Avignon is an excellent fragrance. No question about that. I find it reveals its best qualities in cooler weather. Fred Soll makes some of the best natural resin incense in the world. He makes an amazing pure chunk frankincense and myrrhe on a champa based stick. Avignon smells almost identical, yet it also includes several other compelling raw ingedients. Avignon's notes are as follows:
Roman chamomile, cistus oil, elemi, incense, vanilla, patchouli, palisander and ambrette seeds.
Roman chamomile is calming, relaxing, and excellent for stress and depression in general. It has an apple like top note that grows warmer, drier, and more herbal as it evolves. It's extremely diffusive and gives fragrance a natural depth. Cistus oil, also known as rockrose or labdanum, has been used since antiquity in incense and as an embalming agent. It's the resinous oxidation of the rockrose(cistus ladineferus). The fragrance is very complex. It has a sexy, balsamic, animalic odor, with a rich amber undertone found in few other essences. The waxy resin produces a balsam-like, woody, earthy, marshy, smoky, ambergris-like, leathery, flowery, honey-like, mint-like fragrance with hints of plum or oak moss after a rain. It's very comforting and centering. Elemi is a tree native to the Phillipines. Elemi has a honey-like consistency. Although it is called a gum, it is almost entirely made up of resin and essential oil. It was also used by the Egyptians for the embalming process. It has a light, balsamic-spicy odor. Like many ingredients in Avignon, it is also used in herbal medicine to treat stress. Frankincense, besides smelling amazing, protects you from the material world. It brings enlightenment, releasing subconscious stress and uplifting the spirit. Myrrhe is smoky and musky, amplifying strength and courage; mysterious and seductive, filled with passions of antiquity. Vanilla is familiar and consoling, offers safety from the harsh blows of life. It unleashes deeply felt emotions and hidden sensuality. Its aroma is extremely rich and sweet, with a rather woody, tobacco-like, balsamic body note. Patchouli is the most powerful of any essence derived from plants. It has a sweet, rich, herbaceous top note and an earth, slightly camphorous body note that evolves into a dry, woody, spicy note. Patchouli is like the warm earth. It accentuates the masculine and reaches deep into the emotions. Stimulating and persistent, yet voluptuous and suggestive like anciens eroticism. It imparts strength, character, allure, and lasting quality. It is an aphrodisiac that is also grounding and balancing. Palisander is a hard, heavy wood with a purple heart which when cut exudes a pleasntly mild fragrance which resembles roses. Ambrette seeds render a musky oil. The resulting essence is a powerful and lasting oil that improves with age. Good ambrette seed has a body note that is smooth, rich, sweet, floral, and musky all at once, like brandy. Ambrette seed is a vital component of one of the world's great fragrances, Chanel's Egoiste.
Avignon is extremely sophisticated and exudes an abundance of class. It's highly cerebral, transformative and rather avant-garde. It smells amazing. I wear it often and in copious amounts. Cool nights are best.
Very enlightening post, thank you! I, too, appreciate Avignon very much, and I enjoyed reading your description of the positive attributes of its component ingredients. However, understanding that every substance has both a positive and a negative (and all points in-between), I'm curious to know about some of the purported negative attributes of some of these ingredients. Not in terms of carcinogenicity, or sensitization, but more emotional or behavioral along the lines of your own examples.