Tuesday, April 05, 2016

L'Artisan Parfumeur- La Chasse aux Papillons (Current Version)


Seventeen years after its release and a couple of alleged reformulations later, La Chasse aux Papillons from L'Artisan is well-established as a modern  classic. It's often recommended as a starter white floral or an introductory niche perfume (like many of L'Artisan's offering). I think I've always appreciated its beauty, but as a "more is more" person it didn't quite hit the spot for me, and I tended to prefer the La Chasse Extreme version with its peppery hammer and somewhat better longevity. I've kept samples of both the original La Chasse and the Extreme throughout the years for reference and the occasional early morning treat. I've also purchased a bottle as a gift once or twice, because it's such a pretty thing. How could anyone resist a frothy sunny white floral little thing?

La Chasse aux Papillons was composed for L'Artisan by perfumer Ann Flipo, whose other L'Artisan perfume was Ananas Fizz. She's an extremely successful artist who has under her belt quite a few mega hits for the ultra-mainstream market: Lancome La Vie Est Belle and its many flankers, the abominable Lady Million, as well as Acqua di Gioia. But Ms. Flipo is also responsible for some true treasures such as Barbara Bui, Sonia Rykiel Woman, and the adorable My Queen for Alexander McQueen. Most recently she created the most unique series to come from Jo Malone in a long time, the herbal colognes in the green bottles. That's quite a range.

La Chasse today is even paler and lighter than I remember. Out of the various sunny white flowers that make the composition (linden blossom, lemon tree blossom, orange blossom, jasmine,  and tuberose) the ones that stand out on my skin are a sheer tuberose and a slightly musky lemon blossom (lime blossom according to Fragrantica). The jasmine is more of a jasmine tea and not a dangerous indolic thing that howl at night. As a matter of fact, to me, La Chasse is decidedly a morning perfume, something to wear before the day fully begins and I switch to something denser that actually lasts.

Back in the previous decade La Chasse was a very light and airy take on a floral with a less than average staying power. But there was a mimosa-like note touched by honey that anchored the floating white butterflies to one's skin for a bit longer. My new rollerball bottle of La Chasse aux Papillons is missing that part as well as anything resembling a base or a dry-down. The petals swirl in the air for a short tuberosy dream before dwindling into a low-foaming luxury soap. And then it's gone. Completely and totally.  I enjoy La Chasse too much, especially in the summer, to give up so easily. I've recently bought the shower gel and body lotion in an attempt to pile on the layers and give the scent more depth and longevity. My success was only partial. The body products do add a luxurious aspect to wearing the scent and wrap you up in more tuberose chiffon. But they're among the least tenacious I know (an older L'artisan shower gel of Premier Figuier had more heft). The lotion is lovely and is reasonably moisturizing (I have extremely dry limbs, so it's not a good option for winter). Adding the perfume on top is nice, but still not enough, considering La Chasse aux Papillons is an incredibly pretty scent. I simply want more of it.

L'Artisan Parfumeur- La Chasse aux Papillons (eau de toilette, starting at $25 for the 1/4 oz rollerball) is widely available: Sephora, Luckyscent, Twisted Lily, Birchbox, Barneys, and many online retailers where you can find larger size bottles for well below retail price.

Photograph by Tim Walker for W Magazine, October 2010 (model: Karlie Kloss)

10 comments:

  1. This is such a pretty perfume or it was. I wish they would just keep their fragrances the same as they were. I would like to try the Jo Malone herbal line, but every time I go into Bloomingdales,which is the only place near me that carries it, the sales people won't leave me alone so I can try perfumes in peace(sorry for the mini rant). Maybe I will buy samples online.

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    1. I think Jo Malone SAs have become more obnoxious recently. I try to get all my samples online. Keeps the blood pressure down and prevents frown lines.

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  2. I wonder if the expression on Karlie Kloss' face is reflecting frustration that the butterflies have become so transparent as to be practically invisible now. Sigh. I also often wonder how perfumers feel when their creations are seriously altered or whittled away to almost nothing over the years.
    Anna

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    Replies
    1. I don't know about living perfumers, but I'm pretty sure the dead ones are flipping out in their graves.

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  3. Oh man - that is one of the prettiest not-me-at-all-but-I-love-it perfumes- glad I still have an old/er bottle and it hasn't gone off yet. (I also do enjoy the Extreme version - but I only have a little sample of it)

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    1. I'm not sure it is me, either, but the pretty is very strong with this one.

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  4. I had the same experience: it smells gorgeous for an hour at the most, then it disappears. No matter what I do, no matter how much I apply, even if I apply it on top of fragrance-free lotion...it disappears. Such a shame.

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    1. Every time I use my rollerball I spend an insane minute considering getting a 100ml bottle just so I can spray myself silly. Maybe one day when I own every other perfume I ever wanted.

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  5. This is not a perfume I like to wear. Actually I really dislike it, which was a surprise for me, liking everything from A la Nuit to Songes and Lush Lust to Mahora. I makes me think of "white flowers made from plastic" - it feels very artificial. By far not my favourite from L'Artisan. I cannot say anything about the original version though.
    Recently I discovered a gorgeous jasmine scent called Amour by Honoré Payan, which seems to be discontinued (not listed on their website anymore - of course...), but also their Mimosa EdT is really pretty.

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    1. Adding your recommendations to my list :) .

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