Perfume Directory

Modern Balance (2001)
by Avon

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Modern Balance information

Year of Launch2001
GenderMasculine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
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People and companies

HouseAvon

About Modern Balance

Modern Balance is a masculine fragrance by Avon. The scent was launched in 2001

Modern Balance fragrance notes

  1. Top Notes
  2. Heart Notes
  3. Base notes

Reviews of Modern Balance

Modern Balance is the 2nd of 4 aromatic new-age "chypres" that Avon released in the early 2000's, before moving on to a new generation of aquatics and some interesting gourmands. It's not technically a chypre, but we can understand the thinking behind this because it has a cypress note and is also not like anything else either save maybe an 80's powerhouse. Sadly, it's also the least-remembered of the bunch, but it has the best projection and longevity due to it's strange combination of ingredients that lay across it's cypress and musk base. Most folks who shopped Avon catalogs in the 2000's leaned towards Perceive, which kicked off these four semi-related pseudo-chypres as a prequel of sorts since it too was identified by Avon as a chypre, and would end up standing the test of time as the most palatable creation from that era. Outside of that scent (still-produced), more folks I've seen who talk about anything Avon made from this period tend to favor Paradigm or HisStory, with the predating Uomo coming in second place. I wonder why so many people familiar with Avon from back then gloss over this? Is it because the packaging was so starkly nondescript, or that the scent was just too different from anything going on at the time? Hard to say. This is quite the odd one, and although I like it, I admit that it's very abstract even considering the bizarre company it kept in the Avon catalogs of the day. It's a bold statement but not in a way that would seem endearing to everyone.

The fragrance itself sort of informs us of the later Paradigm, and has some of the same heart notes as both that aforementioned fragrance and HisStory, with cedar being the biggest keystone here. From the familiar opening it quickly changes, and it's clear that this goes in a different direction from any of the others that share note structures with it. If Uomo was the balanced one, Paradigm the classy one, and HisStory the complex and nostalgic one, this scent could easily be seen as the loud and rebellious one, which is funny as it has the most plain packaging of the bunch. Even if these fragrances are all just coincidentally in similar trains of thought and not progressions of an idea, the nose behind this scent was clearly going to win the contest for projection. This is as close to "sporty" as this trope from Avon would get, which might also explain the austere bottle (look at anything Adidas made during the period), but overall this is a green powerhouse via "chypre" construction with emphasis on fresh and cool. Once you get past the cedar opening, there is something sorta wintergreen and chill about the smell that settles in with the other spices and herbs, resting on a bed of white musk that does indeed make this a "balance" of then-modern notes. I think this fragrance was every bit as ambitious as the aforementioned scents in this unofficial sequence, but had a younger more "now" vibe than the rest, which were all clearly targeting mature men. Avon itself always had trouble attracting young men in particular, as of all the age groups Avon served on both sides of the gender spectrum, young males were the least likely to order from an Avon representative or leaf through a catalog. A post high-school early 20's guy was going to listen to his friends or an ad in GQ before he allowed an Avon lady to tell him what was hip, so this was kind of doomed if that was it's target audience. For those who know about it, they'll likely comment on it's unique aromatic citrus, mint, woods, and florals juxtaposition, with just enough sweaty vibe to be a good active wear scent, but it's not going to win over any potential dates.

Now we get to discuss the bottle: I admit not having this one in the early 2000's, but I remember seeing it and passing over it because I thought the bottle design looked plain and stupid (I was only 20 then so please forgive), while Uomo and later Paradigm were much fancier looking and I had samples of them I could try. I think the ascetic design with plain embossed letters front and back combined with the tall trapezoidal body was part of the intended "modern" vibe of the scent, but considering younger fragrance wearers who wanted fresh also expected flashy and gaudy, it's safe to see why this wasn't remembered as fondly in hindsight, and why there was a tad bit more new old stock floating around of this than some of the others from this period until recently; it was just mis-marketed and never found it's target audience nor sales goals. It came across as the antithesis of something like Calvin Klein's Crave (2002), which was also a fabulous disaster but at least got the marketing approach correct. I remember Modern Balance not lasting very long in catalogs (most 2000's Avon scents were hastily launched and viciously retired without warning anyway), so this one is left mostly to hardcore fans or collectors like myself. I think it's great for spring or fall day, when the air is crisp enough to make this not feel cloying, but still just barely warm enough for it to project. It's a good work scent, and had I known what it was like back in 2001, I would have bought it then instead of discovering it almost 2 decades later and paying inflated aftermarket prices (which are still relative to designer ones).
15th October, 2017 (last edited: 02nd March, 2018)
one of my old 'loves' from my Avon time. It's very elegant, fresh, woody and spicy alike. You can't expect too much from Avon, but Modern balance is one of a kind and I still love it, even to this day.
27th March, 2013
Nice scent with a note of ginger. Nothing special but original enough to try. Good as a budget, everyday perfume.
17th October, 2005

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