Impromptu by Roxana Villa for Roxana Illuminated Perfumes 2014


Post by Azar


Impromptu by Roxana Villa for Roxana Illuminated Perfumes 2014

This week I had a great time interviewing Roxana Villa of Roxana Illuminated Perfume. I learned so much and also had the opportunity to try samples of her 2014 re-issue of Impromptu. (ED: Here are links to Azas wonderful interview Roxana Villa #1 and Roxana Villa #2)

As a pianist I understand the term “impromptu” to refer to music that seems improvisatory but is actually very carefully designed to give the impression of being created on the spur of the moment. A musical impromptu is usually a shorter solo piece without extensive formal development, seemingly just “tossed off” by the composer as a reflection of a fleeting mood, impromptu Roxana Illuminated Perfumesjpgemotion or memory. On her website Roxana describes the creation of her first Impromptu (2012) fragrance as a kind of spontaneous amalgam of scents. She relates how she used a botanical version of an historic leather accord by the early 20th century “father of aromatherapy” René-Maurice Gattefossé combined with a variation of her own Chaparral perfume and a number of other purposefully affordable elements to develop a new fragrance. From this information the first Impromptu seems indeed an improvisation, a truly ex-temporaneous creation, almost impossible to faithfully reproduce in every detail. In contrast, the new version that I tried is obviously a well-considered and thoughtfully crafted perfume composition using “over 30 individual plant essences and three complex accords”.

That being said – I thought I knew what to expect from just about any botanical fragrance. From my very first sniff of Impromptu these preconceptions were totally blown away! I was almost shocked by the sillage and pleasantly surprised by the longevity, depth and sophistication of this new fragrance.

The re-issue of Impromptu is available in three formats: Perfume, EDP and solid perfume. Each version tells its own story, revealing different facets of the perfume’s profile. Of the three I find the perfume strength to be the brightest, most focused and lively. It opens, for a fraction of a second, with a sunny mimosa that is immediately overtaken by what I perceive as lemon balm but what is probably citronella, lemon geranium, petitgrain and myrtle. Artemisia, galbanum and immortelle feature prominently as the perfume evolves to its heart of leather, choya laban and labdanum. This darker side settles close to the skin for several hours eventually drying down lightly to a combination of orris, smoky vanilla, benzoin and balsam.

The EDP opens with similar green and sunny top notes (artemisia, citronella, basil, galbanum, immortelle/helichrysum) but develops a darker, more somber heart reminiscent of a forest floor of dry leaves, mushrooms and cedar wood laced with labdanum, leather, myrrh and the smoky choya. Strangely, the EDP last longer on my skin than the parfum, up to 8 hours and at least 12 hours on clothing, finishing as dusky vanilla, honeyed balsam, choya, incense and various woods.

The solid perfume is the most intimate of the three. The initial and mid notes are once again dominated by citronella, artemisia, galbanum, balsam and leather but this time homogenized ImpromptuLB Roxana Illuminated Perfumesin honey and beeswax with very little change over the life of the scent. (BTW I love the handy little pots that Roxana uses to package the solid samples.)

Each presentation of Impromptu seems suited to a particular time of day. The bright and focused perfume works best for me in the morning and early afternoon. I prefer to use the solid and the EDP in late afternoon and evening to help relax and to create an atmosphere of contemplation and meditation. In all three versions the citronella and what I perceive to be something like a green camphor (probably the myrtle) help to project the fragrance beyond the skin creating a surprising cloud of fragrance around the wearer. As the cloud evaporates it is drawn back to the skin creating an almost visible aura of scent.

Despite the name Impromptu and the sunny opening I find this fragrance to be serious, reflective and sophisticated. It is not overtly sexual but instead magical, fascinating and alluring, almost androgynous and suited to either a man or women. Roxana chose to represent her new fragrance with the image of the griffin, the mythological creature of two natures, sacred to the sun.


