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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Kindness of Strangers, and a giveaway

By Tom

Roxana Villa was kind enough to send three samples of her new solid perfumes, which are made from essences blended in a base of natural beeswax and jojoba oil. I've already written about Sierra, which I adored. The solid brings the citrus that I didn't smell so much of in the oil to the fore, it lasts longer in that state before going to the glorious coniferous base.

Cimbalom is one that I hadn't tried before and would be interested to try the oil of; the solid is peppery ginger and bright orange, which cedes to a lovely patch married with labdanum and jasmine.

By far my favorite however is Chaparral; the solid perfume form really shows off the incense portion of the scent. The wildness of the oil is somewhat disciplined by the solid perfume. I notice this with Sierra also; the solid form slows the development of the scent, in the reverse of the sort of time lapse photography showing the speeded up blooming of a rose. The slowed-down minuet Chaparral does in solid form lets one linger over each stage from church-of-nature incense through tarry wildfires through to its base, where the delightfully peppery greenness brings the whole scent into something that embodies California. California, Not Los Angeles. Le Labo did LA proud, but this is the real California; the distillation of the Golden State. It's standing in the Malibu hills on a summer day; the Pacific's in sight, ten thousand feet below and the air
is clear and momentarily still. But you can still smell the wildfires of previous seasons and the vegetation pregnant with creosote and if you're a smoker, you're extra careful to make sure that you've put your cigarette out completely. You even park carefully, making sure hot engine parts aren't near vegetation. A break-down on the 101 all the way in the Valley can spark a fire that with the "Sundowner" winds would incinerate everything from the Freeway to the sea, including you. This is that smell: heartbreaking beauty and palpable danger.

I'd love to see how it layers with the oils, but I gave my samples away. In the spirit of giving (and even though I want to keep it..), I will give these three away to one commenter. Fulsome praise of my writing skills and general brilliance will not affect the outcome of the draw.

But hey, it couldn't hurt...

Image source,

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please enter me in the draw. As a California girl, I'm always interested in things that capture the real essence of the state.


12:09 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


You're in

12:34 AM EST  
Blogger Julie said...

I would love to be entered for the giveaway. Many thanks. Julie

12:48 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


You are in the draw.

12:51 AM EST  
Blogger Flora said...

Tom, Please DON'T enter me in the draw, I just wanted to comment on your perfectly wonderful evocation of California. I can almost feel it!

1:13 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


You are not in the draw.

Despite the fact that you would totally kvell over the solid of Chaparral..

1:57 AM EST  
Blogger Kira said...

Oh, wonderful! Me too please.

2:20 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adore the lovely and talented Roxana Villa and am passionately wild about Cimbalom, which in my opinion should be a controlled substance because it is that hypnotically addicting .

Kindly enter me as well.Thank you


5:11 AM EST  
Blogger Momlady said...

Oooo,these sound good. Please enter me in the drawing.

6:53 AM EST  
Blogger Ines said...

They sound so interesting and besides I don't know how California smells so this sounds like an opportunity to try. :)
PLease enter me in the draw.

7:40 AM EST  
Blogger krnszn said...

Hi Tom! I just checked out Roxana's website. Beautiful site. I'd never heard of her before, so thanks for introducing us. I'd love to try her scents, so please include me in the draw. Thanks!

8:02 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tom!
the Roxana Villa line really intrigues me - thanks to your very tempting reviews!
Well, please enter me in the draw.
Would love to sniff a bit of CA - I have very fond memories of your beautiful country...

8:08 AM EST  
Blogger Unknown said...

I agree on the 'slowness' of the solids. I love that about them!
Please consider me for your draw, too :)

8:19 AM EST  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Tom, I'd love to join, if I may.

Roxana is simply a remarkable woman !
I was blessed to meet up with her, 6 months ago- and I can't say enough about her- how she lives ger life, her ethics, her beautiful soul, her gorgeously fine-boned face and frame that belies her considerable energy and life force...

I love her.
She's an ORIGINAL.

[ She neither paid me for this ranting- nor did she sleep with me.
Dammit !]

8:31 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please enter me in the draw. Thanks.
P.S. You're a great writer, despite not giving brownie points for compliments!
Chris G

8:34 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OOh, I'd love to try these as well, please enter me?

8:44 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to be included in the draw. Have been an admirer of Roxana for some time now and your review of these makes me long to smell California --- we are still in the throes in winter here in NH!

9:59 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We lived in California for a few years before moving back to Ohio, and we desperately miss it. I can feel myself standing in those hills just reading your description. I'd love to be entered in the drawing, and hopefully transported back there!

10:23 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These sound wonderful! And since I can't smell California "in natura", I'd love to do it in perfume, so please enter me in the draw.

10:51 AM EST  
Blogger Alyssa said...

Tom! Like Flora, I love this description of your beloved California. Your love for, and thoughtfulness about your home region are so clear, and you always seem at your best when writing about LA or your state.

And--unlike Flora--I definitely want to be in the draw. Will have to consider purchasing these if I don't win!

10:51 AM EST  
Blogger Ducks said...

Oh Tom, Chaparral sounds like the fragrance I have been lusting after. What an exciting review for a California girl like me.

I would love to be in the draw.

11:31 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


your in

12:11 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


It is addictive isn't it?

You're in.

12:12 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


You're in.

