Day one of an incense rotation.
This is my reference incense – the one I measure all others against.
I’m an atheist from a religious family and I spent a lot of my childhood prowling round old churches and ruins in places like Norfolk and the chapels of stately homes like Blickling Hall and Oxburgh, taking brass rubbings, playing the pipe organs (we had one at home) and soaking up the atmosphere.
This fragrance reminds me of that time – the old, dead-cold stone; the soaring Gothic arches, sometimes open to the sky and circled by swifts; the incense burned firmly into the hammer beams, hangings and paintings. It’s also the scent of the Byzantine Catholic Cathedral in Westminster with its gold mosaics, where I used to buy Prinknash incense to burn at home.
Avignon is throat-catchingly dry and I love its darkness. I live in a medieval house, heated by wood, and it fits beautifully with this life in winter.