Monday, November 01, 2010

Ava Luxe- No. 23

In ancient numerology the number 23 was regarded as a sacred number of magic and enchantment. It's sometimes referred to as The Royal Star of the Lion and it bestows abundant grace and blessing to those influenced by it.                     ---Ava Luxe website
I know very little (as in nothing, really) about numerology. I'm partial to 13 because it's sort of an underdog and I was born on that day, but that's about it. As a math teacher I have a more practical relationship with numbers, and 23 never stood out to me, except when teaching about prime numbers. I like the idea of a perfume created to evoke grace and blessing much better, which might be among the reasons I'm no longer teaching fifth grade.

No. 23 by indie perfumer Serena Ava Franco of Ava Luxe might not be a magic potion but it's both calming and uplifting. It's often compared to Tam Dao (Diptyque), and for a good reason. Both are built around sandalwood on all its warmth and creaminess. Tam Dao, though, is more woody and dry, and while more creamy it doesn't get as sweet as No. 23. The Ava Luxe creation is also spicier and has an anise note (not listed, but my nose insists it's there). On very cold winter days No. 23 smells to me like the lovechild of Tam Dao and L'Heure Bleue. I guess if a perfume is going to resemble an illegitimate offspring, the above is a very good lineage.

But, seriously, Ava Luxe has created a beautiful perfume that offers both an incense-like meditative quality and a sensual elegance. The sweetness may have a come-hither vibe, but it's also warm and rich with a lot of substance. I own it in the perfume oil version and no longer have a sample of the EDP, so I can't comment on any possible difference between the formulations. The oil is long lasting and has a decent projections, though you only get the full spectrum of nuances when approaching skin level. I like this intimacy with the scent and find it very fitting for this special perfume.

No. 23 by Ava Luxe ($25, 5ml perfume oil or $30 15ml EDP) is available from the perfumer's website,

Art: Memories 6 by Pamela Sukhum


  1. This is a wonderful scent and your review is spot on! I own this in the extrait and it's wonderful; Serena is indeed talented.

  2. I love this scent too and find its sweet, milky woodiness very comforting. Am on a quest to find the perfect sandalwood scent and No 23 is a top contender!

  3. I have this in edp and love it so much! This and Madame X (currently discontinued) are my favorites, but I love many more from her line. A truly talented woman.

  4. So happy to see this post, as I am a big fan of No. 23, and it is one of only a few perfumes that have ever elicited spontaneous comments from those around me. Initially, I acquired it because I found it to be similar to Ormonde Woman (which I didn't want to spring for at the time - though I eventually caved). I have come to love it as its own beautiful self, though.

  5. I have tried a number of AL's but this one sounds like it would be exactl the right thing for this colder season. So well priced, too, thank heavens.

  6. Oh, one of my very favorites! I love sleeping in No. 23 and it's the only perfume I always have at home, at work, and in my purse. When nothing else seems right, No. 23 always pleasing. Happy and soothing at the same time, sensual and relaxed, it's different from anything else and yet seemed like an old friend the first time I wore it. I love the image you picked for your review, too!

  7. How would you compare this to Santal Blanc, Gaia?

  8. I'm so happy to see Serena's work getting love and recognition. I love many of her perfumes and plan to give her figs a lot of attention at some point. I already have Johri and it's a favorite.

    Alyssa, it's very different from Santal Blanc. No. 23 doesn't have the sweet booze that rules the Lutens opening and isn't as musky in the drydown. Santal Blanc is quire recognizable a syrupy Lutens, while Ava Luxe goes in a dry direction.


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