Papillon Perfumery Anubis: Leathered Darkness, Smoky Gods

"Ancient Egypt" by Wiccka. Source: DeviantArt.

“Ancient Egypt” by Wiccka. Source: DeviantArt.

Anubis rose from the darkness to survey his kingdom. The Underworld was a vortex of blackness from the incense in the air and the monstrous lava waterfall that cascaded a torrent of sticky, smoking, balsamic resins into the thick, turgid brown rivers of musky, leathered castoreum below. Anubis, God of the Dead, was himself made of these same things: his black body was smoking leather, tobacco’d resins, and incense turned as hard as obsidian, then covered with the musky, animalic sharpness of castoreum oil.

Anubis. Source: statueforum.com

Anubis. Source: statueforum.com

Yet, there was also colour in this dark kingdom of spirits, subtle though it may be at times. The river banks were made from darkened cloves, then covered with pink lotus blossoms that smelled like dark green oakmoss. The path to Anubis’ throne was strewn with blood-red rose petals and sweet white jasmine, though the incense had rendered them dry and darkened. Creeping decay tinged their edges brown, as did the earthiness of pink lotus blossom absolute. Tiny flickers of yellow and orange came from fireflies made of citrus, which darted in the air by Anubis’ throne where Bast lounged almost naked.

Bast, Egyptian goddess. Painting by Eden Celeste. Source: edenceleste.com and fantasticportfolios.co

Bast, Egyptian goddess. Painting by Eden Celeste. Source: edenceleste.com and fantasticportfolios.co

Bast (or Bastet) was originally a warrior deity who became the goddess of sensual pleasures, of protection, and of cats. Legend had it that “a lioness, fiery and wrathful, was once cooled down by the water of the lake, transformed into a gentle cat, and settled in the temple.” It was a lie. In our tale today, it was she who did the taming, transforming Anubis by melting her musky, animalic, feline body into his leathered obsidian sharpness, bathing him in warmth, and then covering their intertwined, united self with labdanum amber lightly coated with a sliver of caramel sweetness. She softened his smoky fury, silenced his roar with a jasmine kiss on his cold, leathered mouth, dusted his body with cloves, then licked them off with a smile. By the power of amber and jasmine’s feminine sensuality, she tamed the masculine, blackened underworld of leather, fire and brimstone smoke– and Anubis was reborn.

Source: Papillon Perfumery.

Source: Papillon Perfumery.

My tale may be poetic license that changes ancient Egyptian mythology, but it is the best way I can describe a new fragrance called Anubis by Papillon Perfumery. My first, immediate reaction to the scent was, “Wow!” That was followed shortly thereafter by “Oh my God,” some further sniffs of amazement, then a few awed phrases too vulgar to print here, lots of mental exclamation marks, and the sudden determination that every lover of dark, masculine, leathery, opulent, densely chewy, slightly naughty, luxuriously rich, smoky orientals had to try this amazing perfume. I rarely plead with people, but for a narrow segment of the perfume market with tastes like that outlined above — especially men or those who love fragrances like Amouage‘s sadly discontinued, cult-hit, Tribute attar, SHL 777‘s Black Gemstone, Dior’s Mitzah, or Roja Dove‘s Nuwa — I am going to beg at the end of this review: you really have to sniff this fragrance. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that Anubis will be on my year-end list of the best releases of 2014.

Liz Moores of Papillon Perfumery. Source: Fragrantica.

Liz Moores of Papillon Perfumery. Source: Fragrantica.

Papillon Perfumery is a fledging British artisanal brand founded in 2014 by Liz Moores. Ms. Moores is a self-taught perfumer whose first creation was Anubis, a scent that she originally made for herself and which took four years to perfect. Apparently, whenever she wore it, people would come up to her to ask for the name of her perfume. (I believe it, because I certainly would have!) So, she eventually gave out a few samples to friends, and things slowly progressed from there.

In June 2014, Papillon Perfumery (sometimes called Papillon Artisan Perfumery, but hereinafter referred to just as “Papillon“) officially debuted with three fragrances: Anubis, Tobacco Rose, and Angélique. All of them are eau de parfums in concentration, and were initially limited to the U.K., but are now available in America at Indigo Perfumery. I purchased samples of all three, and will be reviewing each one in turn.

Liz Moores. Source: Papillon Perfumery.

Liz Moores with “Perry.” Source: Papillon Perfumery.

Fragrantica and Indigo Perfumery both have wonderfully detailed interviews with Ms. Moores that provide insights into the character of her fragrances, the process by which she makes and develops a scent, and how she began a perfume business from scratch. I found the personal details in the much longer Fragrantica interview especially revealing about the overall Papillon style of perfumery. For example, Ms. Moore told Fragrantica that she loved opulent orientals, old-school fragrances, ’80s powerhouses, and rich Middle Eastern scents. To give you an idea of the style to which she is drawn, Amouage’s Homage Attar is one of her favorite fragrances, but she has also worn Fracas, Shalimar, and several creations from Frederic Malle. As a whole, my general impression from that piece is that Ms. Moores seems a truly sweet, warm, humble, genuine person who works incredibly hard on every aspect of the business, from creation to bottling, and has a genuine passion for both French Haute Parfumerie and Middle Eastern scents. (She’s also mad about animals, and rescues every manner of creature from horses to cats and wildlife — something which this animal lover respects and admires far more than anything involving perfumes.)

Anubis, God of the Dead, Embalming, and After-Life. . Wall relief from a tomb painting in the Temple of Abydos, Egypt, Dynasty XIX, 1317 B.C. Source: talariaenterprises.com

Anubis, God of the Dead, Embalming, and After-Life. . Wall relief from a tomb painting in the Temple of Abydos, Egypt, Dynasty XIX, 1317 B.C. Source: talariaenterprises.com

Ms. Moores spoke to Fragrantica about the inspiration for Anubis, its olfactory bouquet, and its name. As some of you may know, “Anubis” was the jackal-headed Egyptian god of mummification and the after-life, though he initially started out as the God of the Dead. The perfume, however, does not entail such morbid considerations. Ms. Moores explained that re-birth and re-incarnation were as just as important:

This was the first perfume I made and took me the best part of two years to get right. The first time around Anubis went massively over the safety limits of jasmine absolute so I had to completely rewrite the formula. It is called Anubis as there were so many cross references with the mummification materials used in ancient Egypt and because the perfume had to go through so many reincarnations until I felt it was right. […]

I have always felt that the perfumes themselves are the personalities and the people who wear them forge the relationship with them. Anubis I always see as a man, and I refer to Anubis as “he.” I wanted to create a perfume with a dark heart as I find myself naturally drawn to perfumes that contain these elements. Leather had to feature, but I wanted it to smoke, almost like incense but with heady glimpses of jasmine woven throughout. I wanted it to have texture as this is really important for me in a perfume and sandalwood was the material that achieved this. None of my perfumes start with a name, the name always comes later as I find this easier to let the perfume come into existence almost by itself, without carving it to fit a mold.

Fragrantica‘s entry page for Anubis has a note list, but it is missing quite a few ingredients. Indigo Perfumery has the complete perfume pyramid:

Top notes: Egyptian Jasmine, Bitter Orange, Rose Otto, Pink Lotus
Heart notes: Immortelle, Rich Suede, Saffron, Clove Bud, Castoreum
Base notes: Frankincense, Sandalwood, Labdanum, Benzoin.

