Papillon Artisan Perfumes

Welcome to August? It’s grey and cool here. The cherries have shown up and my sweet peas have gone mad. And on Sunday afternoon, I’m feeling twitchy and like what I really should have written about is the late summer twitchies. But, I wrote about Papillon perfumes, so that’s where we are.

Anyway, Papillon. A couple of these have been reviewed on Posse in the past, but after I did the most recent release, Spell 125, I thought I’d look at the line as a whole – as long as I could find a concept that tied them together in my mind. Which I decided I had … probably because I wanted to find one.

As far as I can see, Papillon’s perfumes are like a book series where cumin is the uniting thread between books (like a key character that runs through a series, who isn’t always front and centre but always shows up at some point – see Charlie Parker in the most recent John Connolly book). On me, cumin has a sour aspect which is generally supportive of a fragrance – ie, it gives heft and handled well adds a whiff of spicy pong. That’s mostly the case for the Papillons – not so much though for the lighter fragrances. In any case, cumin doesn’t show up in any of the notes lists and I can’t find a review that mentions it so this is probably all in my head. Still, it makes sense to me so I’m running with it.

I’ve left out Spell 125 (see my earlier post) and I’ve included the relevant links at the end.

Alpha order for no good reason.

Angelique (2014; £126). Notes of osmanthus, white champac, orris, mimosa, frankincense, cedarwood. This starts weird sweet on me — powder and something odd I can’t put my finger on … carrots!  But that recedes quickly. It opens up into a less carroty orris with some wood. It dries down to cedar supported by orris. This is one where the cumin doesn’t present well. Pleasant – not my thing.

Anubis (2014; £145). Notes of Egyptian jasmine, pink lotus, suede, immortelle, frankincense, saffron. Now, seriously, this is gorgeous. It’s difficult to parse things but the opening is a suede-like jasmine – not too pongy but enough of an undercurrent to make things interesting. And I do get saffron which actually maybe adds to the suede-like effect. Plus, the immortelle makes an appearance, but not in a syrupy way (have I ever said I love immortelle?). The middle is immortelle-saffron as far as I can tell and very wonderful. Maybe frankincense too, but the immortelle really stands out. The drydown on me is a delicious combo of incense/saffron/immortelle – a sort of ancient, louche, almost sour (the cumin sticking its finger in?) smell without any sweetness at all. The drydown reminds me of something but I can’t put my finger on what. Am thinking I might need a bottle of this for cooler weather.

Bengale Rouge (2019; £149). Notes of tonka, sweet myrrh, rose, sandalwood, orris. The top of this made me twitchy with its cardboard/powder aspect (myrrh and tonka? – maybe cumin not behaving). This moves on to be soft and sweet – myrrh and sandalwood? maybe a chocolate aspect? – and drydown continues this sweet thing. Overall, it’s very nice, but it’s too sweet for me in something that isn’t a gourmand. And yet again that slightly sharp, sour undercurrent which works very well in some Papillon stuff and less well in others, like this.  And maybe the sandalwood yet again went unpleasant on me.

Dryad (2017; £142). Notes of narcissus, oakmoss, galbanum, costus, jonquil and cedrat (ie, citron). Very green and powdery. Contains that sour note. For this, I did find a fuller notes list which did not include cumin. Anyway, this was better second time round than first (when it was a scrubber). But it is still too green/powdery/citrus on me to be comfortable. As the fragrance opens up the sour really shows up. And there’s also a weird, sweet, lemon drop aspect which I find unpleasant. The scent dries down to a gentle slightly sour green, as in mown grass that’s been sitting in a mound too long.

Salome (2015; £145). Notes of jasmine, Turkish rose, Africa stone, carnation, musk. I wonder if this is the best known of the Papillon fragrances. In any case, I had tried this a number of years ago and dismissed it: very nicely done but not hugely exciting. What a difference a few years makes. Now, it works beautifully on my chemistry, starting with a jasmine/carnation thing that has a peppery undercurrent — and the maybe cumin sings here. It is interesting to get more carnation than jasmine. As it opens up, I get warm and musky – less jasmine, more rose, but the carnation is still strong.  In the drydown the good sour aspect comes to the fore, coupled with the persistent carnation. Beautifully done. I prefer Anubis.

Tobacco Rose (2014; £138). Notes are Bulgarian rose, Rose de Mai, oakmoss, Beeswax, hay, ambergris. This is jammy (ie, strawberry) rose on me. Meaning fruity, but also slightly animalic. Surprisingly, this is the only Papillon that doesn’t develop much on my skin. And while the supposed cumin thread is there, it’s very quiet vs how it behaves in the house’s other fragrances. This is a nice rose perfume. Ticks all the boxes but doesn’t do any cartwheels etc. And after a bit I started to feel a bit uncomfortable with it but that may have been my fault for eating a scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam really quickly and then having a bowl of cherries before I sprayed it on.

