The name Rouge Avignon no doubt refers to the Avignon Papacy, when the pope resided in Avignon rather than in Rome. Rouge Avignon is a gorgeous and opulent scent. I find it to be nuanced and detailed, and almost gothic, but never too dark. Fittingly, it conjures up the all the rituals and pageantry that come along with Catholicism.
If a fragrance contains the word “rouge” in its name, it would make sense for a red note to appear somewhere in the composition. With Rouge Avignon, the rouge aspect appears right away with a red raspberry note. This opening note is full and luscious, and it remains that way for the initial twenty minutes or so. The rose note blends smoothly with this raspberry note, and Rouge Avignon eventually transitions from the red berry note to a fully floral rose note. I love this seamless transition from the opening to the heart of the fragrance. My only complaint is that the floral component makes the raspberry less tart than I might want, but that’s just a personal preference.
Other notes weave in and out of the composition in support of the main “rouge” notes. There’s a cacao note. Being a chocolate lover and a gourmand lover, I would not complain at all if this note came across as a more obvious bitter dark chocolate. As it is, this cacao note is like a subtle dusting of a spiced chocolate note. There’s also an earthy tone from the tuber note, which is probably some sort of truffle. Like the cacao note, the tuber remains subtle and in the background. I wouldn’t call Rouge Avignon an overtly earthy scent, and I definitely don’t sense any dirty patchouli-type notes here. I’m guessing the tuber is here to add depth to the rose heart of the composition.
Then there are the woody notes. I sense a dry wood right away in the opening, and then it comes back again in the heart. At first I wondered if this composition contained a cedar note. It turns out the wood is hinoki wood, which I wasn’t familiar with before. It’s a type of cypress that can smell similar to evergreen and also give off some lemony facets. This is interesting because I definitely get the impression of a dry, yet fresh woody note. I wouldn’t say I get lemon exactly from this wood, but I can understand it given the unique fresh vibe of this woody note.
The base of Rouge Avignon is supposedly sandalwood, musk, and amber. Unfortunately not much of this comes across on my skin. I get a general feeling of warmth, like a light version of amber. I also get a little more earthiness, like the tuber coming back. However, I don’t sense any sandalwood or very much musk at all. Rouge Avignon dries down to a skin scent and then just disappears on me. I would love a more rich base for this scent, and I think the beautiful rose and hinoki wood notes would benefit from it. I’m assuming it’s just my skin chemistry, but I’ll keep trying and wearing this one in the hopes of getting more out of the base. In the meantime, the delicious opening and interesting heart notes are enough to keep me happy with Rouge Avignon.
Rouge Avignon is available from Luckyscent which is where I got my sample.
The image and the info on notes are both from Luckyscent.