Papillon Perfumery Spell 125 new release review

LiveJazz

Funky fresh
Basenotes Plus
Mar 16, 2006
Wow, LiveJazz. What a fabulous review. Thank you so much for posting your thoughts. I just ordered a bottle, in addition to the sample that's hopefully already on the way.

I think you'll love it too! If you have any inclination toward pine forest / atmospheric smells, I think it's pretty safe bet.

I wore this frag for 10 mins and ordered a bottle. This is properly good and rustic and nostalgic to me.

Yeah, as someone who spends a lot of time in pine forests generally, I've spent a long time seeking a scent that channels that whole experience. Not the literal smell of pine needles, but the rejuvenating feeling of just absorbing the forest expereince and being in nature...this gets close, for me, and avoids being one-dimensional pine bomb. It's super wearable.

Something else you mentioned earlier struck me, too...about the "morning breath" quality. I think that aligns with what I smelled as a waft of living rot in a forest context. If it's ambergris as you suggest, what a novel use!
 

Mak-7

Well-known member
Sep 19, 2019
I think you'll love it too! If you have any inclination toward pine forest / atmospheric smells, I think it's pretty safe bet.



Yeah, as someone who spends a lot of time in pine forests generally, I've spent a long time seeking a scent that channels that whole experience. Not the literal smell of pine needles, but the rejuvenating feeling of just absorbing the forest expereince and being in nature...this gets close, for me, and avoids being one-dimensional pine bomb. It's super wearable.

Something else you mentioned earlier struck me, too...about the "morning breath" quality. I think that aligns with what I smelled as a waft of living rot in a forest context. If it's ambergris as you suggest, what a novel use!

Right? But instead of being repulsive it weaves in beautifully and enhances this frag.
I wont say this is forest to me, rather a Christmas mass at orthodox church, where there is incense, wax, woods, and freshly decorated Christmas tree that adds that the green ozonic scent to the air. Pure bliss !
 

LiveJazz

Funky fresh
Basenotes Plus
Mar 16, 2006
I gave this one another couple of spins over the weekend to get a better handle on the evolution. I think the base does evolve into an incense (at least, I'm not sure what else to call it)...a natural, weightless incense that seems grounded in earthy forest tones, or perhaps burning in the forest scene I evoked earlier. 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.

Still obsessed with the opening and heart evolution, with that mulchy-cool forest funk. It's like a drug for me.
 

Bonnette

Missing Oakmoss
Basenotes Plus
Jul 25, 2015
I gave this one another couple of spins over the weekend to get a better handle on the evolution. I think the base does evolve into an incense (at least, I'm not sure what else to call it)...a natural, weightless incense that seems grounded in earthy forest tones, or perhaps burning in the forest scene I evoked earlier. 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.

Still obsessed with the opening and heart evolution, with that mulchy-cool forest funk. It's like a drug for me.
What a beautiful way you have of describing this, I really get a sense of the paradoxes and subtleties involved here - wow. LuckyScent shipped my bottle today, and bundled the sample with it, so I'm hopful they'll get here by the weekend. Thank you so much for continuing to post your experience of this fragrance as it unfolds!
 

cazaubon

Moderator
Moderator
Basenotes Plus
Jan 1, 2005
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I wore this frag for 10 mins and ordered a bottle. This is properly good and rustic and nostalgic to me.

Also, there is a Canadian Shoppe - company that still has it in stock and its 240 cad/191 usd. If they ship to usa for reasonable amount or maybe even free - you can save $25 and taxes on top of that. Just a suggestion.

Which Canadian shop please?
 

LinePlaneVolume

Well-known member
May 31, 2020
Interesting. Someone must have taken the last bottle then, cuz thats where i bought it. Guess need to wait for a restock.

Yeah, when you originally shared the link with me, it was already gone. So, I'll be keeping my eye open.

It's also tempting because I don't have Salome and I'm thinking about a backup of Dryad. But, I'll try to hold off. :)
 

Mak-7

Well-known member
Sep 19, 2019
Yeah, when you originally shared the link with me, it was already gone. So, I'll be keeping my eye open.

It's also tempting because I don't have Salome and I'm thinking about a backup of Dryad. But, I'll try to hold off. :)

Maybe that someone was me :D there is always a chance.
Did you talk to owner though about shipping and when she will have more stock?
 

Bonnette

Missing Oakmoss
Basenotes Plus
Jul 25, 2015
The opening caught me totally off guard. I was expecting a pretty straight piney incense, but there's a strong sour/bitter layer (a treatment of frankincense?) that smells vaguely poisonous, very dark, funky, living...a lot like decomposing wood...like when you lift up a big old pine log in a forest and there's bunch of damp forest matter and bugs and stuff underneath. This is alongside the ambient smell of living forest. In the opening, the darkness is dominant, and smelled up close, it can be a little offputting. But smelled as sillage, it works like a peaceful, cool, shadowy nook in the accord. This is exactly the kind of wearable "realistic damp living forest" scent I was hoping to find at some point. Did not expect to find it here.

