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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sweet/Tart Part One: Roxana Illuminated Perfume Blossom

By Tom

Roxana Villa has quickly become one of my favorite of the natural perfumers. She has introduced a new series of chocolate solid perfumes that I will be reviewing next week (with a sample give-away) but first I want to touch on one of her scents that she has brought back into production, Blossom.

She describes blossom as a "traditional Eau de Cologne" based upon her memories of a scent she remembers from her childhood in Argentina called: Colonia de Bebe", which is somewhat like 4711.

I've never smelled Colonia de Bebe, and I have smelled 4711. Well, let me clarify: I've smelled the vintage back in the 70's since my grandfather wore it. The stuff that you get today in the plastic vat at your local Duane Reade has as much to do with vintage 4711 as Diet Pepsi does to Dom Perignon.

Blossom does evoke those memories. By using pure botanical ingredients she's created a delicious puzzle-box of a fragrance: it's both light with orange blossom yet heady with jasmine and prickly with rosemary. I don't want to write that it's fresh and clean because that usually evokes dryer sheets and those scents that smell vaguely like aluminium, but this is fresh and clean, as if you'd just plucked the flowers and the peel and rubbed them together in your hands. If you have any memory of "traditional Eau de Cologne" you'll connect with it immediately but even if you don't I defy you not to fall for this. While I can imagine bathing in this in a hot summer (especially in humidity) I can equally see it's brightness as being uplifting on a drab winter day.

As I type this I am watching "Psycho" and thinking that John Gavin is the perfect image of the man who would smell like this: handsome, straighforward and very male. Not to say that a woman couldn't totally rock this. Certainly were I partnered I would buy one for my "Trevor" and ruthlessly filch..

$7.50 for a 5 gram spray bottle at her Etsy shop, she's promising larger sizes soon. I hope she adds body products, room spray and perhaps dryer sheets.

Image source, Roxana Villa Illuminated

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

1st thanks for clarifying re 4711. My Nana always had a bottle on her dresser. I sniffed recently & thought, "really, Nana? You liked that? I remember you having simple but good taste. Really." Of course it's reformulated. Well, duh.

And this sounds delicious. Lovely that they used rosemary as a bracing herbal instead of lavender. Can't wait til it's warm enough to crave it!

12:59 AM EST  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

Yummm! I've not smelled this one yet but having had a mum who was never without 4711 when I was A kid I know exactly what you mean!
I can't wait to smell this.... I'm quite sure I'll adore it!
Awesome review ! Can't wait to read your review of the chocolates ; they are incredible!

4:09 AM EST  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

I can't wait !
Thanks, Tom , for the heads-up...

It's always a pleasure to support Rox, and her work is a treat for all the senses-
Brain included;-)

5:27 AM EST  
Blogger queen_cupcake said...

Although I have not yet tried any of Roxana's creations, she definitely is on my radar! (Is there a smell equivalent to radar?) And re: 4711, it is a little depressing to learn that, along with so many other scents, the latest reformulation is nowhere near as good as the vintage juice. Sigh.

11:48 AM EST  
Blogger Lorelie said...

I've sampled several of Roxana's scents-they are very beautiful. The story of Vespertina, which is also the name of one of her scents, is enchanting! And she is very generous-she sent me some of her cute, tiny pots w a small amount of several scents so I could try before buying. I also appreciate her creation of Peace, a scent I will be trying soon.

1:08 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


It was great to smell it and remember what 4711 used to smell like, even if this isn't exactly the same thing.

1:28 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I;m sure you'll love this!

1:29 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


she is great!

1:30 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

queen cupcake-

It is sad isn't it? that's why it's so great that people like Roxana are here..

1:30 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I love both of those as well!

1:31 PM EST  
Anonymous Flora said...

I know I would love this one! I remember how 4711 used to smell too, but of course it is no longer even being made by the same company, and it comes in vats instead of bottles. Pity.

4:07 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you will love this- it's super lovely and even has pretty decent lasting power!

5:40 PM EST  
Blogger Lorelie said...

I'm getting all wanked out about the 4711---could someone please let me know, even though I already know, the 'closest' scent to this? Our childhood scents are so evocative...I'm sure when my daughter passes someone on the street, trailing sillage of Azuree she would think to herself, oh, my mom ....I miss her!

5:53 PM EST  
Blogger elle said...

Blossom sounds like bottled heaven to me right now! Sunshine and childhood memories combined. I spent much of my childhood in Central America and 4711 always reminds me of being there and of sunshine and masses of bougainvillea (why the latter I don't know since it has no scent, but that's my association). Definitely am going to have to try this and I look forward to reading your reviews of her chocolate perfumes.

7:30 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


You would do well to try this. It's not expensive at all and you can see if it reminds you of 4711

8:23 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


"bottled heaven" is pretty much it!

8:24 PM EST  
Anonymous Scent Hive said...

I have tried so many of Roxana's fragrances, but not this one. I love them all, and hope to experience Blossom soon!


2:31 PM EST  
Blogger Unknown said...

Can't wait to try, I'm such a fan of Roxana's fragrances. I just got a package with "Q", Tangent, Chaparral and Green Witch. All smell SO GOOD!

5:20 PM EDT  

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