Giveaway myprettypaintsPhoto stolen myprettypaints

Impromptu GIVEAWAY


This week’s draw is for one prize that includes
1 x sample set of the re-issue of Impromptu including the perfume, EDP and the solid perfume
P&H Anywhere in the world


Open to everyone worldwide who follows AustralianPerfumeJunkies via eMail, WordPress, Bloglovin or RSS. Please leave how you follow in the comments to be eligible. I must be able to check that you follow so if you have an email address on your gravatar that’s different to your follow address then please email me so I know. Yes, you can start following to enter, in fact it’s encouraged.

You must tell me how you follow APJ


Please leave a comment about one of Roxana’s fragrances or on your experience with botanical perfumes in general.

Extra Chance?
Tweet: @OzPerfumeJunkie Impromptu: Roxana Illuminated Perfumes GIVEAWAY #Perfume #Giveaway @RoxanaVilla


Entries Close Sunday 4th May 2014 10pm Australian EST and winners will be announced in a separate post.
Winners will be chosen any fab way that Azar decides
The winners will have till Thursday 8th May 2014 to get in touch (portia underscore turbo at yahoo dot com dot au) with their address or the prize will go to someone else.
No responsibility taken for lost or damaged goods in transit.

Azar xx

57 comments on “Impromptu by Roxana Villa for Roxana Illuminated Perfumes 2014

  1. edith says:

    i follow by email and fb. i don’t know roxana’s line but i would like to try impromptu !

    • Azar says:

      Hi edith,
      Thanks for joining the draw! If you haven’t already done, so check out the APJ interview with Roxana earlier this week. What is most important to her really comes through in her perfumes.
      Azar xx

  2. Connie says:

    I follow by email and haven’t tried any of Roxana’s perfumes, though I’ve heard a fair amount about the line. I’m also chagrined to admit my lack of experience with botanical perfumes. This sounds heavenly though.

    • Azar says:

      Hi Connie,
      There really aren’t that many 100% botanicals out there. Many of the ones I’ve tried from other houses are quite beautiful but are generally “quiet” and short lived. Impromptu was a real surprise! Thank you for stopping by. You are IN!
      Azar xx

  3. Jackie b says:

    Impromptu sounds deep and mysterious.
    So far I have tried Roxana’s Too Bee and Hedera Helix, and quite enjoyed the samples but found them a bit dense to reach for on a daily basis.
    Other natural perfumes I have tried and liked were from Essential Alchemy, in fact wore hokkabaz today and it is still wafting its dried plum accord at me now.
    I follow by email.

    • Azar says:

      Hi there Jackieb,
      Impromptu IS deep and mysterious. I find it quite soothing but even the perfume strength, which I perceive to be brighter, is still a rich and “serious” fragrance. For a lighter fragrance try Roxana’s Gracing the Dawn. The only Esscentual Alchemy I’ve used is Gaia and found that one to be very meditative. I will have to give hokkabaz a try. Oh yes, you are IN, Jackieb!
      Azar xx

  4. Holly says:

    Thanks for the opportunity! I avidly follow APJ by email. I haven’t tried Roxana’s offerings yet, but was intrigued by the two posts you just did regarding her philosophy. I’ve practiced aromatherapy for about 30 years strictly as a novice bumbler. I’ll be honest here and say that I’m usually disappointed by botanical perfumes as they disappear so quickly, or bog down into the base notes. Despite that, I remain ever hopeful each time I try a different line. Happy weekend all!

    • Azar says:

      Hello Holly,
      Thank you for following and for your thoughtful comments. Longevity has been one of my issues with botanicals too. That is why I was so surprised by Impromptu. Also, the three variations of Impromptu are quite different. The solid resolves quickly to a combination of notes (“bogs down” as you say) but the EDP and perfume have real top notes that slowly change to heart and bass. The change is very subtle, though and the accords are so effective that it is not easy to distinguish the individual components. Oh dear, I’m rambling! You are so IN, Holly!
      Azar xx

  5. Joaquim says:

    I’m following via e-mail!
    My only experience with botanical perfume is Mandy Aftel’s work and is wonderful, Wild Roses, Lumiere, Tango…well, I tried also SIP’s Black Rosette but the mint note didn’t worked on me.

    Thank you for the draw!