Rereading Claire's review, she descripes the opening perfectly, and more eloquently than I could ever hope to:

"...a clutch of green resins, blackish gums, and saltwater dripping from trees in some primordial forest, immediately evaporating into smoky ether as they hit the hot minerals beneath.


"...smells both funkily organic, i.e., ‘ripped from nature’, and preternaturally airy, a whole diorama of sky, forest, and wind filling your lungs as you draw breath."

Lord, can she write.

It dries out going into the heart and base, but frankly I was so distracted by the extended opening that I need to smell it again to get a better handle on things. I don't recall the base feeling very incensey, at any point. It's hard describe...dry and austere, not purely woody, not really smoky, a little mineralic, "natural" yet I can't pin it to a specific natural thing. Dry dirt made of woody matter and pine needles is the closest I'm getting right now...the patch where the decomposing log was, after a several hours to dry in the sun.

TL;DR: Clearly the work of a genius at the top of her game.

I gave this one another couple of spins over the weekend to get a better handle on the evolution. I think the base does evolve into an incense (at least, I'm not sure what else to call it)...a natural, weightless incense that seems grounded in earthy forest tones, or perhaps burning in the forest scene I evoked earlier. 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.

Still obsessed with the opening and heart evolution, with that mulchy-cool forest funk. It's like a drug for me.
I can't add anything to LiveJazz's (and ClaireV's) descriptions and impressions of this this wonderful fragrance. I'll just say that, to me, the opening smells a good bit like Anubis, with its surprising - almost unnerving - exhalation of pitch and resin, and then the living coniferous, earthen notes appear - no obvious flowers in this one, at least to my nose, just a cloud of scent that is at once voluptuous and airy, enveloping and mysterious in the way that Cocteau's enchanted forest in Beauty and the Beast captivates one.
 

Bonnette

Missing Oakmoss
Basenotes Plus
Jul 25, 2015
^Glad you like it! That’s interesting about Anubis. I have a sample I’ve not yet smelled, so I will definitely be on the lookout for a parallel. Thanks for the kind words earlier by the way!
Your reviews were a big help to me in making my decision so thank you!

If you try that sample of Anubis, I'd be interested to hear what you think about the opening of Spell 125, next to Anubis. I'm doing a side-by-side comparison right now, and Spell's opening has simmered down into lush green notes with a subdued incense undertone, whereas Anubis' tarry note continues through to the very end. I love them both.
 

Proust_Madeleine

Well-known member
Apr 5, 2019
Your reviews were a big help to me in making my decision so thank you!

If you try that sample of Anubis, I'd be interested to hear what you think about the opening of Spell 125, next to Anubis. I'm doing a side-by-side comparison right now, and Spell's opening has simmered down into lush green notes with a subdued incense undertone, whereas Anubis' tarry note continues through to the very end. I love them both.

Fascinating. I love that they are meant as a pair, completing a 7 year spell. So cool.
 

Diamondflame

Frag Bomber 1st Squadron
Basenotes Plus
Jun 28, 2009
Received my sample a few days ago and have ordered myself a bottle. Spell 125 opens fresh green and minty with pine and what I can only assume to be white ambergris that imbues it with a luminous airy-minty vibe. The incense is of good quality - clean, lemony and warmly resinous. Rather reminiscent of Sonoma Scent Studio’s Incense Pure. I don’t find it dark or brooding but there’s an intriguing if mildly fecal note buried deep in the warmer underpinnings. Of the black hemlock I found no trace but perhaps it will show up with more generous applications.

It’s interesting that I’ve chosen to compare it against Anatole Lebreton’s Grimoire which retails for half the price of the Papillon. Both compositions drew inspiration from ancient book of spells but neither succeeded in plumbing the depths dark enough to evoke that otherworldly mystique. Perhaps it’s simply the uplifting nature of sacra incense. It renders both fragrances easily wearable. If you want a brooding incense, Amouage Memoir Man literally puts both in its shade.

Here’s a side by side comparison of their official lists of notes:-
1F25EF01-6849-4B30-996B-156AF6532E1F.jpg
 

Bonnette

Missing Oakmoss
Basenotes Plus
Jul 25, 2015
What instantly comes to mind is.....Slumberhouse’s Norne! Perfect timing considering it was just discontinued. This, to me, is a lighter interpretation of Norne. Incense and Fir notes, but they’re fresher, greener, with higher diffusive qualities. Spell 125 isn’t a new genre, but it’s taken a classic and brought it into the realm of ultra-wearable.
Agreed, quite similar, and also different in significant ways. Norne is sticky on my skin and just a bit much, overall.

