Another happy random pull from my samples! Today’s Advent SOTD is Spell 125, from Papillon Artisan Perfumes and perfumer Liz Moores. I really can’t improve on her own description and explanation:
In the Book of the Dead, Spell 125 represents a balance of light and dark, life and death. The compelling ceremony of weighing the deceased’s heart against a feather animate a delicate olfactory rendering of the lightness of the soul, with just a sliver of the underworld shadows.
Ms. Moores explains the context for this 2021 addition to her line of fragrances:
“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.
Notes are listed as: White Ambergris. Siberian Pine. Black Hemlock. Green Sacra Frankincense. Ylang. Indian Sandalwood. What I smell right away is a mix of frankincense and ylang, followed quickly by the pine and hemlock notes. Ambergris is something I have smelled as a raw ingredient, but I can’t readily identify it in a fragrance. What I notice in fragrances that list ambergris as a note or ingredient is that there is usually an underlying sensual warmth — not really spicy, but warm nevertheless. That’s what I perceive in Spell 125.
The frankincense smells spicy with a hint of smoke; the sensation of warmth it evokes is enhanced by the sandalwood accord. This warmth and spiciness lead me to think that Spell 125 will be most appealing in cooler weather, as is usual in fall and winter here. It reminds me a bit of St. Clair Scents’ Frost, though Frost is smokier. Spell 125 also has a sweetness to it that absolutely does not smell sugary; I think that is a contribution of the ambergris.
Like all Papillon perfumes, this one is lovely and beautifully constructed. It is fully unisex and would smell great on anyone. Definitely worth trying, if you haven’t done so yet. I happily own Papillon’s Dryad and Bengale Rouge. While I don’t know that I’ll ever add Spell 125 to my collection (I think I would go for Angelique and Tobacco Rose ahead of it), I’m very happy to have it as a sample.
Snce Spell 125 was launched in 2021, a year into the global pandemic, when it was hard to get out and try new fragrances, many people may not have had access to it yet. Have you had a chance to try it? What did you think?