Impromptu by Roxana Villa for Roxana Illuminated Perfume 2012


Post by Portia


Hi there,

Natural perfume is a term often reviled by perfumistas. It’s an interesting conundrum because people say they are looking for something different and unusual, a fragrance to blow away the cobwebs of humdrum yet when offered something completely outside their sphere of reference it seems that they only want something different that’s pretty much the same. Is it the human condition in a nutshell? Roxana makes fragrances that are completely and utterly different, they are attached to no familiar trope, speak of the earth and plants that they are produced from and have a connection to the powers of the plants themselves. When I wear a fragrance by Roxana it’s as if I’m an active participant of the world’s natural green spaces.

Impromptu by Roxana Illuminated Perfume 2012

Impromptu by Roxana Villa

Impromptu Roxana Illuminated Perfume bottlePhoto Stolen Roxana Illuminated Perfume

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Woody notes, herbal notes, camphor, geranium, leather, tarragon, basil, clary sage, mimosa

Impromptu, even dabbed, opens larger than life. That it is so real, earthy and alive is so totally unexpected after wearing designer and niche mainly. You have to let your nose recalibrate a bit. Deep earthy green, like a sexy swamp lady, I smell moss, river water and weed, herbs, torn fig leaves, mown lawn and compost, and some spices. You’ll not find anything this wild, untamed and confronting at your local fragrance counter. Impromptu is the good stuff.

Impromptu opens angular, green and spiky. Challenging and unashamed it wraps tender green shoots around your heart and sets root in your soul. Spicy woods and still a herbal tint fill the fragrance heart and much of the ferocity has left. Imagine hiding in the wood shed next to the kitchen and someone is cooking curry, there is also a smoky fire somewhere nearby maybe it’s a wood stove.

Impromptu Roxana Illuminated Perfume PicturePhoto Stolen Roxana Illuminated Perfume

A couple of hours later and still my skin is thrumming with a woodsy green but now the spiciness is cut through with leather, old shoe leather, some well loved and oiled boots. Further in my skin throws a beautiful amber that takes Impromptu into a warmer, friendlier environment. Not sweet but resinous and shiny, woods that have been waxed shiny in a room lit by the warmth of a fire.

Further reading: EauMG and Australian Perfume Junkies
Roxana Illuminated Perfume has $12/1grm EdP

Do you know Rovane Illuminated Perfume? Have you ever tried naturals?
Portia xx

NAHA Conference – 2014 – Beyond Aromatics + Photo Essay


Post by Azar


NAHA Conference – 2014 – Beyond Aromatics

Hello APJ,

Our Summer 2014 was a whirlwind of road trips, building projects and extended visits from family and long, lost friends. One of the highlights that Brad and I enjoyed together was a day at the National Holistic Aromatherapy Association’s (NAHA) Seventh World Conference, “Beyond Aromatics”. This three-day event, Sept. 12 – 14, was held at the campus of Bastyr University, a naturopathic institute located on the grounds of a converted monastery near the shores of Lake Washington east of Seattle. We attended as guests of one of the presenters, the talented and beautiful botanical perfumer Roxana Villa.

Saturday, September 13th, was an exceptional day in the PNW. The air was slightly cool, the sky cloudless, bright blue with a light breeze. We signed in at the conference desk at 8:00 am and immediately tracked down Roxana at the Illuminated Perfume booth in the exhibition hall.

NAHA Conference 2014 #1

At the booth we tried a couple of new fragrances as well as old favorites. Brad was especially taken with the old/new fragrance Bay Rum (the small dark bottle in the back of the photo). Watch for this Bay Rum cologne as part of Roxana’s Fan/Funding event on her blog in the next week or so.

NAHA Conference 2014 #2

We visited several other vendors and then set out with Roxana for Bastyr University’s Medicinal Garden. The garden is organized by application, for example a “Sleep Garden” for plants used to promote rest and relaxation”. Here we have Licorice Mint in the “Digestive Garden”.

NAHA Conference 2014 #3

A shadowy hand is reaching for relief in the “Musculo-Skeletal” garden.

