When I realized that I need to sample most of the main fragrances based on incense, for finding the one that will made it to my “to buy” list, I began by making a list with scent selected for a test. And on that list, I placed Avignon right at the top. Except I did not sample it first, and due to its excellent reputation, I saved it for last. Then, not by chance, I discovered something very interesting, which I’m about to share with you in the following.
First and foremost: the house. Comme des Garcons is, in spite of its name (French phrase for “like the boys”) a fashion design house based in Tokyo and established in 1969 by the Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo. They do, however, debuted in Europe in 1981 and apart from the fashion, rise to fame because of their unconventional variety of fragrances. The initial scent of the brand was called Comme des Garcons Eau de Parfum (unisex) and was introduced in 1994, while the Series 3: Incense arrived on the market in 2002. This series, as the name implies, was dedicated incense, my abiding passion, and consisted of five unisex fragrances: Avignon, Jaisalmer, Kyoto, Ouarzazate and Zagorsk.
Of course, based on the fact that, according to my studies, Avignon proved to be the one that replicated the most faithful the idea of a Gothic Cathedral, I decided that this should be the only one deserving a sniff (later, I sampled also Zagorsk, but this is another story!). As you certainly know, throughout the history Avignon became one of the major centers of religious activity for the Catholic Church, being also the Papal seat during a large part of the 14th century.
As for the fragrance, the details list Avignon as a woody chypre, developed by perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour and including notes of Roman camomile, myrrh, cistus oil, elemi, incense, patchouli, vanilla and palisander. Following my initial two whiffs on the wrist, I started by analyzing Avignon, against the benchmark developed subsequent to my assiduous research on the topic. Sadly, I reached an unexpected conclusion, since, in spite of its persistence and interesting character, Avignon, did not made it into my benchmark. Not even on the fifth place, where Olibanum remains the undisputed reference. I guess I found it too well behaved, and at the same time it never succeeded in striking me with something special.
Avignon has a good evolution on the skin, and is far from being aggressive, while the sillage is somehow under of what I’ve expected. The bottle is made from an elegant black opaque glass, having a shape that resembles a Deodorant Spay and the name of the perfume printed in red, below the series’ name that comes in white. In case you are looking for an incense-based fragrance that’s not overpowering, Avignon might be the answer.
Comme des Garcons Series 3: Incense Avignon Perfume Details
- Series 3: Incense Avignon by Comme des Garcons is available in 50 ml Eau de Toilette Spray; the lasting power is average (6 to 10 hours) and the sillage is good.
- Olfactory Group: Woody Chypre
- For: Unisex
- Year Introduced: 2002
- Perfumer: Bertrand Duchaufour
- Recommended Wear: Day
- Dress Code: Casual