    • Azar says:

      Hello Joaquim,
      I’ve heard a lot of good things about Wild Roses and Tango. I haven’t tried those but really liked Lumiere. I love mint in perfume but only as a kind of “finish” and not when it is overtly minty. Thank you for joining the draw! You are IN!
      Azar xx

  6. Maya says:

    Hi Azar. Impromptu sounds good. I have wanted to also try GreenWitch and Gracing the Dawn. As too many perfumes have become more and more synthetic, I have become much more interested in botanicals. I follow by email.

    • Azar says:

      Howdy Maya!
      Did you see (in the second day interview comments) that JanLast has gone through two bottles of GreenWitch! I really want to try that one. I have been sampling Gracing the Dawn, a light, ethereal violet fragrance. Lovely. Thanks for joining the draw and for your great comments!
      Azar xx

  7. Jackie says:

    Dear Azar,
    What an exciting give away! Haven’t experienced any of Roxana’s fragrances… yet. All of my creative explorations are with botanicals. They are alive and share with us the very gift of life. I am fascinated to discover the beauty with sillage and longevity that you describe in hers. What a gorgeous adventure! I follow my treasured & treasure-full APJ via email.
    Lots of love, Jackie

    • Azar says:

      Dear Jackie,
      Have you tried creating something with the Eastern Juniper oil (Juniperus virginiana) that you and Roxana talked about? I love the smell of our Rocky Mountain Junipers out west. Thank you for following and for your great comments! You are so IN!
      Azar xx

      • Jackie says:

        Hi Azar,
        I love Juniper V. and use it almost everyday as aromatherapy. Haven’t yet designed an aesthetic perfume around it. Have a few local Juniper & Cedar essences from New Mexico and Arizona. LOVE THEM ALL! I’m taking a course in essences of the Southwest soon. Would love to share some of these local wonders with you. xx, J

      • Azar says:

        Jackie! That would be wonderful! I can imagine mysterious dry woods, sand, cactus flowers, yucca…Thank you

      • Jackie says:

        More soon.

  8. hotlanta linda says:

    Dearly need to have some of this houses love-lies to try – all I`ve done is READ her pictoral blog for years! Just tooooo much out there to whiff w/ the amount of mula one has 🙂 I have found any botanical scent to be smooth and mellow, no matter what the fragrance category 🙂 We follow a la FB, e-mail, and blog…

    • Azar says:

      Hello hotlanta,
      Yes, Roxana’s blog and new website are so much fun to read and look through. The artwork is stunning. Another note about sillage and longevity: This morning I applied some Impromptu perfume and solid to my wrist and soon after that just felt like spraying Micallef Jewel. They are competing nicely with each other and the Micallef has not at all overpowered Impromptu. Pretty amazing. Next I will see if Impromptu can stand up to Amouage Interlude. Thank you for commenting, hotlanta. You are so IN!
      Azar xx

  9. Roxana says:

    Azar, what a gift you have with words. I so enjoyed reading your experience of Impromptu and how you weaved music into it. Many thanks once again to you and Portia, super grateful. Beauty to your weekend and best of luck to everyone who is intends to when the sample set. “May the odds be ever in your favor!”

    • Azar says:

      Thank you, Roxana. I enjoy your work so much. Perhaps there will be time for another review soon? I am loving the sample of Gracing the Dawn. Thank you again for making today’s beautiful give-away possible.
      Azar xx

  10. einsof says:

    i had NO idea Chaparral was used within Impromptu! Chaparral, in it’s own right, is so deeply complex- i can only imagine the myriad layers of this so-called Impromptu creation!

    thank you for a chance to experience more of this vastly talented artist! (and thank you for such a wonderful interview- it really brought out an inherent emotional evocation within Roxana’s work. She often reminds me of the olfactory version of Lisa Gerrard- both artists being uniquely their own; recognizable, both conveying deep stirring messages within a familiar and comforting framework.)

    so… i follow, i believe, by wordpress, or in any case i get an email when there is a new post here. 🙂

    • Azar says:

      Hello einsof,
      I like your take on Lisa Gerrard and I think you are absolutely right about the complexity of Impromptu. I know my nose has missed a lot.
      Thank you so much for commenting. You are IN!
      Azar xx

  11. dremybluz says:

    I follow via email. I have tried To Bee and loved the rich, dense honey fragrance. Roxana is such a sweet, talented artist.