A page from the famous Book of the Dead, showing Anubis. Source: fantasticportfolios.com

A page from the famous Book of the Dead, showing Anubis, second left. Source: fantasticportfolios.com

I’ve explained a lot about Anubis’ bouquet, character, and development in my introductory story, so this review will be different than most. I won’t break down the perfume in massive detail, though I will discuss how the perfume opens and develops for the opening few hours. The main reason for the change is that Anubis is what I call a very prismatic scent. Its primary, core essence of castoreum-drenched leather infused with animalic muskiness, blackened resins, and smokiness is always the same on my skin, a structural backbone that holds the perfume upright and the blood which runs through its veins from start to finish. That never changes, although, as you will see, its secondary notes and their prominence seem to vary not just from wearing to wearing, but sometimes even from one minute to the next.

Crimson Rose by Karen Betts. Source: redbubble.com

Crimson Rose by Karen Betts. Source: redbubble.com

Anubis opens on my skin with smoke, dark labdanum amber, and a beefy, meaty, incredibly rich, blood-red rose. The latter is dusted with cloves and saffron that is fiery red, but also a little bit buttery. The rose bleeds miniscule droplets of crimson bitter orange, and is backed by a sense of a dark, mossy greenness. The primary bouquet is a fiery red-black above a sliver of something leathery in the base which is coated by the thinnest layer of amber. It has a caramel nuance, though nothing ever profound enough to create a gourmand feel. Within minutes, the spices and amber grow stronger, but the main impression that is a dark, oriental rose. I’m not generally one for rose scents, but the aroma here is beautiful, rich, and complex. Ultimately, though, the floral aspect is hardly Anubis’ core essence, and certainly nothing that lasts for long in the limelight.

Mitzah. Source: Fragrantica.

Mitzah. Source: Fragrantica.

Like a light reflecting off a crystal chandelier, Anubis throws out flickers which constantly vary. One minute, the perfume seems to manifest a profound, heavy streak of dirty, brown tobacco absolute. The next, it’s a blood-red rose. The opening two hours constantly tease you with an ephemeral sweetness from the caramel and toffee undertones of labdanum, evoking thoughts of Dior‘s Mitzah. (More on that shortly.) But the notes are always slipping out of view, sometimes hiding behind wafts of something darkly green and extremely similar to earthy oakmoss, thanks to the unusual element of Pink Lotus Blossom absolute. (A lot more on that one later.) Like the amber’s caramel wisps, the “oakmoss” weaves in and out of the opening hours as well. Often, it is quickly replaced by a subtle earthiness, or, perhaps, by sharp castoreum animalic tonalities, cloves, or a hint of something citric like bergamot. Anubis is a constantly revolving prism, which is a sign of both seamless blending and talented craftsmanship.

Each and every time I’ve worn Anubis, the opening hour reminds me of Dior‘s much loved, cult-hit Mitzah. There are strong similarities, but even more profound differences. The beefy, meaty rose is substantial in Anubis’ opening moments, while the labdanum amber is the driving influence behind Mitzah from start to finish on my skin. Anubis is smokier, darker, chewier, and denser than Mitzah would ever be, and is not a scent that I would ever categorize as being primarily an amber. Anubis also has spices, leather, and castoreum animalism that the Dior lacks.

I think the reason for the mental association in my mind stems from what occurs 45 minutes into Anubis’ development when the amber — for a short while at least — becomes as prominent as the rose, similar to the way that Mitzah is at one point on my skin. The Papillon scent now wafts labdanum’s caramel, toffee’d undertones, along with a lot of smoky incense, and a much blacker, smokier rose. Anubis has no patchouli, but the secondary elements create the same sense of a spicy, smoky sweetness that patchouli often manifests. There is a subtle, shifting, and ephemeral mossiness in the background but, in general, Anubis turns into Mitzah’s brother — a brooding, darker, denser, substantially beefier brother who takes steroids for his weightlifting and is hulking with his muscles.

Source: Forwallpaper.com

Source: Forwallpaper.com

Anubis’ process of transformation from Mitzah to something profoundly leathered, animalically musky, and darkly smoky begins roughly at the start of the second hour. (A little earlier at the 90 minute mark when I applied less of the fragrance.) The rose turns fully black, while the labdanum amber and its undertones of sweetness retreat to the sidelines. More importantly, the smoke, castoreum, and tarry leatheriness surge forth to an enormous degree. Slowly, slowly, they turn Anubis into something that is worlds apart from Mitzah, and a scent that is dominated by darkness in a way that is reminiscent of Amouage‘s tobacco’d Tribute attar combined with elements of SHL 777‘s Black Gemstone — all thoroughly infused with musky, castoreum-drenched leatheriness. The new bouquet is lightly dusted with spices, but it is often an abstract spiciness, rather than the clearly delineated elements of the start with the obvious cloves and light touches of saffron.

Source: quotes-pictures.feedio.net

Source: quotes-pictures.feedio.net

It is at this point where it becomes extremely difficult for me to pin down Anubis into any clearly delineated structure on an hour by hour basis. The only things which are absolute is that the perfume now has an incredible darkness from castoreum-drenched, animalic, musky leather infused with smokiness. It lies atop a thick, heavy foundation of something that feels incredibly resinous, like a smoky styrax infused with something like tolu balsam and birch tar. The rose and oakmossy greenness weave in and out on occasion, but they are overshadowed by a new undertone of something strongly resembling dark, dirty, tobacco absolute. At the same time, there is a subtle earthiness in the background, and something which feels like religious myrrh incense. It creates a sense of mustiness, though it is only an occasional thing that is incredibly subtle, with just a passing whiff here or there, and quite muffled. Still, it is enough to evoke images of an ancient Egyptian where priests mummified the dead with sticky resins, then placed their wrapped bodies in an underground tomb filled with incense smoke.

Source: wallpaper2020.com

Source: wallpaper2020.com

It turns out that the Pink Lotus Blossom Absolute is responsible for a lot of my “feels like” impressions, from the oakmoss to the earthiness and definitely the strong resinous, balsamic foundation to the scent. In a nutshell, Ms. Moores told me that “it was the material that helped to carve out Anubis.” Colour me shocked, because every fragrance that I’ve tried up to now with a purported “lotus flower” note has entailed an incredibly synthetic, limpid, translucent, and very watery floral note. (Not a fan. At all!) The story goes like this. In early correspondence with Ms. Moores about Anubis, she happened to mention in passing that Pink Lotus Blossom Absolute was “earthy” and complementary to some of the facets in oakmoss. You should have seen my face when I read that, as I struggled to reconcile the “lotus” of my memories with her description. I wrote back to ask for more details, and it turns out that Ms. Moores had a similarly surprised reaction when she herself smelt the ingredient for the very first time.