NAHA Conference 2014 #4

A spider left a web in the “Four Elements Garden”.

NAHA Conference 2014 #5

Cramp Bark (Viburnum opulus) berries in the “Woman’s Garden”.

NAHA Conference 2014 #6

Artichokes in the late summer sun.

NAHA Conference 2014 #7


NAHA Conference 2014 #8

After our tour of the gardens Brad and I attended a fascinating lecture by Dr. Florian Birkmayer, MD entitled “Essential Oils for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder”. And then, at 1:45, the highlight of our day, Roxana Villa’s presentation The Tree of Life: A Mystical Approach to the Art of Botanical Perfumery.

Please take time to enjoy this beautiful video put together by Roxana’s husband, artist Greg Spalenka, using his own and Roxana’s original art work and text, very much like the presentation at the NAHA conference.

VIDEO: Roxana Villa: The Tree of Life: A Mystical Approach to the Art of Botanical Perfumery <<<JUMP

Many thanks to Roxana for this beautiful and memorable day!

Azar xx

All photos donated by Azar and video produced and donated by Greg Spalenka.


Hello APJ Crew,

Another great giveaway draws to a close. Thank you to Roxana Villa of Roxana Illuminated Perfume for her generosity and to Azar for her dedication in bringing you a wonder 3 days of interviews and giveaways. We are so lucky to have both of you on board. Here are links to Azar’s wonderful interview Roxana Villa #1 and Roxana Villa #2

Portia x

Impromptu GIVEAWAY

Roxana Illuminated Perfume Impromptu bottle sidePhoto Stolen Roxana Illuminated Perfume


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 Closed Sunday 4th May 2014 10pm Australian EST
Fender once again did a stellar job selecting the winner.   I scattered the names on the floor and he went straight for the one he wanted and sat waiting for me to verify!

This time he liked

Winner EverythingHealthPhoto Stolen EverythingHealth


Congratulations and thanks to everyone for the great comments!
 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

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

Roxana Villa of Roxana Illuminated Perfume: Interview #2

Hey APJ,

Yesterday Azar started her amazing in-depth look into the life and work on one of APJs favourite Independent Perfumers, Roxana Villa. Today we continue the fascinating story. I hope you are enjoying this insight as much as I am.
Portia xx

Roxana Illuminated Perfume Portrait

Roxana Villa of Roxana Illuminated Perfume: Interview #2

You use vital, natural materials to create your perfumes. How many of these materials do you distill, tincture and create yourself from what you gather in your own garden?

I prefer using the word botanical rather than natural since the terminology more accurately and authentically represents what I do. The word natural doesn’t mean anything and can be ascribed to all sorts of materials which are far from nature and what I personally would ever term as natural.

I currently do not distill any of my materials, I do work with small distillers and am extremely mindful where my essences come from. I am not interested in working with materials that have anything to do with the petroleum industry, which is where synthetics and most isolates come from. I’m also making more of an effort to use ingredients from companies that do not do animal testing or offer historical animal ingredients such as civet and castoreum.

I do extract scent and vital components from plants in my garden using processes that stem out of herbalism and ancient perfumery such as infusing, tincturing and enfleurage . A few weeks ago my jasmine sambac plants started their flowering cycle. Everyday I check for blossoms that will go into 190 proof alcohol, jojoba oil and a wax+oil preparation. The end result of the process will go into different products I offer and ones that are just for myself.

Roxana Illuminated Perfume logo_t

I find your artwork both profound and light hearted. The pieces entitled “Botanicus” and “Pollinate” are two of my favorites. Could you describe the process that brings your perfume and visual art into being?