    • Azar says:

      Thank you for joining the draw and for commenting, dremybluz! Roxana is not only talented but so generous too to offer this give-away for the APJ. You are IN the draw!
      Azar xx

  12. Courant says:

    Those of us Down Under stick together. I follow by email. I had a little roll on botanical that featured scents of the (US) desert but this would be superior I’m sure.

    • Azar says:

      Hi Courant!
      I think it would be fun for a niche perfume house to do a “deserts of the world” series (of course with a much more glamourous name). Thank you for commenting. You are IN!
      Azar xx

  13. Jaybee says:

    Hi Azar! I have some of Roxana’s Aurora perfume, which Portia aptly likened to the Aussie outback. It does make me think of that. It has a bit too much patchouli for my tastes, I must admit, but it’s still impressive. 🙂

    • Jaybee says:

      Whoops, and I follow by email!

    • Azar says:

      Hi Jaybee!
      I’m really getting into the idea of desert, scrub and outback scents. About Aurora: Patchouli usually works for me but sometimes I have weird reactions to it so have to use in moderation. Same thing goes with immortelle. Thank you for your comment AND you are so IN!
      Azar xx

    • Roxana says:

      Hmmm, there is no patchouli in Aurora.

      • Azar says:

        Hi Roxana,
        I think Aurora and GreenWitch are next on my list. I have not yet tried either of these and there have been a number of comments about both fragrances. The patchouli in the patchouli-free Aurora reminds me a little bit of some psycho acoustic tricks that sound plays on our ears. About thirty years ago I was studying mbira. The teacher described the combinations of sounds as “the present and obvious”, “the present but not obvious” and the acoustic trick “the obvious but not present”. Hmmm…Even more fun!
        Azar xxx

  14. Katherine Mittas says:

    My experience with florals dates back to Tea Rose..from the perfumers workshop during the 70’s. It’s the perfume of my childhood . it was the embodiment at 12 years of age of turning into a teenager and playing dress ups … high heels , my sisters dresses, Lip gloss , and a squirt of tea rose..and off to the corner shop I would go to buy 5 cents worth of mixed !!
    I follow via Facebook and email newsletter

    • Azar says:

      Hello Katherine,
      Thank you for your fragrant floral memories! You are in the draw. This weekend my 13 year old granddaughter is joining me at the Seattle Artisan Fragrance Salon (and chocolate show). If she tires of perfume she can just pop over and sample the candies! It’s funny how the world only seems to change…
      Azar xx

  15. Ines says:

    I follow by email (I think). 🙂

    Speaking of botanical perfumes, my first memories are of walking with my grandmother through our local botanical garden. That is a smell I’ll never forget and every once in a while I smell it in a perfume and am transported back there.
    Ines recently posted…The Vogue connectionMy Profile

    • Azar says:

      Wonderful memories, Ines. I had a similar experience as a child. It is wonderful when we find those memories in a perfume. You are so IN!
      Azar xx

  16. Lauren W says:

    I must have missed the movie the first time around. A lot of gun play for a movie about 19th C artists.

    My children gave me a set of Roxanna’s solid samples a few years ago for Easter. I love the little pots and the colored wax stamp.

    Please include me in the draw. I follow by email and FB. Thanks, Azar!

    • Azar says:

      Hi Lauren W,
      Like most movies of this kind the fact and fiction are woven together for entertainment purposes. I remember I was totally entertained the first time I saw it and didn’t care if all of the details were exactly right. Fun cast.
      I love Roxana’s little solid samples too. Really handy and cute.
      You are IN, Lauren W!
      Azar xx

      • Lauren W says:

        I was just being sarcastic about the gun play. 🙂

      • Azar says:

        I guess I’m just sensitive to B-Azar’s insistence on correct historical detail! I feel better now!

