I can’t remember a time when I’ve been this impressed by the launch of a new fragrance line. British perfumer Liz Moores is the creator of Papillon Artisan Perfumes and this is her first collection of three eau de parfums.
All three are of extremely high quality and incredibly long-lasting. The compositions are original twists on classic themes and wonderfully wearable (plus the bottles are gorgeous too). They are truly artisan, made by hand using a high percentage of raw materials.
Here are my thoughts on each perfume in more detail:
Includes notes of suede, jasmine, pink lotus, immortelle, frankincense, myrrh and saffron.
Anubis was the Egyptian god of death and embalming and at first it does indeed smell like an ancient balm used to anoint the body in some kind of sacred ritual. It has the quality of a precious oil more than a perfume. The opening is bold and masculine leaning and deeply resinous.
As it settles it becomes a lot less primal and far more refined. The immortelle blends in perfectly, adding body and a touch of sweetness to alleviate the intense dryness of the resins. I notice a sweetly floral undercurrent and an almost buttery note which reminds me of the saffron in Cuir de Lancome. It’s as if flower petals and saffron fronds have been infused in oil and massaged into a soft piece of suede.
Several hours in and it changes again, turning dark and smoky as birch tar leather spiked with incense takes over. Amazingly, the embers smoulder on the skin in this manner for the rest of the day and long into the night.
Anubis is very striking and extremely sophisticated. It’s a statement perfume which would wear particularly well in cool weather. Transporting, sensual and mysterious, you can’t encounter it without being utterly compelled. I can imagine some finding it more than a little addictive.
Includes notes of Bulgarian rose, rose centifolia, oakmoss, beeswax, hay and ambergris.
Tobacco Rose starts off rosy green like a bud encased in leaves. Within half an hour it opens up to reveal a vivid red rose in full bloom. I haven’t come across a rose that is so close to the scent of the real thing. It feels like I’ve rubbed rose petals onto my skin and am left with a strong impression of their scent. Plush and intoxicating, this rose may be at the point of tipping over into decay but right now it is living and breathing at its absolute peak.
The distinctive honeyed sweetness aided by the beeswax is perfectly counterbalanced by hay and vetiver, creating a background of dark earthiness. This intensifies towards the end as the rose returns to the soil from which it came.
Although the composition also features rose centfolia, I happily find it dominated by the deeper Bulgarian rose Otto. I’ve loved this essential oil for a number of years but never really found it in perfume form to my liking. Tobacco Rose has now fulfilled that desire perfectly with its rich, seductive beauty.
It has turned out to be my unexpected favourite of the three. I can’t get enough and find myself craving its aroma. Liz has far surpassed her goal of combating the common perception that rose fragrances are old-fashioned.
Includes notes of mimosa, orris, white champaca, frankincense, osmanthus and cedarwood.
Angélique immediately makes me think of classic French perfumery. It is decidedly Guerlain-esque in feel at first with its combination of high quality iris and almond-like mimosa. It has a gentle character but doesn’t lack presence. The fuzzy apricot tone of osmanthus adds a subtle fruity accent. There’s a gorgeous spring-like, dewy freshness at this opening stage that is no doubt due to the champaca.
Further down the line, it takes on marshmallow style sweetness and becomes pillowy, soft and a tad powdery in texture. The overall effect is delectable but not quite edible, like a pâtissier’s grand confection that looks too fabulous to eat. It’s super pretty and brings to mind pastel shades of pink, lemon and baby blue. Effortlessly elegant, you could wear it with jeans and a T-shirt and instantly feel pulled together. It’s a “go anywhere, do anything” type of perfume that still has heaps of style.
Angélique is soothing and comforting but there’s a feeling of melancholia about it too. It’s bittersweet, like a smile tinged with sadness.
Hopefully these mini reviews have piqued your interest. The perfumes are available exclusively at Les Senteurs in London for the next six months and you can find a sample service at papillonperfumery.co.uk. Liz is in talks with retailers abroad, so fingers crossed fragrance fans overseas will get to experience this quality collection soon.
Do any of these three new perfumes appeal to you?