12:13 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


You're in.

12:13 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I think you'll become a fan!

You're in.

12:14 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


You're in!

12:16 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


You got it!

12:17 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


You're in.

12:17 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Chris G-

Aw! Thanks!

You're in.

12:18 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Northern Californian would love to try these scents.
-- Gretchen
PS: if I hadn't already known you were from SoCal, the phrase "the 101" would have tipped me. Up north we never precede the highway numbers with "the"; we just say "101", "280", whatever. Why such an odd little difference?

12:21 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to be entered in the draw. Wonderful article today. Thank you.


12:33 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kind Sir, you have teased my senses beyond all measure with your post. I think it not only a kindly gesture to enter me in the draw but one of dire necessity. FernPoppy.

12:44 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Tom -

Your writing has never been as succinct and deliciously descriptive as it is here (am I being TOO obvious with the butt kissing? heehee)

I would love to be entered into the drawing, as I am always on the lookout for a good "smokey" fragrance - especially one that can work in the warmer temps of the Inland Empire....(yes, Virginia, there are people in the Inland Empire who enjoy fragrance...).



ps - did I mention that you looked ravishing today? ;-)

1:14 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enter me in the drawing

1:14 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please enter me as well. Thanks!

1:17 PM EST  
Blogger Janet said...

"church-of-nature incense" -- what a scentful phrase! Please enter me in the drawing :-)

1:21 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you're in!

1:59 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I feel you on the NH winters

you're in!

1:59 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you're in!

2:00 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you are in!

2:00 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you are in, and thanks!

2:01 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

ducks- you're in!

2:02 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you're in!

Don't know where the regional differences come from; where I grew up they were "highways" not "freeways"

2:03 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you're in!

2:04 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you're in!

2:04 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you're that close? why have I never met you?

you're in!

2:05 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you're in!

2:06 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you are in!

2:07 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you are also in the draw!

2:08 PM EST  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

Tom ,
Because of you last review of Roxana's amazing alchemy I am now in passionate love with Aurore, Lyra and Vespertina. Besides the total beauty of her fragrances, the packaging alone is enough to make you swoon......I am sure that the solids are incredible and you have made me love to try them. Don't enter me in the drawing, but like Flora, I just wanted to tell you how incredible you made these sound to me. Having just returned to Cleveland from my beloved San Diego I am lonesome for the smell of the sea......

2:28 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please enter me in the draw. You have piqued my curiosity.

3:08 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please enter me in the draw. These sound interesting...

3:11 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I think you would adore these.

4:46 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you're in!

4:47 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you're in!

4:47 PM EST  
Blogger elle said...

Great reviews! Don't want to be in the draw since I already have sampled all of these, but just wanted to say that I'm really glad you're posting about them. Chaparral is my favorite as well - truly an amazing scent!

5:34 PM EST  
Blogger Unknown said...

These sound very nice, please enter me in the drawing!

6:38 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


You're in!

7:39 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


that one is my favorite ad I might have to buy the oil..

7:39 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you are in!

7:40 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd love to try them!

8:38 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you are in the draw.

8:53 PM EST  
Blogger Oleander said...

Hey, Tom! Can I get entered? I absolutely *love* Roxana's perfumes.

9:25 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


the drawing will close on Sunday at noon, so you are most definitely in!

1:41 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never had a solid perfume before. Please enter me in the draw.

2:11 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please enter me in the draw as well--I miss CA. Thanks--Jen

4:59 AM EST  
Blogger Hannah said...

I'd love to be entered please! For a few moments you transported me from one side the country to the other. It was very refreshing! Thanks!


9:07 AM EST  
Blogger ScentScelf said...

I am already a fan of Roxana's scents, and am having a long drawn out getting-to-know you with many of them before I choose a FB.

No need to enter me in the draw...and I'll save my fulsome praise for your next post, since they all deserve it. ;)

11:51 AM EST  
Blogger ahsumaker said...

Thank you so much for comparing the oils vs. the solids! I've gotten to try a couple of her oils and like them. I'd love to be entered in the drawing for the solid samples.

Amy H.

3:20 PM EST  
Blogger Nancy said...

Solids are so good to my skin in releasing the essence --dry skin on me :-(
These sound wonderful alone and smoosched together. Please enter me in the drawing! Thank you, N

7:07 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This California girl would also love a chance at the goodies. Thanks!

10:31 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it too late? Natural perfumes are my thang, so I'd love to be in the draw. And well, I was born in California.

And your writing is amazing!! Love your blog :-)

12:34 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

you are all in!

2:24 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay! And it is true. I love your blog. Especially your riff on Guy Fieri, makes me LOL.

2:05 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love solid perfumes and wish that more perfumes were available in this form. Chapparel and Sierra sound wonderful! i have yet to try Roxanne's perfumes.

5:14 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Please note-

The draw is CLOSED

8:20 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They sound wonderful!! Please enter me in the draw..:)

11:32 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh shoot! I just saw your message after I'd commented...:)

2:04 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I'm sorry Lavanya!

In case anyone's looking the winner is MARKO.

Marko if you read this please email me your contact info at and I can get it out to you this week

10:37 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No problem, Tom .I just felt stupid when my comment appeared just below your comment stating that the draw was
I liked your description of Chaparral, btw..:)

4:28 PM EST  

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