Dryad is a perfume by the English niche brand Papillon, which appeared in 2017, just in time to enter the new TOP 10 list of the best perfumes by the famous critic Luca Turin. Since he has already written about the best perfumes until 2008, and in this book, he has been reviewing the last ten years, I can partially understand the high rating of Dryad perfume. It is genuinely superbly done, sophisticated, refined, and stylistically perfect. However, too similar, not to say something worse, to one famous perfume classic – Vol de Nuit by Guerlain.


As its name suggests, Dryad has a forest atmosphere, similar to ancient Greek nymphs who ran barefoot through ancient forests, passionately dancing with satires in honor of Dionysus, the god of wine and ecstatic enjoyment. The appeal of this perfume can only be understood by adults because of the inherent bitterness that Dryad possesses is an acquired taste, similar to caviar and molded blue cheese. I’m not sure what it is about bitterness, which makes it so attractive. We are not attracted to her in the way that sweetness attracts us, childishly and instinctively. Sweet has a comforting quality, bitterness sobering. I guess over time, we want to feel the real truth about the world, we don’t want more wafers, but to drink directly from the source of truth – and the truth is often bitter.

The perfume composition of Dryad perfume is, according to Liz Moores, green oriental chypre. This is exactly how I experienced it, as a mixture of the accord of oakmoss, labdanum, bergamot and bitter notes on one side and warm, sweet, oriental notes on the other. At the same time, they are united by a mild smoky, woody character. In the opening itself, there is a hefty dose of green, bitter galbanum, and bitter orange, which serve as a prelude to what this perfume is, and that is a partial copy (but an extraordinary copy) of Vol de Nuit. Where Guerlain’s masterpiece is superior to the Papillon creation is the fantastic fusion of chypre and oriental notes, so they sing a beautiful duet. In that duet, sometimes one voice comes to the fore, sometimes the other shows all the strength of its character. Sometimes the impression is warmer, sometimes more intellectual, but always intoxicating and enchanting. And that’s where Dryad “fails”. There is no duet in it, but everything is reminiscent of a chypre accord concert, while the oriental sings the backing vocals at best, and shouts half the words of the song, like a fan from the front row at worst. But Dryad is worth a try, and perfume lovers of perfumes like Paloma Picasso can find their new love in it and afford a chypre perfume, as they used to make them long ago.

[Fragrance notes] top notes: bergamot, galbanum, bitter orange, sage, thyme, tarragon; middle notes: narcissus, orange blossom, lavender, iris root, apricot; base notes: oakmoss, vetiver, benzoin, Peru resin, styrax.

[Fragrance group] oriental chypre.

The creator of the perfume is Liz Moores.