(my [good] neighbours’ sunflowers which
were meant to be small but turned out huge]

Care has obviously been taken with these fragrances and it was actually a lot of fun sampling them all at one go. Here are the links to Patty’s posts on Dryad and Salome from 2017 ( There is also a post on Anubis by Meredith ( — strangely posted in 2013 though Fragrantica says this was released in 2014 – Twilight Zone music – and notice the link shows Tobacco Rose – more Twilight Zone)

Any of these float your boat and thoughts on them if they do?


  • Holly says:

    Love Papillon perfumes…my faves are Salome and Bengale Rouge, followed by Anubis. My first dream about perfume a few years ago- I dreamt my house was burning down and the only thing I wanted to save was my tiny sample of Salome… digging frantically through my sample piles trying to find it…success! When I woke I had to laugh because outside of dreamland, I didn’t realize I was that in love with it.

  • Dina C. says:

    I love green scents, and powdery scents too, so Angelique and Dryad sounded good to me. Haven’t sniffed any of the Papillon range as far as I know.

    • Cinnamon says:

      I love the ‘idea’ of green scents. Alas, they don’t love me. Interestingly, for a smaller house, Papillon is available all over the place and the brand seems to think sampling is a good idea.

  • Musette says:

    I can’t wear cumin to save my soul – I end up smelling like an unwashed gym rat on a 3-day bender. But I do loooove a rooty orris! So Angelique it is.

    LOL! on the scone ingestion – that’s a lot of … STUFF… on a scone – no wonder you were put off! (I’m not a scone fan – too much …scone… like biscuits here; I’m always shocking folks when I pull most of the insides out and eat the crust. It’s savage, I know..)


    • Maya says:

      LOL. Savage it is then. I do the same with deli rolls that I get to make sandwiches. Not a fan of scones either.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Not a scone fan? Have you had cream teas? We tend to pile so much clotted cream and jam on that the scone becomes simply a vehicle. And then when things fall apart just add more cream and jam. I’ve come to think cumin has its place and that’s not in all types of perfume. On me, with the heavier fragrances it seems to act in a support role and it does that pretty well.

  • Portia says:

    Hey Cinnamon,
    I think my favourite is Bengale Rouge, closely followed by Angelique Noire.
    One of my besties Scott is on his second Salome bottle and it smells killer on him. Even if I loved it as much on me it would feel like I was walking around in his perfume.
    I remember loving Tobacco Rose for the first 10 hours but then wanted it gone so I could love something else.
    Portia xx

    • Cinnamon says:

      10 hours … Impressive if you are in love with something; not so much if not. Funny about Bengale Rouge. I had a close friend who wore Rive Gauche beautifully. I could never wear it because it was her smell — I just couldn’t imagine even thinking about wearing it.

  • Maya says:

    I like Papillon Perfumes. My two favorites are Salome and Tobacco Rose. Bengale Rouge and Spell 125 are in the running, but I need to wear them more first. I learned the hard way not to decide too quickly. 🙂

    • Cinnamon says:

      The hard way? Did you buy bottles and then regret it? This is, yet again, why I wish more houses offered smaller sized bottles.

      • Maya says:

        Yes I did. I also retried some rejects and decided a few (not many) were quite nice. David Jourquin Cuir Altesse comes to mind, absolutely lovely.

  • Patty says:

    Anubis and Salome are my faves. I admire them all, but those two are perfection, followed by Angelique, I think. I’m playing around with these Pineward fragrances this weekend and am pretty enamored with them. The weather is still a little warm, but Lord they will be amazing to wear in the fall/winter!

    • Cinnamon says:

      Angelique was odd on me. I think because my body temp is on the low side lighter and green fragrances don’t work very well. But having said that Ninfeo Mio is really lovely, so who knows. Warm … it’s cool and grey here today, but weather should improve as the week goes along.

  • March says:

    The late summer twitchies — same here. Today was cool-ish after a big rain yesterday and it had a … faint fall-ish vibe and I am not ready. But frankly I feel like the complexity of these perfumes sorta lend themselves to transitions. Also those giant sunflowers are delightful.

    • Musette says:

      it was 59F here this am. FIFTY NINE. In early August! (sniffle). The whole point of a scorching August is to make one yearn for the transition into Autumn. dagNABBIT!


      • March says:

        It’s 61F here this morning and I am NOT feeling it! Exactly, August in these climes should be making us beg for Fall!

    • Cinnamon says:

      Usually the twitchies arrive later. I think they are earlier this year here because we’ve had such a weird summer. The sunflowers are wonderful, aren’t they. Nat next door said they expected them to be four feet tall max, but they appear to be mutants.

  • Tara C says:

    I love Anubis, Salome and Bengal Rouge the best and own them. Angelique and Dryad didn’t work for me. I haven’t tried Spell 125 yet but I’m betting it will be a winner based on the notes and my tastes. The price hikes are getting to be a bit much though, which is giving me pause, even though I like the line.