Thanks so much for your sweet comment about my illustrations. Conceptual thinking is a skill set I learned while studying illustration at Otis Art Institute in the mid 80’s. The talent for taking an idea and transcribing into a visual image easily translates into a fragrance. For example, the fragrance Q in my line came out of the intention to save seven California native oaks on a lot next to our home. As a visual artist I would do a drawing and or painting to bring attention to the challenge, in this case I decided to take action by gathering leaves from the trees on the high holiday of Beltane, putting them into 190 proof alcohol to extract their essence and scent and creating a fragrance. At the time I did not have a line of perfumes, I was making my living as an illustrator, teaching aromatherapy on the side and creating custom fragrances. The oak is called Duir by the Druids, stemming from the Sanskrit Dwr meaning door. Q was the perfume which motivated me to launch my line so that I could bring awareness to the plight of this glorious native tree. My intention as an artist, whether working in the visual or aromatic realm is to illuminate, bring light, to the connection between humans and the realm of plants so that we may live in harmony.

I am curious about your work with feral bees. Are these bees the same genus-species (Apis mellifera) as our domesticated honeybees? Do you manage them in commercial style hives or just hope they will return to wild hives on your property?

The feral honey bee we have here in the US is indeed Apis mellifera. The difference between her and the genetically modified version used by industrial bee keepers is that sheRoxana Illuminated Perfume LyraPinkie1t hasn’t been tinkered with in a lab to make her larger with the intention of producing more honey. The feral bee is smaller and contains a diversity of genetics making her resistant to the perils of her larger, frankensteined sisters. She is surviving quite well in urban areas where there is a diverse diet of plants and flowers versus the chemically treated crops of commercial agriculture. A great film to watch that addresses this topic really well is More Than Honey:

There is a lack on consciousness when corporations get involved with nature, greed takes over and methodologies are practiced with no long term thinking. The current situation with GMOs is a great example. The major sources of media are all owned by giant conglomerates which choose what the masses need to hear. They edit information without fact checking and present views that further their causes.

The two hives on my property are feral bees saved from three different locations around Los Angeles. The methods I use are those of holistic beekeepers, or my new favorite term bee guardians. My mentor, Kirk Anderson, teaches us that the bees know exactly what they are doing, its humans who are messing things up. I allow the bees to build their own comb and I use absolutely no pesticides, fungicides, sugar water, etc. The honey bee is very fastidious and keeps the hive very tidy, at 98 degrees and knows what to do if things go out of balance. The more we stay out of the way the healthier they are and the more they can concentrate on the task given to them.

If you could chose only three people who have had the most influence on your life as an artist and perfumer who would they be?

While attending Otis Art Institute in downtown LA I had an illustration teacher named Laurence Carroll that was really different because he was passionate, full of energy and visionary. He encouraged me to follow the personal style he was seeing in the drawings in my sketchbook instead of doing standard representational type of illustration that was acceptable. Since then I’ve been using my own authenticity as my guiding light.

Here’s a quote by Steve Jobs that sums up what I learned from Laurence:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

Roxana Illuminated Perfume Impromptu bottle sideSecond on the list is Dr, Streicher who I heard speak at the very first World of Aromatherapy Conference in San Francisco. At the time I was still a newbie to aromatics. During his presentation he made a comment that really resonated with me about how some individuals entering into the field of aromatherapy have been called upon by the plants. That simple phrase resonated very deeply and made me feel like I was on the correct course.

The third person is the support of the collective from my family, which includes my mother, daughter, husbands, uncle, grandmother and ancestors.

I understand you will be launching an exciting new project soon. Can you describe it now or will you let us know when and where we can learn more about it?

I have multiple projects going on all the time, most of them are kept secret until they have manifested, they seem to have their own schedule. I’ve learned to stay in the act of flow. The one that is about to be birthed is still in secrecy mode. I can’t wait to shout about it from the roof tops. I may have more details once this interview is published.

Last question – I’ll keep it short: Do you have a favorite flower?

As a visual artist I would get asked “Do you have a favorite color” which as a perfumer is similar to having a favorite flower. I like different flowers for different reasons. In termsRoxana Illuminated Perfume Blooming Vortex Girl of my palette I seem to be most drawn to all the jasmines, particularly jasmine sambac, although auriculatum and grandiflorium are also favorites. The earthy, sexiness of labdanum and the soft, powdery cucumber notes of orris are others I am constantly attracted to.

Thank you so much, Roxana, for answering these questions and for taking the time to join us at APJ. I’m looking forward to reviewing the new version of your Impromptu and perhaps the 2014 edition of Gracing the Dawn as well. Best wishes for every success. I hope to make it to the NAHA conference this year to hear you speak in person.

