Thursday, September 27, 2012


Here is the first appearance of Chiaroscuro Perfume in the blogoshere, thanks to Elena and Zoran who attended the LA Fragrance Salon. As each one appears I will post them here for easy access. I am deeply appreciative of the time, beauty and mindfulness that each reviewer takes in experiencing my work and writing about the fragrance.

Please consider showing them some love and support by visiting their blog and posting a comment about Chiaroscuro or my work.

Image is of the pouch for the Flacon of Chiaroscuro liquid made by Martha of TwoKnit. All versions of Chiaroscuro natural botanical perfume are now listed in the E-shop, get your first editions now.

Monday, September 24, 2012

LA Fragrance Event

The LA Artisan Fragrance Salon took place yesterday alongside the Chocolate Salon at the Santa Monica Civic. Since Eve is away at college in Vermont, I had her friend My come and help out along with Greg. What a godsend to have them both!

We arrived early to get the booth all dolled up in time for the 11am opening. Since this event was local I brought a frame of honey comb with bees from the Mische Hive to have on display. A big hit with lots of people, especially the youngsters.

At 12:40 I did a presentation called "Love in the Garden" to a very attentive group. As I walked back to our booth through the chocolate show I noticed massive lines awaiting samples from various vendors!

Here's a series of photos taken by both My and Greg. Best selling perfume was Green Witch and super interesting feedback on Chiaroscuro, which I will elaborate on shortly.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Chiaroscuro Perfume

The Autumnal Equinox Meán Fómhair is upon us, a time to deeply breath in this sacred moment as we begin our preparations for the impending darkness of the seasonal year. On this blessed day I would like to introduce you to my new fragrance Chiaroscuro, first introduced as a sketch last September titled Jasmine Noir.

"Return often and take me at night, when the lips and skin remember."
~ A snippet from a poem by Constantine P. Cavafy

This fragrance is based on a formula created in 1997 during a perfume class with John Steele in Malibu. That particular perfume contained jasmine, patchouli, spikenard, vanilla, sandalwood, nutmeg, blood orange, mandarin and gingergrass. These basic building blocks were the meager beginnings of Chiaroscuro, which now in the liquid form contains more than thirty different botanical essences, including my precious Mysore sandalwood obtained over ten years ago.

The name for the fragrance was supplied by devoted fan and patron Princess Ellie. Chiaroscuro has its origins in the world of painting. The term comes from Italy, referring to the tonal contrasts suggesting volume and modelling of the subjects depicted. The literal translation of the word is light-dark.1 Pricess Ellie suggested this word because she, as well as other fans, noticed a light and dark aspect to the perfume.

The color harmony for Chiaroscuro is a deep violet. The pouch for the solid and liquid, created by Martha of TwoKnit, mimics the shape of jasmine flowers. 

Today marks the cross road when we transcend from the light and warmth of Summer into the cooler clime and darkness of the new cycle, Chiaroscuro represents the balance of the two seasons. The fragrance is imbued with a bouquet of tinctured jasmine sambac blossoms I have gently gathered and extracted all Summer long. As mentioned above the palette of botanical essences: essential oils, absolutes, c02 extracts and tinctures is vast.

This fragrance is depicted in two parts, the liquid perfume represents the dark/scuro aspect while the solid is the light/chiaro side. As a set Chiaroscuro is a voluptuous and sensual fragrance, sweet and dark, naughty and nice. The sweetness of the jasmine is amplified by lemon myrtle, citron, pepper, gingergrass and ginger contrasted against patchouli, jatamansi (spikenard) and oud. The liquid aspect Scuro, is very dark and dirty while the solid Chiaro is sweet and floral.

This is a fragrance for those who love oriental amber perfumes, jasmine and patchouli. If you pay attention to the evolution on your skin, you are in for a wonderous adventure. Chiaroscuro is a shape shifter, she is both the beauty and the beast from mythical heroic stories. She is the spell caster, anoint and envision what you want to manifest for the next season. Enjoy! A very blessed Autumn or Spring Equinox depending where you are on Mother Earth.

