Ava Luxe Madeline: Milk and Whisky in Front of A Log Fire


Ava Luxe is a growing fragrance brand founded by Serena Ava Franco and is based on Rhode Island, USA.  This is a new kid on the block compared to many long standing big brands and it’s always interesting to see what passionate individuals come up with, rather than a board room, a focus group and a marketing department.

Serena is inspired by the exotic, the mystical and the arts. She is no boring wallflower. All products are completely cruelty free and are made to order. I’m not the only fan over here, but it is a bit tricky to get hold of Ava Luxe in the UK. The momentum is growing however, so watch this space, or look out for decants and bottles on eBay, Basenotes and Fragrantica.

So today I have in my hands a bottle of Ava Luxe Madeline. I accidentally got a smear on my hands and it was oily and unctuous, rather than watery and alcoholic. In my experience, this usually means a perfume has the clinging power of a barnacle after a round the world cruise. I was right. Madeline was still there about nine hours later, showing no signs of leaving.

But would you want Madeline as a house guest? I would say yes, especially in winter. I couldn’t shake the idea that there are Oranges in here somewhere. Orange is not listed as a note, but it could be down to the fact that this smells a little like Christmas baking, so maybe that’s where visions of Clementines came from. There is a delicate smokiness permeating the thick Vanilla Bourbon, as if I am smelling the ashes form a Vanilla joss stick. It adds an ingeniously clever hint of a crackling log fire. Madeline also has a flicker of Licorice and a splash of Milk. This would make a ghastly drink, but in a fragrance, the Licorice smells spicy and adds a little mystery to the spell. The Milk is comforting and soft.

Overwhelmingly, this is smoky Vanilla: Good vanilla, like the real beans and flecks that you see in expensive ice cream. There is no Vanilla essence here, this is the real thing, to the point of glorious headiness.

My only qualm about Madeline is that it may be too rich, like eating half a whisky soused Christmas Cake in one sitting. It sounds like a good idea, it’s nice at the time, but at the end you might need some fresh air.

Ava Luxe is definitely worth a second look. And a third. And a fourth…


5 thoughts on “Ava Luxe Madeline: Milk and Whisky in Front of A Log Fire”

  1. Dear Iscent
    One of the things I admire most about your blog is the sheer eclecticism!
    One day mainstream faves the next uber niche and all handled with the same engaging and plain talking style.
    Thank you.
    By the way, is there any clove in the perfume, its association with oranges is almost hardwired in me and I can’t help smelling one without the other!
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    1. Dear Mr Dandy,
      I truly appreciate the fact that you like my randomness. I do try and mix it up so that I am not excluding readers from the nichest of niche, nor sticking to mainstream too much. What I enjoy most about doing this is that I do not know what I am writing about until the day. Often my daily scent is chosen depending on mood, weather, outfit or occasion (or lack of occasion). You could say it chooses me and I am loving the random journey.

      Your friend

      1. Incidentally, I did get Clove, and often find it goes with Oranges in any Gourmand scent, but maybe it’s an emotional association? It wasn’t listed, but of course, we know that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there…

  2. I’m so delighted that you liked Madeline. It’s a favourite winter scent of mine and I wrote to Serena and begged her for a spare bottle after the ‘limited edition’ ran out. I believe she’s since added it to her mainstream collection.

    She makes a couple more of my absolute favourites as well – No 23 is a woody geranium-based scent that is fabulous in the summer; I swear it uses geranium as a citrus. Genius. And her Mousse de Chine is just gorgeous – salty and woody and a bit green and very chypre.

    One of the nicest things for us in the UK are a) that she recently did a recalibration of her international shipping costs and now we can have her perfumes posted to us at a reasonable cost and MOST importantly b) you can choose the format of your perfume from her, as she sells her perfumes in oil form as well as in regular alcohol-based parfum and eau de parfum. Fingers crossed, this will be acceptable to the postal authorities and we will still be able to receive her wares here.

  3. Hmm, I like the sound of Mousse de Chine… I too emailed Serena and asked if any plans were afoot to sell in the UK rather than TO the UK. I am looking forward to a reply. Thanks for introducing me to this great and tiny brand!

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