Honey lovers rejoice! Roxana Villa of Illuminated Perfume has created a deliciously honey inspired fragrance that feels at home on the skin whether it’s warm or cold outside. Yet, to call this simply a honey fragrance does not do Mellifera justice as this perfume has captured the entirety of a bee’s life; wood and musk from the hive, resins and spice from propolis, and of course flowers and sweet honey.
I’ve rounded up some discounts from my favorite all natural lines, and a few that I am really excited to try out for the first time.
Last July, Roxana Villa sent me a sample of what was then a new release, the solid version of Gracing the Dawn. We had just moved back into our newly remodeled home, and I was still on my blogging hiatus, so I tucked it away in my “special scent” drawer, and didn’t open it until just a few days ago.
I don’t have my sample of the liquid version anymore, but smelling the solid fragrance on my skin brings its memory right back to life. Gracing the Dawn is a glorious chypre redolent of oakmoss and leather, but the solid downplays the chypre aspect and lighter florals swirl in the foreground. Orange blossoms and mimosa flutter about, along with blades of grass, and subtle herbs, showing off their brightness. Richer flowers like jasmine, rose, and narcissus are present, but dwell subtly with the oakmoss, all the while providing a chypre foundation by bolstering Gracing the Dawn’s fullness and feeling of abundance.
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.
Roxana Villa has been hard at work, creating her Lookbook, and it was worth the effort. If you take a gander, you will be rewarded with gorgeous images from her collection and beautiful descriptions of her work. So here it is: Roxana Illuminated Perfume Lookbook, Number 1 (I hope that means there will be more)!
Since the above image is of Roxana’s Rosa, I am posting a portion of a prior Scent Hive review.
Rosa’s rose is comprised of an otto (essential oil) from Turkey and an absolute of rose bourbonica from India. But before you sense the full blossoming of those gorgeous flowers; woods, oud, vetiver and subtle leather introduce the fragrance. The woods and oud begin slightly sharp but rich, and then mellow into vetiver’s deep earthy vibration. When the rose finally blooms at the drydown, Rosa’s bouquet is full but close to the skin. It’s complex and provides a beautiful evolution on your skin.