Resin extract for Blue Lotus Flower, called "The Sacred Blue Lily of the Nile [and...] found represented in ancient Egyptian art. It is believed that the ancient Egyptians may have used the flower for it's inebriating effects. Called "Viagra of the Pharoahs" Blue Lotus was used in Ancient Egypt to enhance the sex drive." Text and source:  admin.itsmysite.com/

Resin extract for the Blue Lotus Flower, called “The Sacred Blue Lily of the Nile” and used in ancient Egypt. Source: admin.itsmysite.com/

I think her explanation of the note may go some way towards explaining to you why Anubis smells the way it does, and why you should not expect anything pink, dainty, fragile, feminine or, thank God, aquatic in the fragrance:

[The name] pink lotus conjured up an image of delicate, watery petals with notes of lily. I had never smelled this material before but was intrigued by the potential beauty as I imagined it. Imagine my horror when a sample of pink lotus absolute arrived and I found it to be a million miles away from a soft, aquatic blossom.

Pink lotus absolute has the texture and appearance of thick black treacle and even when standardised with alcohol at 20% it loses none of its darkness. There is nothing pretty about this material; it is earthy and rich with flashes of green medicinal facets that appear and then disappear, morphing into subtle leather notes and re emerging like a floral washed oakmoss. It possesses a distinct headiness but not the type to make you swoon. It is far more contemplative and sharp.

There is a lot about pink lotus that reminds me of oakmoss and it behaves in a very similar way within a composition. The one difference I noticed between the two is that oakmoss lends a formula a more woody effect, rich in bark and moss notes whereas pink lotus shifts the focus more upon the green foliage and tannery aspects. When oakmoss and pink lotus are blended together the effects are simply stunning and I wonder if the ‘missing link’ with the restrictions on oakmoss can be successfully bridged using pink lotus. It will never and could never replicate oakmoss but when they sit side by side in a formula the pink lotus certainly amplifies the oakmoss notes.

Source: http://lotusflowersday.blogspot.com/

Source: http://lotusflowersday.blogspot.com/

When I looked at the conditions in which the pink lotus grows, its olfactory profile suddenly made perfect sense; it takes its nutrients from the black silt of The Nile, every element of this flower is absorbing this rich, dark medium and the absolute displays these qualities in abundance. When I smell the absolute it reminds me of a beautiful face behind a black veil or a raven wing flashing its blue and green iridescence. […] It was the material that helped to carve out Anubis. [Emphasis added by me.]

Sharp, leathered with tannery aspects, flecked by earthiness, green foliage, and mossy notes, all in a powerful, dense, chewy black treacle — those are definitely prominent aspects of Anubis.

North American Beaver via Wikipedia, and beavers are the source for natural castoreum, though synthetic versions are now used for ethical, humane reasons.

North American Beaver via Wikipedia, and beavers are the source for natural castoreum, though synthetic versions are now used for ethical, humane reasons.

An equally important one is castoreum. Chandler Burr, the former New York Times perfume critic, summed it up once as: “made from sacs found in a beaver’s groin and smells like crotch sweat.” That sounds beyond terrible, doesn’t it? I think that his nutshell summation oversimplifies things, leaving out quite a bit, and that castoreum is more appealing than his quote would imply, though it is not suited to everyone’s tastes. In essence, castoreum is a leathery aroma that is musky, and animalic. In small quantities, it can add a velvety, musky darkness with a subtle tinge of leatheriness underlying it. If a lot is used, however, it can be pungent, sharp, a little bit feral, and quite raunchy in its dirtiness. Fragrantica has a long, detailed explanation of this very classical, old-school ingredient, but I’ll boil it down to the relevant parts:

The scent of castoreum is wild and bodily, lustful and passionate, bestowing the one who wears it a delicate aura of sensuality. This typical warm, carnal, and leather-like scent […] is often described as sharp spreading a tar-like note that reminds of an odor of a birch tar or Russian leather. When diluted in alcohol, raw castoreum melts into more pleasant musky and fruity nuances.

I wouldn’t say that Anubis has “fruity” nuances in any way, but it definitely has a smoky, tarry leather aroma. It is a very similar note to the one in Roja Dove‘s blackened, chypre-oriental Nuwa, an Extrait in The Imperial Collection. The difference here is that Anubis’ leather is only lightly dusted with cloves and isn’t covered by an avalanche of cumin.

Painting by Moon Beom via lostateminor.com

Painting by Moon Beom via lostateminor.com

The strongest similarities, however, are first to Amouage‘s spectacular, now sadly discontinued attar called Tribute, then to SHL 777‘s Black Gemstone. I called Tribute the “Devil’s Elixir,” and a scent that evoked Darth Vader heavy-breathing smoke, with subtle touches of a darkened rose in the background. The formulation I tried and reviewed seems to have been a slightly older version which had heavy tobacco undertones, and a distinct resinous leatheriness. All of that is present here as well, but Anubis is more multi-faceted than the attar. It is spicier with its cloves, and has deeper floral tonalities with flashes of oakmoss-like greenness. More importantly, Anubis is substantially more leathered and animalic in feel, has a sharp muskiness (which Tribute never had), very little tobacco in comparison, and no ashtray tonalities as some have reported with the Amouage. In many ways, Anubis is probably closer to 777’s Black Gemstone, but without the latter’s strong lemon note at the start.

As noted above, Anubis is a prismatic scent whose essential core doesn’t change on my skin beyond the leathered darkness with castoreum muskiness, but whose secondary notes fluctuate. That remains true for hours and hours (and hours) on end, but I’ve noticed a few things in my tests of the scent. Anubis displayed itself slightly differently from one arm versus the other. It was drier, smokier, and with a sharper degree of castoreum on my right arm. In contrast, it was fractionally sweeter, more rose-centric, and even more Mitzah-like on the other. Clearly, skin chemistry makes a difference in the nuances and prominence of certain notes. In all cases, however, the castoreum was very strong. My skin amplifies base elements, but I have to say that the sharpness of the note was a little much for me at times. I hope it is less so on others, because I have the feeling that this is the one aspect of the perfume that some people will struggle with, especially women.

Via hdwpapers.com

Via hdwpapers.com

Anubis’ underworld darkness is slowly tamed by the time the perfume’s drydown stage begins roughly 9 hours from the start. (Yes, I said 9 hours! You have no idea about the longevity of this scent!) At that point, the amber slowly begins a comeback, the jasmine becomes quite noticeable, and the degree of both the castoreum and incense finally grow softer. It’s a subtle change, but it’s definitely there. I never experience the suede listed in Anubis’ notes, but the leather feels softer, deeper, and more plush.

In essence, the perfume’s growl turns into a quiet rumbling. A general goldenness hovers in the air, jasmine coats the leather with feminine sweetness, and the spices seem to return as well. The jasmine, in particular, is a lovely touch in combination with the leather and ambered notes. Anubis finally dies away hours later in a blur of velvety darkness with cozy warmth and a hint of floralcy. For some reason, the image which consistently and repeatedly flashes through my head during the final hours is the famous photo of Naomi Campbell running with a cheetah:

Photo: Jean-Paul Goude (2009). Source: theaustralian.com.au

Photo: Jean-Paul Goude (2009). Source: theaustralian.com.au

Anubis has monumental longevity, but generally soft sillage. In both my tests, the perfume consistently lasted over 16 hours on my voracious, perfume-consuming skin. On a normal person, I suspect Anubis would be the sort of scent that would last well over 24 hours, and through a shower. In essence, it really feels like an extrait on steroids rather than a mere eau de parfum. By the same token, it also shares an extrait’s qualities of being very soft in projection. I mentioned Anubis’ softness to Ms. Moores, and she said:

You are spot on with the silage as well; Anubis does wear very close to the skin indeed. When I was fiddling with the early mods I thought about accommodating the differences to give it a bit more oomph but the formula lost a lot of its heart. It seemed to stretch the notes out far too much and everything seemed to be flying around trying to reconnect. The silage issue was kind of like the trade off for my vision with Anubis. It’s a perfume that does lurk around rather than trailing behind you.