It’s been a pleasure to chat with you Azar, I appreciate your intellect with the research and mindfulness you’ve displayed in preparing these questions.

All Photos Stolen Roxana Illuminated Perfume

If you would like to try Roxana’s Illuminated Perfume <<<JUMP

Stay tuned Friday for a review and MAYBE a GIVEAWAY…….

Roxanne-and-GregRoxana & Greg at home May 2013 taken by Portia



Roxana Villa of Roxana Illuminated Perfume: Interview #1

Hello APJ,

Today it is my privilege to speak with Roxana Villa of Roxana Illuminated Perfume about her life and work as artist and perfumer.

Roxana Villa of Roxana Illuminated Perfume: Interview #1

Welcome to APJ, Roxana! You are a multi-talented artist with abiding interests in various fields including aromatherapy. Has your professional training in aromatherapy contributed to your skills as a perfumer?

The skill sets I learned in professional aromatherapy training have absolutely influenced my work as a perfumer! I use what I learned in aromatherapy training and working as a practitioner everyday. I came to aromatherapy via a little bottle of Juniperus viriginiana at a sweat lodge. That little amber bottle had me witness firsthand the power of essential oils as agents that facilitate mind body wellness in a very holistic framework. Later on, as my knowledge and experience deepened on the healing power of plants, I yearned to combine my two skill sets. At an artists’ workshop in Austria titled “Old Masters, New Visions,” I witnessed the divine interconnection between the visual arts, alchemy and perfume. I then decided to weave all my talents into a perfume business highlighted with the word “illuminated,” referencing the 15th century, when the arts were united by the use of raw plant matter.

Roxana Illuminated Perfume logo

Do you consider your perfumes to be therapeutic as well as beautiful and if so could you give us an example of what you consider to be a “therapeutic” perfume and explain how (why) it works?

All my fragrances have a therapeutic imprint because of the intention I hold when creating them and due to the vitality of the materials in my palette. Just today one of my customers sent me this note: “A simple note to say a tremendous thank you for doing what you do. I have not found another perfumer quite as outstanding as you. Your perfumes make me feel instantly uplifted when I am enveloped in their mystical fragrances.” On a more scientific level, looking at the ingredients contained in my fragrances, you will see that my palette is composed of elements that contain life force, vital energy from the plant world. My fragrances go beyond being a “chemical soup”, I use materials that are as close to nature as possible, no hybrids, no isolates, no historical animal ingredients, etc.

Therapeutic can be defined differently by individual human experience. I am looking at therapeutics on a very holistic level from how and where a plant isRoxana Illuminated Perfume Gracing the Dawn grown, the manner the essence is obtained and distilled to the integrity of the company that sells the aromatic. For example I choose to buy and support companies that are having a positive affect on the planet because that energetic is all part of end product.

At one of the many aromatherapy conferences I attended in the nineties Jan Kusmirek of Fragrant Earth showed us the difference between a lavender essential oil obtained from plants that were harvested by hand using a sickle versus one where a machine was used. These kind of subtleties contribute to quality and what might be considered a therapeutic perfume.

This year you will be one of the main presenters at the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) “Beyond Aromatics” conference at the Bastyr University campus near Seattle. Your topic “The Tree of Life: A Mystical Approach to the Art of Botanical Perfumery” is fascinating to me. Can you give the APJ a brief overview of your presentation? I am especially interested in your take on “essential oils and the elementals”.

The presentation I am giving at the Beyond Aromatics conference is based on ideas of intuition and creativity from William Blake combined with a book proposal I created in 1998. There are many ways to approach creating a fragrance, a mystical approach requires freedom from rational constraints and strict rules. To be in creative flow requires the ability to break free of guidelines and courageously jump into the watery realm of the circle and intuitive mind.Roxana Illuminated Perfume bottles In the end both the left and the right brain are important but its crucial for those seeking to ascend the art of perfumery and their consciousness. I will delve into the multiple meanings of The Tree of Life and how it is the perfect metaphor for creating botanical perfume.

