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.
I haven't been in a church before so I don't know how they smell like but if church truly smell like this, I believe I've found my new goal in life. becoming a father! :D
This is a great classic with adding a little bit more dark flavor comparing to the usual classic fragrances.
The opening is a semi fresh, clean and kind of soft soapy aldehydic scent with great support of smoky incense, some resins and a little bit of sweetness in the background. very good balance between light and dark side.
While the opening is really good, the mid is even better and actually I love the mid.
In the mid the semi fresh and aldehydic scent settled down and incense and resinous myrrh notes became stronger. I can feel a soft powdery feeling in the background as well that gives the scent a very elegant and classy feel.
The mid is smoky, resinous and oily, slightly powdery with kick of mellow aldehydic smell in a smooth way that all together creating a beautiful and so elegant classic scent.
The base is a simple semi sweet smell with some smokiness in the background.
Projection is above average and longevity is around 4-5 hours on my skin.
Genre: Woody Oriental
This locus classicus of incense-based perfumery deserves every compliment it's gotten in the earlier reviews. Avignon doesn't bother much with the traditional top notes. Instead, it launches right into deep, smoky, incense that's infused with dried fruit, bitter citrus zest, and spices - perhaps nutmeg, mace, or cinnamon. Over the course of an hour the fruit, citrus, and spices gradually retreat, leaving in their wake a very dry frankincense-rich incense accord. At this stage, Avignon is rarified, transparent, and somehow distant, yet also very profound. The heart has a spiritual quality that vividly evokes the silent, cool interior of an ancient cathedral. Avignon remains in this groove for a long time before it starts to dry down into a faintly vanilla seasoned myrrh and cedar accord.
This scent is potent and long lasting, with plenty of sillage, and mercifully avoids the harsh synthetic tone that marks some of Comme des Garçon's more outré fragrances. It's not my favorite incense scent - that would be Dia for Men or Dzongkha - but it's certainly a great one.
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The pine scent I always looked for. The comparisons to religious things really bore me as I don't get that (yes I've been to church and mass before). Very strong out the gate..also on the expensive side and hard to find in the US (just Lucky Scent). Morrissey wears/wore this so good enough for me!
Oh, yes, yes. Yes, I want to smell like this. Avignon has become my new favorite.
It vaguely (just for a moment) reminds me of Guerlain's Aqua Allegoria: Winter Delice, which has been my previous favorite. (I think it's the myrrh/resins I'm fixating on and loving.) And I still love Winter Delice with all my heart. But mmmmm, the incense in this -- and the fact that Avignon is in production! -- means that Avignon wins out.
And it really does remind me of Easter mass...
Maybe not "wearable" for all people, since not everyone would care to smell like a church, but I do.
Cold Gothic Perfection
Overall rating: * * * * * (masterpiece)
Few fragrances manage to capture a mood and a place as well as Avignon, the Roman Catholic entry in CDG's incense series. Close your eyes after applying it, and you could be standing on the cold stone floors of a gothic cathedral in northern Europe in the 15th century.
But it is more than just a photo-realistic impression of a cathedral. As it dries down, it continues to evolve . The frankincense becomes quieter, more meditative. Woodsy notes dance in the shadows and mineralic gloom. Sheer perfection.
This is my Sunday scent, and my preferred fragrance for holidays, funerals, weddings, and spiritual encounters. Wearing this is a bit like reading (and entering) the Cloud of Unknowing.
A lovely skin scent...
A wonderful fragrance. Starts off a bit harsh, but them moves into a dry incense. Over time, it travels down a sweeter path, always staying close to the skin. Very little projection, but this might not be a bad thing for this kind of scent. A winner.
Pros: A lovely skin scent...
Mysterious dirty and comforting wow
I have really fallen for Avignon, the incense is intense with myrrh and woods in it and just a bit of sweetness, not much at all but also dirtied and made deeper by the animalic notes. Just how I would imagine the Catholic church with its history but then not really, I cannot quite see this as a church scent, it is not tame at all but more like dark, mysterious and dirty but yet very comforting and warming. I have worn this out of a generous sample from Darkdreams for five days in a row and cannot get enough. The lasting power and sillage are wonderful on me, not really feminine but not masculine either, complex and unique. I love incense and this may be my favorite incense fragrance to date, definitely one I will be looking forward to own. Really surprised me as it far surpassed my expectations. The only thing is that maybe I would like a tadbit less woods on a woman but the woods can be comforting too. So nothing negative, just drawn to this fume.
