Swimming in Tidal Pools: Roxana Villa's GreenWitch Solid Perfume (And a prize draw!)
When I had the chance to sample the masterful GreenWitch fragrance that Roxana Villa released in 2010, I realized that that the perfume lexicon need to be expanded to accommodate a new genre: the sea chypre. Built in the classical chypre style with vetiver, sandalwood, patchouli and oakmoss, it has the added dimension of seaweed extract to give it a very distinctive salty oceanic tang that enhances this predominantly green perfume. Multiple green notes such as bergamot, parsley, celery seed, galbanum and pine are softened by gorgeous floral highlights of rose, tuberose, boronia and mimosa. GreenWitch is an all-natural botanical except for one thing; along with the ambrette seed that stands in for musk, it also has great longevity from the use of Africa stone, the fossilized droppings of the rock hyrax, a cute little animal about the size of a rabbit whose closest relatives are elephants and manatees. This material is a cruelty-free way to include an extending fixative to a perfume formula and it is an excellent doppelganger for civet. This is one all-natural fragrance that won't fade away too quickly!
Roxana Villa is well known for her expertise in the creation of solid versions of her marvelous fragrances, and now GreenWitch receives this treatment. Ever since Roxana began keeping bees, she has been able to use the pure, sweet beeswax from her own hives in her compositions, which only adds to the magic. This begins on a slightly medicinal note, even more so than the alcohol-based liquid version, but it does smooth out with time. I find the solid to be a bit more linear than the alcohol perfume, but there is still quite a bit of development; all sorts of fascinating things rise up to entice the nose and then swirl away again. A lush floral here, a sharp green there, here a hint of musk or amber, and a beautiful ferny quality that emerges as it loses its rough edges after the opening, all embraced by the seaweed note and the animalic earthiness of the Africa stone.
For anyone who may wonder, this is a real marine aroma, nothing even close to the dreaded synthetic kind; it's the essence of a rocky coastline with tidal pools filled with all kinds of life, giving off the smells of seaweed and shells as the sun warms the rocks at low tide, only to be refreshed with the coolness of seawater as the tide turns again. All this and it's a true chypre perfume too, which is not often seen in these times of IFRA restrictions and the general decline in popularity of the genre, which is a shame. I like nothing better than a good green chypre, and GreenWitch is exactly that. If you are tired of chasing after vintage scents and being disappointed by perfumes called “modern” chypres that bear no resemblance, seek no further. The real deal is right here.
Roxana has generously offered a sample of the new GreenWitch solid perfume to one lucky winner, so leave a comment if you would like to be entered in the draw – U.S. addresses only, please. If you have a favorite Roxana Villa fragrance, please share your thoughts!
Please read more about the GreenWitch solid perfume (and enter to win a sample!) at these participating sites:
Roxana Illuminated Perfume (with a link to Roxana’s Etsy shop)
GreenWitch photo collage courtesy of Roxana Villa