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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Roxana Illuminated Perfumes...and a give-away

By Tom

I suppose that I could chalk it up to being jaded. Nothing has come out lately that has just gob-smacked me. I tried Dans tes Bras and was wanting more: of course this could be the fact that they only had a beensy tester at Barneys and the nice lady spritzed an amount so minuscule that it could perhaps only be detected on the subatomic level.

I know it's not me because because Donna's review of Greyland made me seek it out, and buy. The large size please.

I also know it's not me because of the package I got from Illuminated Perfumes.

Roxana Villa has been doing this apparently out of her Los Angeles area home for quite a while. How did I miss this?

She sent me samples of six of them:

Lyra is orange and bergamot over amber. According to the website there are tropical flowers in there, but I don't get much, certainly not anything that I would normally think of as tropical: no hothouse gardenia, no over-the-top tuberose. I could be crazy but I think there's a touch of heliotrope in there. It's tropical in that bright, sparkling way that Patou did with Colony, but there's no pineapple.

Q has the wonderful full woodiness of Chene added to the succulent amber of Ambre Sultan with contrapuntal bergamot and I think I smell a fair bit of musk in there. Not to say that it's in any way derivative, more to say, "try to keep me away from this one...."

Sierra is written of as a "Conifer forest on an earthy bed of decomposing leaves" I get that (if none of the written of citrus) and I also get a recent forest fire. Like last week. Personally I love that smell so that's fine, but if you're expecting Julie Andrews spinning on an Alp, be warned...

Aurora is spicy carnations, a "fresh floriental" Personally I prefer the forest fires..

Vespertine is the most elusive of the bunch: it's written of as "orange woven with florals grounded by earth" but I don't get anything that definite: I get something that makes me think of churches. Vestments, incense, old stones and older rituals. It stays close to the skin and is quite lovely.

Vera is lavender so bright it dances. The brightness of orange peel and a startlingly true fresh green hay accord really makes this one sing. It's also the one that's easily the strongest, but none of these are exactly Fracas; I'd wear any of them to the office.

All are available at her website; I can't wait to see what she did with Chaparral, the scent she debut at Sniffapalooza. See? I knew there'd be about three reasons I'd be po'd I missed that! Roxana Illuminated Perfume will be ay at Visionary Boutique in West Hollywood on November 16th at 11AM. I think I'm going!

Since she was nice enough to send me the samples out of the blue I am going to pass them on to a randomly chosen commenter. The length of your comment or gushitude over how clever I am will have nothing to do at all as to whether I choose you. Honest. Winner will be announced in next week's post.

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Anonymous Tonia said...

They all sound positively lovely!

1:05 AM EDT  
Blogger Gail S said...

Sierra and Vera sound great and this is a line that I have been wanting to try for a while now (ever since she participated that project on Memory & Desire). Please enter me in the drawing!

2:09 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hurray for people who make marvelous perfumes in their houses! It's a little subversive, don't you think, especially if they use the forbidden oakmoss? I'd love to try these. Thanks for bringing them to our attention, Tom.

3:23 AM EDT  
Anonymous zazie33 said...

Being a passionate lavender lover, your description of Vera made me crave for the dancing lavender. I never thought about lavender dancing, but somehow I find it perfectly suited for one of my favourite notes. My favourite note (I know lavender is only mildly appreciated around perfume blogs, and am so glad to know you love it!). Sierra, Q and Lyra sound very interesting fragrances too… well: I’m the student raising her arm high up, silently hoping “me”, “me” at class. Very childish, I agree, for some sample vials, but when it comes to perfume I must acknowledge my weaknesses.

5:10 AM EDT  
Blogger waftbyCarol said...

I met Roxanna and heard her speak at lunch on Saturday at Sniffa . Eah fragrance was inspired by anecological crisis , for instance the plight of the Coastal Oak prompted her to tincture oak leaves
and create "Q" (Quercus=oak in latin )and proceeds go to protecting the endangered oaks...her fragrances contain NO ANIMAL products and are so pure they sing when you open the bottle . Vespertina is FAB...I must have it .

