Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gracing the Dawn

Gracing the Dawn is the latest fragrance by Roxana Illuminated Perfume, a small indie artisanal brand of botanical perfumes, which has occupied these pages before, and comes as a very pleasant surprise, as chypres haven't really been her "field" till now. But nothing is impossible when there is a will and fate takes you there.

A myriad of exotic essences are artfully woven in this traditional floral chypre composition, including Cestrum nocturnum, aka Night Queen from South India. The main notes in this botanical medley include violet, mimosa, wood, and Italian bergamot. Gracing the Dawn is a reference to the Three Graces from Greek mythology. "Fantastical butterflies sit on the bough of a tree with freshly opened blossoms just as the first light of dawn illuminates the sky". The perfume is part of a series titled Flowers of Fortune associated with artwork by award-winning artist Greg Spalenka.

Roxana Illuminated Perfumes are all natural, reflecting the philosophy and aesthetics of a true artisan, and there is no doubt one can smell that: There are the initial overwhelming notes which are so distanced from the mainstream synthetic fragrances which try to capture your attention by cueing an "instant gratification" process. No, these require a little patience, a little leaning on to appreciate the richness of the essences. There is a reconstruction of a purple violet in Gracing the Dawn which comes from a natural infusion of the little flowers and the synergy of other flowers (I detect mimosa? And a budding gardenia/hyacinth "note" with oily green facets). Like Green Witch, the green "perfume-y" effect of a classic chypre is evident. The unfolding of the notes in Gracing the Dawn follows a similar cadenza, the opening being light (and very, very inviting!) with citrusier facets oi of bergamot, while the violet heart alongside rose and jasmine/Night Queen unfold later on. If you have had the great fortune of smelling a bush of Night Queen you know it is a perfume in itself: heady, oleaginous, sweet with a bitterish aftertaste; truly intoxicating and filling up a room with its scent when cut. This memory of promenades in the warm night air was conjured up when I smelled Gracing the Dawn.
The fragrance's base is oscillating between a mossy-green velvet (bringing out the purple of the core character) and a light animalic touch (which could be augmented for anchoring, I think it would be very interesting). It's clear that lovers of classic floral chypres, such as the mountain-pure Ma Griffe, or maybe with an orientalised leaning, like Magie Noire, would like Gracing the Dawn. Recommended sniffing!

NB. The perfumer labelled this perfume as "natural" because there is a microscopic amount of Africa stone in the base accord (less than 1%). Africa stone is the fossilized droppings of a small animal (hyraceum) from Africa which has been distilled.

Gracing the Dawn can be purchased
on this Etsy link and sampled on this Etsy link (1gram vial)
Image copyrighted by Greg Spalenka, used with permission.

Follow the rest of the participating blogs:
Beth at the Cleveland
Lucy at
Trish at Scent Hive
Donna at
and Roxana herself at


  1. Elena, have you smelled this one yet? I have not. The description of the notes sounds very intriguing. The bottle is classically lovely.

    I think Etsy will be the wave of the future for selling artistic products.

  2. Hi there P!

    Yup, if you take a peek again, the third paragraph is actually the breakdown of how I smell the composition; both from an objective as well as from a subjective point of view.

    I also like Etsy very much! The things one can find there...(some of the illustrations and the artwork is very good too!)

  3. kathleen14:42

    This one is beautiful. It is similar to Greenwitch, I think, with a touch more sweetness. Which makes it perfect for me. My next bottle. Love it

  4. K,

    thank you for stopping by! It's certainly very lovely, I like chypres and I like the floralcy of this one, weaved in.
    (the bottle does look very elegant!)

  5. I enjoyed your review, and enjoyed participating in the blog circle. It is interesting to get into a scent that is based on such a concept.

  6. Thanks Lucy!
    I got behind into reading the other entries, but will go over and read yours. It's a lovely concept indeed! :-)


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