  17. Liz K says:

    I follow via RSS and Bloglovin and would love to be entered in the draw. I am another follower of her blog with an inability to decide on what to try and not enough $ to try them all. I just keep hoping to win a sample of something 😉 and this review makes me want to try Impromptu even more, especially the EDP.

    • Azar says:

      Hello Liz K!
      I think that a good place to start would be any of Roxana’s sample sets. The one she is offering for this draw would be a nice introductory purchase (if you don’t win it, that is).
      Thank you for commenting and you are IN!
      Azar xx

  18. b says:

    I just found this site and subscribed. I will spend the rest of the weekend reading here.
    I love naturals, and true naturals are hard to find but I know this perfumer is strictly natural. I would love a chance at winning her samples. Thanks for the opportunity!

    • Azar says:

      Hi b and welcome to APJ! Are you following APJ by e-mail, WordPress, Bloglovin…? Portia needs to know for the draw (see above). So happy to have you here!
      Azar xx

  19. Lyubov says:

    Artemisia and immortelle – that should be a sheer fantasy!
    I haven’t tried anything from Roxanna’s treasury, but as a violet fan I am eager to sample Gracing the Dawn. And the dark, much-commented boozy patchouli of Figure 1: Noir, of course!
    My experience with natural perfumery is more scarce than I want it to be, but still I tried some of Mandy Aftel, Opus Oils, Sarrabecca, En Voyage and April Aromatics. And most happily, thanks to APJs, I have a roll-on of Kismet from A Wing & A Prayer! Love it, love APJs!!! 🙂
    Thank you for the great draw! I follow by email and on FB!

    • Azar says:

      Hi Lyubov,
      Gracing the Dawn really IS violet but I have to wait just a moment for the fragrance to connect with my skin. It reminds me a little of those violet pastilles in the little tins by Abbaya de Flavigny – before you get to the anise centers, that is. Now that you mention it, I would like to try Figure 1: Noir too. One of my all time favorite patchouli fragrances is Opus Oils Wild Child #13 but have to use that one sparingly. Thank you for your comments, Lyubov.! You are IN!
      Azar xx

  20. Miss Heliotrope says:

    Well, you got me to sign up – seems to be via wordpress – rather than just looking you up as part of my mental checklist.

    I adore Roxanna’s Greenwitch, which is one of my top fave scents . I have explored her range a fair bit, and Chapparal is actually one I got a sample of fairly recently – I love the green plus smokiness of it. I have all but used up my solid samples of Q & Hedera Helix.

    I think one of the aspects I enjoy about Roxanna’s perfumes is that she provides (I follow her blog, too – & pinterest) a personal insight into what she is creating, and then you can smell where that took her. She had a competition a while back on pinterest to create a board (or boards) that reflected one of her scents, and it was a fascinating exercise.

    • Azar says:

      Hello Miss Heliotrope!
      There have been several comments on this post about GreenWitch. I have to try it too! Do you prefer one format over another when you sample Roxana’s perfumes?
      And yes, her blog is amazing. She provides such in depth information as well as beautiful artwork and interesting links. Thank you for joining the draw AND for signing on! You are so IN!
      Azar xx

  21. Jackie says:

    Hi Azar,
    I just saw the movie clip. What fun! Saw the movie in the theatre when it first came out. Loved it then and love it now.
    “Art does not apologize!” Grand!
    And congratulations on the great response your posts are getting. Well done & well deserved. @;^)

    • Azar says:

      Thank you, Jackie!
      In moments I am off (when the family gets here) to the Second Annual Seattle Artisan Fragrance Salon (and chocolate show). I will try to get some good photos. A perfect day for perfume and chocolate. Its raining again!
      Azar xxx

      • Jackie says:

        Hi Azar!
        Sounds luscious. Mandy Aftel says a humid climate is the best atmosphere for fumes.
        Enjoy! Enjoy!

  22. Nici says:

    I just followed on fb. Thank you for the chance! I have been wanting to try one of roxanas fragrant creations for so long. This would be wonderful.

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