I’m normally not one for soft scents, but Anubis is such a powerhouse in every other regard and so beautiful in its complexity, richness, depth, and prismatic nature, that I’ll gladly put up with subdued sillage. Actually, I think it probably works better in this case. God only knows how overwhelming Anubis might be if it had massive projection. It might be wholly terrifying and unapproachable in its blackness.

As it is, Anubis is a scent that I would recommend only to a particular sort of perfumista, and is definitely not for everyone. I think the perfume skews very masculine for most of its lifespan, and will appeal only to those who like profoundly dense, heavy, chewy, full-bodied perfumes. No-one who struggles with powerhouse orientals, tarry leather, substantial smokiness, or castoreum should go near Anubis. That said, anyone who loves Black Gemstone or who has mourned the loss of Amouage’s Tribute must sample Anubis. No, really, you must. I plead with you on that point.

What’s even better about Anubis is that it’s practically a bargain as compared to those other scents. Before Amouage ceased production of its attars due to a UAE law that adopted EU standards and perfume restrictions, Tribute was an incredibly expensive beast for a small quantity: a mere 12 ml cost $370, €265 or £225; 15 ml was $420; and 30 ml was $665 or £400. Black Gemstone is $340 or €235 for a 50 ml bottle. In contrast, that same sized bottle of Anubis costs $160 or £94. Really, it’s a steal.

It is at this point that I have to mention the one downside to Anubis: it’s not widely available at the moment. In fact, at the time of this review, it is only sold by 3 places in the world, none of whom ship outside of their respective countries of the U.K. and America. Hopefully, that will change soon and Anubis will be carried by a retailer which offers international shipping. For now, however, it is available only through Papillon Perfumery and Les Senteurs, or Indigo Perfumery in Ohio. (See Details section below, especially for Papillon and Indigo’s Sample Sets.) What I suggest to readers who are interested in Anubis but who live outside either country is to beseech a friend to act as a perfume mule, or have them order a sample and forward it onto you. [UPDATE 8/26 — All Papillon scents are now available at Luckyscent which ships worldwide. Here is the link for Anubis.]

Title unknown. Painter: Victoria Stoyanova, 1968, Bulgaria. Source: tuttartpitturasculturapoesiamusica.com

Title unknown. Painter: Victoria Stoyanova, 1968, Bulgaria. Source: tuttartpitturasculturapoesiamusica.com

My post is too long at this point for me to quote multiple, comparative takes on Anubis, but there have been rave reviews for all three Papillon creations from British bloggers. So, I will point you to The Candy Perfume Boy who loved Anubis as well, and whose experience was very similar to mine, right down to the softer, golden finish. His review is excellent, so I encourage you to read it in full, but I will highlight his concluding summation with which I agree strongly:

It is bold, edgy and genderless enough to be the scent in the collection that will grab the most immediate attention but it has substance as well as style and is so expertly pieced together that it truly feels like a seamless composition. Wear this one for when you want to ensnare a lover or simply when you want to cuddle up in a blanket of smoky warmth.

You can also read the highly positive and quite similar views of Tara at Olfactoria’s Travels, the eloquent, poetic take at Scent of Wet Pavement After The Storms, or see Fragrantica for upcoming assessments. (At the moment, there is only a single review from someone who has actually tried the fragrance, and it is a brief, positive statement: “This a smoky, tobacco like incense scent that would suit a man or a woman. High quality and very long lasting. Fantastic.”)

At the end of the day, all I can tell you is that I will buy a full bottle of Anubis for myself, and that I think it is a magnificent tour de force with its volcanic vortex and prismatic opulence. It is also incredibly sophisticated, and sexy as hell. To Ms. Moores, I say, “Bravo!” A thousand times over, “Bravo!”

DETAILS:
Cost & Availability: Anubis is an eau de parfum with extrait-like richness that only comes in a 50 ml/1.7 oz bottle that costs $160 or £94. In the U.S.: you can buy Anubis from Indigo Perfumery, along with an individual 1ml sample for $4. I opted for Indigo’s Sample Set which is $18 for 5 fragrances of your choice amidst a wide variety of brands (that also includes Mad et Jul, Andy Tauer, Etat Libre d’Orange, Au Pays de Fleurs d’Oranger, Maria Candida Gentile, Viktoria Minya, Tommi Sooni, and others). Plus, I’ve been told that you get a $10 coupon for use towards buying a full bottle of any of the fragrances that you sampled, so that’s a definite plus. Indigo only ships within America, but Luckyscent also sells Anubis (and its siblings), and they ship worldwide. In the U.K.: You can purchase Anubis directly from Papillon Perfumery, along with a sample for £3.95. There is also the option to get a Sample Set of the Trio of Papillon fragrances that I will be covering over the next few days. It costs £11. Finally, you can order Anubis or a sample from Les Senteurs. [UPDATE 1/26/2015 — Anubis is now sold at a larger number of retailers. In America, Surrender to Chance now sells samples. In Canada, Anubis is available at The Perfume Shoppe. In Europe, you can find it at the Netherland’s Annindriya Lounge, and it will soon be available at Italy’s Profumeria Essence.]

94 thoughts on “Papillon Perfumery Anubis: Leathered Darkness, Smoky Gods

  1. Oh my. I am this close *holds up thumb and forefinger* to blind buying this puppy.

    You know I love my Tribute Attar and I bet I would love this too.

    What do think the projection would be like with say, oh, I don’t know, 11-12 sprays?

    • I love you, Baconbiscuit. I love you profoundly just for asking that question. ROFL!!! 😀 But you’ll have to excuse me as I pick myself off the floor at the thought of Anubis with 12 sprays. My mind reels. I cannot even fathom what that would be like. It is SUCH a dense, chewy, HEAVY, thick, CONCENTRATED scent! I guess the projection would be like any extrait with powerhouse tendencies when drenched with 12 sprays. I suspect they would smell Anubis on you all the way out to the Space Station, and perhaps to the Mars Rover Landing. *grin*

      As a side note, I beg of you to go to Osswald next time you’re in the area and try SHL 777’s Black Gemstone which I adore passionately and which is very much in the same vein. I think you’d be impressed, and I cannot imagine what you would think of the stunning O Hira which I think is the Incredible Hulk of Ambers.

      • I finally got around to sniffing all three of the Papillon fragrances the other day and sadly felt kind of meh about them all. Anubis disappeared on me pretty quickly and then reappeared (GOD OF THE DEAD RISING!!!!!) as a kind of faintly smoky vanilla — which was so very sad!

        I would therefore like to revise my estimated number of sprays to 20-24 😉

        Ps. Tried all the SHL 777’s the other day too. AM IN BONKERS LOVE!!!! SOO GOOD!!!!

