Artisan perfumer – and friend – Liz Moores of Papillon Perfumes is still recovering from major shoulder surgery. However, lovely Vanessa of Bonkers About Perfume and I had been planning to visit her together for the longest time and as all our diaries were in alignment last Saturday, Liz was happy for us to come down to her home in the New Forest.
An added bonus was that it was Vanessa’s birthday so it was great to be able to see her on the actual day and celebrate it with her at Liz’s.
We arrived around midday and had a welcome mug of tea outside in the hazy sunshine, accompanied by Liz’s two very friendly dogs, Sally Muff Cake and Max. Liz is an animal lover and just some of the total roll call feature in the photos.
Liz is not only an exceptionally talented perfumer but also a excellent cook. She treated us to a delicious lunch of asparagus, pancetta and lemon risotto followed by a chocolate cake adorned with a candle and presented to Vanessa with a rendition of “Happy Birthday”.
It was a pleasure to finally meet Liz’s two youngest children, the adorable Daisy and the highly creative Rowan. Liz’s partner Simon, who as well as having his own business deals with Papillon’s packaging and crunches the all important numbers, also joined us for a time. Simon collects snakes which are stored in their drawers (see below) and has a couple of cockatiels.
It tells you how much we had to chat about that we didn’t get into the studio until after 6 o’clock. Once there we had a great time sniffing lots of different perfume materials which included naturals such as white frankincense, tiare, Persian rose and vanilla. Plus the hycraceum (Africa Stone) used in Salome, which Liz has to loosen up by warming it between her thighs. I joked that if she advertised this fact she could charge extra.
We also tried a number of aromachemicals including a chocolate one used in Angel which wasn’t commercially available for a long time. It was fun to try the fruit aromachemicals because they were so startling realistic. These included Granny Smith apple, cassis and Mirabelle plum.
Below is ambergris which has been macerating in perfumer’s alcohol for a year and still has another year to go. Liz adds two drops of the tincture to finish off every bottle of Tobacco Rose.
All Papillon’s perfumes are handmade here and take up to 3 and half months to macerate.
Liz decided to delay the release of White Moth for various reasons and we tried a recent mod. It was very different to the version I tried well over a year ago. That was more leathery while this was richer with a nectar-like sweetness. Notes include tiare, frangipani, heliotrope, beeswax and orange as well as champac and black tea. It’s a lovely composition and will be particularly wonderful in warm weather.
Even more excitingly, we got to sample an unnamed work in progress which is chypre with a zesty citrus top and a sexy costus drydown. Unfortunately costus is not IFRA compliant so Liz needs to reconstruct that affect herself (she prefers to create without restrictions in mind and then find solutions once she’s come up with something she’s happy with). She’s also waiting on a narcissus absolute to add to the mix and I have no doubt the finished product will be utterly fabulous. I impatiently await its release.
Before we left, Liz decanted a little of her precious orris butter for me and I extravagantly smeared some onto my skin. It was divine.
I have so much admiration as well as affection for Liz. She has no formal training in perfumery and has bumped up against numerous obstacles on her way to creating a top quality collection to be immensely proud of. She has spent so long ensuring each perfume is carefully structured with the perfect balance of materials and this shows in the extraordinary level of refinement she achieves.
Huge thanks to Liz for letting us descend on her while she’s still not yet back to full strength and for sharing her home and studio with us.
You can read my mini-reviews of Anubis, Tobacco Rose and Angelique here and my full review of Salome here.
25 responses to “Visiting Liz Moores at Papillon HQ – Photo Essay”
What a day and what a trio of women. I nearly spilt my coffee when I read about Liz warming the hyraceum between her thighs. Am very much looking forward to the new perfumes …. and orris oh so beautiful.
Ha! Glad you managed avert spilling your coffee, Megan 🙂 Liz is a good sport for letting me take that pic.
Orris is just stunning. It’s a perfume in itself.
SOOO ENVIOUS !!!
We should arrange a visit together!
Liz was really sorry you couldn’t make it, Sabine.
I knew I could count on you for a proper record of the perfumes we sniffed! And there is the hyraceum ‘money shot’ I was so looking forward to seeing. It was great hanging out with you and Liz and thanks for making it a most memorable birthday.;) x
V, I thought it was funny you remembered a number of oils/aromachems I missed and vice versa.
That is the money shot! Not many perfumers would have let me take me that, ha ha.
I was so happy to spend your birthday with you.
Love this post tara, The others look like they are having a fine time but no pics of YOU?
Love the menagerie. What a fun day.
It was such a fab day, Portia. I’m so glad we got it together at last.
We were having such a good time I only took a bunch of pics in the last hour!
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I have lots of pics of Tara if she would like to add one back in! 😉
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I’m mostly envious of the good company, the orris butter and the bengals. I could definitely do without the snakes 🙂
Hahaha! I was happy with the snakes being tucked safely away in their drawers.
Orris butter is so deep and complex, it’s wonderful. I’d slather myself in it from head to toe if I could.
Mmmm, I can imagine that.
Too bad it’s extraordinarily expensive.
Lovely article, Papillon Perfumery is one of my very favourite indie houses. And that pure orris butter sounds divine!
The Papillon perfumes are all so distinctive, high quality and well constructed. I can totally see why it’s one of your most favourite indie houses.
The orris butter is completely swoon inducing.
This is such a lovely report, Tara. I’m blue with envy! All the animals and all the perfume materials… Having read this post, I’m even more of a fan of Liz. xxx
It was so good to finally visit Liz at home and get to play around in her studio. She has even more pets than expected! I didn’t get shots of the 3 horses, the owl, the boy cat or the bearded dragon 🙂
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Fabulous report, Tara. Loved the photographs of Liz studio and her animals, especially the cats. What an amazing visit! Xxx Esperanza
There were lots of photo opportunities, Esperanza!
It was fun to share our day with you.
That was a proper report on the perfumes/perfumistas/cats-related event! Just the right number of pictures on all subjects! 😉 Thank you!
I’m glad you had good time – thank you for sharing it with us.
It makes me very happy to hear that this post hit the spot for you on all counts, Undina. Especially considering there was a lot going on, I didn’t take any notes and only took pics at the very end of the day!
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