The Velvets, Vero Profumo and Venus in Furs


Val the Cookie Queen


Hey APJ. Wassup?

Synesthesia: A perceptual phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. Wikipedia

We often hear of perfume triggering the visualization of a certain colour or colours. Synesthesia. I suspect many of us have experienced this. I remember once, after having ingested a number of mushrooms, actually seeing the words I spoke coming out of my mouth in colours. The struggle is real. 🙂

The Velvets, Vero Profumo and Venus in Furs

I have similar experiences with perfume, with scent triggering an immediate piece of music in my head. Most notably with the Vero Profumos and The Velvet Underground (The Velvets).

The perfumes of Vero Profumo are exquisite, but it is so much more than that. They have the same effect on me when I first tried them, as The Velvets did when I first heard them. As in they both added something to my soul. It was Venus in Furs that blew my mind. Both Vero and the Velvets have an erotic, revolutionary, pioneering and subversive character. They are one and the same to me. This is not the first time I have mentioned the connection but it remains still the most powerful perfume synesthesia in my life. Vero and the Velvets are a bridge connecting me to who I was as a young woman and to who I am now.

I love this version of Venus in Furs. Jane Scarpantoni on cello is freaking amazing. It gives me goose bumps every single time.

Lou Reed, Venus in Furs – YouTube

And how can I not include this?

Lou Reed – Walk On The Wild Side – Rare Video-HD

APJ readers, is there a piece of music that is a perfume to you? Feel free to put links in the comments, I love to know what does it for you. And I will watch every single one.

“Vero Profumo. Once worn they own and haunt.“ The Silver Fox
“A thousand dreams that would awake me, different colors made of tears.“. Venus in Furs. Lou Reed


(Ed: Photos by Val CQ)

49 comments on “The Velvets, Vero Profumo and Venus in Furs

  1. Vanessa says:

    Perfect teaming of music and perfume house – with bonus collision of Vs!

    I associate Annick Goutal Songes with On My Balcony by The Monochrome Set, but can’t find a decent link to it, though any Spotify subscribers will find it there.
    Vanessa recently posted…A nest lined with bubble wrap: hoarding tips from a ‘perfume packaging magpie’.My Profile

  2. Lizbee says:

    Val, I LOVE this post. I feel like it’s a glimpse into your kindred soul. THIS is what the hunt is all about for me, to connect in this way and to have direct access to the core elements of myself. Thank you for laying your rock and roll heart out there for us to see and love.

    I tried the Veros early in my rabbit hole experience and was scared away by their muchness. Lately, I’ve been playing with the idea of revisiting them, and now I’m inspired to pull the trigger. 🤘🏽🤘🏽🤘🏽💕

  3. Tara says:

    Lovely post, Val. A piece of you.
    The Velvets remind me of my youth too. That Nico album is on another level. I wish I did see a perfume with music or vice versa but can’t say I do. Maybe one day.
    Tara recently posted…Winner of the 2nd Birthday! Giveaway!My Profile

    • cookie queen says:

      Oh I shouldn’t worry – I see music in absolutely everything. Always have done. I mean the Nico Album? I don’t reckon anything now comes close, although that could be because I am old. Hmmmmm. I saw Lou Reed in concert in London, very early 1980s. Was absolutely amazing, and there were so many punk starts in the audience. A sitting down gig, cannot remember where it was. Must look. Siouxsie Sioux and Budgie were sat in front of us. If I remember Bpwie was at the side of the stage too. Wasn’t the Velvets, but that was OK. He would not play Heroin, but did play wicked long Sister Ray. Bussis dear friend. xxxxxxx

    • cookie queen says:

      Hey Alanna! I don‘t remember. Probably Opium since I drowned in the stuff then. I do know I was wearing white drainpipe jeans, that I had to lie down on the floor and put a coathanger into the zip to get done up. 🙂

  4. crikey says:

    *love* this post. Thank you.

    The Jesus and Mary Chain play the role for me that the Velvets play for you, I think. Specifically the album Psychocandy. From the first time I heard them on a John Peel session in, hmm, very early 85? (Their sessions are online )

    If I ever find a perfume or perfumer that plays that same role I will be extraordinarily happy. And, extending the wall-of-sound music love…if i find an olfactory equivalent of Godspeed you black emperor, I might just fall over with amazement.

    Most associations I have between scents and songs are indirect, bouncing through a situation or place or time, rather than being a direct link of sensations and response. (Sarah of 4160s wrote something on her blog a while back about how she hears smells as chords.)

    [first version of this is sitting in spam. too many links!]

