We hear so much these days about new perfumes arriving from France, Italy and the States. Perfumes from the UK are not quite so common. Although, the British have an excellent heritage in toilet waters and niche fragrances it’s not often we hear of a British fragrance that has been cultivated in the UK.
Welcome Parterre, a very British brand infused with French expertise. David and Julia Bridger have taken their farmlands at Keyneston Mill and turned them in the England’s little own Grasse (the home of French perfume for centuries). With the word Parterre literally meaning garden arrangement, that the brand is working with fresh ingredients at the Keyneston Mill, a 50-acre long field that is dedicated to aromatic and scented plants.
Each year the brand distils up to 30 ingredients – from artemisia to vetiver. These ‘extracts’ become ingredients in their fragrances. They also invite people free of charge to come to the Mill and see some of the distillation processes.
They have teamed up with renowned French Perfumer Jaques Chabert, who brought his two daughters (also perfumers) into the most unusual of fragrances. The couple decided to grow all the herbs and flowers they could, to utilise for their own limited edition fragrances. David and Julia say “Our mission is to grow the most unusual plants we can source. Each plant utilised is then trialled harvested and distilled on site. This process captures the very essence of each aromatic variety”
The 50 acre estate is split up into different growing areas, all very thoughtfully named after artists and artistic movements and in total, they grow over 2000 plant varieties. Both the central and contemporary gallery is inspired by the Italian Renaissance. The Padua garden floral and sweet based on 16th Venetian botanical gardens The Kandinsky garden centres around spice while the Fougere gardens is a celebration of ferns and Fougere varieties. Lastly, the Bridget Riley area is for trail beds.
The team have managed to grow plants which aren’t usually sourced from the UK including Vetiver (which has been very successful for them.) Vetiver is usually sourced from Haiti. They are also continually experimenting to see what will grow and yield a great essential oil that can be used for actual scents. They see the process all the way through from seed harvest through to distillation. Plants are only distilled once to ensure highest of qualities and purest of oils This is highlighted by each individual bottle having its own number, not that perfumes once finished can’t be bought again but this allows for a congruent relationship between wearer and brand.
The team initially have started with three delicious perfumes which certainly bring the philosophy alive. Each of them sums up the British-French collaboration.
Starting with the Run of the River.
As the name suggests it is inspired by the river that runs through the grounds and includes top notes of Bergamot Mint Violet leaf and Elemi. That leads to middle notes of Orange flower Lemon Thyme and Juniper. Finishing off with the base made up of Incense, Oak Moss and Mate. The sharp, clean citrus scent has an underlying feeling of running through long, summer grass in the middle of an English summer.
Next up in their collection is the Root Of All Goodness. This perfume is composed of fresh ingredients and botanical extracts, Keeping in the theme of the botanic gardens. However, its top notes include lemon and ginger as well. The middle notes have ciste labdanum, clary sage and hyssop. While, its base notes are leather and amber giving it an earthy, yet fresh scent. It truly is the root of all goodness.
The final in the trio is a Tribute to Edith, advertised as unveiling its secrets, this perfume is a mix of romance and freshness. The Tribute to Edith is actually a Tribute to Edith Piaf’s La Vie en Rose. The top notes start off with geranium, Whiskey and Rhubarb. The middle notes tribute to the song, with notes of rose, yarrow and Davana. The base notes are Patchouli, Sandalwood and Benzoin.
What makes Parterre Limited Editions perfumes so unique is their restricted production due to the limited amounts of fine oils that form the keynotes. A rare experience only for the few ones who want to experience the depth of English perfumes.
Get in touch with nature, with experimentation with different flavours and scents. Its fun, creative and the embodiment of the personal journey into the world from the creatives behind the fine fragrance. You can find, their fragrances on the site.