Monday 8 May 2023

HERA by Papillon Perfumery

A bottle of the perfume HERA, created by Liz Moores for Papillon Perfumery
The reaction a customer feels towards a fragrance is something that is almost impossible for a perfumer to predict when they're creating a new release. Beyond the standard ideas of citruses being uplifting and vanilla comforting, the nature of fragrance is that it's individual to the wearer. This notion is challenged though when perfumer Liz Moores enters the line-up. She has an incredible gift of translating her inspiration into scent, and communicating it seamlessly to the wearer. This ability is instinctive, it cannot be taught, and her latest release proves once again why she is a leading British perfumer. It’s time to discover the astonishing Hera.

Liz Moores founded Papillon Perfumery back in 2011 and launched her first trio of fragrances in 2014. She would go on to launch a further four perfumes over the next seven years, which culminated in the devilish Spell 125 in 2021. This felt like the natural tying up of the mysticism-inspired collection, but what could possibly follow? Luca Turin proudly described her fragrances as having “confidence, balance, and polish,” so surely there had to be more to come. Liz has a reputation for breaking the internet when she announces a new release, and that’s exactly what happened again when Hera was proclaimed.

The fragrance had originally been created as a gift to her daughter for her wedding day, and was never intended to be released to the public. The scent was constructed around memories, from childhood to the present day, and was designed to convey the positivity of her daughter’s future and the confidence that she had developed over the years. Her daughter Jasmine insisted it be released, and said, “Bright and optimistic, Hera feels understated but has an undeniable courage and confidence. There is a rich power to Hera, but there’s also a whisper to it that promises a resilient and sure heart.”

Now, I'd messaged Liz before reading what her daughter had written, and it’s extraordinary how the inspiration had so clearly been communicated through scent. I’ve included a part of my message below so that you can truly appreciate the ability of this incredible perfumer.

The box for the perfume HERA, created by Liz Moores for Papillon Perfumery
“Last year was a little bumpy for me, wondering how many times I could dodge the bullet, but it seems to have changed my perception on fragrance a lot. I now feel that the guttural and emotional connection to a scent definitely speaks to me in a louder voice than before, and Hera was trumpeting! The first spray honestly took me back to the moment last year when I was talking myself into believing that everything would be okay, that the power to succeed and survive could come from within. Smelling Hera felt like you had reached inside me and found that thought - that self-assured and honest feeling of peaceful confidence.”

Hera opens with a rush of creamy iris, followed by a carnation-like clove and bergamot pairing, but very quickly the floral bouquet arrives in all its intoxicating glory. The stars are definitely the jasmine and spiced rose, but a cherry-pie heliotrope locks onto the existing iris to literally resonate with a violet-tinged excitement. There’s a whiskyed ambrette in here as well, which begins to ground you, but a confident dart of heady narcissus and golden mimosa still provides an uplifting brightness. Hera's development is superb, a sensuous amber accord melting into the skin with a hint of resinous labdanum, but the final wash of sweetened musk and sandalwood gives this the vintage quality that has become the calling card of Liz Moores.

Hera is available in an extrait strength from the Papillon Perfumery website at priced at £260 for 50ml and £9.50 for 2ml. You can also click on the image below to read my “Stephan's Six” interview with Liz Moores from 2016. [Sample provided by Papillon Perfumery]

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