        • 20 to 24 sprays????! ROFL. Only you, my dear, only you! So, did you try Hajusuuri’s samples? In terms of Anubis’ projection, yes, it is soft. I think the quote I had from Ms. Moores was something like, “Hugs the skin.” Given what you’re used to in terms of fragrance projection, and given the fact that you probably dabbed it on, it sounds like your skin ate up Anubis extra, extra quickly. 🙁 How was it at the beginning, though? More than the “faintly smoky vanilla” of the end, I hope?

          As for the SHL 777s, what was your favorite?

          PS — reappearing Anubis as “God of the Dead Rising” — almost literally and in a perfume sense — was pretty hilarious! 😀

          • I actually sprayed from manufacturer’s samples that someone else had. The beginning was okay. It reminded me a lot of a Puredistance M actually. Oh, well. As Hajusuuri says, “Money saved.”

            As for SHL 777, Khôl de Bahrain was my favorite!

  2. Oooohhh! I am sure that I would love this one, given my love for Black Gemstone and O Hira and others of that ilk. When I developed the perfume obsession, I spent a lot of money on samples that sounded dark, including nearly everything with “Black” or “Noir” in the name and even another scent called “Anubis,” without smelling anything remotely like what I was seeking. This one may be the Underworld scent that I dream of. Thanks dear Kafkaesque, and I will report back when I get it.

      • I will order a sample tomorrow. Have to add that, as part of my early obsession with dark-sounding scents, I ordered a sample of Antonio Banderas “Seduction in Black.” NOT SEDUCTIVE. In fact, not much of anything. Ah, those distant days when I wandered through the department store, wondering sadly why I never smelled anything that excited me…

        • Ha, Antonia Banderas! You were desperate, indeed. 😉 Well, if anything could be called “Seduction in Black,” Anubis would be one of the handful which would qualify!

  3. Ok Ok you convinced me! I pulled the trigger on a full bottle of Anubis.I absolutely love dark smoky leathery scents.I’ve been meaning to get down to Osswald to try Black Gemstone and I’m sure I’ll be smitten by it.But at this price point the Papillion line is a virtual steal…I have some Pink Lotus absolute and it’s scent is really surprising(very different from Blue and White lotus).You’ve nailed the description.It’s funny that an oil that’s named for a pink flower has such a dark loamy element to it.I can’t wait for Anubis to get here!

    • HURRAH!!! Hurrah, hurrah, HURRAH!!! I kid you not when I say that you’ve made my night, RVB.

      In fact, you are one of those in specific for whom I would have singled out Anubis. I hesitate to say it, especially because I don’t want to jinx things, but this is one scent for which I would have recommended that you make a blind-buy. Not everyone, but you.

      As for the Pink Lotus, I find the disconnect between Pink Lotus’ visuals, name or mental imagery and the reality of the absolute to be an enormous surprise. Cognitive dissonance to the extreme. I can’t remember the name of the fragrance which I last tested with an official “pink lotus” note, but it was worlds apart from anything in Anubis. What is the blue one like? I only posted the photo of the lump of Blue Lotus Resin because I couldn’t find anything for the pink absolute in close-up, but I’m interested in the differences that you detect.

      • I am salivating with anticipation!!! The Blue Lotus is nothing like Pink Lotus or even White Lotus.It’s actually a different species Nymphaea Caerulea(Blue Lotus) vs Nelumbo Nucifera(Pink Lotus).The smell of Blue Lotus is very transparent and crisp with a watery almost chlorine like feel in it’s floralcy.It’s truly a beautiful ethereal smell but nothing like Pink Lotus.White Lotus is more similar to Pink Lotus but without the deep loamy earthiness .It’s less dense and has a more aquatic feel.And when I say aquatic I mean absolutely no resemblance to the dreaded aquatic calone like note in modern perfumery.It’s more that you can tell that this flowers roots originate in the rich silt at the very bottom of the pond.Another interesting thing about Pink Lotus absolute is it’s color.It’s a shade of the deepest ochre imaginable,truly a deep brownish red and to me actually looks like very dark blood.I can see now how it’s use in the way you describe is a masterstroke of brilliance.I’m looking forwards to trying the other scents in the line as well.It’s exciting in the age of mass releases and the dumbing down of “niche” perfumery to see a real uncompromising realization of an artistic vision.I’m going to be fervently checking my UPS tracking info every day… 😉

        • How fascinating about the differences between the various lotus notes. No, really, I mean it, I think it’s fascinating, so I greatly appreciate your insights and description. Ms. Moores sent me a photo of a sample swatch thingy with Pink Lotus absolute on it, and the colour was a deep ochre brown-red, but I wanted something to reflect the resinous, dense, treacle with its blackness. Alas, no such luck in finding an image of that for the review, but I wish I see what you’ve both described in person, especially the way you say it looks like very dark blood.

          BTW, I fully agree with you that using the absolute the way that she has was a masterstroke of brilliance. I was hoping people would think that. I also hope that others will pick up on what she said about Pink Lotus absolute being a way to bridge some of the gaps created by EU oakmoss restrictions. At least, if small amounts are used.

          RVB, promise me that you’ll let me know what you think of Anubis when you receive the package and have a chance of testing it in full? I’m almost as fervently anticipating that package arriving as you are. lol. 😀 😀

          • Oh my Oh my Oh my!!!!! I’m as giddy as a schoolboy!! First off I have to confess that not only did I receive Anubis recently I also plunked down for a bottle of Black Gemstone! And Clement at Osswald was kind enough to give me samples of some of the other 777 scents including a nice size sample of O Hira…But back to Anubis….man oh man is it good! A delicious smoky sweet dark dirty spicy floral bonanza! The combination of the smoke,floral,spice ,and animalic notes is utterly addicting and at least in my experience completely unique.As I mentioned previously the use of Pink Lotus absolute is a masterstroke and it really provides an anchoring link between all the different notes.It was most prominent in the beginning combined with the Castoreum note and created a dirty floral earthy animalic effect.I think that’s the brilliance of this perfume.There’s so many disparate elements swirling around but they are combined in such a way that the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts,truly the sign of a great work of art.I feel transported to ancient Egypt in a golden room lit by flickering torches as the smell of smoldering incense and narcotic night blooms fill the air.I wore it to a beach party last weekend and several people followed me around asking what that beautiful spicy scent was…..now onto analyzing Black Gemstone and O Hira….;)

          • I’m so glad to hear from you and to hear how much you love Anubis. I knew you had ordered an early bottle, prior to it selling out, so when there was nothing but radio silence from you for several weeks, I thought, “Uh-oh!” I always worry about blind-buys, so I concluded that this one had not been successful. I’m so glad to know I was mistaken and that you love it. Yay that others who sniffed you also found it addictive.

            I look forward now to hearing what you think about Black Gemstone and O Hira. How nice of Clement to give you a nice sized sample of the latter. He’s a really nice man in general, but that was particularly nice of him given the cost of O Hira. I heard you had fun with Josie at Osswald, too. She’s a sweetheart. So, get to testing the two 777s, and let me know. 🙂

    • I’m so glad! And I’m glad you ordered a sample early, as Anubis sold out roughly 16 hours after my review. lol. If you like florals, you may be interested in the other 2 Papillon scents as well, whose reviews will be trickling out in the next few days.

