Notes: roman chamomile, cistus oil, elemi, incense, vanilla, patchouli, palisander, ambrette seeds.
Avignon opens almost as grandiose in stature as the Palasi des Papes of Avignon itself; weaving a whimsical and evocative tapestry of dark smoldering warmth of Gothic-cathedral proportions, attributed to a vividly accurate star accord of smokey ash laden frankincense and myrrh.
With the image of warm sunlight shining through the colorful mosaic glass and those childhood memories of Sunday mass conjured and in full swing, comes the scents swirling and unraveling progressive stage of the opening; akin to the smoke emanating from a swaying thurible of the priest making his way from the vestry. This phase is by far my favorite, as it’s when Avignon’s wonderfully challenging burning and glowing resin is presented in its full glory.
Bertrand Duchaufour cleverly avoids pushing the boundaries to levels of burning and jagged austerity and realism, by taming and softening the edges with a bone dry vanilla and an enchanting and comforting Roman chamomile, which plays its role in setting forth a peaceful and meditative state; leaving a trail of dusty sweetness soothing out the bitter in a manner in which only lavender or chamomile can do.
This crucial step in the blending never creates a dichotomy of contradicting and conflicting elements, but rather strikes that meticulously inventive contrasting (yet harmonious) state, where the stark dry boldness of the heated ash is tempered and complemented with it’s polar opposite of light and warmth (a zesty elemi/vanilla/chamomile) which is key for the scents wearability in my opinion. Avignon remains very linear on my skin for the most part, with iso-e-super playing its role in imparting a rich velvety prominent texture and volume giving the incense accords a much needed lift in carrying the concept through to the very end.
After spending a portion of my childhood in a quaint little Catholic town in Southern Italy called Martina Franca, I became quite accustomed early on to the rich and enigmatic aroma of freshly burnt incense, which naturally was common place in the charming town. Although I’m not Catholic myself and have no religious affinities to the scent, I’m definitely partial to the smell of incense and Avignon is immensely enjoyable and evokes those fond childhood memories in spades.
In closing, I must confess. I really do love this one a lot, highly recommended! Finally I’ll add that after sampling the entire Incense series 3 line up, I can unequivocally attest that this one is the stand out and definitely up there with Zagorsk as having the best longevity and silage in the series.