In her review, ClaireV emphasized Spell 125's shapeshifting qualities, and I'm really getting that today, after many hours of wearing it.
 

Mak-7

Well-known member
Sep 19, 2019
I cant disagree more regarding Norne and Spell. Completely different perfumes with different impact. If we are talking that both have fir and both have smoke - might as well add half of smoky green genre here. Where Norne is good but not quite cutting it for me - spell is right up my alley and subjectively better crafted overall staying true to greens and smoke theme without adding spices
 

LiveJazz

Funky fresh
Basenotes Plus
Mar 16, 2006
I cant disagree more regarding Norne and Spell. Completely different perfumes with different impact. If we are talking that both have fir and both have smoke - might as well add half of smoky green genre here. Where Norne is good but not quite cutting it for me - spell is right up my alley and subjectively better crafted overall staying true to greens and smoke theme without adding spices

Agreed. I do like Norne, but it’s a bit of a blunt instrument. Recent iterations are toned down just a bit, but it’s still a demanding wear. A violently smoldering pine forest. The novelty of that is a bit less compelling in this age of fires across the American West.

Anyway, to use another analogy, Norne is an ultra heavyweight boxer of pine and smoke, and Spell is a Ninja.
 

LiveJazz

Funky fresh
Basenotes Plus
Mar 16, 2006
If you try that sample of Anubis, I'd be interested to hear what you think about the opening of Spell 125, next to Anubis. I'm doing a side-by-side comparison right now, and Spell's opening has simmered down into lush green notes with a subdued incense undertone, whereas Anubis' tarry note continues through to the very end. I love them both.

Following up on Anubis...sure enough, I love it. Liz's hit rate for me is phenomenal. You hit the nail on the heat with the bracing tarry note. A lot of tar notes tend to feel industrial and cold to me. This feels gritty and personal, and is a wonderfully bracing, dark compliment to the warm spice structure. There is very little sweetness here, and I like that Anubis avoids the well-worn path of the sweet, spiced amber oriental. It feels bright and almost fizzy (I guess due to saffron?) but also pitch black...I love those kinds of juxtapositions of tone.

The immortelle (light, relatively dry, but unmistakable) and leathery feel had me thinking of 1740 Marquis de Sade through the heart, but far more austere. The immortelle displays more of the signature syrupiness in 1740, and that's a much heavier scent overall. Due to its dryness and dark crispness, I think Anubis could work in warm weather.

I didn't detect an obvious relationship with Spell until the deep base when that same airy-dark incense takes over...so they arrive at a similar point but take very different paths to arrive there.

I am reading the sci fi classic Dune right now, and Anubis smells like what I imagine Spice Melange and particularly a Spice mine would smell like on Arrakis. Sorry if you haven't read/seen it and that makes no sense. This airy spicy darkness seems appropriate for a desert on another world.
 

Bonnette

Missing Oakmoss
Basenotes Plus
Jul 25, 2015
Following up on Anubis...sure enough, I love it. Liz's hit rate for me is phenomenal. You hit the nail on the heat with the bracing tarry note. A lot of tar notes tend to feel industrial and cold to me. This feels gritty and personal, and is a wonderfully bracing, dark compliment to the warm spice structure. There is very little sweetness here, and I like that Anubis avoids the well-worn path of the sweet, spiced amber oriental. It feels bright and almost fizzy (I guess due to saffron?) but also pitch black...I love those kinds of juxtapositions of tone.

The immortelle (light, relatively dry, but unmistakable) and leathery feel had me thinking of 1740 Marquis de Sade through the heart, but far more austere. The immortelle displays more of the signature syrupiness in 1740, and that's a much heavier scent overall. Due to its dryness and dark crispness, I think Anubis could work in warm weather.

I didn't detect an obvious relationship with Spell until the deep base when that same airy-dark incense takes over...so they arrive at a similar point but take very different paths to arrive there.

I am reading the sci fi classic Dune right now, and Anubis smells like what I imagine Spice Melange and particularly a Spice mine would smell like on Arrakis. Sorry if you haven't read/seen it and that makes no sense. This airy spicy darkness seems appropriate for a desert on another world.
Oh, marvelous comparison and review! Yes, to every word! I have indeed read Dune, and find your description compelling and wholly relatable. I am so glad to hear that you love Anubis.

Liz Moores is a genius. Her perfumes are pure poetry.
 

uhbhatti88

Well-known member
Jan 13, 2012
...I am reading the sci fi classic Dune right now, and Anubis smells like what I imagine Spice Melange and particularly a Spice mine would smell like on Arrakis. Sorry if you haven't read/seen it and that makes no sense. This airy spicy darkness seems appropriate for a desert on another world.