    • crikey says:

      and in other news HOLY CRAP!! I just found a recording of the gig I went to at a completely crap club in Preston in 1985. Complete with the abusive chat and shouting. The internet is a magic time machine:

    • cookie queen says:

      Oh my gosh dearest Crikey. I freaking love the Jesus and Mary Chain and was living in Amsterdam in 1985 when I really got into them. Might have heard Psychocandy first on XTC. But then would I ever admit that? That is an album equal to some Velvets. I am gonna do my whole workout to the J&M Chain tomorrow. It has been toooooo long. I love their darkness and beautiful melodies. I never saw them. And every single Vero would work just fine to anything on Psychocandy. A million thanks for this. 🙂

      • crikey says:

        That makes me absurdly happy! Enjoy the re-listening.

        (it’s odd to think of my seventeen-year-old self in that room, chain smoking to avoid talking to people, wearing my grandfather’s smoking jacket and way, way too much eyeliner–if there is any such thing–and being so pleased i got to go to that gig just a few days before I was packed back off to boarding school. Crazy piles of memories from listening to this.)

        also: OMFG re: that Lou Reed gig you mention.

      • Kate Apted says:

        I saw Jesus and Mary Chain in their last gig in Melb in 1995 or so. Freaking cool gig. Probably best one I’ve been to. Intimate, small and wide selection of songs.

        I cannot imagine that Lou gig in London. Too much. Just too much to contemplate.

    • cookie queen says:

      Hey Kate, so the gig was April 10, 1979. Hammersmith Odeon. Not early 80’s. I should have checked online for the date!! So there you go. Just reminding myself of the gig makes me shake. Came on playing Sweet Jane. Not a lot could equal that. xxxx

    • cookie queen says:

      Absurdly happy is cool. :). I always wore too much eyeliner, tons. Seventeen? So cool. From the Jesus and Mary Chain to boarding school? Whoa. How did you stand school? Because of the gig? I could understand that! Yeah, I was lucky to go to the Lou Reed gig. In the right place at the right time to get tickets. In fact I lived at the right time , 1975 – 1989 for a shitload of kickass gigs. I still go to a few, but not as many as I would like. Bigger ones actually, Foo Fighters, Muse, and soon The Imagine Dragons. I love the state of pop music today, I must say. And I am going to meet up with Bonkers Vanessa in Germany in a month to see The Monochrome Set. For the fourth time with her. Way excited. xxxx

      • crikey says:

        I hated boarding school but I was used to it by that point–I’d done six years and only had one more left. The lack of privacy was the worst. But, listening to lots of music that other people hated helped a great deal.

        That will be so much fun With Mme. Bonkers! I’ve not seen the Monochrome Set play since they split up in 98, and that was at the 12 Bar Club. A venue so tiny they barely fit on the stage all at once. They’ll be playing Edinburgh in April, I really should go! I don’t go to nearly enough gigs these days. That has to change. I saw some amazing bands in the late 80s and 90s, and just the odd handful since.

        …goes to look up who is playing here and in glasgow in the next few months…

  5. Diana says:

    Wow, Val, this is too epic to be just a coincidence, the noosphere does exist: a Russian blogger published his musings on synesthesia (and a niche brand l’Orchestre Parfum that tries to recreate the connections between musical themes/instruments and its perfumes) !
    I have to admit, though, despite my greatest life-long passion for music I don’t usually see perfumes as songs, they are colours for me.
    There was, however, a huge but kinda bygone now crush on Dior Homme Intense. When I started wearing it I felt as if Nina Simone’s Feeling Good was playing.

    • cookie queen says:

      Hellllloooo Diana! Nice to see you. 🙂 I dunno about perfumes inspired by music, might be interesting but I would love to read the blog? You could translate it for me huh? hahahahaha!! The Nina Simone story sounds exactly right. Lots of hugs xxxxxxxxx

      • Diana says:

        I know you were kidding but that article is interesting, so here’s an abstract:
        Valeriy Mikhalitsyn,
        “Our olfactory sense has been repressed for hundreds of years in European culture, no wonder that we have to make use of other sensory systems. The Russian language like many others doesn’t possess a sufficient vocabulary for describing scents and fragrances, that’s why we have to borrow terms and describe scents as “bright, glossy” (visual categories), or “voiced/mute” (sound), “sweet, sour, bitter” and so on.

        … Being a synesthete i.e. having a unique perception of things cannot be controlled, that’s why it looks bizarre as a concept referring to the arts.
        Perfumers might sometimes be inspired by something not related to the world of fragrance (TN: or so they say!), but can a creator’s synesthetic associations serve as a way to appeal to a larger audience?”

        And then Valeriy talks about l’Orchestre Parfum and Pierre Guguen and him (PG) being inspired by particular musical instruments, genres and even themes. Considering the price and the approach, he’s not impressed 🙂

        Lots of love 🙂

    • cookie queen says:

      Diana – I most certainly was not joking. Thanks a lot. Totally interesting. And much appreciated. Will look him up. My namesake. Buddies. ❤️❤️❤️

      • Diana says:

        You’re very welcome, Val 🙂 I looked VM up again, he spells his name as “Valery Mikhalitcyn”, and he’s also an indi-perfumer, his brand is Mercurio Perfumes. Hope this helps!

