“My dryad hath her hiding place/Among ten thousand trees…”
– From The Dryad by Richard Le Gallienne (1866 – 1947)
Notes: Cedrat, Bigaradier Orange, Bergamot, Narcissus, Oakmoss, Jonquil, Clary Sage, Orange Blossom, Lavender, Orris, Vetiver, Thyme, Galbanum, Costus, Tarragon, Apricot, Benzoin, Peru Balsam, Deertongue, Styrax,
I’m fortunate to know artisan perfumer Liz Moores and while I can see facets of her character in Papillon’s other fragrances it feels like her fifth creation, Dryad, gets to the core of who she is.
If you follow Liz on social media, you’ll know that she spends a lot of her time nurturing animals (as well as children) and regularly shares the beauty of her surroundings in the New Forest.
Unlike most of us in this day and age, Liz seems to be living her life in sync with nature; celebrating the festivals that mark the changing of the seasons and noticing the waxing and waning of the moon. She may be a glamour puss but I suspect she is an earth mother at heart.
This way of life must cultivate a great sense of connectedness with the natural world and I can feel that in Dryad. I tried an early mod of this forthcoming release during a visit to Papillon HQ last year, so I couldn’t wait to sample the final version which will be available from June.
A dryad is a human-like tree nymph from Greek mythology and these shy creatures often inspired love and desire in the gods.
As I enter Dryad’s mythical forest domain, I’m met with the unmistakable vivid green aroma of galbanum. Its usual astringency warmed by the sunshine of orange citrus and tamped down by an accord of leafy aromatic herbs.
Oakmoss forms the striking emerald carpet that is underfoot for the duration of the perfume’s development. No doubt this explains in large part why Dryad bears a resemblance to vintage Vol de Nuit parfum, as Claire astutely notes on Take One Thing Off. Liz tells me that she was able to use a variety of oakmoss that is compliant, in very small amounts, with the IFRA regulations and then built it up with other supporting accords.
There’s something lurking just behind the trees (costus?) that prevents the scent from being entirely wholesome. It takes Dryad from what could have been light, bright and legible and turns it into something dappled, deep and mysterious. It seems to distil the very essence of an enchanted forest.
Dryad is not a fragrance with clear demarcations of head, heart and base but one of gradations, moving over time from sunlit green through to earthy brown. It’s a journey which takes the wearer from the edge of the forest to its shaded, sacred centre. Meandering through the ancient trees at a languid pace, it lasts for an extraordinary long time on skin.
Like Salome, Dryad is meticulously structured. It’s the kind of green chypre/oriental with a complex character and an old soul that’s rare to find these days.
A lecturer at university once remarked in a seminar that I always looked as if I were dreaming of some otherworldly place. Dryad actually takes me there.
Picture credit: Dreaming Dryad by mariyaolshevska at DeviantArt