Papillon Spell 125 Eau de Parfum manages to be a darker, more soldering scent that has a lightness about it. It starts with smoky, damp pine with salty-sweet, dark resins that alternates between being salty and sweet, smoky incense and incense and resinous. The drydown saw creamy, smooth sandalwood meld with smoky incense and barely-sweet amber.
The notes are listed as: white ambergris, Siberian pine, black hemlock, green sacra frankincense, ylang ylang, and Indian sandalwood.
- top notes:
- heart notes:
- base notes:
It opened with smoky, damp pine with freshly-dropped pine needles on the forest floor, earthy, damp, and camphorous. There was a saltiness in the air that whirled with dark resins. Spell 125 was salty, sweet, earthy, and full of smoky pine.
I expected it to shift more in the early development, but it retained its salty-sweet, smoky incense character through the first hour of wear. The whole composition felt lighter, airier, and cooler, and the balance between the smoky incense and salty-sweet ambergris seemed just right.
Throughout the journey, there were very minute shifts toward the drydown; the ambergris slowly but surely lost some of its saltiness, creamy sandalwood softened the composition, and the smokiness was more diffused.
For testing, I used 1/3 of a 0.7ml sample vial dabbed to the underside and topside of my wrist area on my left arm. I used an unscented moisturizer prior to applying the scent as this is also my swatching arm (aka, incredibly parched at any given moment) as I found scent did not hold well here otherwise.
I purchased my sample in January 2022; fragrances are known to be reformulated over their lifetime , so be mindful of when a review was made, e.g. a review from 2010 may not reflect what the same-named perfume smells like in 2022.
It lasted for seven hours until it was a skin-scent and about 10 hours before it was quite difficult to detect on my skin. The sillage and projection were moderate with the sillage dropping faster than the projection in the first two hours.
Though the salty-sweet character of ambergris is something I find intriguing, I have yet to find a fragrance where it rings true that has made me enamored with it that makes me want a full bottle, but there’s something about it that really pulls me in as a note. The same was true with Spell 125–alluring but not quite compelling.
- 50ml for $215
- 0.7ml sample for $5