Perfumer Liz Moores:
The seventh fragrance released in Papillon’s seventh year, on the seventh day of the seventh month. In ancient Egypt, the number 7 was considered a number of the Gods, and it is these deep esoteric connections thread together the inspiration and composition for Spell 125. Everything about this perfume is entwined with magic, history and ancient mystery. I loved the cyclical nature of creating Spell 125; I began the Papillon collection with Anubis, a perfume inspired by ancient Egypt, and it has been a pleasure to revisit this source and to close the circle from my first perfume to this, the seventh.
Spell 125 fragrance notes
- white ambergris, siberian pine, black hemlock, green sacra frankincense, ylang ylang, indian sandalwood
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Latest Reviews of Spell 125
Meanwhile, Spell 125 delivers on the pine and frankincense, which makes me a happy fellow. My wife picked up on the incense and ylang, reminding her of her beloved Opium. The ambergris strikes me as subtle, probably well integrated into the mix of camphor and smoke from the main notes. I wouldn't know black hemlock if it sued me for child support, but if it helps to lend this its animalic cast, I'll take it.
The range of reviews paints Spell 125 as a divisive scent, and I can see that. It's working in an odd olfactory space, and within that framework it's by no means obsequious. It takes familiar notes and presents them in an unfamiliar way. That's what I like about it. Whatever it takes for Moores to get into a head beyond the great perfumes of the early 20th century, let's have more of that. When she imagines the inaccessible rather than honoring the canon, her voice emerges. Dare ever more daringly!
I could get that effect for much less.
Despite the detailing, I found Spell 125 a touch single-minded, almost too focussed on what it sets out to do. I longed for a little something else, some slight distraction, from this journey into the pines and sacred smoke.
The opening is sweet pine forest with bitter frankincense.it is like being on the old ship that is sinking to the depth of the deep,murky ocean.it has nostalgic feel,almost fantasy-like.the combination of ambergris and olibanum accords make it very interestingand there is a underlying sweetness that carries through from the benzoin.the darkness in the dry down reminds me of some woody darkness they have in some vintage feminine perfumes.moderate and noticeable projection but not offensive.
Worth every cent!
Heading through the heart and base, Spell evolves into a natural, weightless incense that seems grounded in earthy forest tones, or perhaps burning in a cool forest. I'm no expert in incense, but this take seems uncommonly free of sharp edges or anything chemical. It warms up a bit, but always remains a little aloof and cool. The weight and airy/meditative feel is something like what Douchafour did with scents like Timbuktu or Dzongkha, but basically just superior in every way I can think of. Excellent, and easy to wear.
Spell 125's note list is just about as compelling as possible... frankincense, multiple coniferous greens, florals and sandalwood. I went into trying my sample prepared to love it, and certainly it has a lot of merit. Alas, while the radiant frankincense open is heavenly smelling, it somehow doesn't quite mesh with the coniferous green elements in the heart as much as I would have expected. There also is the dough-like aspect resembling yeast that is just a tad off-putting that takes you out of the spell 125 is trying to cast on the wearer. Then the perfume shifts gears to the sandalwood and the incense again during the late dry-down that seemingly lasts forever and smells great. On the whole, one has to call the perfume a success, but with a little more tinkering of the key heart accord it could have been really special, and that is a bit of a shame. The bottom line is the $215 per 50ml bottle Spell 125 captures the wearer in its captivating frankincense driven web, but the spell dissipates when the conifers and florals join-in, still yielding a "good" to "very good" 3 to 3.5 stars out of 5 rated moderately successful effort and a modest recommendation.
I think others will feel differently, especially those hankering for something both skin-like and environmental, a highly unusual combination. In fact, Spell 125 smells a lot like I had imagined Guerlain's Djedi would: dry and mineral-y, with a slightly dusty and "dirty" incense note--something from an ancient catacomb only recently opened.
There's also something here that reminds me of Francesca Bianchi's oeuvre, so if you're hankering for that kind of slightly sweetly dirtied incense and skin duo, be sure to try this out. You're sure to find it unusual and somewhat intriguing.