To Bee. Roxana Illuminated Perfume’s Homage to the Honeybee

I am continually marveled by Roxana Villa. She is a prolific and highly gifted natural perfumer whose work I greatly admire and her dedication to nurturing the native flora and fauna of her home in Southern California is unflagging and commendable. She has created perfumes inspired by local plants such as the native rose of California, lavender from Ojai Valley, and the California Coastal Live Oak. Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of several of Roxana’s perfumes are donated to organizations like the California Chaparral Institute and the Ojai Lavender Festival.

As if Roxana didn’t have enough on her activist-perfumer’s plate, over the past year she has become an organic beekeeper. Her efforts are part of a movement to help reverse colony collapse disorder and ultimately save the honeybee (and ourselves) from destruction. Her hard work also gives her the opportunity to savor her bees’ honey. Roxana sent along a tiny pot of this glistening elixir which tasted heavenly as it mingled with melted butter atop my morning toast. Along with this culinary treat, her bees have given rise to Roxana’s newest olfactory creation, To Bee, a 100% natural perfume that radiates the essence of honey.

 

To Bee is available in solid and liquid form, and both are composed of several complex accords, botanical notes, as well as tinctures from beeswax sourced from Roxana’s hive, local hives, and feral rescue hives. The result is a mosaic of scents that swirl together harmoniously which then ultimately distill to a crystalline honey drydown.

Amber and musk accords anchor To Bee with a resinous sweetness and a vegetal musk as tonka, woods, vanilla, ambrette, and hay offer their enticing aromas. It sets a tone of warmth that gives To Bee a glow in which the honey can bask. But it’s Roxana’s intricate leather accord that makes To Bee quite unique and animalic as it’s made up of choya (smoked sea shells), africa stone and oud- along with nearly fifty other essences! This leathery bounty of notes boosts the muskiness of Too Bee and gives its sweet amber accord a sultry sexiness. Clearly, Too Bee is not a one dimensional honey scent. It is sophisticated, alluring, and a pleasure to wear.


In its final hours on the skin, Too Bee dries down to a pure honeyed experience, like the scent of melting beeswax which I find utterly intoxicating. A slightly floral component is more noticeable in this stage as jasmine and mimosa seem to quietly declare themselves. A little musk lingers as well, more so in the solid form, but it’s the honey from hardworking bees that makes the drydown, as well as To Bee in its entirety, so very alluring.

Please leave a comment if you would like to be entered in a drawing for a sample pot of Roxana’s To Bee. US entries only please. Drawing closed, will announce winner soon!

A sampler of To Bee is available at Roxana’s etsy site. Beautiful engraved lockets filled with To Bee are also available as are 5gm solid pots and a 7gm liquid flacon. A spray version is coming, and that’s what I’ll be holing out for!

Images courtesy of ©RoxanaVilla

Disclosure: Samples were sent to me for consideration by Roxana Illuminated Perfume. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

Share

Gracing the Dawn by Roxana Villa


Gracing the Dawn is the second chypre to be released by Roxana Villa. The first was Green Witch, which emerged this past spring and was heralded by us perfume bloggers as a gorgeous “marine chypre” due to its sea side aromas. Gracing the Dawn is similar in that it possesses classic chypre notes like oakmoss and galbanum, but it differs from Green Witch of course, even from the opening. It feels more like a vintage perfume as a multitude of complex notes intertwine effortlessly so no essence is distinct, yet the fragrance as a whole is quite distinctive.


To me, Green Witch is a softer chypre with a floral heart that resembles a neroli kissed honeysuckle. By contrast, Gracing the Dawn with its rich abundance of rose, jasmine and mimosa bring to mind vintage chypres like Magie Noir and as Donna from Perfume Smellin Things mentioned, Jolie Madame. Adding to the opulence of the aforementioned flowers is a tincture of violets from Roxana’s mother’s garden that grace the floral heart making it even more rounded and voluminous.


Powdery, violet laden woods appear in the drydown which is enhanced by a minuscule amount of Africa Stone, otherwise known as the fossilized poop of the hyrax. A tincture of Africa Stone provides an ambergris-like dimension that continues the vintage perfume likeness. Unlike Roxana’s other purely botanical fragrances, she has labeled this one natural since Africa Stone is clearly not of the botanical nature. But it is ethically harvested and of course, not synthesized in a lab.


Please visit the other participating sites for more impressions of Gracing the Dawn:

Roxana herself at Illuminated Perfume Journal

Beth at Cleveland Fragrance Examiner

Lucy at Indie Perfumes

Elena at Perfume Shrine


Gracing the Dawn is available at Roxana’s etsy shop, $27 for a 1gm vial.

