Every independent perfume brand creates its own identity. In their own way. The ones which try and shroud it in the most mystery also make me cautious. I am sure there is a business reason, I just want to understand the how and why of the perfume. Those missions can be at odds. It doesn’t keep me from really enjoying things from those brands as I have with Mad et Len Papelato.
Sandra Fuzier (l.) and Alexandre Piffaut
Mad et Len is the brand founded in 2007 by Sandra Fuzier and Alexandre Piffaut. They started with candles and solid potpourri before branching out into perfume. Based on their scant interviews they seem to portray themselves as the perfumers behind it all. Over the years I’ve tried their perfumes there are times it seems like there is an untrained hand at work. Almost equally as often there are some compellingly simple compositions that hit the mark. Papelato is one of those.
Because the brand prefers to be obscure on their creative process I don’t know if the name has meaning. An internet search just returned the perfume as a result. What I found was a scent of sentinel pines complete with sap oozing from the trunks. It provides an orthogonal type of freshness which also makes it stand apart.
Papelato opens with the smell of pine. If that was all there was it might smell like air freshener. To keep that association away an austere slightly metallic incense removes it. If there is an ingredient the brand has used most effectively it is incense. They find just the right pitch in many of their perfumes. It does the same thing here. A bit of juicy mandarin uses citrus to keep this on that fresh trajectory. Then the sap shows up. Pine sap has a strong turpentine-like scent. The ingredient is described as “sugared sap” in Papelato. It makes me think pine sap and beeswax have been combined into this accord. There is a honeyed quality to the sap along with hum of animalic underneath. That can come from beeswax. There are some synthetic musks that trend to the animalic side over the ending stages and it might just be those. I do want to mention the sap accord is cleverly realized however it is achieved.
Papelato has 12-14 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
I wore Papelato on some warm days which is what reinforced my impression of it as an unusual kind of fresh. It made me feel as if I was hiding among the pines, maybe eating an orange.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Mad et Len.