Bengale Rouge by Papillon Perfumes

Notes: Turkish Rose, Orris, Sandalwood, Tonka, Oakmoss, Honey, Vanilla, Labdanum, Benzoin and Sweet Myrrh

All of the Papillon perfumes handmade by Liz Moores are a product of her loves, life and home. Take her last fragrance Dryad released in 2017, which was a homage to the ancient forest she lives in.

It seems fitting therefore that her next launch is inspired by her beloved Bengal cat, Mimi. These leopard-coated felines are incredibly striking and have a quirky nature all their own. Have you noticed how many perfume people are also cat people? A lot.

The first thing I thought of when encountering the opening of Bengale Rouge was Guerlain’s classic Shalimar with a strong orange citrus edge. I picked up that same grown-up vanilla only with more of a whipped texture and a rosy bloom, permeated by resins.

It stops short of being an edible gourmand. Sweet perfumes are something I struggle with these days but here the honeyed tones are undercut with plenty of doughy iris, tree resins and rambling roses.

bengale rouge bottle

Bengale Rouge isn’t just about a cat but a combination of the cat and its perfume-wearing human. Have no doubt, this is a fully fleshed out fragrance and a million miles away from a novelty ‘Cat Fur’ scent. The presence of orris butter adds a fantastic skin-like property and a cosmetic/boudoir facet. I don’t find it overtly sexy but it has a ‘back of the neck’ warmth: a kind of intimate vulnerability. I think this is the key to Bengale Rouge. It manages to calm the nerves while feeling subtly sensual.
The base is chiefly labdanum which has an amber aroma and a cosy, furry feel.

liz cat.jpg
The fine balance achieved here can’t have been easy but the vanilla has been leavened enough for it to work effortlessly within this multi-faceted structure that is refined while exuding a pleasing amount of langour.

Bengale Rouge doesn’t have an animalic growl but purrs ever so softly. Liz tells me that this Eau de Parfum actually verges on Extrait strength so that it clings to the skin like a caress and doesn’t let go. Unreserved spraying is a must to enjoy the full effect.

I tend to wear Dryad in the spring and Tobacco Rose in the autumn (or the evening). Bengale Rouge is Papillon’s most versatile and accessible fragrance to date. It would wear comfortably at any time without feeling in the least bit sloppy. Unlike most vanilla-forward fragrances, it is beautifully constructed with plenty of interest.

Liz felt that Bengale Rouge was the kind of perfume we needed to counteract the bleakness that exists in the world right now. It gives us something soothing to hold close while we hope for better times further down the road.

bengale rouge feature

Do you feel the need for a comforting scent like this to wrap yourself up in?

First two photo credits: Liz Moores

Last photo: Gemma Ward/Vogue Paris

N.B. Liz was kind enough to send me an advance sample of Bengale Rouge. Fingers crossed they will be available to order by July.



Filed under Perfume Reviews

22 responses to “Bengale Rouge by Papillon Perfumes

  1. Brigitte

    Wow wow wow!!! I need to try this!!! Everyone on Australian Perfume Junkies has been anxiously awaiting it’s release but Tara, this review has me joining them in excitement!!


  2. lady jane grey

    Hah, you know my opinion on this already – discussed it on facebook … 😜


  3. Can’t wait! I am devoted to Dryad and am pondering a purchase of Angelique.


    • I adore Dryad too. Angelique is gorgeous but I have issues with heliotrope, sadly.

      I’m sure you’ll love Bengale Rouge. The mix of orris and vanilla is very alluring. A skin scent with real substance.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. ‘A skin scent with real substance’ is just one of many ways you have nailed this one – glorious review. LOL at this not being a ‘novelty cat fur’ perfume. It is indeed much more put together than that. Very moreish in a subtly sensual way, and the most accessible scent to date, I agree. Roll on the launch date – there will be a lemming stampede!


    • Hi V,
      Didn’t want anyone thinking of Demeter haha!
      I found it very much as your fantastic review said. Nice to know you chime with my take too, though there’s no way I could equal ‘Your Cat But Better’ 😃


  5. Tara C

    This sounds delicious. I love this line and can’t wait to smell this one! I wish there was a Canadian distributor, but I’ll get a sample from the US.


    • Hope you don’t have to wait too long but it will be worth it. For a Papillon fan it’s bound to be a winner, though I’d say it has mass appeal too.


  6. Hayley

    This sounds so good I can’t wait to try it and I love that it’s inspired by Mimi the Bengal, I’m always sniffing my cats fur! Dryad is so special I especially loved wearing it back in January as it seemed to give those grey days a lift.


    • Hi Hayley
      I don’t have a cat and wonder if there is something vanillic about their fur because PG’s Felanilla has the same facet.
      Dryad would give January a lift. I can be a bit seasonally rigid about my perfumes.


  7. Sandra

    Hey there Tara, I am eagerly awaiting this release. It sounds like something I would really love.
    Sandra xo


  8. Sandra, I actually thought how much you’d love this one because of you fondness for vanilla.


  9. Wonderful, Tara! Can’t wait to get my nose on this….
    Lots of love
    xx Tina G


  10. So funny, Tina. I just messaged you, then saw this comment.
    I’m sure you’d appreciate BR, even it’s not your usual style.


  11. I’ve just received a sample of this and I think it’s the wrong time of year to fully appreciate it. For me it’s definitely a winter perfume. It opens with heavy sticky balsams, benzoin laudanum but unfortunately I can’t smell anything else. It’s like it starts at the bottom up…..the base notes just keep going. It’s lovely but I’m not sure I’d want a full bottle. I will re review in the cooler months. Liz Moore’s is a very talented perfumer and I love Angelique and Tobacco Rose……


    • I enjoyed reading your impressions katie1119. I am very ‘season sensitive’ when it comes to fragrance so definitely endorse trying again when the weather feels more in tune with the perfume. Liz Moores is indeed an incredible talent. My fave is Dryad but galbanum is tricky for many.


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