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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Perfume Review: Augustina Avondale, Roxborough and Woodlawn

Augustina is a boutique in Toronto, and, since Spring 2007, in London, described as "a destination for shoppers looking for exclusive, fashionable and forward luxury accessories". Augustina's line of fragrances was created by Susanne Lang and right now consists of three scents, Avondale, Roxborough and Woodlawn.

Avondale, inspired by "an urban oasis with its winding street, cobblestone and ivy covered walls" is a pretty and dainty little floral. While typically perfumes seem to develop from brighter and lighter top notes to a more sumptuous heart, in Avindale the two seem to be reversed, at least on my skin. The scent starts with a rather powerful and appealingly creamy accord of gardenia and tuberose. The sweetness and the headiness of the flowers is kept in check by the strong bergamot note. As the scent develops, it actually grows fresher and airier; lily of the valley becomes apparent and the citrus accord grows stronger. The drydown is a delicate musky blend, which stays close to the skin and has a slight and not unpleasant soapy characteristic. Lovely and loveable and very feminine in a white sundress and a tea party in a posh garden kind of way, but not worth $80.00 for me.

Roxborough. It puzzles me that this scent comes in a bright pink packaging as it seems to be if not entirely masculine than at least rather firmly unisex. In fact, with its mix of fresh and spicy notes, it seems just like the kind of scent Mr. Colombina usually favors. The beginning has a certain fruity, aldehydic effervescence that isn't in the least girly. The woods are apparent right from the start and continue to be the most prominent element of the composition all through its development. Five or so minutes after the application, cinnamon and carnation enter the scene, warming the blend considerably. The base is a little ambery, rather spicy and very woody. All in all, a pleasant if not perhaps breathtakingly original spicy-woody-floral composition that should suit men and women alike, and my favorite of the three.

Woodlawn "recalls a Victorian Coachhouse where an expansive lawn hosts an early summer garden party". Clearly, the lawn overlooks a body of water of some sort, because the aquatic accord is quite strong in this citrusy-fruity-green fragrance. The beginning, with its mouthwatering tangy-ness of lime and yuzu, is the most attractive part of the composition. It smells like a refereshing citrusy cocktail, very light on sugar and decorated with a mint leaf. As the citrus accord becomes replaced by the green, the scent looses most of its initial liveliness. Its greenness is neutral and very tame, like that of very shortly-mowed grass of a very well-mannered garden. The drydown features apples, soft woods, a tiny bit of moss and a strong marine vibe. Not my kind of scent, but if you don't mind an aquatic quality, it should be very pleasant in hot weather.

Avondale, Roxborough and Woodlawn are available at Fragrances & More, $80.00 for 2oz.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Marina
Thank you for your review, as always: I read it and feel very close already to the fragrances. Interesting what you mentioned on the red/pinkish packaging. It makes you wonder how important colour of packaging might be to anticipate and guide our impressions of a fragrance. Imaging: The box would be all dark brown....
I had an interesting colour related association: Red Palisander by Comme des garcon. What would it smell like in a blue or green bottle?

12:33 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I wonder if it's pink for men in that preppy kind of way.

I don't know, but these aren't grabbing me.

12:47 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Andy's comment made me wonder if the packaging and bottles didn't have something to do w/ the fact that I started to yawn before even reading your reviews. They sound like they'd be pleasant enough, but just nothing that would be enough to shake me out of the apathy I'm feeling in regards to most new scents. Am trying to decide what I didn't like about the bottles and boxes. I seriously dislike frou-frou bottles, so the simplicity is a good thing, but there's something about them seems more generic and blandly pretty than simple and elegant (a recent example of my idea of this being the ELdO bottles).

7:51 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Interesting! I know that for me personally color is very important. More so that a shape of a bottle, for example. It does influence my perception of what's inside. Sometimes the color seems to be the opposite of what's inside. The example that immediately comes to mind is L by Lempicka (cool aqua-colored bottle, warm, sunny scent). But if, for example, Palisander was in a Blue bottle...I wouldn't have liked that. Green is fine, unless it is lime green :-)

8:01 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I wonder if it is even geared for men at all. I think it is the oriental scent of the collection, but I don't think they consider it even unisex. Just my feeling. And yet it is rather unisex, I find.

8:02 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

How did the ELdO people managed to come up with those elegant bottles? It's as if, when they were giving the brief to the bottle designer, they were temporarily possessed by someone refined and , um ,mature. OK, stop me now. :-)
But I agree. Augustina's bottles seem sort of nice-looking and simple but in a dull manner. I thought the same of Potter & Moore's bottles. And the latter had no excuse really, since they position themselves as having such a long history. They had to put scents in something less blandly modern.

8:04 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll join the yawn-fest. Interesting about the packaging. I think my 1st response to the visual was "too uptown preppy femme for me". Not in those words, but something like that. Still enjoyed the review anyway.

My next response was to it being in Toronto. Last time we were in TO I had a free afternoon & thought to go sniffing & shopping (thinking Canada might be cheaper) but couldn't find the TO equivilent of Aedes or Perfume Shoppe. Is there one? We ended up doing vintage & found new in pkg full fashioned stockings ($4!). Not bad, but no perfume.

8:05 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Vintage stockings- very cool.
Yes, the bottles say preppy-femmy to me too...preppy with a dash of vintage-y.

8:23 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

This yawning is catching! But I always like it when you write about something I don't HAVE to buy!:)

I first encountered Palisander in a decant (colorless) bottle. It was, nevertheless, red.

8:25 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never heard of these, so thank you for reviewing them. They sound like "pretty little things," which aren't exactly what I'm looking for these days.

8:31 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It does smell red. But I still think it would have been horribly to wrong to put Palisander in blue packaging. Colorless bottles are the best anyway. And white/neutral boxes.

8:33 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am not in a mood for pretty little things either :-)

8:33 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Hmmm. Yawn and stretch. Actually, her Sula fragrances sound a bit more lively, don't they? But haven't tried any of them so what do I know.

11:23 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I haven't even read the descriptions for those yet. Will do.

11:25 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May I join you all in yawning and stretching? As we all lounge on the Colombina couch, gazing at the pretty bottles... ;) I had no idea these even existed. Good to know! I've tried several Susanne Lang creations and remember them being rather linear and somewhat flat.

11:50 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

That's right, make yourself comfortable. Tea? Coffee? :-)
These are not particularly linear, but they do strike me as somewhat flat.

12:08 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You held my interest even if the fragrances won't. That, my darling, is all part of your wondrous gift.

12:51 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and a nice cup of tea please whilst I'm here. Milk, no sugar. Let it steep.

12:52 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Oh Lee, ♥
*pours L a nice cuppa*

1:09 PM EDT  

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