One of the three inaugural fragrances launched in 2014 by London-based Papillon Artisan Perfumes – the niche fragrance house founded by perfumer Liz Moores - Angélique might just be my favourite (well, until I wear one of the others and switch camps AGAIN).
Of the creation of Angélique, Ms. Moores says, "Inspiration for my perfumes comes to me in many ways, but none more so than from the nature in my own garden. Angelique began as an olfactory portrait of the Iris Pallida; days spent breathing in the delicate scent of the flowers and the honeyed aroma of pollen emerged as nature's own sketch of what Angelique would become. Angelique became a perfume based on my personal impression of the beautiful Iris Pallida, a flower that is as captivating and angelic as nature herself."
It has one of the most gorgeous floral openings of any fragrance I have ever smelled: iris is in the centre of a swirl of delicate osmanthus, warm white champaca and tender mimosa. The osmanthus, with it apricot/leather aspects, the white champaca, with its tea-like nuances, and the gentle green, honey and almond overtones of the mimosa, combine with the woody, earthy iris to make a heady floral spring bouquet that has a gentle sweetness and a little nip of green. Orris, thick and creamy, keep the iris front and centre with its powdery, violet aspects. Virginian cedarwood and a note of frankincense (quite restrained and light) give it a woody texture and a lovely depth that never overwhelms the iris, and seems to prevent it from dissolving into a powdery scent.
The drydown is tender and gentle and really clings to skin but that Eau de Parfum concentration keeps it around a long while. For me, balancing this lightness with depth is a real coup.
Angélique is one of those fragrances that is so much more than the notes it has and in many ways breaking it down does it a disservice. And, anyway, I find it morphs on my skin in different ways, in different temperatures. Sometimes it's a little spicy or boozy or vanilla-like and sometimes not – just like the smells that come from a garden - so that the note-for-note description doesn’t really work. But, each time I wear it and experience something new in it, I fall in love with it a little more.
Notes: Iris pallida, osmanthus, white champac, orris, French mimosa, frankincense and Virginian cedarwood.