September 9, 2012

Impromptu - Roxana Illuminated Perfume


Impromptu by Roxana Villa of Illuminated Perfumes began in a spirit of improvisation.  There were a number of botanical chords already in her studio, which she adjusted and refined until they resolved themselves into a sweet smoky botanical leather.

The notes, as always, are handmade and wild-crafted materials that were gathered into wood, earth and musk chords, created from the plants and woods nearby, combined with resins, geranium, rose, tarragon, basil, clary sage and mimosa.   There is Chinese Emperor Pu-erh tea with a teaspoon of her own bees' honey to finish.

This perfume was made by instinct and through long experience, without a recipe.   This is a symphonic combination that ends up in a place you would not expect from such beginnings in spontaneity -- as a leather, which is a traditional type in natural perfume.  The modernity is in the leather holding an edge of honeyed smoke.

This is very much in the vein of the original perfume styles from the oldest days of Grasse, in France.  They created such perfume for the elaborate embroidered leather gloves worn by both men and women.  Men especially wore leather style perfumes, to go well with all the time they spent in the saddle,  and their  gloves and boots.  In this day and age, many women love this type of perfume even more than men do.   It has the depth of a cello and refers to a classically elegant outdoor life of horseback riding, woods and herbs, and leather boots and gloves, which then moves indoors to the warmth of a wood burning fireplace with cut flowers on the polished wood mantle.

Unusually for purely botanical perfume it has good longevity.  It lingers on the skin, as if married to it.  It has an earthly material world feel, while still allowing the edges and details of the notes to peak through. 

It shows a celestial side too, because you keep catching the edges of it rising from you skin as you move, to quietly surprise with its subtle and complex aura.  It puts me in a good mood to find myself emanating this subtle veil of botanical complexity.

Roxana is a true artisan perfumer, making and doing everything herself from beginning to end.   Her online journal is both beautiful and informative, especially the background to the accords and composition of this perfume.

For obvious reasons this perfume is a limited edition, of about 10 ounces in total.  It is currently for sale at Roxana's E-shop within three of six liquid sample sets:

It is also available in a glass vial with 1 gram (by weight) and an amber glass vial:
Her husband Greg Spalenka often makes paintings and illustrations that depict the perfumes in visual form. He created the  illumination above for Impromptu, which is  available as a print at his E-shop:
I have written several times about Roxana Illuminated Perfumes.  For a complete selection of these posts please enter the word Roxana in the search box at the top right hand corner of the screen.
Disclosure:  The sample of this perfume was sent to me by the perfumer.  My opinions are my own and I am not compensated in any way.  
Copyright 2012, Lucy Raubertas, all rights reserved.


lafleur said...

Hello! Last year I ordered three solid perfume samples from that line, they were so subtle to me I found it hard to say anything about them except "some rose, yep, and well, some beeswax, sure... and these tiny pots are so damn prettyyy!!" and that was it. I tried them again a few days ago and at last one of them kind of opened up to me (that was Aurora) and I got all happy to see that my nose had a bit "evolved"! But just a bit. It's still so subtle to me! I enjoy "working" on that nose of mine though and the natural/artisan lines are such a wonderfull world to explore!

Lucy Raubertas said...

Hi lafleur
Yes this style of perfume, all botanical hand made and fully natural, is very subtle and ephemeral, as I have written about before (I have several prior posts on Roxana in particular where get into this issue, which makes these perfumes so different than "regular" perfume). It's more like tasting a fine wine, it passes through your senses very quickly but suffuses you nonetheless with all the essences it contains. But this one, Impromptu, has a very long staying power and much more throw, no doubt because some of the resinous materials within it.