Ava Luxe Madame X Perfume (Serena Ava Goode) 2006 + Return of a Classic Giveaway

Ava Luxe Madame X perfume 2006 box and flacons of Madame X from Ida’s collection

The name Ava Luxe Perfumes may not be familiar to more recent fragrance converts, but there is every reason why it should be. I have been writing about Serena Ava Goode’s perfumes since 2006, and fellow friends and perfumistas all over the globe have marveled at the singular loveliness of them – along with the compliments they garner (be it Switzerland, Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, et al). I used to mail large flacons of the perfume Shisha to Vero Kern many years ago, anticipating that she would enjoy it (which she did). In another week, Ava Luxe perfumes will be be made to order and ready to ship. Particular excitement swirls around Ava Luxe Madame X – which perfumer Serena Ava Goode had ceased to offer, most likely due to the difficulty in obtaining consistently high-quality materials (and their significant cost). Serena will be relaunching Madame X, and she has assured me that it will remain faithful to its original formula – very welcome news indeed. Since my order will likely not arrive until after Christmas, I am reviewing the 2006 formula for you – which has been one of my top signature fragrances over the years. It would surprise you to know how many people have asked me to share my own reserves, especially because it had been no longer available – and these are folks whom you know and trust when it comes to fragrance.

Serena Ava Goode perfumer

 Serena Ava Goode courtesy of the perfumer

Serena is an autodidact perfumer who is also a fine artist and an authority on the arcane: she attended the Massachusetts College of Art. A shy, somewhat retiring individual, Serena has never been comfortable with interviews – but this doesn’t preclude her personal charm or her wry sense of humor. We have enjoyed some stolen moments and shared naughtiness, but I will not interview her unless she asks me to; I respect her privacy and feelings, which are more important to me.

I find gratuitous name-dropping unpleasant; it’s such low-hanging fruit. Suffice it to say that the well-known creative director of a famous French house made it a point (at a public gathering) to incline his distinguished Gallic nose and inquire what perfume I was wearing (it was Ava Luxe Madame X). I replied that it was created by a young art student from East Boston (a very blue-collar neighborhood at that time). Similarly, during an outing with two renowned authors, I wore Madame X – and was again asked to identify my scent. I think I may safely say that if respected experts in the perfume world loved it – well. That speaks volumes.

Madame X at the Museum of Fine Arts

Madame X from Boston’s recent Museum of Fine Arts John Singer Sargent exhibit Ida’s photo©

And Madame X ? Well – imagine being an art student only blocks away from Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, replete with John Singer Sargent’s works, including his infamous portrait of Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau (referred to as Madame X), which has been borrowed from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art many times over the years. Striking, highly controversial in its era (1884), the Paris Salon found this portrait to be indecent, as did many critics. Its sensuality is undeniable, and certainly provided ample inspiration for a fragrance. Only a profoundly mysterious perfume would do – one which integrated the subterranean beauty of multiple animalics and the lure of entangled florals. It had to be subtle, yet perceivable for hours on end.

Madame X by Ava Luxe Perfumes

 Madame X courtesy of Ava Luxe via website

Ava Luxe Madame X perfume is a legend. It is rare to discover a fragrance which smells timeless, appeals to current tastes, and possesses all the exquisite wiles of a pristinely preserved vintage. We haven’t even mentioned the cost (decidedly bon marché by anyone’s standards: from $40.00/5 mls. of perfume oil to $165.00/1 oz.of parfum extrait!), the availability of many sizes and formats (long before other companies adopted this practice), or the satisfaction one derives from supporting a talented artist. Serena employs cruelty-free civet, castoreum, ambergris, and a purring cocktail of synthetic musks to complement her discerning use of materials which conjure shadowy enigma: labdanum, leather, wisps of incense, soft patchouli, the inky depths of oakmoss. Lest this list appear ponderous, the sweet, coumarinic aroma of fresh hay and cassie absolute impart a tenderness magnified by a skillful addition of rose and jasmine. This fetching elixir floats upon creamy Mysore sandalwood, gingerly laced with vanilla. In Madame X, Serena Ava Goode has mastered the fragile balance which often marks a great perfume: the inextricable marriage of aromatic materials which appears seamless.

Notes: Coriander, Acacia Farnesiana, Freshly cut hay, Jasmine, Rose, Labdanum, Leather, Incense, Patchouli, Oakmoss, Civet, Ambergris, Castoreum, Sandalwood Mysore, Precious Musks, Vanilla

Review based upon my own collection. My nose is my own.

~ Ida Meister, Deputy and Natural Perfumery Editor


Ava Luxe Madame X 2006

Ava Luxe Madame X Eau de Parfum by Ida©

I firmly believe in sharing good things, so I am offering a decant of the 2006 iteration of Ava Luxe Madame X eau de parfum from my collection to one registered reader in the US. To be eligible, please leave a comment about what appealed to you about Ida’s review and that you live in the USA. Draw closes 12/22/2023

Please enjoy Ida’s The 3 Ava Luxe Perfumes you should be wearing here

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