Pros: all I was looking for as an incense lover and more
Ethereal liturgical mind trip
The first spray yanked me back like a fish caught on a hook to my Catholic upbringing. The sharp liturgical incense note is certainly true to the brief. Don't think I've ever had such a strong scent/memory response.
Although a liturgical bombast at the head, Avignon at the same time is hollow and ethereal, the hand of Duchaufour can be felt keenly (in the spirit of Timbuktu). During the heart the chamomile/floral accord gives some softness and and stops things becoming too astringent. I also found the Iso E Super to be quite prominent after a few hours.
Where Norma Kamili Insence is dense saturated and slightly macabre, Avignon to me has a airy spiritual quality and gossamer lightness, it's very good.
Pros: Liturgical Perfection
After having tried "Kyoto" and "Avignon", "Avignon" is my favourite. There is certainly a good whiff of incense, with a citrusy yet warm sweetness to it, which I like. Perhaps because I'm a girl. it stays relatively constant like this for a good few hours, nice, not overpowering, and although I am drawn to Catholic Churches and wouldn't dream of attending a mass with NO incense, the incense isn't overpowering. My friends thought it was pleasant, too, and they didn't think "churchy" at all.
wow.fantastic. unisex? i don't see how but hey go for it ladies!! very deep,rich and complex. gourmands were my fave but do to this and gucci pour homme i am an incense lover!! just got my 95% full 1.7 oz bottle today in the mail for 68 bucks!! i need the 3.4 oz if they make it. anyway in the same realm as gph powered by at least 5 times. more incense, more cedar and more woods. very lovable scent especially for cool/cold weather. blind bought do to all the rave!!
Everyone goes on about churchiness...speaking as an ex-altar boy, used to swinging the thurible with the best of 'em (oh, forgive me!), I think this comparison is overstated. Or maybe parish parsimony (it was the 1970s) meant we got a bad batch of incense from the discounters.
There is more to Avignon (both the town and the perfume) than religion. I smell as much salt and garrigue herb notes here as I do incense; fancifully one may imagine the warm, salt mediterranean sea air blowing across dry, sun-baked scrubland, dotted with wild rosemary, sage and thyme. Overwrought gloomy associations and self-flagellation are not compulsory.
Longevity is quite good; 6 hours from 4 sprays.
Avignon definitely lives up to the hype; I just can’t get enough of this fragrance! Several fantastic reviews have already described Avignon, so I really do not have much to add except that Avignon=man trap. Yes, that’s right; I’ve been wearing it every day for about a week now and I have received more compliments per (arbitrary) unit of time than with Hypnotic Poison and Angel. I’ve already given away two decants. This stuff is a drug!!!
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Opens with some kind of freshness(is that possible?) that remains for a while. Then it does become a warm incense scent that smells slightly sweet, much probably by the vanilla. It's hard to use because its very dense and smoky. Sillage, lasting power and projection are great. Very unique. Thumbs up.
My first exposure to incense fragrances. A bit of a cold, sharp smell. Lasts long on my skin and is just flat out terrific. I don't see how anyone could not like it.
EDIT- Now that I'm more knowledgeable about fragrances, I can absolutely see how someone would not like it.
29th November, 2012 (last edited: 30th June, 2014)
Church. Churchy church.
Not to be glib, but that's precisely what this will call to mind. Incense that leads to wood, then the faintest amber-y note. It's not a strong or long-lasting scent, but it's one to put on and contemplate for a couple of hours.
CDG's Kyoto would be, I think, more of a wearable out-and-about alternative. It's more outdoorsy and serene. But I wear my incense-based fragrances to please myself, since I think most people around me find them a little odd.
It is not "like" church incense - it IS a precise facsimile of church incense. nothing added or taken away, amplified or suppressed.
Therefore if you want to smell like a priest on a sabbatical it is ideal, if not...well, who knows.
The very belligerence of this approach makes me like it and it does smell great.
The longeviety of all of the CDG incense series is (I think) a little light - esp. for a very heavy fragrance like Avignon which you would expect to dwell?
I do wear this quite often - not sure others will often like it, but it is exactly the interesting/peculiar aspect of the fragrance hobby that we all seek from time to time?
They can't all just be 'nice'?
Wow, what a knock out this is! This was a blind buy and the previous reviews describe it exactly. It is the perfect evocation of a high mass.
For some Catholics and High Church Episcopalians, the association may be too exact for comfort. It is so exactly the smell of a old paneled vestry or a well-aged sanctuary a hour after a service. But for someone like me, who has a love of the medieval Church and has spent many hours tramping through the ancient churches and cathedrals of Europe, it is an absolute delight. It is also well named: for me, this is not the gloom of a Gothic revival pile in a horror film but the charm of a warm, sunny, brick-built medieval town in the south of France.