      • One of the samples I ordered was Papillon Angelique so I’m looking forward to your review. I told Ann that it was your review that sent me to Indigo : )

  4. I bought a bottle of this in London last month. When I first sprayed it on paper, I got such a blast of castoreum, that I almost dismissed it. Luckily, my son was with me and he volunteered his arm. The development was fabulous. I bought a bottle the next day, along with Tobacco Rose, which is equally wonderful.

    • Hurrah for another Anubis fan. 🙂 Really interesting about how the perfume appeared on paper. It’s one reason why I think paper tests can be so terribly misleading. Lucky for you, your son wanted to be a perfume guinea pig and to volunteer his skin. 😉 😀

  5. Uh oh. I was thinking I’d get myself a bottle of something SHL for my birthday, but now. . . .Oh wait! I must order some samples first! Your pleading is very convincing, Kafka!!!

  6. This sound glorious. Your inclusion of Bastet imagery just made me purrrr with happiness. The red rose. however, scares me. Yes it does. But all the rest feels like a big black cat calling me from afar in golden growls.
    Your reviews are amazing! So moving, so tempting. The Darth Vader heavy breathing image is way too funny and strangely appealing.

    • I wouldn’t worry enormously about the rose, my sweets. It’s definitely there, yes, but Anubis’ main character is of darkness, smoke, and leather. And it absolutely IS like a big black cat calling with golden growls! I think you should definitely get a sample, though Anubis has temporarily sold out following my review. More bottles are being sent over quickly from the UK, though, so it should be back in stock soon. I think you’d find it to be an amazing (and very sexy) scent, even with the rose!

      As for Darth Vader heavy-breathing in Amouage’s Tribute, I swear that was a constant image in my head. 😀 LOL. It’s such a shame that Amouage has ceased to make it and that the perfume is practically impossible to find, because it truly was one of my favorite scents. An utterly glorious, magnificent, dark beast.

  7. Great post, thank you! I’ve also ordered sampels of all three fragrances, and am impatiently awaiting their arrival!

    • Hi, welcome to the blog, Key Change. I’m glad I could interest you, and that you ordered a sample. Reviews for the other two will slowly trickle out over the next few days. Hopefully, one of the three will turn out to be full-bottle worthy for you. 🙂

  8. I was so glad to see this review in my mail today, as I received my samples from Indigo Perfumery yesterday. I am so IN LOVE with Anubis!!!!! You described it Perfectly dear Kafka! Now Mitzah and Black Gemstone and O’Hira did not make my heart flutter the way this does. Your Mythological x-rated story of Anubis and Bast was just perfect and made me nod and smile in agreement. I am so happy that Papillon Perfumes is now available in the US. Oh and a word about Indigo..their service was super fast, everything was very well packaged, and they even enclose a 5 dollar bill because they felt they had charged to much for shipping. Pretty incredible service and thoughtfulness. I second your Bravo for Ms Moores!!!! Absolutely stunning!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

    • HURRAH!!!!!!! I’m so glad this hit you the way it did me, even more so since Black Gemstone, Mitzah and O Hira didn’t move you.

      Did you really find my story to be x-rated? ROFLMAO! 😀 😀 Remind me never, ever to show you the old rough draft for my MFK Absolue Pour Le Soir story then. 😉 Or the ones for Amouage Fate Woman and LM Parfums’ Hard Leather. Heh.

      Indigo Parfumery is great. The samples I ordered were each labelled, then stuck in an individually marked/labelled, sealed packet. So thorough. How great that they refunded part of your shipping costs. I had mentioned that the shipping amount may be a little high for readers for mere samples, so I’m glad Ann gave a small refund while looking for cheaper mailing options for the sample set.

      If you’re planning on getting a full bottle of Anubis, be aware that they have temporarily sold out after this review but more bottles are being quickly shipped over and you can pre-order now.

  9. OMG, I am hyperventilating at my computer. Just placed my order – I have been wanting to buy Anubis and Tobacco Rose but was frustrated that they were only sold in the UK. Had no idea that Indigo in Ohio had them. I love love love Tribute Attar and Mitzah, and I have two adorable Papillon dogs… of course I needed to have these perfumes! I also ordered a sample of the Angélique for fun. Thank you for making my day!

    • Hahaha at the hyperventilating reaction! 😀 😀 Did you go to London and try the perfumes’ there, or did you merely read about them on the British blogging sites when Papillon first launched? As for Indigo getting them, the perfumes only arrived last Friday, so it’s not as though this has been something ongoing. Papillon is brand-new to the US, like, just days old, so you’re not out of the loop.

      I’m SO glad you ordered your bottles when you did. Papillon sold out of their entire stock of Anubis roughly 16 hours after this review! The perfume is now available for pre-order until the new bottles are quickly sent over, but I’m glad you got yours in the first wave because I think Anubis is SO perfect for you! Completely and utterly suited to your perfume tastes. I can’t wait to hear what you think when you get your bottles. Particularly about Tobacco Rose which is not tobacco’d, oriental, or dark at all on my skin. (More on that in that perfume’s review which should be up tomorrow or the day after.)

      • No, I have not smelled them, I just went by the name of the company and the scent descriptions and reviews – even if I am not blown away by the perfumes I will be happy to get a bottle that says Papillon Perfume on it. But I love rose and I love big orientals, so I am betting they will be a successful blind buy.

        After reading your review, I was sure they would sell out immediately and I was right! Glad to know I have not been missing out and they only arrived last week. I will not be back in the states until 8/26 but the bottles will be waiting patiently for me when I get there, so I can rip the package open in an OCD frenzy. 🙂 Along with my SHL samples!

        • Heh, I may be almost as excited as you are for your arrival in the States, because I’m dying to know if any of the fragrances (SHL, Papillon, or otherwise) end up being true loves for you. Bring on August 26th!!! 😀 😀

          • Love, love, love Anubis! Need to get a second bottle asap. It didn’t last longer than 6 hours, so I am going to need a heavier application, hence the 2nd bottle.

          • I can’t tell you how happy I am that you love Anubis that much! Such a fantastic scent, but what a shame about the 6 hours. How much did you use when you got that time frame? I think you’ll definitely need to be spraying more. because 6 hours is a little low.

          • I am thinking that I used about 5-6 spritzes, and got about 6 hours. I sprayed much more than that of Tobacco Rose and it was huge all day on me, at least 10 hours. I am going to try a heavier application next time and see if that gets me more mileage.

          • Wow, that’s a lot of sprays to get just 6 hours! I’ve noticed that some people’s skin seems to burn through Anubis with even a good number of sprays, while others get massive longevity with very little. (Not “office-friendly” sillage, either.) It’s a little surprising to me given the darkness, richness, and heaviness of the notes. I could see Angelique being the soft one requiring a ton of sprays or giving 6 hours, but not Anubis. Ah, the weirdness of skin chemistry.

          • It was big when I first applied it – a coworker came sailing around the corner to give me a compliment on it right away – but after 6 hours, I had to press my nose to my skin to smell it. I have dry skin and need to overapply a lot of things in order to get decent longevity and sillage, but given how big it was when I first put it on, I was surprised it didn’t last longer.

