Comme des Garcons Avignon Incense Series : Perfume Review


Cistercian_abbeyComme des Garçons Incense Series introduced in 2002 explore incense scents from different parts of the world from Zagorsk, Russia to KyotoJapan. Avignon calls to mind exploring religious architecture, which has always been a favorite pursuit: wandering through the abbey of St. Denis just outside Paris on a hot summer day; studying Magna Carta at Salisbury Catherdral; exploring the altar of Santo Stefano in Bologna on a damp December evening and really wishing to be home drinking tea under a warm blanket. The resinous and rich scent of incense accompanies each one of these recollections and is to be found in Avignon.

The fragrance opens up with a surge of myrrh and frankincense–dark, balsamic, somber, with an underlying resinous sweetness. I can almost hear the Gregorian chant as the balsamic smoke swirls out of the resinous accord. After the fragrance dries down it becomes much softer with the bitter sweet notes of chamomile dispersing the darkness of incense. It still remains a rich fragrance with smoky, warm notes swirling over the resinous base. The dry down is reminiscent not of a cathedral during the High Mass, but of a ruined Cistercian monastery–the rich incense scent still clinging to the stones but softened by the breeze carrying the herbal scents from the surrounding countryside.

Photo: David Heald, Nave Looking West, Longpont (Cistercian abbey).



  • ~clearing: I love this one. I wore it yesterday, sprayed on my skin and on my blouse, and I enjoyed it all day. I don’t remember who sent the little spray sample to me, but I think it may have been Mireille. I would buy this, but the bottle stops me. I am whining. I want a pretty bottle with exotic designs, or a medieval design; perhaps a vine filigree, a complicated William Morris tapestry to accompany this wonderful essence. We must do something about the cdg bottles, V. July 5, 2005 at 11:11am Reply

  • Robin: I need to revisit the incense series. I smelled them all from test strips and none of them really captivated me, but I should try on skin. July 5, 2005 at 11:57am Reply

  • Victoria: Clearing, yes, let’s petition CdG about the bottles! I am also tired of their plain designs.

    R, these definitely must be sampled on the skin. On paper, they are sort of flat. July 14, 2005 at 5:07pm Reply

  • James: I had to try these based on the reviews. A fragrance enthusiast in Australia also suggested them because I like the oud incense in 10 Corso Como. I was just in San Francisco and chased down one of the few stores in the US that sells the Comme des Garcons Incense series and tested them all. I bought a bottle of Quarzazate, and whoa! So very spicy, rich and dry and with excellent sillage. I could smell it on the neckline of my t-shirt when I woke the next morning. Vvverrry nice. October 2, 2006 at 9:12pm Reply

  • dooch: I have been looking everywhere for the Comme des Garcons Incense series. Can somebody point me in the right direction please? Online stores would suit best as I live in Ireland. Thanks January 30, 2007 at 12:24pm Reply

    • paola: I bought my CdC Incense Avignon at Liberty, in Regent Street London and you can buy it also from their website. February 18, 2015 at 6:37am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Luckyscent carries them, and I believe that they ship to Europe. January 30, 2007 at 1:54pm Reply

  • iodine: I tested it for the first time two days ago and never stopped thinking: It must be mine! This afternoon I dropped in the shop and doused myself abundantly, just to make sure I still want it. I do, even if my mother, who was with me, told me it reminded her of her local church priest!
    I completely agree with your description, for me it conjures up images of a small Romanic church on a hill in Central Italy countryside,cool and dark, filled with the balsamic breeze from pines and cypresses… I must have it, I think it will be great in summer. February 9, 2011 at 1:42pm Reply

  • Victoria: Surprisingly for such a dark fragrance, it does wear nicely in the summer. There is something chilly and uplifting about it. February 9, 2011 at 6:36pm Reply

  • Carol King: Does Avignon come as a cologne and a perfume? June 26, 2017 at 10:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: I think that it’s an Eau de Toilette. June 27, 2017 at 6:28am Reply

  • Perfumistita: I’m trying to make something inspired to Avignon, but I find very hard to realize. Real thing, is that Avignon havent Olibanum inside, or only in minimum part that dont result.

    I would like to have some suggestion about ac used March 6, 2022 at 5:42am Reply

    • Victoria: To be honest, I thought that it contained real olibanum, because that’s what I had in my perfumery school notes. I might have been wrong. After all, this review is very old. I will try asking the perfumer who created this fragrance what’s inside. He might share his secret or not. If yes, I will let you know. In the meantime, please experiment with labdanum. Keep us updated on your progress. March 6, 2022 at 7:29am Reply

      • Perfumistita: That would be amazing and I’m so thankful.
        Yes, it is strange, I was think same, i always thought that in Avignon there was good dose of Olibanum Resinoid Pyrogenated, instead affordable resources said me that in the test there wasn’t real components of Boswellias, maybe only in traces. Avignon have also iso e super big dose, about 25% people say.
        About naturals, I think too, that Labdanum is the most important ingredient of “Church incense” perfume.
        My creation is anyway lovely for me, but unluckyness the heart haven’t that amazing full body like Avignon. Anyway I’m pretty sure that major part of natural ingredients are Labdanum traces, cedars (cypress), Birch white, hickory smoke, patchouli (maybe Indonesian), spices, Oakmoss traces, a part chamomile and traces of Rosewood and Elemi for the fizzier top. And very very important aldehyde c12 is there. March 6, 2022 at 2:29pm Reply

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