I discovered essential oils at a time when I was working as an initiate with a shaman, learning Celtic and magical wisdom alongside with aromatherapy studies. As I did so, I began to see parallels and thus created content for a book and card deck. Publishers back then felt the content was too niche and progressive. Over the years I’ve refined the ideas which are part of the presentation for the conference. Here’s a link to a post on my blog that gets into some of the elemental aspects I will be referring to.

Since I was a child I have been convinced of a type of sentience unique to plants and to the earth itself. I believe that there is much more to a creating a real fragrance than using an analysis derived from headspace technology to chemically copy the scent of a flower. Is it possible to make the life and the sentient spirit of flowers, plants and the earth really come alive in a fragrance?

The fragrance industry is very much like the art world, there’s a lot of variety in the equation from those who work as an art director or figure head to those working on a deep level with the plants and earth elementals. I completely agree with your observation on the sentience of plants and the earth. The challenge is to assist humans in connecting to the refined, subtle energies of the plant divas. When we do this as a collective then Mother Earth will begin to sense our awakening and respond to us. One of my teachers said that dancing outside on the land is acupuncture for the planet. The simple gesture is a conduit between heaven and earth that gets us out of the logical brain, away from electronics, connecting to our physical bodies and the subtle earth energies.

There have been a number of recent scientific studies of plant communication involving enzymes and mycorrhizal networks. Do you believe that there is a historical precedent or background to this work?

It’s fabulous how modern science is now validating ideas that great yogis and masters have been communicating for centuries within sacred texts like the Bhagavad Gita and our Roxana Illuminated Perfume Handmore modern sages like Rudolf Steiner and Machaelle Small Wright. In the answer to your first question in this interview, I briefly mentioned an experience a little bottle of Juniperus virginiana. Inhaling the aromatic molecules of the red cedar produced a moment out of time where I was transported to a dense forest of ancient Redwoods. I felt as if I was deeply rooted, connected with the trees and a feeling of expansion that traveled upward up to the sky. Then, pop, I came back to the scene of the women and sweat lodge feeling with a sense of profound gift from the plant kingdom.

Where do you stand on plant communication, plant sentience and this “secret life of plants”?

I stand amongst the ancient redwoods and the California native oaks. The mycorrhizal networks is another example of how the plant, insect and segments of the animal kingdom function as a collective. For example in an ancient forest you will have a “Mother” tree while in a hive of european honey bees you will have a Queen, in both instances the Mother and the Queen are integral to the whole. These are examples of systems that work together as a team that benefit their own community and the greater good. As humans we seem to be stuck in a cycle, like the Karmic Wheel, we have periods of enlightenment like the stage in the mid 50’s when we became conscious of civil rights. Then the wheel turns and dark forces of unconscious behavior of corruption and greed take root where we once again must awaken and ascend. There are many metaphors of this cycle in traditions throughout the world, one of my favorites from western story telling is the trilogy of the Lord of the Rings.

Here’s are two examples of how in tune nature is, the first explains how the mycorrhizal networks work:

and the second (sorry about the commercial) shows how wolves change rivers:

Everything is connected.

(Ed: Please watch the two under 5 minute videos, they will change the way you see the world)

All Photos Stolen Roxana Illuminated Perfume

If you would like to try Roxana’s Illuminated Perfume <<<JUMP

Stay tuned tomorrow for a continuation of Roxana Villa’s incredible and inspirational journey to now…….


Aurora by Roxana Illuminated Perfume

Heya Indie Scenters,

While I was in LA during May 2013 for the ScentSation bus tour my buddy Tom Pease, who was the most wonderful guide and friend you can imagine, took me up into Roxana’s 1950s ranch style home in Woodland Hills, tucked away in the Santa Monica mountains outside LA, that she shares with her artist husband Greg Spalenka. It’s a fabulous community that grew up around the idea that near the madness of LA there could be a corner for artisans, like a hippy commune but that is way too simplistic. It was near the beach and away from the excruciatingly high LA prices so a gentler, more romantic and artistic lifestyle was born. There are still pockets of the lifestyle remaining but in reality the area has become an outside suburb of LA.