6:08 AM EDT  
Anonymous Dea said...

Hi there,
I'm a daily lurker and big fan this site. Would love to be entered into the drawing. These perfumes sound amazing.

Cheers! ~~~dea

7:09 AM EDT  
Anonymous dinazad said...

Gawd, that sounds lovely! Would you please include me in the draw? Thanks!

7:09 AM EDT  
Blogger ScentScelf said...

I've not tried many Roxana products yet, but the ones I have (Q, Lyra, her new solid) all have been nicely done, with quick adjectives that could include "lovely" and "well-conceived." I was ready to enjoy "Lyra" on notes and description alone, but Q surprised me with how much I liked it. Now, of course, I'm going to take them on a longer test drive.

I'd call you a toad or something just to prove how even-handed you're going to be with this drawing, but I can't. You've been entirely too lovely a curmudgeon to fling anti-gushitude at. ;)

7:27 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Q and Sierra sound wonderful! Just went to her site and saw she has a blog as well. Am definitely going to have to spend some time reading that later - always enjoy reading the blogs of perfumers and getting some idea of what went into their creative process.

8:58 AM EDT  
Blogger multitasker said...

I had a babysitter named Vera who let my brother slide down the laundry chute--a notable childhood memory.

9:30 AM EDT  
Anonymous stella p said...

Lyra is one I have wanted to try since I read the review on Perfumeshrine; for the notes, but also for the associations to the fictional character Lyra
Like your brief descriptions, and would like to enter the draw!
(also a lurker and fan of your site!)

10:23 AM EDT  
Blogger Helen said...

These sound like great scents! Kudos to the home perfumer ;-) I am particularly interested in Q (Chene meets Ambre Sultan? Sounds divine)Thanks for the drawing and the great review!

10:43 AM EDT  
Blogger Ducks said...

Tom, these sound amazing and I love your sparkling descriptions. I am particularly smitten with the idea of Vespertine... would you mind entering me in the drawing?

11:44 AM EDT  
Blogger Julie said...

I want to try!

11:44 AM EDT  
Anonymous Amy H said...

I've only sampled one of her solids and it was great, so I'd love to be entered for a chance to try more of her work!

12:47 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd love to try these. Q and Vespertine sound very intriquing. Hurray for a new artisanal american perfumer!

1:35 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to try any of these. . . but you'll give them all to one lucky winner? Put my name in the drawing, please!
-- Gretchen

2:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Janet said...

Vespertine and Sierra sound particularly lovely!

2:05 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Tonia- they are!

2:14 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you're in

2:14 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I hope they DO use the forbidden Oakmoss!

2:15 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


dancing lavender is a wonderful thing

you are in..

2:15 PM EDT  
Blogger galaxyrose said...

want to try!

2:24 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I would love to meet her and one day hope to.

2:25 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

dea- You're in!

2:25 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you got it!

2:26 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you can call me a toad if you like!

2:26 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I;m going to check that out!

2:27 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Nice! I wish we had a laundry chute growing up..

2:28 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you're in!

2:29 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


they are great, and you're in!

2:30 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you got it- you're in!

2:30 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you're in!

2:31 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


that chance is yours- you're in the draw!

2:31 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


"Hurray for a new artisanal american perfumer"

Indeed! You're in!

2:32 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


It's all or nittin, and you're in!

2:33 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


they all are, in their way!

2:33 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you're in!

2:34 PM EDT  
Blogger Trina said...

Q sounds right up my alley. Count me in, please!

4:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous kismet said...

Please enter me in the drawing. Thank you.

4:24 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

trina- you're in!

5:31 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you too!

5:32 PM EDT  
Anonymous Lavanya said...

Nice reviews, Tom! I'd love to be entered in the draw..Vespertine and Q sound lovely!..

5:52 PM EDT  
Anonymous joe805 said...

