It was set in ancient Japan or China. A famous courtesan was admired by a nobleman with terrible B.O. He loved her, and wrote her poetry, but was too ashamed of his odor to approach her.
He heard about a perfume, distilled from a rare butterfly, that was so powerful that applying one drop would scent a person for the rest of their life.
Desperate with love, he spends his fortune to aquire the perfume and uses it. Alas, the courtesan is inexplicably terrified when he approaches- it seems she has an irrational fear of butterflies and the fragrance of the permanent perfume repels her utterly.
Does this sound familiar to anyone?
Is it a folk tale or modern short story?
ETA- I googled this every which way but all I come up with are 'Madame Butterfly' related pages and advertisements for butterfly perfume bottles.