Avignon: Comme des Garcons Series 3 Incense by Bertrand Duchaufour 2002

Hey Fellow Fumies,

My mate Jordan has often talked to me about todays fragrance and when I saw it for a reasonable price on a friends sell list I jumped at the chance. As you may know I was taught by Nuns and then Jesuits and there was an enormous amount of RC Church going involved in my formative years, not to mention my choir years.

Comme des Garcons Series 3 Incense: Avignon 2002

Avignon FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
French labdanum, spices, incense, chamomile, vanilla, patchouli, ambrette, oakmoss, musk, olibdanum, myrrh, Brazillian rosewood, Virginia cedar, elemi

If you want to know what church smelled like, it may still, then you need to get your hands on Avignon. It opens like the refectory where we would get ready for the processional entrance and the priest would have his censer in readiness: incense, frankincense, myrrh, wood, men and boys, excitement. At once spicy, woody, aromatic and smoky Avignon becomes woodier and darker as it wears on the skin, but there is also a sweetness that emerges from time to time and becomes more prominent towards the dry down. A circular and circuitous fragrance, it feels linear because you keep coming back to the same pieces but in different arrangements, so similar but not the same. One moment you think the woods have moved into stay, next it’s all about the smoking incense, then vanilla-esque warmth and resins. There even seems to be a wood wax bit like they shone the pews and wooden kneeling pads, and also a candle wax accord. Am I imagining things? Also the scent of a blown out match and something quite alcoholic. Towards the end it fades slowly, never losing its integrity, just intensity, and remains beautiful and haunting to the end.

Unusually for an incense fragrance I get quite a long wear 5+ hours and counting on this occasion, but I spritzed in the cool of evening, in the day with more heat and movement the lifespan is a good deal shorter. This is a wear it for myself fragrance, though I imagine you could wear it almost anywhere except close working/fragrance phobic workplaces. It would be especially fun to wear to church, dinner with clergy or anyone, shopping, picnicking, movies etc.

censer ryanphunterPhoto Stolen ryanphunter

Further reading Birgit from Olfactoria’sTravels writes at PerfumeSmellin’Things
LuckyScent has 50ml/$80 and .7ml/$3

Have you been to Catholic rites? How does the incense in Avignon effect you? What if you aren’t from a Catholic background, does incense still effect you?

So many new questions every time I find some kind of answer for another one. It is kind of exciting to be questing though,
See you tomorrow.
Portia xx

19 comments on “Avignon: Comme des Garcons Series 3 Incense by Bertrand Duchaufour 2002

  1. Portia…love an incense fragrance….smoky, sultry, rich….beautiful as a home fragrance too. I’ve been using Diptyque’s “Essence of John Galliano” for years….a little goes a long way…but truly beautiful. By the way, did you try the new Maison Martin Margiela fragrances when you were in Paris….I bought Replica “Beach Walk” and “Untitled”….n i c e! Would love you to do a review on these. A bientot, Robyn

  2. Tatiana says:

    I was raised Roman Catholic. Didn’t like incense in church as a kid, still not sure I like it to this day. I do remember my older brothers, who were altar boys, coming home smelling like incense after devotions and mass on high holy days. I have samples of all the CdG’s incense series and my favorite is Kyoto.

  3. Jordan River says:

    At last! I wondered why anyone would want to smell like a church but when I first smelt this it was so amazingly clever that this Protestant was soon wafting Catholic fumes. Great as a base layer which was how Sarah Jessica Parker used it before making a scent of her own. I think it adds some mystery to ones scent bubble. Now what was that about your choir years Portia? Let the choir sing!

  4. poodle says:

    I had years of catholic school too so I love incense. I bought a bottle of Avignon without even smelling it. I love the stuff but it’s a wear it for me fragrance too.

  5. susan says:

    I was raised Methodist and am Quaker now, so no incense in my background. Yet I find incense fragrances to be some of the most moving for some reason. I fear they weird my husband out a bit, and he WAS raised Catholic and attended Catholic school for quite a few of his schoolyears.

    I really want to try this one. My current favorite incense is probably Andy Tauer’s Incense Rose.

  6. Ellen Covey says:

    I love Avignon! I was not raised as a Catholic, but when I was a teenager a school friend who was Catholic talked me into coming with her to sing in the choir of her church. I never went into the church part of the church, just stayed in the balcony where the choir performed, but I imprinted on the smell of incense, which was used on special occasions when we performed special music.

    I’m a huge fan of incense fragrances in general.

  7. hajusuuri says:

    Eventhough I was raised a Protestant, I was the product of a Catholic school from kindergarten all the way through to the middle of my senior year in high school (we moved halfway through the schoolyear and I graduated from public school – kinda traumatizing when you think about it but I am such an extrovert that it did not really matter). Although we were required to go to mass in our school auditorium, the V.ery I.nfluential P.arents were so against having insence on school grounds that the administration caved in and our school masses were incense-free.

    Anyway, I recently trled and instantly fell in love with Kyoto. I will have to make it a point to try Avignon the next time I’m at Barneys. I must have tried it but it could have been the one that singed my nose hairs 🙂

  8. masha7 says:

    Portia,
    I was raised an atheist, but my best friend was RC, and I sometimes snuck out to Mass with her. I loved it, and the priest was a Paulist, he was fairly laid-back, and hey, it was S. California, kinda like Australia! At the end of Mass, he’d disappear, reappear with his surfboard,and off we’d all go to the beach to catch some waves! So frankincense is just lovely to me, and Avignon was pure RC. Since BD grew up pure RC, he knew what he was smelling when he made this. It’s glorious (though of course, my RC experience was a little…weird)!

  9. I love Avignon, though I have to say that I find Kyoto more wearable. Or rather, I find that I am in the mood to wear Kyoto more often than Avignon. It is beautiful though. I completely agree: it is a fragrance that you really wear for yourself.

  10. […] an incense-based perfume and meant to be a fragranced homage to Catholicism. Many reviews, including the lovely Portia’s a few months ago, have emphasised the evocation of childhood memories of Catholic rites: days spent at mass […]

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