Roxana Illuminated Perfume PortraitPhoto Stolen Roxana Illuminated Perfume Site

Roxana and Greg are throwbacks to a simpler time and their home is a very comfortable and inviting place full of both their art where Tom and I were introduced to Matte which is a green tea drink, art, fragrance, bees and joy in living. Can I also tell you that this portrait, while looking a bit like Roxana, does not do her beauty any justice, it has captured the outline but completely bypassed the gorgeous elegance and friendliness that is Roxana.

Aurora by Roxana Illuminated Perfume

Roxana Illuminated Perfume AuroraPhoto Stolen Illuminated Perfume Etsy Store

Ingredients: organic grape alcohol, organic grain alcohol, essential oils, c02 extracts, absolutes, tinctured plant material, jasmine, carnation, amber, spice

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Amber Accord, Jasmine, Rose, Spice and Mandarin

One of the things I have to tell you straight away is that if you have only ever worn department store or designer perfume then Roxana Illuminated Perfumes are going to be a complete revelation. No mass production fragrance can ever match the nuanced, natural depths and heights of a handmade, independent fragrance creation. Though both are beautiful and both have their pros & cons there is something of the magical re-engagement with the earth and our place within it that happens when I put on a Roxana Illuminated Perfume. It’s like being hardwired to the energy around me, showing me that I’m part of the infinite bigger picture.

Roxana Illuminated Perfume BoxesPhoto Stolen Illuminated Perfume Etsy Store

How does Aurora wear on me? The opening is warm, sweet, balsamic and spicy, the pictures in my head are honeyed outback Australia, floral, scrubby, red earth, sap from trees, leaves, humus, animals fur, the moment between day and dusk, the warmth of the happy memory of love, the bittersweet of absolute freedom, the joy of achievement, the eternal story and intertwining of a life well lived. All these emotion pictures have fleeted across my inner eye as I sit at my desk sniffing and typing.

The initial blast has burned down and I am left with the beginnings of a sensual, sweet floriental. The flowers are overlaid with an earthy melange that reminds me of freshly turned, healthy humus and walking through pine needles on the way to the beach, there is a salty breeze blowing through that and then all of a sudden at about the 1.5-2hour mark Aurora becomes a soft silky alluring fragrance that stays around as a sweet murmur for another hour or so, sometimes when I wear Aurora it is still smellable next morning as a wash of peaty resins. Quite a good scent life for a natural, which are notoriously short lived especially on my scent hungry skin.

Roxana Illuminated Perfume Aurora Greg SpalenkaPhoto Stolen Illuminated Perfume Etsy Store

Further Reading: Now Smell This and London MakeUp Girl
You can buy Aurora at Illuminated Perfume Etsy Store, there are 1 gram sample sizes from $25.
I bought the 4 gram bottle which was $100 and is Parfum concentration<<<JUMP.

Try Illuminated Perfume if you are ready to experience something completely, magically, different.
Portia xx


Hey Perfume Junkies,

Sometimes I like to get a short grab of a fragrance and we have a super awesome powerpack of tries this week. The Sunday QuickSniff Review page is opened on Monday morning and every time I spritz and am near the computer I’ll give a 3 sentence review with a rating out of 5 each for, well, see the key after the reviews.

MADAME ROCHAS INTENSE EdP by ROCHAS 1960. This is a no brainer for me, loads of deliciously spicy florals on LOUD! I love the gold tone cage bottle and it is reminiscent of the original Guy Robert 1960 magic. Parfum1 has the 2.5oz for under $70 S=*** L=*** D=****

LIPSTICK ROSE by FREDERIC MALLE 2000. This is the BOMB what a wonderful fragrance. If you want to smell the roses you remember from your childhood, fresh, citric, spicy, fruity, almost slightly plastic (Please don’t get up me about it, some roses have a definite plastic scent bias and violet too) and a little speck of branch and leaf, then this is the fragrance for you, all rose but beyond rose into art. Posh Peasant has decants starting at only $5.50  S=***** L=*** D=*****

