FRAGRANTICA: Papilio – The New, Joyful Elixir of Puredistance

by Sophie Normand on, November 17th 2023


For Papilio, the brand once again turned to perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer, who had already signed Puredistance n°12. “When we celebrated the launch of Puredistance n°12 on Nathalie Feisthauer’s rooftop terrace in Paris, I explained the idea of Papilio to her, which brought tears to her eyes. The concept of Papilio touched her deeply. Within a year, she had created a magnificent fragrance that does full justice to the beauty of the butterfly and draws you into its magical world of 1001 colors,” explains the brand’s founder, Jan Ewoud Vos.

Indeed, Nathalie Feisthauer has chiseled a creation with a luminous, colorful aura, unfolding in tones that I imagine to be pastel, with a pearly edge. The opaline freshness of a lily of the valley accord is combined with neroli. The velvety touch of a peach gradually emerges in shades of yellow, pink, and orange. The softness of ambrette, with its fruity, powdery nuances, reminds me of a delicate, pale rose. The warm, balmy base (opoponax, vanilla, benzoin) and woody notes (vetiver, cedar, amyris) evoke the image of garnet in my mind. The whole is shrouded in the powdery softness of muscenone, like a silky veil.

Papilio by Puredistance in its packaging

The perfume feels like a taffeta of colors, with a radiant glow, refreshed by hedione that gives it airy volume, bringing the idea of flapping wings, of a perfume that breathes. The whole scent is delicate and sparkling at the same time, with that elegant, sober touch so typical of many of the brand’s creations. While the fragrance has excellent staying power, it’s not overpowering, always remaining vaporous. The peach is never gourmand but rather velvety, while the resinous, woody base is imbued with a certain lightness. Ambroxan is present but does not saturate the whole, while cashmeran anchors the hold gently. The brand talks of a leathery facet, but it remains subtle to me; it’s more of a suede note, I would say. 


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