  10. AMAZING review Kafka, I bought blind Anubis, not a sample but 50 ml and certainly Angélique and Tobacco Rose samples (also Moon Bloom) at Indigo. I will enjoy a lot to share my experiences. You may contact Ann at Indigo, lovely person.

    • I’m so, so pleased, Walter! Especially about the Moon Bloom sample, as that is a fragrance that I think the women in your family will love. (My own full bottle should arrive here any day now.) I also think that your wife and daughter may enjoy the Tobacco Rose and Angélique samples, but Anubis will be for you. I hope you love it as much as I do.

      As for Ann, she’s lovely, indeed. Very thorough, professional and dedicated, as well. Both she and her site/shop are an asset to the perfume community, so I really hope more people get to learn of Indigo. Plus, they have some fantastic brands not carried or easily sampled from anywhere else. Like my beloved Moon Bloom and, now, the magnificent Anubis!

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  12. The pink lotus thing is very interesting and very unexpected! Damn this not being available at ScentBar. But you seriously have me tempted to blind buy – it sounds positively awesome! Though $18 is a little steep for a set of 5 samples, I think that may be a nice way to try some of the ones I’ve been longing to try for a while!

    • Update: Though they are sold out (no doubt due to your review!) they apparently still have samples – I ordered a sample today and it already shipped! Can’t wait to try it! I also ordered samples of Moon Bloom, Skin Graft, Lady Day, and Amour de Palazzo. 😀

      • Oh, and P.P.S. It looks like she’s already figured out a cheaper shipping option! The shipping option for me was only $3.04 for the 5 sample pack. 😀

      • They sold out something like 16 hours after my review, but more should be coming in stock soon. I’m glad you ordered a sample of Moon Bloom! Yay, Yay, YAYYY!!!

        Skin Graft, the ISO E Super hospital ward scent????! Well, that should be…. different…..

        • Ha, yes! I know, I know – I just couldn’t resist the weirdness! And you know, you’re right – the pricing isn’t bad. I do think Indigo’s samples are only 0.7ml, but it’s also true that a lot of StC’s are only 0.5ml — so it actually may end up being a better deal, especially for really expensive ones like Amour de Palazzo. And who knows, maybe one of these will beckon me as a birthday perfume! 😀

          • I got a sample of Amour de Palazzo, too! I’m planning an upcoming Italian series, but I’m going to take a few digressions to other countries, and Amour de Palazzo will be one of them. 🙂

          • Yay! I’m really inordinately excited about that one. I’ve heard the biggest raves about AdP that I’m a little afraid it will fall short/not live up to expectations/etc. but who knows? I’d love to have something knock my socks off. And speaking of knocking socks off, I’ve sold off so many decants that my GIANT bottle of Coromandel has only about 20% left! LOL. No more decants of that one – I’m having a hard time envisioning how I could live without it. Time to go on the hunt for a backup bottle (hopefully at a discounted price, though it’s hard to find the Exclusifs on eBay for much of a discount these days).

          • My God, I would die if my bottle of Coromandel was down to 20%! As it was, I thought the “GIANT” bottle was actually much, much smaller than I had expected when I received it. I think my terrible maths and general bad sense of proportions led me to expect something much bigger. When I received the Large, I actually thought I had accidentally ordered the small 2.5 instead, and checked the bottom of it TWICE to be sure. lol. (Yes, yes, I know, it’s as if I’ve suddenly gotten some sort of Sizing Dyslexia. lol) Bottom line, I hope you get your hands on more of it!

          • I know, right?! Luckily, my collection is big enough that it would literally take me years to run out but still – terrifying nonetheless. It’s one of the few bottles I know I will absolutely HAVE to replace because I know I can’t go without it. Most other things when they run out I sort of shrug, but likely wouldn’t buy another bottle of it — not with so much out there left to try, plus scads of samples I’ve not touched.

            Coromandel not so much. Frankly, the 6.7 ounce bottles seemed comically large at the time, but now I’m wishing they did the Dior 8.4 ounce size! LOL. I could always buy it at retail prices, I guess, but I love not paying tax and I love a discount. Plus I’d rather not buy from Chanel because I’m still pissed about their huge, repeated price increases in such a short period of time. And yes, it’s still a “deal” considering the quality and per ml price, but it pisses me off on principle! Maybe I can bring in my near-empty bottle and do the “Please sir, may I have some more” routine and they’ll take pity on me!

    • $18 for 5 samples is roughly about $3.50 for 1 ml, which is less than what I pay at SCT for many fragrances at $3.99 for either a 1/2 or a full 1 ml. So for me, it’s a great price, but the shipping was high. I’m glad she’s found a lower price now.

  13. Good morning Kafka; Sofia tested both: Angélique and Tobacco Rose samples and fell in love with Angélique
    (including other fragrances). It’s funny, now we have from the same perfumer two fragrances: Angélique for Sofia and Anubis for me.

    • Good morning, dear Walter. I’m not at all surprised that Sofia fell for Angélique, but it still makes me happy to know the samples were a success. And how do you feel about your blind-buy of a full bottle of Anubis?

  14. Quick update: Wearing Anubis today. 😀 Only a few minutes in, but God, it’s good. It’s really well-balanced thus far – it’s not *too* leathery or *too* smoky – it’s sexy and refined without being overwhelming. I also gave Moon Bloom a sneak peak the other day, but haven’t done a full wear yet. My initial thoughts were that it was very good, but I also smelled Gardenia in it and Une Voix Noire sort of fills that niche for me. But I’ll reserve judgment until I can manage a full wear. In the mean time, Anubis is grand. I actually think I like it more than Tribute Attar, of which the version I tried was a bit too smoky for regular wear. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t something I could wear often – it was sort of like Lonestar Memories in that regard for me. Thanks so much for the tip on this one – it’s really impressive!

    • Hurrah for Anubis love. It is beautifully balanced, isn’t it? How is the sillage on your sillage-eating skin, and how is its longevity on you?

  15. Hello Kafka, I will try Anubis tomorow in Lima. I want to share also with you that Sofia fell in love with the fragrance Safari from Abdul Samad Al Qurashi. In USA you can fin this one at http://www.theworldinscents.com. Bottle came with a mini-me keychain lookalike (to the large bottle) that holds about 1 ml. Give a look to the comments in Fragrantica. Have a lot to smell the following days.

    • Thank you for letting me know about the Al Qurashi scent, Walter. I have a sample of something else from them, I think, that was sent to me by someone in Dubai. I’ll have to look into Safari.

      I hope you enjoy Anubis when you try it tomorrow. I’m looking forward to hearing how it is on your skin, and what you think of it.

  16. Hello Kafka;
    Anubis is peculiarly delicious. It is a very expressive fragrance. It starts fine resinous with pipe tobacco more than leather which appears later mixed with fine incense and effectively I can smell caramel. Not as yet Chameleon as Angelique but high quality and very long lasting. Fantastic.

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  18. Hi Kafka, I ordered a decant of Anubis after I saw your review. Arrived yesterday, wore it out last night. And it just blew me away! What a great scent. Earlier in the week I had tried Angelique and loved it too. And the really good news? I can actually afford a bottle of each; unlike many of the other highly rated niche fragrances to come out this year (looking at you, SHL777).

