Avignon has become the reference incense for fragrance enthusiasts, and it's hard to deny that compositionally it is evocative of a thurible swaying amongst the devoted in a Catholic church. It is a bit more than that, though, as it has elements that make it more impressionistic, more a perfume than purely a novel incense facsimile. We are not talking Demeter here.
Chamomile in the top note through the heart, lends a certain ineffable quality that reminds of its use in Aromatics Elixir, soothing and almost imparting a 'pastoral' feel that contrasts with the stark, stony chill of the olibanum and elemi overdose. The top, with the coniferous, spiky Aldehyde C-12, also lend to this chill that is soon warmed as myrrh, labdanum and what I can detect as cistus (the oil from the leaves rather than the resin of the Cistus ladanifer). In spite of the Iso E Super that lifts everything, Avignon is to my nose impressively imbued with naturals. The mildest shade of animalic, dry vegetal ambrette musk in the base makes for a really comforting skin scent in the dry down.
I now realize that this will be in my collection as not merely as a reference, but a true joy to wear. The cold yields to warm throughout its development, making it not quite as linear as has been suggested by others, and it surely suits me to a T.
Avignon is a fairly good incense accord: It has a nice element of frankincense paired to a citric wood (presently very reminiscent of the CdG/Monocle "Hinoki" Georgywood), coming across rather high-pitched. But, I'm not entirely sure why people freak out over this: it's not a holy apparition.
In memory, I recall enjoying this more years ago, so perhaps I have changed. Today, this perfume is giving me a headache. It's linear, straightforward, and rather banal. It's not complex – it's in-your-face frankincense and wood – rather the product of too many altar boys igniting the censer. The drydown is mostly the higher-gamma Iso E Super with some remaining frankincense.
Great opening, but fades toward audience universalism.
Beautiful. Very woody, smoky, dark, resinous, and filled with a stunning Frankincense that takes me back to a comforting feeling of Sunday morning church with my Great Grandmother as a child. It opens up about 30 minutes into spraying it and goes close to the skin after about 4 hours. It stays pretty much linear the whole time, not a whole lot of development after the first 30 minutes. Totally gone from my skin around the 8 hour mark but still lingers ever so slightly on my clothes. Considering the fact that I don't normally leave the house until 10PM and usually get home before 6AM it lasts just long enough to do what I need it to do. This is not one for the office. It is the smell of Lutheran/Catholic Mass in a bottle. There are hints of cold and wet stone, mustiness, dust, old bible pages, & good girls who like to do bad things in church pews. Great for a night out on the town at a Goth party, funerals, Christmas Mass, Satanic Rituals, & and anytime that I am feeling extra blasphemous. So all in all, it will get moderate weekend use in cold weather. Very fitting that I bought it a few hours before a Peter Murphy show in December.