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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Swimming in Tidal Pools: Roxana Villa's GreenWitch Solid Perfume (And a prize draw!)

By Donna

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


Blogger a.k.a. Warum said...

Don't have a favorite Roxana Villa's fragrance, but was intrigued by GreenWitch (great name!)

12:20 AM EDT  
Blogger Taffy said...

I've never tried Roxana Villa. This one sounds appealing. Thanks for the draw!

1:51 AM EDT  
Blogger Balutakat said...

Fern and tidepool?! Sounds amazing. Please enter me! - Katherine B.

2:21 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I'd like to be entered. I'm new to her work.

2:32 AM EDT  
Blogger HighPlainsHoney said...

Sold! Unless, of course, I win, which would be great.

2:44 AM EDT  
Blogger Mango said...

I've been lurking around here for ages, but Donna, your review has finally flushed me out. I'm not in the US so sadly, I can't enter the draw. But never mind, because I'll purchase a sample along with my favourite of Roxana's fragrances: wonderful, mysterious 'Q'. There are a handful of perfumes which affect me deeply, in a way that I'm unable to explain - and Q is one of them. It also does something quite remarkable for me: it calms me when I'm comforts me when I'm blue and in need comforting... and when I'm happy, it takes my spirits even higher. Extraordinary!

3:48 AM EDT  
Blogger Alice said...

I've never tried any of her fragrances, but would love to start with GreenWitch! It sounds wonderful! Thanks for the chance to try it!

6:17 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read several reviews and I also get Roxana's emails, but I have yet to try her fragrances. I love the aesthetic of the whole thing--beautiful! Please enter me in the drawing! Thankyou!

6:26 AM EDT  
Anonymous sybil said...

Well, please enter me in this drawing. I don't have a favorite Roxana Villa fragrance, but I would like to try anything that smells like this sounds.

7:03 AM EDT  
Blogger Tucasam said...

Please enter me in the draw. I need a good solid. I like too much of a good thing and I over spray. My co-workers will thank you if I win;)

7:28 AM EDT  
Blogger Tucasam said...

Please enter me in the draw. I need a good solid since I over do it with sprays. Can't have too much of a good thing! My co-workers will thank you;)

7:30 AM EDT  
Anonymous *jen said...

I am totally itching to try GreenWitch. Great draw!!

7:44 AM EDT  
Anonymous Lessa said...

I have a friend who's managed to get my very, very curious about Africa stone, and the idea of a "sea chypre" fascinates me - I'd love to be entered in the draw.

8:28 AM EDT  
Blogger Prettywitty504 said...

Sounds very intriguing. Please enter me in the draw. Thanks!

8:31 AM EDT  
Blogger Katherine said...

I have never tried Roxana, but would love to... please enter me in the draw!

8:44 AM EDT  
Anonymous Natalie said...

I haven't yet tried any of Roxana's scents, but I'd love to. Although "Africa stone" made me laugh -- what a hilarious euphemism for fossilized poop!

9:30 AM EDT  
Blogger Stacey said...

I'd love to be in the draw for this! I've tried and really enjoyed her Lyra and have been looking forward to trying more. Thanks!

9:32 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Sounds deep and absolutely marvelous! Sign me up!

9:44 AM EDT  
Anonymous Denise said...

I would love to try Greenwitch. I haven't been lucky enough to try any other of Roxana's fragrances. Please enter me in the draw.

9:51 AM EDT  
Blogger thescentmuse said...

Mmmmm~the smell of the ocean and some witchiness, too! I haven't tried Roxana Villa, but I know several fans. Would love this one, I am sure. Thanks for the draw!!

9:56 AM EDT  
Blogger Dink said...

The older I get, the more I appreciate chypre fragrances. Sounds lovely! Please enter me in the draw.

9:56 AM EDT  
Blogger sean's jo said...

I would love to try this. It sounds wonderful especially if it has a vintage appeal.

10:41 AM EDT  
Blogger kathleen said...

I would love to try GreenWitch in the Solid perfume.

10:48 AM EDT  
Blogger Tammy said...

ooooh, Aurora is my favorite of hers, and it's one of my favorites, period. I also love the artwork....

11:06 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't yet tried any of Roxanna's fragrances, but have been wanting to for some time... and I would love to smell a genuine green-chypre!

Thanks for the review and the draw!

11:26 AM EDT  
Anonymous grizzlesnort said...

Please enter me in your drawing. It sounds pretty amazing.

11:41 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

No need to enter me in the draw- just wanted to say that I love that scent, think Roxana is brilliant and you're words really captured how lovely the scent is.

11:47 AM EDT  
Anonymous Mary Beth said...

Just stopped by to say I'm glad for all the curiousity and love being shown to Roxana and Greenwitch. It's truly a remarkable work! Great review, Donna.

12:12 PM EDT  
Blogger woodgirl said...

I've never tried Roxana Villa, but have been tempted by GreenWitch. Please enter me, thanks.

12:37 PM EDT  
Blogger Alyssa said...

No need to enter me--just wanted to shout back a "Yes!" for GreenWitch. I love the way Roxana has truly brought together a classical expansiveness and complexity with a modern, very California kind of feel. I've encountered very few "natural" perfumes that have that kind of structure and sense of space in them. Must be hard to do!