TRUSSARDI for women EdT by TRUSSARDI 1984. From the moment you touch this bottle there is something refined and designed here that makes you covet it. Trussardi is still a classic Leather Chypre; as it opens the citrus, aldehydes and resins are warm, bright and inviting, then we move into a big fat glorious bouquet that has depth and character from the woods, vanilla, patchouli, smoke and leather that seems to already be there and stays around for hours, quietly being gorgeous. FragranceShop has 100ml for around $30 S=**** L=*** D=****

CHAPARRAL by ROXANA ILLUMINATED PERFUMES 2006. Designed to embody the aromatic spirit of the Wild West in the USA. This is a deliciously murky herbal and woodsy concoction, so different from mainstream perfume that people can’t help but ask what it is. You can smell the dust, hay, buffalo, herbs, spices, trees, gunpowder and smoke, AH MAY ZING! Roxana Illuminated Perfumes sells 7g in a flacon for $150 or samples S=***** L=**** D=****

Photo Stolen from shirtsays

Scent, Obviously the number 1 priority here is how does it smell. My reviews are completely subjective and will differ widely from your own experience with the scent but it’s a good starting point. As yet I am not a trained perfumer so any and all descriptions are merely that, descriptions. There are plenty of blogs that offer technical details and chemistry, in 3 sentences I’ll pass.
Longevity, This is a biggie for me because like enfleurage where flower petals are left in fats to steal the scent, my fatty body works the same and eats it up, yum. So for a scent to last well on me, it will probably last a whole day on you and need a radioactive decontamination shower to defuse it from your skin.
Desirabilty, Wrapped up in this is scent, price, house, history, longevity, packaging, availability and a billion other things.

Photo Stolen from bittbox

* in any of these being the, “You couldn’t pay enough to spray this God awful stink on me again, it smells like public toilets in India, long time fridge malfunction while on Summer holiday and the vile stench of poverty all rolled into one.” You are putting innocent people in danger if you wear this.
** means it’s a nothing, wearable, boring, maybe the price is prohibitive for what you get or it’s ubiquitous. You should definitely get a sample of this to stop a buying boo boo.
*** is a perfectly good product that smells good and lasts a while at a decent price. You should definitely think about trying a sample or squirt but should you miss out your life will continue. Sample size worthy.
**** is the one you try, want a lot but can wait for a birthday/Christmas. It’s better than most of the stuff you’ve sniffed and may fill a void in your library. This is also an excellent decant product 5ml will get you through the season and maybe buy it next year.
***** meaning, stop reading this, grab your cash, credit card (or partners), roll the elderly or rob a petrol station and purchase this product. NOW! If you don’t have this fragrance you could die.

Hopefully this has given you a little inside track on fragrances to might buy, want, avoid, sample. What delicious bits and pieces did you try this week?

Portia xx

Roxana’s Illuminated Perfumes

Hey gang,

This week’s weather in Sydney is completely bonkers, warm and sunny, freezing and windy, wet, cold and sunny; all today! Choosing a perfume for today was hard work, so this morning I tried an old favourite,  and this evening something brand spanking new!


So I lemminged onto Roxana’s Illuminated Perfumes through ThePerfumeShrine who did a wonderful piece on one of the fragrances, Hedera Helix, based on the Ivy it’s named after. Thank You for introducing me gang. The picture below shows Roxana’s enormous attention to detail when she sends. So pretty, and it makes the whole experience even more special.

Photo Stolen from ETSY

I went and found Roxana on ETSY and this is what she has to say about her fragrances

I create whole, vital, organic perfumes with stories. These fragrances are from nature, there are absolutely NO synthetic materials contained or tortured animal ingredients in my fragrances.
The perfumes I create are from the highest-grade botanical materials; including pure essences sourced from the deserts of Arabia, tropical forests of Madagascar as well as Mediterranean meadows.
In the tradition of alchemists and perfumers of ancient times, I create an illuminated line of exclusive, signature fragrances along with extraordinary custom perfumes. Every fragrance is created in small batches by hand and resonates with a deep connection to the land, utilizing intoxicating scents drawn from the botanical world.

