There is something very enticing about Papillon Artisan Perfumes, founded by Liz Moores. It is one of those perfume houses that in a relatively short period has gathered a die hard set of fans (myself included) who eagerly anticipate news of an upcoming fragrance. Upon release in 2014 the first three fragrances immediately found favour. The trio of perfumes includes a soulful rose (Tobacco Rose), delicate iris (Angelique) and a resinous black beauty (Anubis) that is my personal favourite. Then in 2015, Salome entered the fray and whipped up a frenzy of accolades with its riff on old school skank and funk with a distinct whiff of what goes on behind closed doors. The collection is imbued with heart and soul front and centre and is a firm favourite. Now there is Dryad …
To find out more about Liz Moores, who not only makes beautiful perfumes but also lives in what looks like an idyllic part of England in the New Forest, you can read a Fragrant Femmes interview where you’ll get a real sense of the inspiration behind her creativity. I’d also recommend a visit to her Instagram page where you will step into a world filled with lush images of nature, her animals, household and of course the wonderful perfumes. Moores has forged a strong relationship with her customers via social media, an essential for independents. Not only does this help to build a story around the brand, it allows for customers to get a glimpse into the orbit of the perfumer, ensuring that trust and connection is established.
There’s been an air of expectation around Papillon’s new release and Jasmine Moores, Liz’s daughter has composed a beautiful poem for Dryad. You can find the poem in its entirety on the Papillon Facebook page but I thought I’d share a few lines that I enjoyed in particular.
“I press soft flesh to bark in the evening’s gold dusk,
to breathe heavy hues of a Satyr’s musk.
My body is swelling with the oak’s root and seed
Our veins and our vines weave together with ease,
And as your chatter dispels at the shake of our leaves,
You set your ear to our chest, to hear the whisper of trees.”
Liz has this to say about her inspiration for Dryad (in the Fragrant Femmes interview referenced above) :
It is really a combination of location and imagination. I am fortunate enough to live in the heart of the New Forest and am surrounded by gorgeous woodland. My interest in both mythology and pagan history came together in the creation of this fragrance. To put it simply, it was inspired by the earth. When walking through the forest it is impossible not to breathe in the incredible and entirely natural scents in the air; this really is the greatest inspiration I could ask for.
Dryad : Nose : Liz Moores : Year : 2017 : Notes : Narcissus, Oakmoss, Jonquil, Costus, Galbanum, Clary Sage, Deer Tongue, Cedrat, Benzoin, Lavender, Thyme and Orris
When Liz very kindly sent me a sample of Dryad she mentioned it was a green perfume and I thought this might be the first Papillon fragrance I wouldn’t hold close, as it’s not my favourite fragrance category by any means. Green perfumes evoke a fresh, crystalline quality and the smell of the great outdoors. While I enjoy being in nature and often crave long walks in the countryside, there’s something about the translation in perfumery that hasn’t really worked for me. However with Dryad there is nothing to fear for those of us who can find green hued fragrances too shrill, sharp or passionless as it bypasses all of these concerns.
Dryad is a wonderful sylvan sheened fragrance, a disruptor if you will, delivering greens from the lab to the table in a fresh way. A perfect fit with the general greenification going on all around us and in perfumery too. Fragrances like Olfactive Studio‘s Panorama as well as Art & Olfaction winner Fathom V from Beaufort have breathed new life into this category. The Pantone colour of the year is Greenery symbolising new beginnings and Dryad is the perfume that will propel me into the green fragrance universe with a more open mind.
The name Dryad instantly conjures magical moonlights and an otherworldly feel, and refers to mythical tree living nymphs. Liz has ensured with her deft understanding of the sensual world, that her green perfume doesn’t have that cold, heartless feel that I often experience with this category of perfume. An almost sharp galbanum edge mixed with herbal facets provide quite the kick start to this perfume. The heralded oak moss arrives that mythically speaking is the heart of Dryad and is reminiscent of forest floors. Other elements bring the nymphs out to play with layers of florals holding sway with narcissus shining through, an ode to sunshine and joy. If it was these aspects alone the perfume would be good but what makes it really stand out is the interplay of textures and the oriental flicker and an earthiness that is present early on. There’s also a smidgen of sweet fruit. These act as a counterpoint to the florals and greenery in a rather surreptitious way. It’s as if fairy dust has been sprinkled adding depth but without going OTT with the standard oriental tropes.
Wearing Dryad makes me feel that I am transported to the great green outdoors with a touch of refinement. The featured Rooney Mara photo captures some of those elements of the perfume, with a whimsical, naturalness underlying a current of elegance. Even though I haven’t met Liz I feel that this perfume encapsulates her spirit. She lives in the New Forest, surrounded by animals of all shapes and sizes as well as beautiful children. Yet she also has a sensual elegance, in some ways a dichotomy but also the perfect blend.
Dryad is that rare mix of that classic, retro feel made modern (and perfected) so that those of us who may be wary of greens and chypres of the past can feel like we have suddenly discovered a whole new playing field, while those who seek vintage treasures and bemoan the current state of perfumery may find this a worthy and most treasured green chypre with a nudge to the oriental. Dryad has good longevity – five hours plus on my skin, with what I would describe as medium projection. It is also far more restrained than Salome, the perfume that had everyone’s knickers in a twist (in a good way). I will definitely be buying a bottle of this emerald gem, another beautiful perfume from Papillon and now one of my favourites.
DRYAD COCKTAIL RECIPE
Like many others I follow Liz on social media, and have noted that she likes the odd cocktail or two! She has very generously shared a Dryad cocktail recipe. So for those who like a tipple, you can get creative with this recipe. Thank you Liz.
2 parts Hendricks gin
2 parts triple sec
1 part Apricot brandy
The juice of 1 lime
Top with tonic, fill with ice and finished with a spritz of bergamot oil.
Let me know if you have a favourite Papillon perfume and any green perfumes that you think are worth trying.
The Low Down on Dryad : Enter the Sensual World with a sylvan, emerald-green perfume with elegance and class.
For where to purchase : Should be available from the 10th of July from Papillon stockists.
Disclosure : Sample gratefully received Papillon. Opinions my own.
Notes : Images : Rooney Mara Vogue November 2011 by Mert & Marcus. Other Images from Liz’s Instagram.