I woke up today planning to write a review of Incense Musk, in order to continue the theme of incense I started with Miyako, but when I visited the website I found that it has been discontinued. Not wanting to write another “you can’t have me” teaser, I first considered writing about Passage d’Enfer, but then I realized that in the process I had actually become more interested in writing about an Ava Luxe scent, than about an incense fragrance in general. After perusing my sample collection for a while I decided to settle on Palisander, a delightful autumnal scent, perfect for when the leaves turn copper and the wind starts baring wintry fangs.
Palisander, conversely one of the more complex Ava Luxe fragrances I have sampled, has a strange earthiness when it is first applied on the skin. An earthiness so strong in fact, that it manages to instantly evoke images of subterranean growth, roots of trees and fibers of plants growing deep in dark, rich soil. There are leaves there too, dropped on the forest floor. They have seen countless rains and are now laying there lifeless, wet, decomposing...Becoming one with the earth that bore them. As the oil warms on the skin, the earthy scent disappears, leaving almost no trace behind. It is replaced by a heavy, woody sweetness. When I originally sampled Palisander, six months or so ago, I found the first whiff of its sweetness frightening - I thought I might have to scrub it off immediately. I do sometimes experience an extreme sense of sweetness from some woody fragrances and essential oils and it is something I honestly can’t stomach. Thankfully, I decided to be brave and let it sit on my skin for a while and this was rewarded: I found that this time the sweetness is anything but nauseating. Yes, the initial entrance is rather grand and dramatic, but it quickly becomes obvious that it is not going to be overpowering: despite its headiness, this is a rather sheer sweetness, one that graciously agrees to dance instead of a solo, together with all the other elements of the blend, one after the other. It becomes a constant, which is at first partnered up with a strange, slightly medicinal freshness, a remnant of the erstwhile earthiness. Then later on, with sensuous amber which eradicates any sense of freshness there was still to be found and allows a beautiful, enveloping warmth to bloom on the skin...until finally, it becomes smoky; dark, intense and almost incense like. There is also something else there: after some hours of wear I find Palisander to take on a peculiar animalic quality; the smell of desire heating up a cold room in winter, like a glowing ember.
Images courtesy of: www.galeriabali.pl, www.csun.edu,