Spell 125 of the Book of the Dead (the Negative Confession) of Ani, 19th Dynasty via wiki (the inspiration for Papilllon Artisan Perfumes Spell 125
Natural cycles, numerology, the study of ancient texts: all of these ineffably matter. One cannot affix a price to such things; they are the rhythms of a society which run deep beneath our trappings of civilization. I’m particularly consumed with sanctified subtext, and I suspect that award-winning artisanal perfumer Liz Moores is as well. Her latest fragrance was inspired by the Egyptian Book of the Dead: Papillon Artisanal Perfumes Spell 125 involves The Weighing of the Heart, a ceremony which Ancient Egyptians believed occurred after death. An individual’s heart would be weighed against a feather; at the culmination of this ceremony, the heart (seen as the nucleus of intelligence and emotion) was weighed by the jackal-headed god of embalming, Anubis. If the scales balanced, Osiris received the deceased and granted them eternal life.
Isis feeding Osiris the Key of Life via wiki
Papillon Artisan Perfumes Spell 125 revolves around the number 7 – holy to many cultures and faith systems (it’s also my favorite number). Perfumer Liz Moores’ seventh perfume was released in the perfumery’s seventh year, on the seventh day of the seventh month. It completes a cycle which commenced with another Egyptian-themed fragrance – Ms. Moores’ first, Anubis. All niceties aside, this would have felt hollow, were not Papillon Artisan Perfumes Spell 125 such an exquisite entity and worthy of every morsel of hyperbole it has received. It is going on my best of 2021 without a moment’s hesitation. Spell 125 is bottled ensorcellation, such an exalting scent that its mystical loveliness is an absolute joy to wear. If your spirit, your corporeal and/or shadow self have been ailing, I firmly believe that this is the panacea; it has that effect upon me.
Liz Moores of Papillon Artisan Perfumes via Facebook
I truly appreciate that Ms. Moores doesn’t churn out release upon release, but rather invests her considerable energies into honing a fragrance to her exacting standards before it goes to market. She normally utilizes a fair number of naturals, but in Papillon Artisan Perfumes Spell 125 the list appears to be fully botanical and the materials are splendid. Pared down to the divine essential, this perfume is composed precisely: there is no need for the superfluous, because each element is so multi-faceted that their individual nuances kick in and emulate a much larger list of components.
To demonstrate how these substances sing in multiple voices at once like the Tibetan monks’ legendary harmonic chanting, we might begin with the conifers. Siberian pine has a magnificent complexity: it is light yet powerful and tenacious, with its sweet fruity balsamic tones and crisp dry top note; it contributes a certain woody warmth. Black hemlock is a marvelous partner for Siberian pine due to its berry-plentiful, juicy jammy quality. As if that alone weren’t sufficient, black hemlock adds an ambery richness as well. Each material is a perfume all by itself, and when combined a certain character manifests which resembles intricate embroidery.
Frieze of Nefertiti making an offering. Egypt, ca. 1350 B.C.E. From the collection of the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
What follows is the juxtaposition of chalorous tones with cooler ones: each participant is complete, versatile and satisfying alone. When they join forces, a handsome chiaroscuro occurs. It feels sacred and worldly, singing of the sea, soil and sap. The spiritual tears of trees, the heartwood of matter, the flower come to fruition and the salinity of birth pass before your nostrils; it smells familiar, comforting and ancient indeed. Ambergris lends its marine muskiness, subtly underscoring Spell 125 with its tenderly animalic salty breath on the wind; precious green sacra frankincense has a clarifying quality, coolly powerful and studded with rich citrus facets which smell sweet and sharp, crystalline as a mountain stream and equally refreshing. Earthly abundance assumes the form of sultry ylang ylang’s elaborate scent profile: spicy, waxy-fruity, banana-like, lactonic and animalic floral. She’s so complicated and delightful – especially when keeping company with Indian sandalwood’s creamy earthy/meditative personality. Suavity meets spirituality in a place where there are no rough edges to be found, only a wedding of heaven and earth. Many fragrances of late have been touted as meditative, and perhaps they are; Spell 125 is incontestably among the finest available, and one which I must possess, a sacred chimera.
Notes: white ambergris, Siberian pine, black hemlock, green sacra frankincense, ylang ylang, Indian sandalwood.
Sample generously provided by Ann Bouterse of Indigo Perfumery – thank you! I’m very much smitten. My nose is my own…
~ Ida Meister, Deputy and Natural Perfumery Editor
N.B. – I’d like to note that, in the drydown – Spell 125 shares a distinct lineage with Jacques Guerlain’s Djedi and Sultan Pasha’s Thebes 1. This is high praise indeed. Only by placing them side by side can one trust the comparison (because the listing of notes is not the same). Djedi is another perfume unicorn; Thebes 1 I refer to as my “In questa tomba oscura” attar, as Sultan is well aware. I’ve not seen others remark upon this aspect of Papillon’s latest fragrance.
Papillon Artisan Perfumes Spell 125 bottle via Indigo Perfumery and www.history.org.uk collage by Michelyn
Thanks to the largesse of Indigo Perfumery, we are offering a 50 ml bottle of Papillon Artisan Perfumes Spell 125 for one registered reader in the USA ONLY. You must register here or your comment will not count. To be eligible, please leave a comment saying what you enjoyed most about Ida’s review of Papillon Artisan Perfumes Spell 125. What is your favorite Papillon Artisan Perfume? Draw closes 7/20/21
Papillon Artisan Perfumes made its USA debut at Indigo Perfumery soon after the brand was launched in 2014.
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