Holistic Honey: To Bee Perfume by Roxana Villa – And a Prize Draw
What I was growing up in New England, we bought our honey in metal buckets from a local beekeeper. It was clover honey but it was nothing like the clear liquid in glass bottles sold at the grocery store. This stuff was raw, thick, grainy and dark and sometimes had bits of the comb still in it. The flavor was earthy and robust, and if you were used to a more refined variety it took some getting used to. Of course I loved it, and I liked honeycomb too; I would chew it until there was nothing left but the wax. Once in a while I run across some honey that is almost as sturdy as that rich elixir, but it’s a rare occurrence. Well, if I can’t taste it at least I can smell it, because now there is a perfume that brings the aroma of that back to the present, To Bee by Roxana Illuminated Perfume.
Modern honey perfumes can be problematic for many people, because the honey accord that is commonly used in commercial fragrances includes a material, phenylacetic acid, that smells urinous if too much of it is used and even when it’s not in sensitive individuals, and very strong to many people in any event. The worst offender is the infamous (to many) Miel de Bois by Serge Lutens. It is said that this one smells truly offensive to many people and even though I like it, I can certainly see how it could be too much. Needless to say this can be a deterrent to buying one if you love it but it offends the people around you. Perfumer Roxana Villa has solved this problem with To Bee, because it’s made of all natural materials, so it won’t go wrong on skin. It is composed with resins, woods, spices, mimosa, and absolutes of clover and beeswax. It also contains some special materials of Roxana’s own creation, including tincture of honeycomb (including some from rescued wild beehives) and a marvelous botanical leather accord of which I also have a sample. Essential oils, CO2 extracts and natural absolutes have been used with nary a synthetic in sight. I can detect the integration of the leather note in this fragrance and it really adds a depth and realism to the scent; after all, honey is made by thousands of living creatures and it’s “animalic” in that sense. Roxana’s concept for this fragrance was the atmosphere of the beehive’s interior, literally humming with life, and it’s all there; the wood of the structure, the waxy comb, the sweet floral scent of the honey, the sun-warmed sleepiness of high summer and the leathery, rich essence of concentrated life. Some of the beeswax in the solid perfume comes from Roxana’s own beehives, and it doesn’t get any more realistic than that!
My samples of To Bee are of both the liquid and the solid perfume, and the solid is in a base of beeswax and jojoba seed oil, which makes it especially rich and redolent. It is this one that especially made me do a double take when I first smelled it, as I was immediately transported to my childhood kitchen and that big bucket of dense, opaque raw honey. The liquid alcohol-based version is also excellent; for a brief moment in its early development it got a little bit disorganized, but not for long, and by the time they had both been on my skin for half an hour the effect was very similar for each and I can recommend either version of this perfume wholeheartedly. Even on a warm, humid day the perfume was not overpowering; although it is sweet of course, it’s not that syrupy overkill too often found in mainstream fragrances. The lasting power is impressive for a natural too - I put some of the liquid on in the early evening and the next morning it was still there, about 15 hours later, and it had settled down to a gorgeous hay-like sweetness, and the honey aroma was still true.
For anyone who has been hesitant to wear a honey fragrance for fear that it would be too strong and “funky,” To Bee is a great way to start. This perfume is available for sale at Roxana’s Etsy shop, and she has generously offered a giveaway of this innovative new release to a lucky PST reader, so please indicate in the comments if you would like to be entered in the draw. **Please note, the draw is open to U.S. mailing addresses only.**
The winner will receive the solid To Bee perfume in a beautiful mini compact, as shown here.
Photo credit: To Bee Perfume imagery courtesy of Roxana Villa
Disclosure: The perfume samples were given to me by Roxana Villa for testing purposes.
For more information about the plight of our precious honeybees and what the average person can do to help, please visit this page. For further reading, visit the Web site of The Honeybee Conservancy.