August 21, 2012
Whenever I come home and see a package from Laurie Stern's delightful Velvet and Sweet Peas Purrfumery, I just know that my day will have taken a turn for the better. For those of you who don’t know her, Laurie is a natural perfumer and artist working in northern California who creates the most luxurious scents and body frostings that you could possibly imagine.  Her studio which she has lovingly named Velvet and Sweet Peas Purrfumery (after the adorable feline muses who live with her) is nestled high above the cliffs of San Francisco and it is here that she has created a home filled with flowers, gorgeous natural scents and all kinds of lacy treasures. Her gardens are a fragrant Shakespearean paradise that she tends lovingly with a master gardeners touch and they are filled with fuzzy fat honeybees and hummingbirds that dance like Titanias fairies, flitting from petal to petal, creating the fragrant effervescence that I am always aware of within two seconds of touching any Laurie Stern perfume to my wrists.  Her body frostings are unimaginably luxurious and so rich that she can only ship them at certain times of the year; a fact which makes them all the more precious to me. 

Laurie Stern is a true artist who makes everything that she touches more beautiful; actually I don’t think that she can help it.  Her very nature is to transform the ordinary into something extraordinary and her products although perfect in every way are only part of the magic. Getting a gift from Velvet and Sweet Pea’s Purrfumery is like opening a Christmas stocking that feels so lovingly prepared that you know it will be filled with all of your favorite treats.  Laurie’s scents are filled to the brim with her wonderfully Californian hippy witch sensibilities, but make no mistake because these are serious perfumes, hand crafted only with the most beautiful natural ingredients that unfold on your skin like a blowsy old fashioned Bourbon rose as it warms up in the sun after a wee bit of gentle rain. Add a touch of oozy rich caramel and the best vanilla, a lovely Agent Provocateur bra, a velvet cape and a full moon….stir three times widdershins and watch out!  No one has perfected the art of the love potion better than she.

If you are interested in cruelty free fragrance yet want perfumes that are gorgeous, lush and sophisticated you will find them here. Laurie is a dedicated environmentalist and animal rescue Warrioress so you will never find her using any animal products in her perfumes except beeswax or raw honey.  It goes without saying that as a passionate protector of all kitties she is absolutely against the use of the natural civets or musk’s.  

Velvet and Sweet Pea's Purrfumery 
Fleur de Caramel Parfum and Eau de Parfum
New Release and Profile 
By Beth Schreibman Gehring

Here is a link to her article entitled “The Dark side of Perfume”, which presents a detailed accounting of the journey that led her to the understanding that she could create beautiful perfumes made from cruelty free ingredients that were every bit as delicious and long lasting as anything made with essences taken without regard for the suffering of the animal that provides them. I do wish myself that there was less reliance on these ingredients so I applaud her for taking such a strong stand against them.  They come at a terrible cost to the creatures that we "harvest" them from.
I have loved all of her perfumes and until now, my favorite has been her yummy “Black Cat”, which of course I wear every Halloween!  

Laurie has given me something new to enjoy in the form of a delectable new perfume that she debuted at Taste TV’s Artisan Fragrance Salon held last month in San Francisco aptly named "Fleur de Caramel".  The packaging is incredibly beautiful in the way that only she can do. Pouches of the loveliest fabric, ribbons, lace, velvet, handmade flowers and bits of glorious gilded paper turn this bottle of eau de parfum into a luscious bon bon. Anything Laurie touches becomes precious, sensual and absolutely decadent.  She’s an artist after all and I do believe that she made exquisitely sexy wedding lingerie for either Barneys or Henri Bendel at one point early in her career so her packaging really reflects that in the most delightful way!
I find Fleur de Caramel to be absolutely bewitching and obviously I wasn’t the only one to fall hard under its spell. In San Francisco, Fleur de Caramel walked away with a Bronze Best of Salon award for best new product, as well as the Gold award for best natural scent and the Silver award for the most unique scent. I’m wearing it right now and it is gorgeous, spellbinding and edible. All of my favorite notes are here in a yummy caramel accord that she’s created of night blooming frangipani and cognac, jasmine, tuberose and a very rare sandalwood that she’s kept for ages just waiting for the right perfume to unleash its magic. Fleur de Caramel opens sweetly on my skin with a kiss of something tropical, but then very quickly melts into a rich, gooey pool of buttery brown sugar, falernum and spiced rum.  This is one of those “heaving cleavage”, very sensual perfumes that my husband loves. 

I took it to Castine, Maine on vacation with me and wore it every day. The warm and salty Atlantic air morphed it into a “Fleur de sel Caramel” which got better by the hour. My husband took one sniff and went all Captain Jack Sparrow on me.   Thank you Laurie….

Fleur de caramel is available as a beautiful perfume, eau de parfum and gorgeous crème solid. You can purchase it at

Beth Schreibman Gehring

Breaking News: Velvet & Sweet Pea’s Purrfumery won a Bronze Best of Salon Award for Best New Product for Fleur de Caramel! We also won the Gold Award for Best All-Natural Scent, a Silver Award for Most Unique and two more Bronze Awards for Best Gift Set and Top All-around Product Line. Taste TV’s Artisan Fragrance Salon

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Note From Laurie Stern...
"Fir-ever Young, mentioned in Oprah Magazine!
In the July issue, Dr. Toni Bark, a proponent of healthy and vibrant living (and one of my customers) was featured in Oprah magazine.  During her interview, Toni said she wore our Fir-ever Young scent – I was delighted to see this woodsy, jammy scent mentioned in Oprah magazine!"