Posted by ~Trish

Disclosure: A sample was sent to me for consideration by Roxana Villa. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

Share

Chaparral by Roxana Illuminated Perfumes

Back in July of 2009 I was a part of a “Summer Pastimes and Fragrances” blogging event. One of the categories was “Favorite Meditation/Summer Incense Scent” and I chose Roxana Villa’s Chaparral not only for its beauty, but its appeal as a summertime incense perfume. When I look back on what I wrote over a year ago, I realize that I still feel the same way about Chaparral:


“Roxana’s gentle and expert hand with frankincense and sage allow this to be a very accessible and seasonless incense fragrance. Chaparral never becomes weighted down with dark and smokey cathedral imagery. Quite the contrary. California breezes flow on your skin when you wear this, providing a reverence for the “Cathedral of Nature” as you close your eyes and meditate on the breath that sustains you.”

I am wearing Chaparral as I write, and it does indeed encourage more intentional breaths and to revel in its outdoorsy serenity.Chaparral is offered in two forms, solid and liquid. Both are similar of course, but with some subtle, key differences. The solid and the liquid maintain a strong foundation of fresh sage and are undoubtably green and herbaceous. The solid form -in a base of unrefined beeswax, jojoba oil and infused oils- leans more nutty and smoky, like a recently tamped out brushfire. The liquid on the other hand has a tartness to the green/herbal aspect which ultimately gives way to the arid, hazy scent of Southern California’s natural landscape as embodied by Chaparral’s distinct sage and frankincense blend.

Just days ago, Roxana added another fragrance to the Chaparral duo called Tangent. Roxana told me she views Tangent as the cowgirl counterpart to the more cowboy nature of Chaparral. I completely agree as Tangent is softer and sweeter with what I’m guessing is a more generous use of benzoin. The result has a touch of sensual powderiness that the other Chaparrals do not possess. For quite some time now, Chaparral has been my go-to incense perfume, but cowgirl Tangent has clearly made a gorgeous impression on me.

Leave a comment about Chaparral or Tangent and you’ll be entered in a giveaway for samples of both forms of Chaparral. Extra entries if you follow Roxana on Twitter or her blog. Extra entries as well if you follow Scent Hive on Bloglovin,Twitter, Google Friend Connect,Facebook’s Networked Blogs, or subscribe to Scent Hive. Please let me know in your comment what you did so you get the entries you deserve! US entries only. Entries accepted until Sunday Oct. 5th 9pm PST. Drawing now closed, we have our winner.


A portion of profits from the sale of the liquid flacon perfume go to the Chaparral Institute.

Chaparral is available on Roxana Illuminated Perfume etsy site. Chaparral solid compact is $65, Chaparral liquid is $150 for a 7gm French glass flacon, and Tangent is $25 for a 1gm vial.

Posted by ~Trish

Images courtesy of Roxana Villa

Disclosure: Samples were sent to me for consideration by Roxana Villa. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

Share

Roxana Illuminated Perfume: Vera Solid Perfume

Roxana Villa, of Roxana Illuminated Perfume, is the creator behind one of my favorite lavender perfumes, Vera. I reviewed the liquid formulation of Vera this past fall, and am elated that Roxana is now offering it as a solid in addition to the liquid perfume. Organic lavender from Ojai is used in the formulations and lavender lovers in the Southern California area should consider attending the Ojai Lavender Festival on June 26th.



Both the liquid and solid Veras are comforting and unique renditions of lavender, but they do possess subtle differences. Alongside lavender, there are woods, resins, sage, oakmoss and orange blossom that coalesce elegantly in both formulas. In the topnotes, sage predominates the liquid while resins are much more enhanced in the solid. Resins of styrax (benzoin), Peru Balsam and cistus yield a supple aroma whose delicate sweetness hovers over the rich depth of a sunbaked thicket.


The middle notes of the solid continue to explore the resinous nature of Vera, as cistus (the essential oil of the rockrose shrub) becomes heightened in its rich radiance. In contrast, the heart of the liquid finds itself amidst the floral company of orange blossoms which temper the intensely herbaceousness of lavender. This herbal quality quiets even further in the liquid’s drydown which assumes a more powdery form. The solid on the otherhand, veers away from the powder path and into the deeper terrain of woods like cedar, vintage Mysore sandalwood and the aforementioned resins.



Vera in both of its forms are beauties, but I prefer the solid as the union of sweet, intriguing resins with aromatic florals reels me in effortlessly. Impressive longevity is bestowed upon both, but the solid wears closer to the skin. As always, Roxana’s perfumes are 100% natural, made with only the finest organic and/or wildcrafted botanicals.


As a special treat for Scent Hive readers, Roxana is giving away a trio sampler set of Vera, Rosa and Chaparral. As always, you are eligible for extra entries, one each, by following Roxana on Twitter and/or her Blog. Extra entries as well if you follow Scent Hive on Bloglovin, Twitter, Google Friend Connect, Facebook’s Networked Blogs, or subscribe to Scent Hive. Please let me know in your comment what you did so you get the entries you deserve! Drawing will close Sunday June 13th at 9pm PST. We have our winner!


Vera is available at Roxana’s etsy site. $7.50 for a solid perfume mini is $7.50, $25 for a 5gm pot, $65 for a compact, or $150 for a 7gm flacon of the liquid perfume.


Posted by ~Trish

Disclosure: Samples from Roxana Illuminated Perfume were provided for this review. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

Share