Chiaroscuro is available at the E-shop as both a liquid and solid fragrance.

Illumination by Greg Spalenka
Beauty and the Beast, by Anne Anderson
Photography Roxana Villa

Related posts:
Dancing with Mabon
Moon Garden


Friday, September 21, 2012

May Contain Nirvana

This Sunday is the LA Artisan Fragrance Salon happening right here, just through the mountain pass to the Pacific at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. I'll be there with the new jasmine perfume, the usual suspects of botanically scented delights from my apothecary and a surprise. At 12:40pm I am scheduled to give a presentation titled Love in the Garden on the Main stage.

The show is in conjunction with the 6th Annual Los Angeles Chocolate Salon, yes I said chocolate! If you decide to attend be aware that tickets are only available online and not sold at the door.

 Since it has been crazy busy here, if there is a specific perfume you would like to purchase at the show please let me know in advance. This way I can make sure to bring it specifically for YOU. At the San Francisco event in July, the GreenWitch flacons and vials sold out quickly. I will have the new edition of GreenWitch, but only in limited supplies.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

In the Studio

It's been crazy busy here with the launching of the new Jasmine perfume, the LA Fragrance Salon this Sunday and some upcoming features.

Rebecca Fishman, a professional photographer and friend, was here shooting photos of me in the studio, garden and with the bees. Greg documented some parts of the session.

The new perfume will launch Saturday for the Autumn Equinox and will be featured at the LA Fragrance Salon on Sunday. Until then, I'm keeping things hush-hush.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Impromptu Review and a Draw

A second review of Impromptu is over at ÇaFleureBon written by John Reasinger. When Michelyn advised me to send a sample of the fragrance to John I had reservations, since I didn't know who he was, nor ever read a review. Well, I am so happy that I did! After a brief conversation with John over the phone I had the feeling that we would be great friends.

John has written a very mindful, entertaining and thorough review. It's an incredible pleasure for an artist to have someone really "get" their work. Please head on over and enter for your chance to win a glass vial filled with 1 gram, by weight, of the precious and limited edition of Impromptu.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fan of the Month

In August I had mentioned in a post that if readers commented on a couple of perfume features I would enter them in a draw. Since I became really busy shortly there after, I did not post about this until now.

The randomizer choose Caile as the winner. Congrats! Please let me know if you prefer Hedera helix or Gracing the Dawn?

Due to my negligence in getting back to you all, I've decided to honor each person who was entered with a free Hedera helix or Gracing the Dawn sample in their next order. Just give me a heads up when you do an order.

In other news, I've decided to honor a fan each month with a 20% coupon for the e-shop. To be chosen as "Fan of the Month" I will be mindful of items 1-4 done by fans in September, each candidates name will be entered in the Randomizer, unless one of you stands out.

1) Positive comments on new perfume features in the blogosphere, via twitter and my FB fan page.

2) Blog features.

3) Pins of Illuminated Perfume imagery on Pinterest, extra points if you create an Illuminated Perfume board, or board for one of a perfume in my line.

4) Any other really fantastic way to get the word out about Illuminated Perfume will also be considered, especially since you all are so creative.

To be entered, keep in mind:

- I am pretty much a one person show and sometimes get really, really busy. Thus my responses slow down to a snails pace.

- Please inform me if you do any of the above mentioned 1-4 items either here in a comment or via e-mail: roxana (at) illuminatedperfume (dot) com

- Individuals chosen as Fan of the Month cannot be selected more than once in a calendar year.

Monday, September 10, 2012


I've been sending out a few samples of Impromptu to members of the perfume blogging arena. Reviews are now starting to trickle in, the first from Lucy of IndiePerfumes. As each one appears I will post them here for easy access. My deepest gratitude for these kind folks taking the time to write about my new fragrance. Consider showing them some love and support by visiting their blog and posting a comment about Impromptu or my work.