    Now to take my place in line and hope Liz Moores can fill all of the backorders….

  19. Well my dear…despite a disappointing test on skin (!, but of course with an alcohol soaked cotton ball nearby), I decided to order samples anyway from Indigo Perfumery. The package with my sampler set arrived rather quickly and had been neglected (although not as long as some of the others). I decided to wear it today. I emptied my 2 vials into an atomizer and spritzed on the equivalent of 1.5 anemic sprays. Eeek – dirty ashtray (akin to Lonestar Memories) was the first thing that came to mind but I decided to forge on ahead with my day. Within a few minutes of wearing it, the dirty ashtray went away and I kept smelling something very familiar and guess what – it’s a darker version of Mitzah. I got what I could only describe as ambered smokey patchouli and a dusting of vanilla which I ascribe to benzoin interspersed with pipe tobacco. For what it’s worth, I barely got any rose which is perfectly fine by me…and the leather was in the background. I liked it so much I added two healthy sprays this afternoon and I think 4 sprays is just right for the office. Oh, I may layer on Vanille 44 the next time as I think that combination would make it uniquely mine!

    In any case, a FB will soon join my collection at $10 off, courtesy of the coupon code I got for purchasing a 5 sample pack. I’m now afraid to try Tobacco Rose and Angelique…what if I liked them just as much???

    I will of course share with my darling Daisy even though she did not like it at first try.

    • What, you liked Anubis??! Oh, what a nice surprise this is! And, yes, there is an absolute Mitzah resemblance in the opening, as I noted in my review. I think both you and BaconBiscuit don’t get the rose which I get in Mitzah’s middle/base layers, and that it is more of a pure labdanum with incense/patchouli on you guys.

      I can’t wait to see what you think of Angelique as that is the one that I always thought you’ll like quite a bit, especially if you get the mimosa and some lovely, lightly booze’d fruits.

  20. Wearing this today for the first time – what a great blind buy! Love it. It is smoky, tobacco, incensey goodness that is not too loud or intrusive to wear to work. Need another bottle asap. 🙂

    • I have been waiting and waiting since the 26th to hear what you thought of the various things you got in your sample pile once you arrived in SD, but have been most curious to hear about Anubis. So I’m really glad you wrote, because the curiosity has been killing me! And HURRAH! I’m so happy you love it.

      It’s really interesting to me that you get mostly smoky, tobacco, incense with warmth because everyone seems to get a different focal point. One person recently describing it as the “best leather,” infused with smoke and lightly drizzled with jasmine honey, while another found it was mostly smoky amber on her skin. Others seem to get some of the floral notes, but not always the leather or the rose, nor the tobacco from the pink lotus blossom.

  21. Hello,

    I need help. I have purchased Anubis and when it arrived in the mail, the packaging of the scent lacked a foil wrap. Was this a similar experience for any of you out there who have also purchased this scent? The black box simply had a round sticky tab on the top where the opening flap meets the rest of the box. Please share so that I can hopefully stop worrying about purchasing a tampered with bottle.

    • Tara is right, that is how the box comes. Only a round sticky tab on the top flop, and no plastic wrap. You don’t have to worry about your bottle being tampered with or being a tester. 🙂

  22. I wore Anubis all day yesterday and it was instant love! Thank you so much for that evocative review. After reading it, I had to try it & I’m so glad I did. What an incredible perfume! It truly is, as you write, dense, heavy, & chewy in the best way possible. It even improved my posture!
    I’m trying out Cuir Cannage today, but am already fantasizing about washing it off tonight so that I can take Anubis to bed…..talk about sweet dreams!

    • “It even improved my posture” — Hahahahahaha! That made me laugh so much. I’m so glad you loved Anubis so much, Ed. “Instant love!” Yay.

      You know what suddenly came to mind? Using Anubis as a layering base for some of your orange blossom florals, like the George. I bet that would be a really sultry mix.

      • I layered George & Anubis a little while ago & it’s super-heavy & thick—-love it! The opening orange blossoms from George are just as strong, but the leather in the bases of the perfumes is amplified & the other notes, like the smoke from George, are thicker. It feels like the Anubis is muting the projection of George just a little but that’s fine with me because I can smell this combo with every intake of breath. Great suggestion!

  23. FYI I’ve finally got a sample of this and am wearing it today. LOVE. Of course, the butter fingers that I am nearly spilled half the sample vial on myself this morning (I’m so not a morning person and really can only use spray samples without making a mess of myself), but it’s gorgeous. I was in a lovely (strong) cloud of leather and smoke on the drive in to work this morning and did notice that meaty rose. It took me a bit by surprise since I was just driving and noticed a lovely rose scent in the car and then realized it was me! Now the resins are starting to show up and the sweetness of them mixed with the incense is heavenly. Yeah… this might top my list of FB wants.

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  28. I’m way late on this post, but I’m wearing my sample today. This scent evokes a strong memory for me: sitting on the living room floor as a young girl, waxing my dad’s black leather army boots while incense burned in the background. This was a regular occasion, as I loved waxing his boots and he loved incense, but I hadn’t thought about it in years, until I smelled this. Anubis is way too intense for me to wear as a perfume, but what a fascinating scent!

    • How wonderful that Anubis could take you back in time so vividly and to a memory that you had completely forgotten. The power of scent… 🙂

  29. I received my sample of this yesterday and tried it. It is glorious, I love it! I have already ordered a full bottle. The longevity is very good, I put one spray on at night and could still smell it in the morning. I definitely get the similarity to Black Gemstone and Tribute Attar, both of which I love. Thanks again for another amazing review!

    • Wonderful, Leezie. I’m so glad that Anubis has found another fan, and even happier to hear that you’ve succumbed to a full bottle. Wow, you always order things so decisively and quickly once something steals your heart….. I love that! You’ve got style, my dear!

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  31. Unfortunately Anubis came off quite unpleasant on my skin for the first 3 hours using a 0.75ml sample from Lucky scent on both my arms. The scratchy incense opening stuck for a full hour and doesn’t seem to subside on me. I thought maybe I wasn’t used to the incense note in general but I’ve tried Avignon and it seems a bit more pleasant on my skin.

    When I smell both my arms up close, I can smell something like mild tea thats neither green or black (i can’t smell anything rose like), I am guess this is suppose to be the rose note as its the sweetest part of the perfume on my skin. But overall the dirty ash tray was just too much for me.

  32. Thanks to this review I’ve just tried Anubis (and more from Papillon). It’s beautiful! I love more masculine fragrances, and woods, leather and smoke. What immediately struck me though is the sandalwood! You mention it in the notes, but not further in your review. Interesting how it’s very prominent on me. Since it’s one of my favourite notes, I’m very happy. Would you know if it’s natural sandalwood that’s used?

    • Hi there, I just heard back from the perfumer about your question and, yes, it’s natural, real sandalwood (from New Caledonia). I’m glad you’re enjoying it and the fragrance as well. 🙂

      • Thank you so much for asking the perfumer. I really appreciate that you took the time to ask and she took the time to answer. I’ll enjoy it even more now 🙂

        • You’re more than welcome, and it was nothing. She’s a very accessible, friendly, warm person who enjoys answering questions about her fragrances and/or helping out perfumistas. 🙂

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