March 4, 2016

Roxana Illuminated Perfume: Fleurish and Mellifera

Roxana Illuminated Perfume has been making small batch, hand-made natural perfumes for a long time now, as the always growing refinement of her skills show. This line is a must to explore for those with an affinity for natural perfumes. Using organic essences and tinctures, some of the materials are produced by the perfumer herself from local plants growing near her home in Southern California. This immediacy gives her perfumes a subtle fresh vitality.

Her style is centered on purity and elegance. Those two words are the ones that come most often to mind. They are for the sensitive perfume lover who will most enjoy their subtle gradations and connection to nature. The presentation shares a thoughtful aesthetic, that reflects a way of life.

They generally come in two versions, as liquid and solid perfumes.

I have met Roxana a couple of times and have written about her perfumes several times over the years. I admire her disciplined pursuit of beauty, workmanship and quality. There can be that presence in fine hand-made artisan perfume, that reveals the personality of the perfumer.

Fleurish edp is a refined jasmine and wood. There are three forms of jasmine and a tincture of jasmine sambac flowers, with other white flowers and woods. The eau de parfum is in a base of organic grape alcohol, the solid version is in a base of local beeswax and jojoba oil.

The effect of both versions are similar. The often unruly indolic white jasmine has been captured within the spirit of wood. This gentle close union is a refreshing calming experience. It is simple in the best sense of the word, yet dimensional because jasmine itself is so complex and radiant. Its cloying aspect is held back within the wood, itself ultra softened and uplifted by this close association. I find there is a more a citrus freshness within the liquid version. As ever with natural perfumes, they hold close to the skin.

Materials and notes for the edp are listed as:

190 Proof Organic grape; vital plant essences including three different jasmine flowers, other white florals and precious wood; artisanal tincture of jasmine sambac flowers.
Mellifera edp is a broad open sunny California field full of green grasses and plants, some bleached to hay and mixed with their own soft seed heads and a few wildflowers. It exudes a vital presence, and an essential core of natural gentle sweetness. This references the nectar that feeds the bees, and the bodies of bees themselves. Bees are a recurrent theme for Roxana, who is highly engaged in apiculture.

There is a sharp borderline feral wildness here that sinks into the skin. The solid version is a little sweeter and smoother.

EdP materials and notes are listed as:

190 Proof Organic grape; vital plant essences including spice, herbs, flowers, resins, precious woods and helichrysum from Croatia and Ojai California.

Notes: Herbs, honey and resin

I like wearing both versions of these perfumes at the same time. They are like skin stains that hold a world of olfactory impressions. They feel like precious and rare substances, filtered through the mind and hands of an idiosyncratic and inventive perfectionist. They must be held close to get the full spectrum and effect but they make it worth your while. They take me away on a vacation to a forgiving climate.

I also like that Roxana delves deeply into the visual arts, and film culture, as an additional source of inspiration. Picking up those influences adds an ethereal layer to enjoy alongside the material substance of the perfumes.

In other news, I recently learned that through a series of unexpected circumstances, Roxana herself may be glimpsed in an upcoming Tom Ford film, in a gallery scene as an art patron (based on the persona of the legendary Carmen dell'Orefice. They do share the high cheekbones).

The website is a world unto itself, with a journal, beautiful personal photos and illustrations, information on classes and the location and calendar for her workshop, scent bar and teaching space. There are samples sets available to order, as well as a variety of sizes of both liquid and solid perfumes, which are also poured into lockets and compacts.

Copyright 2016, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.
Photos from the Roxana Illuminiated Perfume site.
I received samples from the perfumer.

For an example of a prior post on Roxana Illuminated Perfumes:
Noir/Blossom - the search bar will find many others.


Roxana Villa said...

Hello dear Lucy, what a grand time we had in NYC last fall! I am delighted that you have been enjoying Mellifera and Fleurish, and that they are brightening the long of winter days. Thank you so much for sharing such a thoughtful perspective and your personal insights on the scents and my work.

Cynthia said...

She is indeed an artist. Vera is my favorite Lavender ever. I would love to visit her workshop!