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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

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, 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 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


Blogger Unknown said...

I have only tried the EDT, but found it very underwhelming. Theres too much linden at the beginning, and the floral tones are extremely subdued. The overall effect is quite....weak. Its certainly not comparable to Carnal Flower at all. Maybe the spicier stronger EDP might be more interesting.

11:25 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

That's what I felt too, for a long time, that it was too weak, too subdued. Now I love it :-)
You might find the EDP more interesting indeed.

11:27 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I found the original as fleeting as the touch of the wing of that Papillon. Since I seem to be moving towards the lighter side I will have to reaquaint myself.

I fervently hope... that this is not forcing... ghostranchguy to... abandon yet another line... to the Hoi Polloi...

11:36 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...


We are moving over to the lighter side...who will preside over the dark and skanky realm? :-)

I think L'Artisan is altogether too popular for a person of *really* discerning taste :-P

11:59 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Oh, I think like Morticia and Gomez we will always have our hearts firmly in the dark and skank.

Of course, that leads to the discussion of who gets to be Morticia and who gets to be Gomez...

12:25 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marina, thank you for those beautiful Vogue images! I especially savor the one in which a woman is releasing butterflies from her purse--or capturing, depending on the viewer's mood. I also especially enjoyed the one with the woman in a billowing blue dress in a windy field; she is holding a bouquet and is surrounded by butterflies. How lovely covers used to be!

Having appreciated all that, I must confess that La Chasse is mostly linden flower for the brief time that it remains on me. Perhaps its brevity accounts for the butterfly name. Some people include it with jasmine scents. On me it is not that at all.

A blonde Morticia (or Gomez)? *gasp*

1:48 AM EDT  
Blogger Solander said...

I get to bet Gomez! You should see me in a moustache!

Lovely Vogue covers... Ah yes, I admit I was more thrilled over them than over the review of a bland floral (that I admittedly haven't smelled), although your posts are always very readable no matter the subject. :)

5:59 AM EDT  
Blogger Solander said...

Be, not bet. I was getting a bit carried away there...

6:00 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

I think La Chasse has one of the most beautiful fragrance names; if we were rating on name alone, easily in my top 10. And I love La Chasse for that lightness you describe so perfectly, and dislike Extreme for the same reasons -- it sort of defeats the concept, doesn't it?

7:18 AM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Well, Baby-
I love it.
And you KNOW I'm a skankaholic...
But the evanescent loveliness makes the 'puppies' sing, and those who follow the delicate sillage happy...
Who can argue with that ?

7:22 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Wonderful review, wonderful pictures!
I have always had a floral side, and I have always loved La Chasse (although I haven't worn it as much recently as I used to). It's a scent for which the word "lovely" was created; no, it's not strong and sexy, like the wonderful CF (didn't you used to hate this?:), it's just--lovely. And to my nose, quite original, too. I don't find the Extreme nearly as moving. For those who want to make the original make a little longer--it layers beautifully with Chanel Gardenia.

7:31 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

I tried La Chasse during my floral hating days as well and don't think I've given it a chance since. Will have to go retry it now. But I have to say I do like Extreme. I find it has wonderful oomphaliciousness (yes, using your word here - as Robin said, you should trademark it).

7:34 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I will wear La Chasse aux Papillons today in honor of this review. Up till now I have been content with a decant of this, but now you are making me lem a bottle! It is such a lighthearted and charming scent! I agree that the Extreme version is not as charming or as likable as the original.

7:48 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

La Chasse is definitely one of the prettiest (without being girly in any way), well-behaved, spring-like tuberose perfumes. I adore the linden note in it even more than the tuberose itself. I call La Chasse "diet" tuberose, because compared to "hardcore" tuberoses such as Fracas, Carnal Flower, Tuberose Criminelle..., anyone could wear it IMO. however, the thing that somehow kills it for me it its lack of staying power. after an hour, it vanishes completely; not only on my skin, but also on clothes or paper strips. that makes my bottle stand on the shelf more lonely than I'd like to.
I don't find the extreme version that much different from the edt and if some day I will repurchase this scent, it will undoubtedly be the LCAP Extreme. this one is also quite light on me, but at least lingers for about 2 hours (and thus still leaves something to be desired... *sigh*)

8:01 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am fine with being either, as long as I don't have to be Uncle Fester :-)

8:29 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Interesting that you say, linded, and that so many others do to. On me tuberose is the strongest in the regular La Chasse. The extreme one is pepper and jasmine.