Image is of Aragorn, portrayed by Viggo Mortensen in The Lord of the Rings. To me this particular character portrayal is the embodiment of the dualistic masculine and feminine side of Impromptu.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Cloud Atlas

Last night, while roaming the world wide web, I came across the trailer for a film titled Cloud Atlas. I'm not sure why I clicked on it, but I did and now cannot wait for its premiere. As I watched the I became more and more intrigued, realizing that I am their obvious niche market with actor choices story content and visuals. By the end of the trailer when it is revealed that the film is created by those behind the Matrix, I thought ah-hah! Here it is just in case you haven't already seen it.

The story is based on the novel Cloud Atlas by British author David Mitchell. The Wachowski brothers (now actually a brother and sister) and Tom Tykwer (Perfume, The Story of a Murderer) wrote the screenplay and are the three directors on the film.

I was thrilled to see Ben Whishaw is one of the actors, I've been in love with him since his portrayal of in Bright Star. He is also fantastic in the Julie Taymor version of The Tempest and the BBC TV show The Hour.

Some of the concept design work looks like it was done by our friend Stephan Martiniere, however, upon researching I do not believe that is the case. (Note to self, ask him to make sure.) It's too bad the directors didn't hire Greg, he would have been so perfect for this film.

Here is a a video of the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer talking about the film. My only concern from watching the trailer for Cloud Atlas is that I hope it doesn't turn into a What Dreams May Come, which was visually stunning with a great idea but in the end didn't work well as a fleshed out film.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


I take loads of photographs, as you have all noticed, however I rarely take them of me. It has been brought to my attention that I have no photos of myself making my perfumes. There are loads of my end product, my garden and all the raw materials, the studio, the tools...but none of me actually making perfume.

This is primarily due to the fact that it is really difficult to take a photo of oneself. I set the timer on the camera yesterday while in the studio and attempted a few shots. They didn't quite work out because the two second timer was not long enough to run over to the desired shot location before the shutter clicked on and off.

Thus, I recruited Greg to take a few photos while making Vera solid perfume mini samples and a solid honey pot that is headed to France. When Eve takes photos of herself she uses a hand held remote for her camera. I might get one of these in the near future, although truthfully, I'd rather shoot other things.

Here are the basic steps that go into a hand made, authentic botanical perfume.

Step 1: The Idea
This most often comes from a spark of inspiration related to an environmental cause, like saving native oaks, bringing attention to native plants or honey bees. Sometimes the inspiration is art, like the GreenWitch book or the Vespertina concept album and story. In some cases the inspiration is from a specific materials like Jasmine or the California native rose.

Usually it is in the idea phase that I begin to contemplate the color vibration for the perfume, the related imagery and tinctures/infusions that will be part of the end product.

Step 2: Formulation
In the formulation stage I set down at my drafting table and begin sketching out the idea, meaning writing down potential essences and then researching each of those essences to see how they might pair with others. Once I have a basic outline I move over to the table and shelf where most of the essences are stored and begin the sniffing phase. This phase will determine of a certain essential oil will be added or subtracted. The process will result in several bottles of potential synergies. Once these sketches have aged and melded its time to sniff, which may result in a green light to move forward or go back to the drafting table.

While the sketches marinate I will begin the tinctures and infusions or order the plants that ultimately I want to be part of the formulation. In some cases, this becomes very complicated, like with the Violets in the liquid and solid Gracing the Dawn.

Step 3: The Making
With a liquid perfume the finished, aged synergy gets added to the organic grain or grape alcohol and tinctures. This blend is then aged, like the original synergy in step one. Once ready the perfume is filtered the bottling of samples immediately.
The process is slightly different for solid perfumes. Once the synergy is ready it is not added to the organic jojoba oil and beeswax until I actual make the solid perfume.

I personally hand pour each solid perfume whether it is into a small, pink sample pot; honey pot; mini tin or larger tin for the compacts. Sometimes I pour all pink pots or a combination, depending on what orders have come in or if there is an impending show like the upcoming LA Artisan Salon.

In the future instead of hand pouring each sample I may just scoop a bit of solid perfume from a larger container and drop it into the pink pot.

Popular perfume this week is Vera, not sure why, fascinating nonetheless.