In August of 2008, rather spontaneously, I created a botanical natural perfume as a gift to myself for my birthday. As I shared it with friends during a performance of Kiss Me Kate at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, I was asked "What do you call this one?" I quickly titled it Birthday Balm. The response to the buttery, delicious scent was extremely positive, thus it was included in the line. Like a caterpillar it has morphed a bit since it's first debut with a few reformulations and name changes. In January of 2009 the butterfly emerged from the cocoon with the name Cimbalom, a color hue and the illumination.
Cimbalom features a limited edition tincture of jasmine sambac blossoms, known as Pikake in Hawaii. Generally associated with the planet Venus, jasmine also has a magical affinity with the Moon due to her watery, heavy, sweet fragrance combined with the aromatherapeutic properties of balance. According to a wide variety of aromatherapy books on my shelves, real jasmine essence is attributed to having a sedative quality on the nervous system. The aroma of jasmine may assist with menstrual cramps, insomnia, depression and is a powerful aphrodisiac. Famed aromatherapist Marcel Lavabre writes that jasmine "..has the power to transcend physical love."
Timid jasmine buds that keep their fragrance to themselves all day,
but when the sunlight dies away let the delicious secret out
to every breeze that roams about.”
~ Thomas More
The name Cimbalom is after the stringed instrument closely related to the hammered dulcimer. It was my friend Scott that initially proposed a name based on an instrument. I thought it was a great idea since perfume has so many parallels to music. I am a huge fan of the hammered dulcimer in music, specifically Dead Can Dance and Lisa Girard. Since this perfume is in a sense *my* signature perfume, it felt appropriate to weave in all the elements connected to what I cherish.
Burn’d on the water: the poop was beaten gold;
Purple the sails, and so perfumed that
The winds were love-sick with them; the oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,
It beggar’d all description.”
From Antony & Cleopatra by Shakespeare
As I searched my minds eye for a piece from Greg's existing artworks, I came upon Enchantment. I knew right away she was perfect. The imagery of the sleeping beauty amidst the autumn leaves morphing into butterflies is quite appropo for this buttery, sensuous unguent.
The story of this fragrance unfolds utilizing many of my very favorite essences. It is a very sensuous perfume with an underlying wild, animalic note. The main notes are labdanum, patchouli and jasmine with citrus and spice making an appearance as top notes.
Here are a few remarks from fans:
"Roxana, your "Birthday Balm" is exquisite. When I closed my eyes I was transported to a blossom and incense scented harem. I felt as though I had entered a hidden world of women-- where sensuous secrets are revealed. It is delicate, potent, sexy-- irresistible."
~ D. Alexander
"I love it! Reading the notes included, my response was, ooh, this will be spicy. Indeed, on first sniff it was, yet immediately it tumbled into sweet (the beeswax?), powdery, earthy, woody, autumnal, edible, womanly, sexy, subtle, cool. I found myself swathed in velvet and lace, frolicking between the sun shafts in the mossy forest with the fairy host. That must have been some birthday, girl! Thanks again for the interlude. Love and hugs and Mabon blessings"
and her second note:
"What an amazing perfume. Amazing too how it smelled so completely different on Elizabeth. And yes, the solid perfume seems just right for this yin time of the year."
"Roxana.... what a wonderful, magical balm! It is a harvest of scents... sensuous but not overpowering... absolutely delightful! Can hardly wait for a liquid version of it. Thanks so much for your generosity, and for sharing your alchemical talents with the world! :) Blessings..."
Perfume images ©Roxana Villa, Enchantment illustration ©Greg Spalenka