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, emotion 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”. http://issuu.com/ladyroxana/docs/impromptu
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 in 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.
WHAT CAN YOU WIN?
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
HOW DO YOU WIN?
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.
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.