Excellent, excellent reference - yes Anubis is what Melange would smell like! A dry, smoky, spicy-resinous structure. Hope the movie does some justice to the book.
 

uhbhatti88

Well-known member
Jan 13, 2012
I just tried Spell 125 a few days ago and, like you, what stood out to me was that sparkling quality I have grown to associate with ambregris. The incense was there, muted but present throughout.

I too was surprised by how full of light the composition is, the colour and the writing beforehand led me to expect something like an oriental-ized version of Armani's Bois d'Encens. Still, it is great stuff.
 

Diamondflame

Frag Bomber 1st Squadron
Basenotes Plus
Jun 28, 2009
4158FF9D-9513-4866-92D2-C2CB53CBEDF4.jpg

As someone pointed out, Spell 125 is a real shapeshifter. Today in the cooler weather it almost gleamed, and I’m getting a lot more of that airy salty mineralic ambergris note interspersed with the green incense. Doesn’t reach out as far as Dryad though.
 

Cheetah1919

Well-known member
Mar 16, 2016
Well, finally got my bottle, and it’s as amazing as I hoped it would be! There’s a lot going on here. I love the dark inky incense, it’s almost like Lampblack with incense added. And the piney soapiness is what I get in the random wafts. It’s so 80’s classic type to me, clean and masculine and green, but nothing sharp or edgy about it.
Worth every cent!
 

Bonnette

Missing Oakmoss
Basenotes Plus
Jul 25, 2015
Well, finally got my bottle, and it’s as amazing as I hoped it would be! There’s a lot going on here. I love the dark inky incense, it’s almost like Lampblack with incense added. And the piney soapiness is what I get in the random wafts. It’s so 80’s classic type to me, clean and masculine and green, but nothing sharp or edgy about it.
Worth every cent!
Wonderful description! I notice another shade or nuance about it every time I wear it. Glad you received your bottle and it was all you'd hoped it would be, Cheetah1919.
 

Cheetah1919

Well-known member
Mar 16, 2016
Wonderful description! I notice another shade or nuance about it every time I wear it. Glad you received your bottle and it was all you'd hoped it would be, Cheetah1919.

Thanks! Looking forward to more and more wearings! It’s also one of those fragrances that smelled very much different when I sniff it up close on my arm. That brings out different nuances and details, but the wafts are what really does it for me…an unbelievable amount of balance and a complete thought out composition.
 

Bonnette

Missing Oakmoss
Basenotes Plus
Jul 25, 2015
It’s also one of those fragrances that smelled very much different when I sniff it up close on my arm. That brings out different nuances and details, but the wafts are what really does it for me…an unbelievable amount of balance and a complete thought out composition.
So true. I remember ClaireV's review mentioning the different versions Liz Moores shared with her over the course of Spell 125's evolution. Wouldn't it have been a revelation to have smelled each stage? There's no doubt about it, the finished composition is exactly as you describe: a complete thought.
 

cazaubon

Moderator
Moderator
Basenotes Plus
Jan 1, 2005
Finally got to smell it last night. Opening notes smelled very industrial, maybe the tar someone was mentioning above. As it dried down it softened and opened up a bit. Very complex and will take a few wearings to become friends with it.
 

Cheetah1919

Well-known member
Mar 16, 2016
Finally got to smell it last night. Opening notes smelled very industrial, maybe the tar someone was mentioning above. As it dried down it softened and opened up a bit. Very complex and will take a few wearings to become friends with it.

My third and fourth full wearings, turned it into an all timer for me! Staying away from the close sniff is the key imo. Although I d enjoy it closeup too, the aura is really what makes it a champ!
 

Xcaliber6685

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Sep 18, 2020
Received my Spell 25 today, i get nose blind to it quickly to smell it up close but the scent bubble is great, the ambergris here instantly reminded me of Oud 27 by Le Labo, same type of effect, but this one has a hint of salty sweat type funk, not offensive or anything though, the floral notes balance it out nicely. The pine is fresh and light, isn't as sharp or pronounced as the fir from Russian Musk 2, definitely getting some frankincense resin and unburned incense stick.

Overall this one is classy, bright, and playful at the same time, very easy to wear in comparison to other artisans, definitely unisex.
 

Mak-7

Well-known member
Sep 19, 2019
Received my Spell 25 today, i get nose blind to it quickly to smell it up close but the scent bubble is great, the ambergris here instantly reminded me of Oud 27 by Le Labo, same type of effect, but this one has a hint of salty sweat type funk, not offensive or anything though, the floral notes balance it out nicely. The pine is fresh and light, isn't as sharp or pronounced as the fir from Russian Musk 2, definitely getting some frankincense resin and unburned incense stick.

Overall this one is classy, bright, and playful at the same time, very easy to wear in comparison to other artisans, definitely unisex.

So is this a like, love or a pass?
 

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