Roxana Villa is my green witch. She takes the essence of leaves and twigs, and turns it into perfumes, weaving into them grass, flowers and the sweet California air from her garden. Or at least that's how it feels to wear Roxana's Illuminated Perfeumes.
I'm a huge fan of Roxana's GreenWitch. It's a chypre from the ocean (see also the review of the solid version), a concept as unique as it's beautiful. Last year's release of Hedera Helix takes the green chypre idea to darker places-- an ivy covered old house, the wall of a secret garden, an evergreen forest in the morning mists. The effect is very lush and more sappy than GreenWitch. It's also sweeter, especially when layering the liquid perfume with the creamy solid.
Hedera Helix in both versions is very very green. It starts a little wild and unruly, like an overgrown garden where the ivy was allowed (or neglected) to run wild and take over. It's a little mysterious; perhaps there's some danger lurking behind the bushes. But as the perfume dries down (maintaining its wonderful sillage for long hours) the sweetness is more pronounced, the morning breeze scatters the fog and the garden in front of you has nice walking paths and manicured lawns. The bushes are covered with little flowers, and people dressed for a scene from a Jane Austen novel walk arm in arm making witty conversation. You take your parasol and hurry down the path to join them.
Read other reviews of Hedera Helix on Perfume Smellin' Things, IndyPerfumes and London Makeup Girl.
Hedera Helix by Roxana Illuminated Perfume ($30 for a mini compact of the solid perfume, $205 for 7 ml of pure perfume extract, all natural and purely botanical) is available from the perfumer's Etsy store. While the samples for this review were provided free of charge by Roxana, I'm not affiliated with her in any way other than as a very happy customer. The link is provided here for your convenience.
Photo: a blackbird eating an ivy berry by Catherine Houston.