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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Holistic Honey: To Bee Perfume by Roxana Villa – And a Prize Draw

By Donna

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.

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Anonymous Lavanya said...

Oh yum!- the honey of your childhood sounds amaazingg. I usually buy wildflower honey from my local farmer's market- it is thick and dark and quite yummy but not as heavy and yummy as yours sounds..They do sell honey with the honeycomb- I will try that sometime..Avocado honey is darker and thicker- I love it but it seems less readily available

Oh- and please enter me in the draw- I'm loving the sound of that leather accord..

12:07 AM EDT  
Anonymous Scent Hive said...

I absolutely adore this new fragrance by Roxana, and cannot pass up the chance to win a gorgeous locket filled with To Bee!

Count me in please :-)

12:18 AM EDT  
Anonymous matildaben said...

I am a big fan of bees, and would love to beeeee included in the draw.

12:40 AM EDT  
Blogger YellerKitty said...

Oh, delight! I have such an affinity for honey, and I've tried a couple of scents that came close, but none really captured that heady balance that is the hallmark of honey. Adding a leather note makes so much sense. I'm really looking forward to trying 'To Bee', and what better way than to win a sample!

12:59 AM EDT  
Blogger Carrie Meredith said...

I would LOVE to be entered in the draw, I'm so enchanted by the concept behind this fragrance and I do believe I must have it. :) Thank you!

1:40 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honey in metal pails, straight from the beekeeper? Sounds amazing. I'm a bit of a honey nut--lavender honey, clover, orange blossom, Tupelo--I love them all.

I'd love a chance to try To Bee. It has generated quite a buzz here on the internet, and I love the spirit behind the scent. Thanks for hosting the drawing! Be well.

1:40 AM EDT  
Blogger DWR said...

I love honey. My fav so far is DSH Lush Honey. Enter me! :)

1:54 AM EDT  
Anonymous ElizabethC said...

Huge fan of honey scents in perfumes - no bad reactions on my skin - just a warm, wrapped in a cashmire shawl type of smell. Please enter me in this drawing, the fragrance sounds wonderful!

1:55 AM EDT  
Blogger Illuminated Perfume said...

Gosh Donna, what fabulous writing, I love the description of the honey from your childhood. Sounds divine!

Thank you for contributing your brilliance of mind, nose and heart.

2:14 AM EDT  
Blogger Tama said...

oo oo oo - yes I want to be in this draw. I just smelled a couple of her perfumes the other day and they are lovely. I am a bit of a honey ho, and this sounds amazing. Nice review!! You made a lemming!

2:17 AM EDT  
Anonymous Jiyin said...

I love honey scent in fragrance, please do enter me in the draw! Thank you so much!

3:28 AM EDT  
Blogger Undina said...

Please enter me into the draw. I'm very curious about the honey note in perfumes. I think it should be great on my skin and I wanted to find such perfume even before I knew it existed.

3:29 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to just offer a small correction on the statement that because a perfume has been made with all natural honey comb and beeswax it won't 'go wrong on the skin' (i.e. won't have the urinous smell to people who don't like phenylacetic acid). You see, honey has many aromatic compounds, one of which is phenylacetic acid! Therefore any products containing natural honey, beeswax absolute and honeycomb also risk smelling urinous to some people. (I happen to love the smell of honey products but I believe this is one of those highly individual cases where some people are predisposed to find the scent more objectionable than others).

5:07 AM EDT  
Blogger Melian said...

I love honey notes in perfumes and the other notes in this one sound perfect! Roxana is so talented, I have yet to find a fragrance of hers that I don't like. Please enter me in the draw.

5:21 AM EDT  
Blogger rosarita said...

This sounds wonderful and I would love to be entered in the draw, thanks to all for the opportunity!

7:12 AM EDT  
Blogger Peacecat said...

I would love to try this scent. I was hesitant to order the solid perfume because my past experience with solids has left me unimpressed. I'm glad to hear you give it a positive review. I will definitely have to check it out.

7:21 AM EDT  
Blogger Julie said...

Omigosh - this sounds wonderful. I would love to try it - please enter me in the draw. Thank you for showcasing this new fragrance!

7:45 AM EDT  
Blogger Momlady said...

Oooo,this sounds beautiful. Please add me to the draw.

7:50 AM EDT  
Blogger Katherine said...

This sounds fantastic, please enter me in the draw. Thank you!

8:09 AM EDT  
Anonymous perfume connection said...

Being a perfume amateur gives more than the gift of smelling good. I think in appreciating perfume I can appreciate so much more of what crosses my path.

8:34 AM EDT  
Blogger Stacey said...

I love honey fragrances and the few Roxana scents I've tried so far, so I would love to be entered in the draw.

9:30 AM EDT  
Blogger marsha said...

I also love honey scents. Please enter me in the draw!

9:40 AM EDT  
Blogger Andrea Shanti said...

Definitely would love to bee in the all things honey. thank you.

9:43 AM EDT  
Blogger Susan said...

I would love to be added to the draw! Thank you!

10:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous June-bug said...

Honey is a beautiful thing, both in food and scent. I used to have some shower gel with honey in it and I swore everytime after I used it I felt energized and at peace at the same time. I think it was all the positive energy from those happy, busy bees!

Please enter me in the draw, I would love to try Roxana's creation. Thank you.

10:16 AM EDT  
Anonymous Maureen said...

I love honey in my sweet and soothing. I really enjoyed your description and would love to be entered in the draw.

10:18 AM EDT  
Blogger snowpavement said...

Who does not adore honey? Walk over broken glass for honey. Beekeeper here, and cannot wait to sample this! Yes, please enter me in the draw.

