The Beauty of Scent, Scrutinized for Pleasure

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Beeswaxing Poetic: Roxana Illuminated Perfume To Bee

I have really been looking forward to trying Roxana Illuminated Perfume To Bee since I first heard about it. I love Esscentual Alchemy's For the Love of Bees and Aftelier's Honey Blossom- they are all three so wonderful and so different from one another. I guess I'm in the midst of a bee craze!

I got the sample set from Roxana's Etsy shop, which consists of a little vial of the dark greenish-brown liquid perfume and the tiny pot of honey-colored, soft textured perfume solid. I really appreciate a skillfully made natural perfume, and To Bee did not disappoint.

notes: resins, wood, spices, mimosa, sweet clover absolute, beeswax absolute (and actual beeswax from her own hives and other locally sourced hives is used to make the solid)

With both the solid and the liquid, I got an opening blast of natural fir/pine. The balsamic resinous quality is immediately noticeable. There is an intense brightness at the outset that reminds me of lemon, perhaps a facet of the pine resin or myrrh. This is a fragrance that speaks to me in colors: yellow on opening, very green at the heart, and back to a creamy, relaxed version of yellow for the drydown. I'm reminded more than once of chamomile tea, and that quality is enhanced in the solid perfume form with the soft, honeyed beeswax, culled from Roxana's own beehives.

The liquid and solid perfumes differ in fragrance somewhat to me after the first 20 minutes or so. The liquid retains more of the sharp, bright quality that I experienced with the opening for a longer period of time, and it has more of a warm, slightly vanillic ambery base with more body to it than the solid.  It reminds me of Chinese medicinal tea with natural honey.

The color of the solid perfume has the look of apple butter and is very soft in texture, it melts easily into the skin. It gives a clean, comforting impression that has a certain innocence about it. While the scent of it is essentially the same as the liquid, the solid wears differently. The solid feels more floral and lighter and has a sweeter, smoother drydown. The tea I am reminded of with the perfume solid is chamomile with honey. The solid seems fresher and sunnier on my skin, and in the end, I prefer this version. I love the inclusion of natural beeswax in the formulation, it gives it an extra touch of luxury that I really appreciate. Both versions last for several hours on the skin.

Roxana describes the scent as "emblematic of the warm, musky scent of the beehive", and it only makes me want to experience what her beehives really smell like in person. I've always had an affection for bees and find them beautiful, and I have a great amount of respect for Roxana for her efforts in holistic beekeeping. You can read the article she wrote for Etsy by clicking HERE.

To Bee is available in a few sizes in liquid and solid forms. I really like the antique solid compact sold in her Etsy shop for $28. The price is excellent and it would make such an impression as a gift. A sample set of the liquid and solid  is available for $15, or you can buy them separately. I believe Roxana is currently in the process of restocking the To Bee solid perfume at this time, so keep checking back if you are interested!
*UPDATE: as of 7/31/11- To Bee solid perfume is back in stock!*

[my sample set was purchased by me from Roxana Villa's Etsy shop for my own personal collection. Photo credits: Roxana Villa]


  1. The sample set isn't available in her Etsy store anymore. I just went nuts looking for it. Too bad! This sounds lovely; not my usual choice, but that's exactly why I would want to try it.

  2. I did mention at the bottom of my post that Roxana is in the process of restocking the solid, so she doesn't have sample sets ready to go yet. Hopefully very soon!

  3. Beautiful review, C! Those sweet clover and beeswax absolutes are ringing every bell.

    Once she has a chance to restock, I will purchase the sample set.

    I also have a deep affection for bees. If you haven't read Sue Hubbell's "Book of Bees" I highly recommend it.

  4. Reading comprehension fail on my part! =(

  5. Joey- that's okay, I knew you were doing Eleventy-thousand things while trying to read my blog last night. :)

    Joanne: Thanks for the book recommendation! I really think you'd appreciate To Bee.

  6. The solid sounds heavenly. You've convinced me to try the samples when they're restocked!

  7. Liz- the To Bee solid is now back in stock! Hope you love it as much as I do.

  8. Thanks so much for supporting the fine art of natural perfume and writing so eloquently about it Carrie. Wafting gratitude your way.

  9. Hmm...pine. That's a hit or miss note for me. It seems like this one would be a great masculine.

    I've been wanting to try Roxana Illuminated for years, but you know how it is. So many things out there, it's easy to forget what you wanted to try!

  10. Roxana, it was truly my pleasure to write about To Bee, it's stunning!

  11. Victoria- the piney thing I get isn't an actual perfume note, it's just a facet I picked up on. I feel like there are definitely other things in To Bee that's not on the official notes list, but I can only describe my general impressions. You know how it goes. :)