Fruitless: Ava Luxe Rasa Extreme

By Tom

The things I do..  I braved the Black Friday crowds at Barneys to try the new Frederick Malle, only to be thwarted: it was supposed to be here today but wasn’t.  I wasn’t going to go to ScentBar and certainly wasn’t going within 500 yards of the mall.  I hit the closet to see what was in there that I hadn’t written about and the only thing I could see was a sample of Gaultier Le Male, which is so tied up in the memory of my last boyfriend that I prefer not to trot down that garden path.  Besides, the sample was older than dirt, so I tossed it.

Luckily for me a nice person had sent me a sample of Ava Luxe Rasa Extreme.

Ava Luxe is the creation of Serena Ava Franco, crafting handmade jewelry and perfumes from her Providence, Rhode Island atelier.  Rasa Extreme is the, well, extreme version of Rasa, a scent she describes as “A sexy and slightly provocative blend of musks infused with spicy red rose”.  Rasa Extreme I assume amps up that musk and adds civet (I think), making it much like a feminine Muscs Kublai Kha n.  It’s not a BIG scent, it doesn’t reach across the room and throttle you.  It’s one you have to lean in to smell, and trust me you’ll want to.  It’s a simple combination of musks, rose and a touch of iris; I just watched “Night of the Iguana” and when I smelled this I immediately thought of Ava Gardner: very womanly, with a slight edge of danger.

Sadly for you it’s no longer on the website, but maybe if we make a concerted effort to ask, maybe she’ll bring it back…

  • Beth says:

    Hmmmm, Ok, another to add to my rapidly increasing pile of samples wanted. I love “Big but in a good way”! Thanks for your post Tom, and your MKK week inspired me to add it to my sampling list as well. So it may be fun to try these two back to back.

  • maidenbliss says:

    Thank you for doing what I would not. Not ever. Target is approachable at midnight – maybe.
    I’ve read many posts about Ava Luxe but you got my attention. Goin’ shopping. Now. At Ava Luxe.

    ‘I go a walking after midnight’ –that’d be Patsy Cline. And me. So happy together:) Oh, the Turtles are making an appearance!

  • Tom says:


    I wished she offered more samples as well..

  • Dionne says:

    Mmmm, Ava Luxe. I got a whole wack of generous samples from chayaruchama when I won a giveaway for Ambra Tibet. I found Ambra Tibet a bit strong in the beginning, but the drydown and the lingering-on-clothes-and-bedsheets is to die for.

    But that Palisander…. oh my. Serena just had a sale and I snatched that puppy. Can’t wait for it to get her. I’m looking forward to trying more of her line, except it’s a challenge right now. She doesn’t offer samples herself, and I can’t seem to find online samples of some of the fragrances I want to try, especially in her newer EdP concentrations.

  • maggiecat says:

    Ava Luxe scents are amazing – I love No. 23 and her The Blanc. She’s making some scents now and I hope she’ll bring back some others. Or even create some new ones for us? Thanks for braving Barney’s and I wish you better luck next time!

  • Musette says:

    Barneys on Black Friday. NOT dissing your bravery (srsly) but I have to ask, since I don’t think I’ve even been in Barneys on BF – is it packed? I’m trying to imagine Barneys with BestBuy lines…though if they ever have a 50% off sale of all frangrances, FLoyd help the poor folks in front of me! 8-x

    I was in Rural King in Rantoul IL on Black Friday – 4 or 5 farmers in there, buying parts and some cattle de-wormer….a woman buying toys on sale….uh….me, buying salt water taffy for Annelie…uh……oooh! a family looking at a new fireplace surround!

    hefty doin’s

    xo >-)

    • Musette says:

      oh, re Ava Luxe. I have had a rollercoaster ride with her….

      Madame X: got it. loved it. can’t even decant it now, it is so mean to me…

      Film Noir: =(( I think it’s going the way of Mme X

      HongKong Garden: LOVE IT!

      Vamp: on the fence but leaning towards 😡

      A lot of this could be me – who knows? Have not tried the ones mentioned in your post and the comments but I love what she does so hope springs eternal..

      xo >-)

    • Tom says:

      It was busy, but it wasn’t Target. So it wasn’t that much of a stretch.

  • Jeff says:

    This one sounds decent. Braving black friday in a department is quite an accomplishment. I am more of a fan of cyber monday but it would take longer to have items shipped for testing.

    • Tom says:

      Like I wrote earlier, it wasn’t that bad. not parking there helped, as did not being in a mall.

      If it was at The Grove or the Beverly Center neither love nor money wouldn’t have gotten me there..

  • Louise says:

    I have a samp of the Extreme Rasa somewhere-I remember it as very big on me-but must go seek!

    Happy Weekend to all!

    • Ann N. says:

      Hi Tom, thanks for being brave! This scent sounds very, um, challenging. I’m not brave enough to try MKK, so would probably have to pass on this one, even if it were readily available. I have only tried one or two of her scents, Love’s True Bluish Light being one, but you’ve inspired me to seek more of her stuff.

    • Tom says:

      It’s big, but I think good big!

  • Illertissen says:

    You’re braver than I am! The only shopping I dared on Black Friday was at a huge flea market. I once found an old bottle of Le De there, and hope has sprung eternal ever since.

    Ava Luxe’s recent sale persuaded me to order an old favorite, Cafe Noir — one of the most tenacious fragrances I’ve ever tried — along with her Crepe de Chine (unsniffed!) Has anyone tried it?

    • Aparatchick says:

      Like Joe, I’m a big Ava Luxe fan. I have a botttle of Cafe Noir and love it. It’s probably my favorite “coffee” perfume.

      Other favorites are No. 23, Bois de Figue, Bois Exotique, Fig Leaf (she describes it as very green and bright and it really is), and Johri. I just ordered Oeillet; she used to have an Oeillet Rouge and and Oeillet Blanc and I liked both, so fingers crossed that I’ll like this one.

      Moment of silence for Shisha, which she had to d/c.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I have Rasa, but have never tried Extreme, since it was gone before I discovered her. I thought that she was lo longer able to get the ingredients for Extreme, which was why it was d/ced. Sigh. Best never to try it, I suppose…

  • Joe says:

    Hey Tom! Big Ava Luxe fan here. I don’t think I tried Rasa or the Extreme version, though lawd knows I may have a sample around somewhere.

    You prompted me to go sample my recently acquired samples of her No. 23 and Kashmir Spice. Both are lovely: 23 has that big sandalwood I love in a lot of her scents. Kashmir is SO holiday delicious in a way that makes you ask, “Did I spill a giant spiced Chai down my front?”

  • nozknoz says:

    Braving the Black Friday crowds at Barneys for little ol’ us, your Perfume Posse?! Tom, now we KNOW you will do anything for us!

    Tantalizing review, and I am now greatly enjoying trying to picture a feminine Kublai Khan!

    • Tom says:


      I’d like to make it sound like a big deal but I’m afraid it wasn’t. It was a surgical strike: no parking in the building and I walked straight in the front door and straight back out. No fool I. :d