Notes: Jasmine, Orange Blossom, Ambrette, Rose de Mai, Turkish Rose, Orris, Narcissus, Ylang, Heliotrope, Clary Sage, Bergamot, Vanilla, Labdanum and Musk
I have a love of Papillon’s perfumes and the Greek myths, so while I feel the will to write about fragrance ebbing, the forthcoming release of the artisan brand’s eighth perfume, Hera, pulled me back.
All the fragrances created and hand-crafted by Liz Moores have a distinctive character. While being unmistakably modern there is usually a nod to the past. My personal favourite is Dryad which I have been wearing consistently this spring and have now used up half my bottle. If you are reading this blog, you’ll know that says a lot.
Hera was composed by Liz specially for her daughter Jasmine to wear on her wedding day. In Greek mythology, Hera is the Queen of the Olympians, protector of women and goddess of marriage and birth. Jasmine has now kindly agreed for her very personal perfume to be shared with the rest of us. It will be released in the U.K. on 16th May.
On spraying, I initially get a mix of shimmering bergamot and fizzing ambrette seed, which makes for a fittingly celebratory opening. The bergamot swiftly dissipates but the ambrette is immediately joined by a cloud of creamy orris butter. With the association of a wedding scent, I can’t help picturing layer upon layer of airy white tulle.
From looking at the notes, I had expected a lush white floral with orange blossom – the traditional wedding flower – front and centre, along with prominent jasmine and ylang. Instead, the flowers combine with a touch of heliotope to create a haze of abstract floral sweetness. This brings levity and prettiness to the orris which is the core of Hera, setting it off beautifully. This is a sophisticated bride but she also has wildflowers threaded through her hair.
The base is clean, velvety musk with traces of what has gone before. Happily, the orris is present throughout.
The retro side of Hera comes in the form of a ‘boudoir’ facet. One of my favourite types of fragrance, boudoir scents are evocative of 1940s dressing rooms with a mélange of waxy lipstick, face powder and a hint of warm skin. This aspect adds an element of sensuality and self-possession to the composition.
Hera feels like a glimpse behind the scenes as the bride is getting ready for her big day, rather than the public spectacle of her walking down the aisle. It has an intimacy that makes it much more alluring as a result.
This is the kind of perfume that unfurls on the skin rather than one that develops in a distinctly linear fashion. It is seamlessly blended with a rounded feel and a lovely soft, downy texture.
Being Extrait de Parfum strength, it wears extremely well while staying relatively close to the body.
I very much appreciate (though am not surprised) that Liz hasn’t gone down the road of a completely naive bridal bouquet. Hera is an elegant balance between refinement and free-spiritedness.
Let me know if you are eager to try Hera in the comments.