As some have mentioned, versatility just might be an issue. I keep thinking people will think I am a priest out of uniform, especially as I tend to wear black. As with Black Orchid and M7, you have to think a bit before putting this one on. But it is very rich, linear, powerful, and all-encompassing, already, I assume, one of the classics.
Comme des Garçons AVIGNON is an incredibly beautiful incense perfume. I am very pleasantly surprised, having been somewhat disappointed by a couple of the other members of this series I've tried. Why is this one so much better to my nose? I suppose because it's a full-fledged, complex perfumic composition, as opposed to a solution of finely ground incense...
Here are the notes I found at another site:
several kinds of incense, chamomile, vanilla, patchouli, rosewood and ambrette.
Small wonder I'm smitten! Ambrette probably puts this over the top from like to love for me. Who knew that a relatively linear incense perfume could be a serious wrist sniffer? For the record, this does not smell like a musty old Catholic church to me. No, on the contrary, AVIGNON smells like something which clearly belongs on my wish list: a gorgeous oriental woody perfume!
I've changed my review to a thumbs up.
I tried numerous incense fragrances and kept getting drawn back to this one.
I loved Heeley's Cardinal, but it was too bright and subtle, althought utterly meditative and wonderful, I will own it one day.
Anyway, after previously giving this a neutral review as I found it sharp and non-churchy... I ended up getting a bottle after months of craving it once my sample ran out.
When sprayed it's so much better, beautiful, rich, comforting and well, everything has already been explained by everyone else. It's a fantastic incense and a perfect reference. I'm very happy to own it.
28th September, 2011 (last edited: 11th January, 2012)
A major success from Duchaufour. Avignon is exactly what I envision what a perfect pleasant smelling incense should smell like in real life. It has a very natural cedar and frankincense combo that is incredible smelling. The scent is quite linear, getting right down to business and staying there throughout. I can see some versatility issues with Avignon due to the nature of the scent, but the composition and smell are near-flawless. The only minor gripe I have is contrary to many of the other reviews, longevity on my skin is below average at about 5-6 hours. That said, Avignon is completely deserving of the high praise it has received here and elsewhere. Simply sublime. 4 to 4.5 stars out of 5.
09th September, 2011 (last edited: 02nd June, 2012)
This fragrance to me is a masterpiece. Beautifully done! But it have a problem attached to it.
The problem is that this fragrance to me is a church in a bottle. Smells exactly the same as the myrrh used in masses. A very well done fragrance that lacks versatility.
In conclusion, it is very hard to pull this off, but it is a marvelous fragrance that must take part in the closet of every collector.
I don't know about the similarity to a catholic church, since I've never been in one.
One of CDG's best in my opinion; high quality, realistic, and ultra-rich.
Beautiful murkiness, and a great way to set a mood.
I am amazed at just how wearable this is (gothic garb is not requisite).
Burning incense and soporific candels.
Delightful, relaxing and peaceful, this fragrance is nothing else than bliss and peace. I don't perceive it as particularly gothic or appalling. It evokes the time of childhood in the catholic countries, the time when your family, may be wrongly, may be reasonably, used to draw you in a world of prayers and incense, midnight christmas masses and catechism, cribs and sacristies. You were a virgin child lacking hate and suspicion that would never have been able to forget the whiffs of mystic incense exhaling from the cathedrals background. Avignon is incense infused by elements that finely flavour it without contaminating its aroma too much. Somebody smells it as too linear and this is understandable. The drama is not stormy. The elements are creams (vanilla, ambrette), myrrh, humid chamomile tea perfectly joined with resinous olibanum, dried fruits, patchouli and woods. The patchouli is subdued and it penalizes the boldness. I smell a touch of bilberries. Woods provide consistency of structure and warmth to the ethereal incense while chamomile tea infuses an hint of fluidity and light to this otherworldly enigma. Very similar to Heeley's Cardinal this is not my favourite incense based fragrance, to focus on which you must deflect towards Norma Kamali Incense, Black Tourmaline, Wazamba, Jubilation XXV, La Liturgie des Heures or Dzonghka, nevertheless Avignon is a lovely incensey fragrance with a powerful evocative temperament.
