Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ava Luxe

"AVA LUXE is the collection of perfumes created by Serena Ava Franco. Serena lives in urban downtown San Diego California and draws inspiration from pop culture, music, art, the mystical and dreams."

Snooping around the Internet for new and fabulous fragrances to sample, I kept running into raves for a company called Ava Luxe. Having already been taken in by fans of Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs and completely disgusted by the cheap, head shop oil-quality of the fragrances (sorry, BPAL and fans, but that's my opinion), I was reluctant to sample the wares of yet another small perfumer with a large number of scents available. I noticed the large number of rose-based fragrances on the Ava Luxe site, however, and took the plunge.

I was pleasantly surprised to find they were of excellent quality, and that Ms Franco has quite the nose for blending. None of the rose fragrances were quite me, unfortunately, and I shall review them here at another date. Today I would like to tell you about a few scents from my most recent order of samples.

Notes: honeyed almonds, rose absolute, pistachio, hazelnut, cream, musk

The opening notes of hazelnut and pistachio are a bit overly-sweet and somewhat like the artificial effect of flavored coffees. This is but a fleeting moment and when they fade, the result is a delicious almond and rose musk, creamy and sweet and very very slightly powdery. I happen to have a box of delicious loukhoum (Turkish delight) at home, so sampled a rose-flavored morsel while wearing Loukhoum. There's really no similarity, not like that of Montale's version of the scent, but I would say this fragrance is equally soft and delicious.

Notes: Chinese peony, pink peony, Bulgarian rose absolute, sensual musk, orris root

Peony is a very true peony, with a lovely dewy and honey sweet floral opening that reminds me of the delicious drydown of Bond No. 9 West Side. The rose is pretty shy, as is the orris, but there's a nice skin musk under the peony. With a bit more rose, this would make a far more reasonably priced dupe for West Side.

Notes: palisander wood (from renewable sources), Japanese hiba wood, amber, incense, musk, pink pepper, cinnamon, vetiver

Palisander opens with dry, soft, pale woods and incense, rather light and gentle. Then the tingle of pink pepper and sweet cinnamon come through, enveloped by a light musk. In the drydown, the wood note becomes a little stronger, taking on a bit of a pencil shavings quality, and the musk also intensifies and gets sweeter.

This strikes me as a skin scent, smelling like ones skin after walking through a lumberyard, perhaps. The wood is there, but not intensely so, and you need to get close to the source to smell it. I find Palisander to be a soothing, comforting, and sexy scent.


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