    • cookie queen says:

      Helps a lot. Thanks Diana. Now I just have to sit down and check it out!! xxx

  6. Kate Apted says:

    Val, this is just about my favourite post ever! Velvet Underground blew my mind away when I was 17 and first discovered them. I still get that rush when I listen to Heroin. It is a musical heroin rush in itself. Lou takes us with him as he goes along his process. Nothing like it.

    As for Venus in Furs, the imagery I get isn’t fit for sharing here. Lou grabbed my soul with this is dragged me to places I never knew existed.

    Pale Blue Eyes cuts right in and causes the heart to bleed externally. Never fails to pause me in my tracks and have me stop to hear it all.

    As for Lou’s solo work….Perfect Day captures his love of simplicity and the bliss that comes from uncomplicated love.

    What a way to start the day, Val. Thank you. Xxx

    • cookie queen says:

      Good Morning Kate! …. 26 dollars in my hand …… That song cuts to the core. I know – Venus in Furs just whew, THAT song. And after all these years it never fails to move. Do you know the link I put in? With Jane Scarpantoni? A favourite crosstrainer ditty …..
      Enjoy your day dearest Kate. Mine is just ending. Yep – they blew my mind away and I never got it back. But it was worth it. I own every single Velvets on vinyl and most of Lou Reed. Sigh. All stashed in the UK. xxxxxxxxxx

      • Kate Apted says:

        Quick question, Val. Do you listen to music while you bake? If so, does your choice of music have any effect on the final product?

        Sleep tight, Vegemite. Xx

    • cookie queen says:

      Oh no. Absolutely not. I would make mistakes. I listen to BBC Radio 4 or have TV running in the corner. Company that I can tune out. I listen to most music in the gym or car. ❤️

  7. Marie says:

    Thank you so much for posting and reminding me of Vero and Venus in Furs, Val!
    I agree with Lizbee, Vero perfumes are great art but also a bit intimidating in their “muchness”. I fell in love with Mito VdE some years ago, such a lush, green, deep beauty of a scent. Sadly, it would always sit on my skin with a heavy weight instead of lifting me up to Italian summers and nymph gardens. Maybe I should try again…

    • cookie queen says:

      I am the first to say that Vero is not for everyone, Marie. One tip if you do get a chance to try them again. Do not overspray. Absolutely not. Her extraits are superb but difficult to get to try. Drop by if you are ever in Austria. 🙂

  8. crikey says:

    I wonder how many perfumers are also musicians?
    The only one who springs to mind is Paul Schütze.

    • cookie queen says:

      Does that Leo Crabtree Prodigy dude count at all?

    • cookie queen says:

      I have yep. Can’t imagine wearing them, but liked sniffing them on paper. I tried a couple in Bloom. Will look again when I‘m home.

      • crikey says:

        I went rapidly to a FB with Fathom V, and having drained a big sample of Coeur de Noir I’m seriously considering that too. Though it might just be because I miss smoking.

  9. Caroline says:

    Love your post & choices, Val. Both of these require a dreamy sort of perfume~

    • cookie queen says:

      Superb stuff Caroline. I don‘t know either of these and they are both fantastic. Adding Big Thief to my workout okay. What a great voice she has. New York huh? Was worth this post to get these links. A million thanks. MORE tips please. Hugs. Val xxxx

  10. australianperfumejunkies says:

    Hey Val,
    The landscape of APJ would be infinitely more bland without your posts. I love them so much, and you.
    Portia xx

  11. Robert H. says:

    And the colored girls sing….. doo da doo da doo da doo doo doo da doo
    Wonderfl pairing! Xoxo
    Robert H. recently posted…Stéphane Humbert Lucas 777: Wish Come True EdP (2017)My Profile

  12. Undina says:

    I love… I mean, LOVE when people write about something that moves them: these posts are special and not mistakable with anything else. This post is soooo special – thank you for sharing your feelings with me (well, us, but it feels as if you’re writing for each of us individually).
    I do not usually associate perfumes with songs, but I’ll wear Rubj tomorrow night and listen to the music you linked to (I wish you published this a couple of days ago: I was just wearing Rubj extrait after a couple of years’ break).
    Undina recently posted…My Blog’s Rainbow AnniversaryMy Profile

    • cookie queen says:

      I do try and write as though to an individual. THANKS Undina. Your comment really touched me. Take a walk on the wild side ….. xxxxxxx

  13. poodle says:

    I have nothing to add regarding music and perfume. Just wanted to say hi.

    • cookie queen says:

      Hey Poodle. Fantastic. I know you are a Rubj
      woman. What could you add? Nichts. Big hugs. Lovely to see you. ❤️💕

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