Laurie Stern of Velvet & Sweet Pea’s Purrfumery and to ÇaFleureBon.