8:31 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Gomez is taken, sorry, but the roles of Pugsley and Wednesday are still up for grubs. I am not surprised at all that you find La Chasse bland. I did too. But you just wait. It will sneak up on you and make you love it :-)

8:32 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I absolutely agree. It does defeat the purpose. The whole point of La Chasse is in it's un-extreme-ness :-)

8:33 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Interesting that many of us, skankers, you, March, moi, are in love with the gentle floral like La Chasse.

8:35 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

...and Judith (that is in the continuation of my reply to Chaya :-)).
I did use to dislike CF. It's still isn't my top favorite tuberose, but I can easily wear it now :-)
Great idea about Gardenia!

8:37 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I wish it was oomphalicious on me too. It is peppery and kind of flat. I mean it is lovely and wearable, but the regular makes my heart sing...or something :-)

8:39 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Finally I made you lem something. Hurray! :-)

8:39 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Well here is the thing...LCAP lasts on me better than LCAPE :-) but that's because LCAP is predominantly tuberose on me, and tubersoe always lasts on my skin.

8:40 AM EDT  
Blogger donanicola said...

I don't know either of these but given that this skank fan has recently come around to the beauty (and sometime filthiness) of flowers then I will go try. (wearing Fleur de Narcisse today - yum) Can I be Wednesday please? Similar colouring to Christina Ricci (who I admire as an actress anyway).I love the Addams Family. And can I just say that I agree with Maria - how beautiful/artistic covers used to be. Made me long for one of those instead of some skinny pouting. Thank you for the review and the art work.

9:56 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Absolutely. You can be our beautiful Wednesday.
I agree with you and Maria, the old covers are so much more beautiful that what they have now *sigh*

10:06 AM EDT  
Blogger Solander said...

Marina - that will not do. If I can't be Gomez I must be Pubert - for the love of moustache. Or maybe Lurch, he's cute and if I can't get a moustache I can at least get a tuxedo... And growling instead of talking, hey, I can do that!

I did not find La Chasse bland, I did not find it anything since I have never smelled it. But it sounds rather bland, despite your beautiful words....

10:27 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

LOL, absolutely, Lurch it is then :-)
Well, you WILL find La Chasse bland, most probably, if you get to try it. :-)

10:42 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

I love those Vogue ads! As for La Chasse, it starts out as a heavy white floral, with lots of gardenia, and dries down to mostly linden on my skin. The Extreme does seem a bit discordant, I agree. The spicy top note sort of overwhelms the whole composition. Still, there're days when I prefer Extreme to the regular one.

11:06 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

So it is linden-heavy on you too? Interesting. Linden is very subdued there, on me, which is the way I like it :-)

11:12 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great review! I'm slowly venturing into white flower territory, although I still feel like I'm playing dress up when I do. La Chasse, though, leaves a high-pitched buzz of scent on my skin that isn't as refreshing as all its notes seem like it would turn out.

I can't wait to see what white floral you do next....

11:33 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you. That's how I used to feel with most if not all florals- that I am playing dress up. Now I feel as if I am playing dress up with everything else and the florals are most me. Scary.

11:34 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I had to choose, I would pick the original over the extreme because the extreme on me is all PEPPER. Ugh. I had bought the extreme unsniffed hoping that it would last a little longer on my skin than the original version. But with all that pepper I had to swap it away.

Love the Vogue ads. :)


11:41 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Exactly! All pepper, all the time. :-(

11:42 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

La Chasse really is a beauty, and the weather outside seems to just call its name, doesn't it?

I've never done the extreme since the first one suited me so well.

11:44 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Well, today is kind of gloomy, but the last couple of days the weather has been calling for La Chasse, quite loudly. :-)

11:45 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

LOL -- we'll be just plain FTs eventually, won't we?

12:34 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Yes, looks like it :-D I will miss being "Evil".

12:39 PM EDT  
Blogger IrisLA said...

La Chasse original was my entry level tuberose scent. Two years later, I still love it. It's the epitome of a pretty, girly fragrance. I can't imagine ever growing tired of it.

Like Patty, I never felt the need to try Extreme.

4:43 PM EDT  
Blogger katiedid said...

Man, forget the scents (well, not really, but I'm saying so just for effect), those old Vogue illustrations are out of this world lovely. Wow. I really regret that commercial artists aren't used as frequently as they once were. Those are great covers!

12:48 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I agree. Where are the modern Gruaus and Barbiers and Lepapes? Very sad.

12:49 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It took me a while to appreciate it, but now I love too (the regular one)

12:50 PM EDT  

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