Sweet Absinthe Eau de Parfum
Ava Luxe (first name Serena) is an independent perfumer with great talent. She is very young, but has already built herself a loyal following and quite a catalog of fragrances. Today I'm reviewing her Sweet Absinthe eau de parfum. Sweet Absinthe is one of those wonderful perfumes that evolves into something quite unique once it's been on your skin. So, depending on your chemistry, you might not experience the same results. The top notes are very true to absinthe, which by the way, I find utterly vile in its beverage form. (shudder) Sweet Absinthe is quite herbal in the top notes, with a sharp anise note dominating. I can think of no other way to describe than it reminds of some sort of health tonic that one might have drunk in the days before modern medicine. As it dries down, however, the vanilla flower and lemon balm that Serena used to soften it begin to emerge and it sweetens on my skin into something more licorice-y, and really starts to resemble Serge Lutens Douce Amere. It really does feel as though the fragrance starts off quite miffed at you for disturbing its rest in the bottle, and then settles back down into peaceful slumber on your skin. I find it quite intriguing.
Ava Luxe used to have a website, but she switched over to selling fragrances on Etsy.com temporarily. She only has a limited catalog up for sale, but when I checked on 5/18, Sweet Absinthe was available in the pure parfum extrait form for $45. Sadly, she is no longer selling samples, so the only way to sample before you buy is to swap for them if you're a member of Makeupalley.com or buy a limited selection at www.theperfumedcourt.com.
Update: Serena's website is back up and you can now buy her perfumes at www.ava-luxe.com
Rarely have I been so disappointed in an iris fragrance as I am in Hong Kong Garden. Ava Luxe bills this one as a "brilliant burst of fresh verdant notes of cassis, citrus , green grass, and a hint of metallic aldehyde which give it an unusual twist…The top notes give way to heart notes of iris, rose, white violet and musk. The base notes are where the fragrance is most pronounced with deep vetiver, powdery sandalwood, orris, and ebony and mosses." Well, I don't know where the orris, iris, and fresh, green top notes went. This is a very linear fragrance on me, and what I smell is a dusty, sickening combination of rose, sweet violet, sandalwood, and moss. Gah. It is far too powdery and it is dusty, not earthy. It reminds me far more of an attic than a garden.
And, unfortunately, it is tenacious.
Ava Luxe Madonna Lily has been touted by a few people to me as a much cheaper alternative to Serge Lutens Un Lys. Un Lys is a beautiful lily/vanilla blend but horribly expensive and of course I had to try this economy option.
Madonna Lily, of course, turned out to be a bit different from Un Lys. But I like it. It's lovely and possibly more wearable on a daily basis. Where Un Lys is very sweet and has a definite vanilla note throughout, Madonna Lily is a bit more balanced with a clean musk. It makes a wonderful summer fragrance and it lasts all day. The lily is sweet and lush. Definitely worth a bottle, especially at Ava Luxe's bargain prices.