16th April, 2011 (last edited: 14th May, 2014)
For years, I've looked for something that smelled exactly like the incense at Mass. I ultimately gave up, until I got into niche fragrances. It took me sometime, but eventually came across a review mentioning this, and went to sample some of it at Aedes De Venustas. Unfortunately they were sold out, and even the tester bottle was bone dry. I called Barney's up and they had it in stock, the clerk mentioned in passing it was one of their best sellers.
So I get there, and sprayed it in the air. OMG, it's EXACTLY what I've been looking for. Then the big test was to see what's it like on my skin, because sometimes fragrances are so different once you apply them. It smelled absolutely beautiful.
I only used one spray, and I went out after shopping to get a bite, and I'd gentle a gentle whiff of this, and it's just fantastic. I worried it would become unnoticeable after an hour, but six hours later, I smell it just fine.
Honestly, I wished I had know about this years ago. I don't think I've been so happy as to make a purchase as I was when I got this tonight.
Avignon is HUGE! One of my favourite scents of all times. The opening is absolutely distinctive with an intense explosion of severe frankincense and myrrh, almost harshing but incredibly fascinating. The catholic church effect is pushed to the limit and persists during the drydown while camomille provides an extra dose of mystery and warmness smoothing the general harshness. Cedarwood and Iso E Super are clearly remarkable throughout but they're never overdone. A meditative scent that surrounds you with its intense warmness and deep resinous allure. As a trendsetter, Avignon became one of the most imitated straight forward incenses of the last 10 years (Heeley's Cardinal, Mark Buxton's Around Midnight, Biehl's MB3, Montale's Full Incense). Another Bertrand Duchafour's masterpiece!
Note: Avignon has a wonderful sillage and an amazing lasting power!
11th March, 2011 (last edited: 16th January, 2012)
If my go-to Antaeus is evocative of church for me--and it is--then Avignon is more of a scent photograph. This is a wonderful incense, literal, long lasting and so smoky you might want to wipe your eyes. Beautiful and sexy and other-worldly.
It was love at first sniff. The eccentric fashion brand put me off a bit, for a long time I’ve been passing by its huge range without giving it any attention. One day, I happened to take a swift and careless sniff at the Avignon candle- recalling it was Duchaufour’s work, a perfumer with whom I wasn’t lately in very good terms… OMG! No, it wasn’t an instantaneous return to the catholic faith I had happily abandoned years ago, it was pure startling delight!
I tried it on skin and in a few days purchased a full bottle.
Wearing Avignon transports me in a small limestone romanic church on a hilltop in central Italy. It’s a hot day and, in the distance, I can see- or just imagine- the sea. In the courtyard of the church, aromatic herbs (chamomile, they say), pines and cypresses move gently in the breeze. I step inside the church and breathe, in the cool darkness flecked with small votive candles, the most uplifting, luminous scent of incense and myrrh, paired with the refreshing balsamic resins carried by the light wind. The effect is immediate: coolness, calm and a meditative mood pervade my soul and I’m drawn in an ocean of peace. As I get deeper I start to perceive a spicy and slightly smoky sweetness, vanilla and woody balms, and maybe a hint of beeswax. It doesn’t last very long, so after a while I get up from the church bench and step out, into the light and life, full of energy and grace.
A great fragrance, important yet very wearable close on skin, ideal when I feel the need of being soothed or to dive in my deeper self. I guess it must be extraordinarly fresh and airy during summer, can’t wait to test it. By the way, Avignon succeded in making me reconcile with Monsieur Duchaufour…
Great scent,smells just like St. Thomas Aquinas catholic church in Philiadelphia. Very important fragrance to me. Well done Comme des Garçons
All the talk of the mysterious sense of smell, the visceral sense of smell. The sense of the emotions, therefore with the least association with reason. I really don’t get that. Yes, the sense of smell is discussed incorrectly or at least poorly. We have a strikingly lacking practical vocabulary for how we employ smell and how we use it to create meaning for ourselves. I include myself here. It’s a hole in our collective ability to talk to each other.
But I do love the associative capacity of the sense of smell. It is specific and evocative, but for me doesn’t have the luggage of weighty emotional cathexis. It’s the small stuff, not the big “Rosebud” moment.
To Avignon. I smell it and it takes me right back to a very specific moment of my alter-boy youth. It’s the memory of the sensation of crunching through the snow to my parish church in the dark on winter mornings to serve the early daily mass, opening the back door to the church and smelling the lingering scent of the incense we used. That very moment. I loved it as a boy. It’s not the huge and the sweeping. It’s the small and specific. It allows me to remember myself as that young boy.
09th December, 2010 (last edited: 25th March, 2011)