Dryad by Papillon Perfumes

“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 DryadI 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.

liz and horse

Liz Moores with her equine soulmate, Perry.


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



Filed under Perfume Reviews

36 responses to “Dryad by Papillon Perfumes

  1. Wonderful writing, Tara. I don’t know if Drya has changed since we sampled it at PLL, but I remember being smitten by it despite its green-ness. It felt like a perfume made for/by a witch. I will beg Liz for a sample 🙂


    • Thanks, Sabine. I really want to like green perfumes but struggle with the vast majority of them. I think the oriental facet here is what makes it work for me.
      There’s definitely a witch living in this fairytale forest!


  2. Fab review, Tara! Dryad sounds really interesting, love the sound & idea of it. A must try.

    xxx Tina G


  3. Wow, VdN reference, Lemming alert! ❤it truly sounds amazing. And I love the name and the review.


  4. Crikey

    June? Damn. Reading your review of it has created an instant must try craving…


  5. Lady Jane Grey

    Hm, it sounds to me like Galadriel’s signature perfume…
    A new perfum by Liz fills me with expectations like a total sum of Christmas, plus Easter, plus Birthday !
    A beautiful review, T. and it would be totally underestimated if I said that “I cannot wait to try it”.


  6. Enchanting review, like the forest! I loved the reference to Liz as Earth Mother – she is exactly that, with her TeePee rituals and whatnot – not all involving marshmallows – and regular snaps of the moon and sky generally. I haven’t smelt Vol de Nuit in a long long time, but am intrigued at the crossover with Dryad.


  7. Hi Tara
    A Dryad in an enchanted forest, this is the best thing about perfume, fires the imagination. I have never been in an English forest, an Australian one would be quite different..I can imagine an Aussie version! A perfume with an old soul suits the ancient forest xx


    • I’m totally with you! I love it when a perfume sparks my imagination and it’s so easy to write about then.
      I imagine an English forest is like an Aussie forest but a lot damper 🙂


  8. With that name I just have to try it! 🙂 And I’d like to trace that VdN connection myself.


  9. Marvelous and intriguing review, Tara. Sounds very magical and dreamlike. Curious where Scenting Dryad will take me 😊 Xxx


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