Perfume Review: L'Artisan La Chasse Aux Papillons and La Chasse Aux Papillons Extreme
I have always thought that La Chasse Aux Papillons, so evocative of languid summer days, utter carelessness and dolce far niente, was one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful, names ever given to perfume, however, up until very recently, the scent itself left me rather cold. I found this delicate bouquet of lime, lemon and orange blossoms, tuberose and jasmine very easy to wear and to like even during my floral-hating years, exactly because of its subtle, "pastel" character, but it has never thrilled me. When love for floral compositions "leaped up out at me like a murderer jumping out of a dark alley", the gauzy La Chasse Aux Papillons has paled even more in contrast to the heady and opulent florals I now craved. When the fervor of a newborn floral-lover and the excitement by the fact that I could now wear such previously deadly white-floral monsters as Lys Mediterranée, Jasmin Full and Carnal Flower subsided, I realized with much pleasure that the world of floral scents was extremely diverse and full of wonders, and that I became able to appreciate both the potent and subtle ends of the spectrum. And that is when I finally fell pray to the gentle charms of La Chasse.
The scent is a winsome vignette from the days past, a pochoir print in soft-hued yellows, greens and creamy whites found in an old magazine...Young ladies in white dresses and big hats engaging in graceful games on a lawn, blossoming trees, cloudless sky, butterflies pirouetting in the rays of sun...The beginning of the scent is dominated by the sweet freshness of citrus blossoms, among which lemon and lime blossoms (linden) seem to me to be much more apparent than orange blossom. The latter appears for a very short while right before the tuberose makes its regal entrance, the honeyed sweetness of the orange blossoms serving like a bridge of sorts to the creamy splendor of tuberose. From then on, La Chasse aux Papillons is mainly a tuberose scent on me. The note here, although appropriately velvety and indolent, is not as thick and buttery as it can often be; the citrusy undertones are still present and they keep the expansive, oleaginous nature of tuberose in check. Beautifully diaphanous but not too airy, joyful and sun-lit, La Chasse aux Papillons is one of the prettiest floral compositions and I love it dearly.
La Chasse aux Papillons Extrême, the Eau de Parfum version of the scent, ornaments the charmingly simple composition of the regular La Chasse with the notes of pink pepper, saffron and ylang ylang. It would seem that ylang should enhance the creamy warmth of tuberose therefore strengthening the floral impact of the scent, however the spices dominate the blend turning it from the soft, breezy, radiant bouquet into something rather more complicated, and I am not sure that in this case I quite welcome the piquant complexity. The truth of the matter is that on me the Extrême version is really an altogether different scent and should perhaps be judged on its own merits rather than in comparison to the regular La Chasse. Having said that, even considered on its own, it still seems to me to be a little disconsonant. The pepper is very conspicuous, in all its bright, nose-tingling glory. Perhaps the problem is that "pink pepper" seems to be awfully ubiquitous these days popping up in every other floral or fruity-floral new release, and therefore has become, for me at least, a little bit of a cliche. If saffron was stronger in La Chasse aux Papillons Extrême, I would have loved the scent much more; the golden warmth of the spice would have complimented beautifully the sultry tuberose, ylang ylang and jasmine, making the scent the more sensual, sunset rendition of La Chasse aux Papillons. As it is, after the attractive citrusy-floral beginning, the scent becomes peppery much more than floral on my skin, and, being still very much in the mood for flowers, I am not loving the spicy invasion.
La Chasse aux Papillons and La Chasse aux Papillons Extrême are available at Artisanparfumeur.us, Beautycafe, Barneys and everywhere else where this line is sold, $85.00-$125.00 for the regular version and $95.00 for the Extrême.
The images used in the review are the covers of and illustrations from vintage Vogue magazines, found on Condenastart.com. It seems that Vogue was a little obsessed with the papillon theme, as I counted quite a few images picturing butterflies. They are so precious and refined, and I would like to share with you some more of them, all from Condenastart.com: