“I’ve been sweet, and I’ve been good/I’ve had a whole, full day of motherhood/But I’m gonna have an Aviance night!
(Male voiceover) Prince Matchabelli brings you Aviance, a radiant new perfume…that LASTS…through the night. And what a way to start it…
…Yes, I’m gonna have an Aviance night! (Male voice singing) Oh, yeah…we’re gonna have an Aviance night…”
The idea that pheromones could be bottled up and put in perfume so that people would inexplicably lust after you was pretty big in the 70s. Aviance by Prince Matchabelli missed an opportunity to make that dubious claim, because it certainly has had, for me, the Pheromone Effect. For several days now, I've been having a straight-up, punch-drunk mad affair with this beauty. I didn’t know what Huffing was until I met Aviance.
It is so beautiful, so weird, and so right, I can't believe there’s hardly any information out there on it. Part of this makes me worry that perhaps it’s just a really cruddy perfume I happen to like. (We know there’s at least one in a perfumaniac’s perfume wardrobe!) If that’s the case, I’ll let it be Aviance. But I doubt it; I think this one’s an overlooked beauty.
Aviance is characterized by my Haarmann & Reimer guide as an aldehydic floral, but it is so much spicier and headier than that. (It’s more like Tabu or Dioressence in character, made for a sexy Tarot card-reading gypsy type. Its deployment of musk and cinnamon notes reminds me, in its effect anyway, of Frederic Malle’s Musc Ravageur, even though it’s intensely floral, too.)
Aviance starts off aldehydic and leafy green, and combined with lily-of-the-valley, for a moment it feels fresh and light. Radiant rose and jasmine benefit from the delicate touch of the top notes’ freshness, but its spicy, animalic, and disturbingly rich base casts a spell of erotic mystery over its initial floral lightness.
I’m not sure where the animalic, dirty part of this perfume comes from. The musk? That would make sense, because the last time I smelled this kind of fatty, erotic richness, I was sniffing vintage Chanel No. 5 extrait’s powerful nitromusks. Maybe it’s from what the H&R guide calls Aviance’s “aldehyde complex,” since some aldehydes are described as smelling like “snuffed candles.” The Pheromone Effect could also come from the Tonka bean note. (Tonka beans are the seeds of the Dipteryx Oderata, a legume tree. They’re sometimes described as an earthier vanilla scent — skanky and animalic.) In Aviance, tonka’s almondy, vanillic, clove-and-cinnamon-like facets definitely take the floral brightness to a seedier part of town.
Green, floral, spicy-woody, and dirty-rich, Aviance definitely smells perfume-y and vintage, but I love how forward it is. The priceless television ad above tells us everything we need to know about its personality. Like the 70s woman who was just getting permission to like sex rather than just see it as a chore (as the 50s woman was supposed to do), Aviance has been sweet and good (conventional florals, innocent and transparent notes of green and lily-of-the-valley) but she’s ready for an Aviance night. Presumably, that means hot, sweaty sex from her leering husband who nods in approval of her kitchen striptease.
And the ad’s not wrong: Aviance sure does LAST a long time. Nudge nudge, wink wink. (But seriously, if I put this on at night, the next morning, there’s a gorgeous, lightly floral and sandalwood spice veil on my skin.)
If Charlie was for the liberated woman who didn’t need a man (hey, she practically WAS a man named Charlie), Aviance was for the liberated gal who was still home-makin’ and takin’ care of babies — but don’t think the sexual revolution passed her by. (And is Aviance not the best stage name ever? The next time some weird dude talks to me and asks my name, I'm going to whisper, "Aviance. The name's Aviance.")
So after Charlie and Aviance, who’s next? Why, the Enjoli woman who brings home the bacon, of course. Stay tuned…