11:03 AM EDT  
Anonymous dleep said...

I would love to be the drawing. The perfume sounds beautiful and I have never tried anything from this line. I don't have problems with honey in fragrances and I am also a fan of Miel de Bois.

11:43 AM EDT  
Blogger dremybluz said...

Roxana is such a gifted artitst. Please enter me in the draw

11:45 AM EDT  
Anonymous KimL said...

I'd love to be included in the draw. I enjoy honey scents after having bought a honey bath gel many years ago that's simply delightful. Never come across a perfume that was a nice as that gel!

11:48 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Put me in the drawing.

11:48 AM EDT  
Blogger Josey said...

Those compacts are GORGEOUS! Please enter me! =)

12:36 PM EDT  
Blogger Balutakat said...

Donna, that's how my grandfather's honey was, in rural Maine - he'd put it directly into mason jars, bits of comb and all. I remember distinctly different colors, the darkest being buckwheat.

Please enter me in the draw - I would wear this and think of home.

1:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Holly F. said...

I find honey very appealing, both fragrance and food-wise. This sounds absolutely delicious! Please include me in the draw. :)

1:34 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honey is a delight, on greek yogurt, or in perfume! I would love to try this :)

1:50 PM EDT  
Blogger Nancy said...

Oh me oh my...I love honey -- to eat, yum -- but as yet have not found a wonderful one to wear more than the one time try. THIS sound like a winner though so please, please enter me. I have memories of honey and my grandmother serving fresh honey to me, honeycomb and all.
Thank you....

2:50 PM EDT  
Blogger smartshopper2 said...

This compact is so pretty! Please enter me into the draw, would love to try this honey scent, thanks!

2:54 PM EDT  
Blogger ccdouglass said...

This sounds wonderful! Please enter me in the draw. :-)

3:06 PM EDT  
Blogger odonata9 said...

I would love to try this - please enter me in the draw!

4:21 PM EDT  
Blogger Margaret said...

I adore all Roxana's perfumes and would love to try her To Bee. Thanks for the lovely review, and thanks for the giveaway!

5:13 PM EDT  
Blogger Nina Zolotow said...

Beautiful sensual writing, Donna! And, yes, you've made me want it, so please enter me for the draw.

7:00 PM EDT  
Blogger woodgirl said...

To Bee sounds wonderful. Please enter me in the draw.

10:43 PM EDT  
Blogger ahsumaker said...

Sounds wonderful and I am a huge fan of Roxana's. Please enter me in the draw!

12:18 AM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Thanks for the kind words everyone! To Bee is really a very valuable addition to the all too short list of good honey perfumes.

Nukapai, thanks for the clarification. I don't get the overdose of phenylacetic acid in this as might be found in Miel de Bois, I think that's the issue with other honey scents, they just use too much of the stuff. Lucky me, I don't have a problem with that, but I think that people who might be overwhelmed by MdB might find that To Bee is wearable for them.

Thanks Roxana, it was my pleasure!

1:07 AM EDT  
Blogger Liz said...

I'd love to be entered in the drawing! Too Bee sounds a little quirky and very delightful!

8:27 AM EDT  
Anonymous Cynthia said...

What a generous prize! I love all of Roxana's perfumes, but I haven't yet tried this one. Please enter me in the draw.

9:22 AM EDT  
Anonymous Lyrical said...

I'd like to be in the draw please! Thank you.

9:43 AM EDT  
Blogger lovethescents said...

I have a love/hate relationship with honey. Some I adore, some are too animalic. Would love to try this one, though! Please enter me in the draw and thank you for this opportunity!

9:43 AM EDT  
Blogger basia77 said...

Please enter me in the draw. The only honey scent I have is Naked Honey by MAC.

12:36 PM EDT  
Blogger basia77 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:38 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

I would love to try this!

12:59 PM EDT  
Blogger ginamused said...

Donna, if you are interested in a spicy, robust honey, try leatherwood honey from New Zealand. You can buy it at Amazon and it comes in a beautiful retro tin. It's just wonderful.
Please enter me in the drawing; I wound love To Bee.

2:25 PM EDT  
Anonymous maggiecat said...

I would love to sample this scent! I love the smell and taste of honey but have not yet found a scent I felt comfortable wearing. It sounds as if this could be the one though - thanks for the review!

2:25 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Entry me. This sounds great. I would wear in in Fall.

Melody J

3:43 PM EDT  
Blogger Alyssa said...

Oh, cool! I love this giveaway! I LOVE all things honey and bees. (did that sound stupid?) :]] Please enter me in the draw!!

3:51 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

oh it sounds lovely! i would love to try some! please include me!

hancoci_s at msn dot com


5:04 PM EDT  
Blogger eclairre said...

I wanna win. Cimbalom organic botanical perfume mini sounds awesome.

6:15 PM EDT  
Blogger MoonRae said...

This is a great review!! Please include me in this very generous giveaway

7:45 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Flora, agreed, an overdose of the material is not a good idea (as it happens, I find Miel de Bois turns on my skin... wonder if it's that or something else that causes this to happen!).

Roxanna's perfume does sound rather lovely!

6:06 AM EDT  
Blogger KathyT said...

I'd love to be entered into the drawing. One of my favorite honey fragrances is the discontinued L'Occitane Gentle Honey water, so I need a replacement. Thanks!!

8:49 AM EDT  
Blogger gardenofmoi said...

I'd like to be entered, please!

edendaphne AT gmail DOT com

4:25 AM EDT  
Anonymous Lisa said...

I love honey and I'd love to be entered into this drawing!

11:12 PM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

THE DRAW IS NOW CLOSED. The winner will be announced soon. Good luck, everyone!

11:24 PM EDT  

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