I know, I know, I never thought I’d write Avon and Radiohead in the same sentence, but it was the first thing that leapt unbidden to my mind when trying to describe Avon Incandessence.
I tried Incadnessence long ago before I was best mates with Fragrantica and before my perfume obsession had gone full throttle. At the time it reminded me of the colour yellow. It was bright yellow to my mind, like plastic yellow cellophane. I didn’t like it.
I now have a bottle in my possession (not for long, I’ll be passing it on) and all I can think of is the Radiohead song Fake Plastic Trees.
There is some note in here that really bugs me, but I can’t name it. I would have thought it was cheap fake sunshine since it tries so hard to be a sunny, floral scent, but ends up smelling like plastic. I looked up the notes on Fragrantica for a clue and this is what I found:
Top notes: Orchid, Lily of the Valley, Cyclamen. Middle Notes: Tulips, Peony. Base notes: Orchid.
Here’s where I think the mystery is solved: in every description of Tulip, Orchid and Cyclamen, it is pointed out that these notes do not come from the flower but are synthetic. Now at Avon prices, we can’t expect Rose Absolute or priceless oils, but to use three synthetic notes as the leading stars? Well, the synthetic-ness isn’t strong enough to carry a scent and make it good. This total lack of authenticity (which is possible at a low price- look at Coty L’Aimant) means that Incandessence is, to me at least, a plastic mess. It smells cheap and overly sweet and the initial yellow cellophane imagery remains.
I acknowledge that many floral notes are created in a lab, and that IFRA regulations saw off a lot of genuine petal action in the manufacture of perfumes, but dear Avon, at least try and hide the fact!
To be honest, I wouldn’t even use it as air freshener. But what do I know? Customers won’t let them stop making it. This is a steady seller and Avon has even started bringing out flankers- a sure sign that Incandessence is here to stay.