12:38 PM EDT  
Blogger Cerise said...

This brings me back to college days during a madrigal group tour during which we stayed over in Folkestone, England, with its rugged coastline, and the scents and sounds there. I'd love to try it.

1:02 PM EDT  
Blogger Fernando said...

Interesting. I've never tried a solid perfume, and have never tried anything from Roxana Villa. So I should win...

2:15 PM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

Love your take on this one Donna and I love the genre Sea Chypre. I used it in my review and I didn't realize that you had created it. It's a perfect description!

3:44 PM EDT  
Blogger odonata9 said...

I have not tried any Roxana fragrances, but this sounds so interesting. Thanks for the drawing!

3:55 PM EDT  
Blogger Janet said...

I have not tried any of her fragrances yet but her website and store are beautiful.

GreenWitch sounds fascinating. Please enter me in the draw.

5:18 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

love the name and the concept... would love to try this.


7:43 PM EDT  
Anonymous Scent Hive said...

What a gorgeous review of GreenWItch Donna! You really captured its essence. No need to enter me in the drawing, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your review.

9:40 PM EDT  
Blogger lyrical said...

Very curious about hyrax generally. Please put me in the draw, thank you!

9:55 PM EDT  
Anonymous Cynthia said...

My favorite is "Sierra" or "Sierra Gold", I'm not absolutely sure of the correct name. It is a true comfort scent to me. I'm walking through a resinous forest

10:05 PM EDT  
Blogger Lucy said...

Marine chypre, how true that is! Beautiful evocative language that leads me to appreciate Roxana's perfumes all the more.

11:09 PM EDT  
Anonymous zeram1 said...

I'm sorry to say that I haven't heard of the line. Nevertheless, please enter me in the draw.

11:39 PM EDT  
Blogger sunnlitt said...

Please enter me in the draw.
This scent sounds so interesting.

Gee, what a luscious life she has--keeping bees and making perfume. Sounds wonderful!!

11:50 PM EDT  
Blogger Illuminated Perfume said...

Donna, you are such a treasure. Bountious gratitude for your keen appreciation of scent and the way you write about it. We are all so very fortunate!

2:36 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the sea chypre already existed...isn't that Odalisque, or rather, its former incarnation?

I'm a chypre vypre, so please enter me in the draw. I'd love to see more pressure exerted on the industry by US to bring oakmoss back into compliance with Euro regs. The mushroom chypre you suggested a few weeks back, Indolice, is a real stunner!

7:57 AM EDT  
Anonymous classflirt@etsy said...


9:48 AM EDT  
Anonymous hotlanta linda said...

I have only swooned by reading - need a sampler!! :-)

10:11 AM EDT  
Blogger Margaret said...

A lovely review, and I'd love to try Green Witch! Roxana's scents are amazing! Thanks!

10:46 AM EDT  
Blogger Doc Elly said...

I've been wanting to try this ever since I first read about it. If it's not too late, please enter me in the drawing. Thank you for sharing!

1:56 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, this sounds absolutely lovely. I'm very intrigued by the world of natural perfumery, and hope I'll get a chance to start with GreenWitch!


6:11 PM EDT  
Anonymous Lisa Ashby said...

I've been wanting to try this for a while. Thanks for the giveaway!

8:31 PM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Thanks for all your kind words and for entering the draw everyone, it's still open! :-)

Mango, I agree about Q, that one is magical too, thank you for commenting!

Beth, I don't know if I was the first person to use the term "sea chypre" or not, but I hope we will see more of them created by perfumers, if GreenWitch is any indication of what the possibilities are!

Roxana, thank you,it is truly a privilege to smell this beautiful creation.

JMBalaya, I have only smelled PDN's Odalisque once, I must try it again to see if I can smell any sea notes; it is a lovely fragrance, but then, I do have a special weakness for green chypres anyway!

10:51 PM EDT  
Blogger Mango said...

Perhaps it's just me...but to my nose Molyneux's 'Quartz' (pre-EU) has a sea note. I've even worn it to the beach, juch to see what happened. For me it's definitely there. I wonder if anyone else gets this?

1:41 AM EDT  
Anonymous NancyG said...

Sounds wonderful. Wore Quartz on 1980, wish I could remember it more clearly.

7:41 PM EDT  
Blogger Susan said...

oh, it sounds lovely! Haven't tried any of hers before. Would love to be entered. Thank you.

11:38 AM EDT  
Blogger Proximity said...

Well, I do have a US shipping address though I am not there at the moment? Can I win? If that's allowed, I'd love to be entered, because I've been wanting to try Roxana Villa for a while now!

12:25 PM EDT  
Anonymous PhinClio said...

If it's not too late, please enter me! I've never tried any of Roxana Villa's frags and this one sounds very intriguing.

10:09 PM EDT  
Anonymous Lisa said...

I'd love to be entered!

1:39 AM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

THE PRIZE DRAW IS NOW CLOSED. Thanks for stopping by, everyone, and the winner will be announced shortly. Good luck!

2:27 AM EDT  

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