Yes, please! These sound interesting -- and it's almost as if she's practically in our neighborhoods, Tom. Makes me want to hop on the 101....

7:54 PM EDT  
Blogger tricia said...

Some of them sound interesting. I'd love to be entered in the drawing. Thanks!

7:56 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you're in

8:55 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I think she is!

But nothing entices me to hop on the 101 ;)

you're in!

8:56 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

tricia, you're in!

8:57 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sign me up, please! They sound wonderful. I'd love to be in the drawing to compare my reality to your review :D
-Kim M

9:08 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sign me up, please! They sound wonderful. I'd love to be in the drawing to compare my reality to your review :D
-Kim M

9:09 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry for the double post. Obviously, I lurk and rarely submit comments. Not trying for the double entry in the drawing. . .(shamefully ducks head) Going back to lurking, now. Love PST & your posts, Tom :D
-Kim M

9:13 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Kim- you're in!

9:23 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lunarose here. i'd like to be in the drawing, please.

waftbycarol, thank you so much for that info on the Q perfume! i live surrounded by valley and scrub oaks here east of san francisco. the sudden oak death is so upsetting i can barely stand to think of it. so far all our oaks here are fine, in fact last year they produced so many acorns the place was smothered in them! the squirrels and jays loved it, and i even got inspired to cook up some acorn mush. they do have a great crunchy meaty texture. but the rumor of their blandness is not an exaggeration, alas. i suppose that's why the goddess created spices!

9:42 PM EDT  
Anonymous svitlana said...


9:43 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

~~The length of your comment or gushitude over how clever I am will have nothing to do at all as to whether I choose you.~~


Please include me in the drawing, Tom. I read about these in the Sniffapalooza Magazine about all the indie perfumers a bit ago. Looked sniff worthy, for sure.


10:25 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I hope your Oaks continue to be okay..

you are in!

11:07 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


thank you!

11:08 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


if we were judging just on names you'd win...

you're in!

11:10 PM EDT  
Blogger Gina said...

am i too late?

11:24 PM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Tom, these sound just luscious, please put me in the draw! (Plus Vespertine is one of my favorite words - guess I can't name my own perfume that now!)

11:43 PM EDT  
Blogger Noy said...

Would love to be entered in the drawing -- you made the lavender sound particularly delicious!

12:17 AM EDT  
Anonymous maitreyi1978 said...

A gift package out of the blue? Awesome! And good scents too. Please include me in the draw.

2:36 AM EDT  
Anonymous chantilllylace said...

They sound so nice. Please enter me in draw. Thanks

3:04 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please enter me in the draw too; hope I'm not too late. Vera sounds so nice. Thank you. Jen

5:07 AM EDT  
Anonymous denise said...

I'd love to try these- Vespertine sounds really beautiful!
Please enter me in the contest! Thanks.

8:56 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Gina- You're in

11:05 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you're in as well

11:05 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

noy- you are in the draw~

11:06 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


You are in there!

11:07 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you too!

11:07 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

jen- I will post in comments when the drawing ls closed; you're in!

11:08 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you are in!

11:08 AM EDT  
Blogger Theresa said...

Vespertine sounds intriguing. Would love to be entered in the drawing.

11:40 AM EDT  
Blogger AromaX said...

Thanks for a nice review, Tom. I am following Roxanna´s blog for a while and become very curious to her Botanical creations. It looks like it´s time for the samples. What three from those six were the most impressive?

2:13 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you're in!

6:22 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Q, Sierra and Vera were the ones that worked best on me, but the other ones are really nice too. Just perhaps not so much me.

6:25 PM EDT  
Anonymous cynthia said...

I have communicated by email with Roxanne and she seems like a lovely person...I'm sure she makes lovely perfume! They all sound nice but I do love lavender. Thanks for the great descriptions and the draw!

4:29 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...



2:43 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Please note:

Drawing is closed!


10:35 PM EDT  

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