I ordered the Organic Botanical Perfume Sampler Eco d’Lux Six Pack for US$45 and a Hedera Helix Nature Perfume in a Mini Compact for US $30 and, gorgeous girl that Roxanna is, there came a surprise for you (see below in COMPETITION GIVEAWAY).

Photo Stolen from Etsy


As always I went straight for the sample that came to my fingers. Didn’t check the name, just applied with abandon, well not too much, they are extremely small samples. Really, really small. I got the original application before work and a reapplication now to jog my memory. Gone! Anyway, this is called Impromptu and is not on the current list.

OMG BETTY! Deep earthy green, like a sexy swamp lady, I smell moss, river water and weed, herbs, torn fig leaves, mown lawn and compost, and some spices that elude me but it is AWESOME!

Photo Stolen from ETSY

One of the men at Trivia tonight, that I would never have expected it from, leaned over and said, “You smell great, that perfume is….Wow!” As Evie C was also there I have back up collaboration on this. He was blown away, and so am I. You can be sure I’ve already written to Roxana asking for 5 litres of it, well, asking if I could buy any of it actually.

It’s morning now and there is still a delicious fat curl and waft of deepest green lingering upon my person. I am mesmerised, sitting still for minutes at a time (not something I do easily) trying to track this amazing scent. It is now a rank, dank thing clawing its way from the sea with a briny broken branch smell. I’m sorry, the words I have are not making this scent sound appealing; it is. I wish there were more words in my head to give you an accurate picture of how majestic this fragrance is, like primordial soup and magic. There was the tiniest skerrick left in the bottle and I have drained the dregs to live this wonderful fragrance again. One thing is for sure, you’ll not find anything this wild, untamed and confronting at your local fragrance counter. This is the good stuff.


I have the solid mini compact of Hedera Helix, being a solid it is much tamer in sillage, but it is a very crisp Green Floral Chypre that is less brash than Impromptu. It smells like a reserved, elegant and willowy sister in comparison. It’s edges are buffed and polished to an easy wearabilty for everyone, and being solid it is also good for people allergic to mass market perfumes. I like the mini compact especially for gym goers who are forever losing lids in gym bags and precious juice being squirted into damp towels and soggy lycra. Also, after a workout it goes on beautifully and the extra warmth and bloodflow help to give softer solid perfume a bit more strength.

Photo Stolen from ETSY

Roxanna says of the Hedera Helix fragrance

The best words I can use are to describe this scent is mossy green, floral Chypre. I utilized many essences with a green profile as well as those that come from green leaves like Geranium, Peach Leaf, Rhododendron Leaf, and Violet Leaf. On the skin of those who have tested it the aroma is quite beautiful.


This Thursday the question you must answer in the comments is, “What is your dirty little perfume secret? The one guilty fragrance pleasure that you wear even though it has been reviled by all and sundry? Maybe it’s a cheapy, maybe it’s a one star Sanchez/Turin or maybe it’s something so old fashioned you can’t bring yourself to tell. Now’s the time to spill.” and I’ll pick the comment that resonates most with me. Doesn’t have to be long or flamboyant, just give it to me straight.

One of my personal favourites that fits into this category is Poeme by Lancome. I will be writing about it tomorrow, so before my dirty little secret is really out I’d like to hear yours.

What’s in the winners pack this week? All measures are approximate and winner drawn Sunday 10pm-ish Australian EST.

1 x manufacturers sample pot of Roxana’s Illuminated Perfumes, Hedera Helix

1 x 5ml manufacturers sample One Seed, Freedom EDP

1 x 2ml decanted spray sample Estee Lauder, Youth Dew

1 x 1ml remains manufacturers sample Bottega Veneta

1 x .5ml decanted sample spray L’Artisan Parfumeur, Passage D’Enfer

plus postage and packing anywhere in the world that it’s legal to send to


Thanks for getting all the way to the bottom of my random smelly thoughts,

Here is a special present, I was reminded of it today by my buddy Radium Maxwell. MWAAA

Portia x