LA Times, November 2011
The path to Roxana Villa’s home in Woodland Hills is lined with white sage, rosemary, artemisia and lemon geranium. Near the porch, jasmine sambac blooms. Graceful California oak trees stretch their limbs, and beehives give honey, comb and beeswax. Inspiration is everywhere, as Villa works her alchemy in a home lab stocked with essential oils, absolutes, tinctures and infusions.
Villa is a natural perfumer, owner of Illuminated Perfume and one of a growing cadre who have renounced synthetics and sought a more organic path in the fragrant arts. It’s still a sliver of a multibillion-dollar perfume industry that regularly pumps out bestselling scents for Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber. But as complaints grow that chemically laden products trigger headaches and allergies, natural perfumes are increasingly offering a holistic alternative to those sickened by aromachemicals (read: synthetics). “Botanical perfumes contain vital plant essences,” says Villa. “They aren’t chemical cocktails.”
Pasatiempo by The New Mexican 2020
Tucked inside an unassuming Lena Street Lofts building lies Illuminated Perfume, a whimsical world created by botanical perfumist Roxana Villa that includes a shop, classroom, library, and studio.
Villa’s attention to detail, adoration of old-world aesthetic, and curiosity about the natural world are apparent inside. Vintage globes, potted plants, butterflies and other specimens in shadow boxes, a copper distiller, and curated shelves and cabinets of curiosities artfully fill the space. Glass jars contain leaves, barks, and pine cones, wildcrafted from the desert and mountains of New Mexico. Wildflowers and different types of sage hang in bundles from the ceiling. Books on art, mysticism, herbs, and aromatherapy line the tall, wooden bookshelves in the area that Villa calls her School of Lost Arts. Metaphysical prints and paintings, many of which are by her husband, Greg Spalenka, hang on the walls. And, of course, her solid and liquid perfumes are the stars of the show, each of them handcrafted entirely from plant material, as opposed to the more commonly found synthetic perfumes. Read the entire article here.
Santa Fe Reporter 2019
Stepping through the door of perfume artist Roxana Villa's shop on Lena Street is like stepping through a magic portal into an aromatic choose-your-own-adventure story. Every object in the room—the cabinet of curiosities along the far wall, the jars of herbs on the shelves, flowers hung from the ceiling, the ancient-looking copper still on the table—provides a reference point in the interwoven narratives Villa creates using scent as her chosen medium for storytelling. Read the entire article here.
Allure Magazine January 2016
Inspired by the techniques ancient artists used to grind pigments from natural sources for their illuminated manuscripts, Roxana Illuminated Perfume was founded in 2007 with the debut of its first fragrance, Vera. Since then, the line has expanded by nearly two dozen scents, in both liquid and solid form. And while the liquid versions may smell just as divine, it's the solid fragrances that really hooked us. Made with beeswax from two hives tended by the brand's founder, Roxana Villa, these botanical-infused perfumes come in simple round tins topped with the company's honey beeswax seal, tiny refillable compacts made from vintage 1940s molds, or statement-making lockets for on-the-go reapplications.
Dubbed a “unisex cowboy fragrance,” and packed in the loveliest of tins, this 100% organic, all-natural solid perfume is a hit across the board. Its leading note chaparral is a plant native to California, and is complemented with earthy notes of sage and frankincense. It’s also available in a sampler kit if you prefer to test before splurging.
PureGreen Magazine 2015
As I took a deep breath, experiencing each one, I was carried away by the gentle aromas inspired by damp earth, pungent conifers and dewy flowers. The scents are light and delicate, impactful but not at all overwhelming, a blend of musky earth tones and light filled florals. They say that scent is the quickest way to access your central nervous system, and times like this I believe it. A conversation that I had with Roxana came to mind about how some can't perceive the subtleties in scents because their sense of smell has been dulled by the barrage of strong, synthetic chemicals we subject our senses to, from our body care products, perfumes, air fresheners, fabric softener, etc. It's a sad shame, and I personally was really struck by how sensitive I became after cutting such things out of my life. Suddenly, beautiful scents in nature (and other fantastic things like the aroma of fresh coffee) jump out at me with a vivacious tenacity, and I find I can no longer be in a room with strong perfumes or other synthetic scents—as a rule I didn't wear perfume or anything scented, until discovering beautiful, completely and truly natural scents.
C Magazine Summer 2012
Roxana Villa’s Chaparral, a woodsy, dry scent inspired by the native California landscape with hints of sage and frankincense, became a grassy mix of shaved delta asparagus, cipollini onion, grilled citrus, ricotta, toasted sage and fennel.
Perfume Reviews at the journal