The British brand introducing a brand new concept in perfumery
Imagine a place comprising gardens, galleries, cocktails, open-air cinema and perfume. Now imagine that utopia is in the UK.
Keyneston Mill, a 50-acre estate situated on the River Stour in Dorset is the country’s largest botanical garden dedicated to aromatic and scented plants and is also the birthplace of new perfume company Parterre.
Founded and run by Julia and David Bridger, the gardens now boast around 1,000 varieties of scented plant, with a target of doubling that figure by the end of next year.
The cocktail dome at Keyneston Mill
The couple have worked with master perfumer Jacques Chabert – the nose behind Chanel’s Cristalle and Guerlain’s Samsara – to effectively take the fruits of the gardens and turn them into fragrances. The first three to have made the journey from seed to bottle launch exclusively this month at Fortnum & Mason.
“When Julia and David came to us with their ambitious plans, we were intrigued with their will to grow exotic plants and seduced by the idea of building fragrances around their oils,” says Chabert. “They gave us creative freedom, to a brief of strong, natural signatures.”
Each fragrance will satisfy a different taste. A Tribute to Edith is Parterre’s homage to Edith Piaf, with top notes of geranium, whiskey and rhubarb. Root of All Goodness is warm and aromatic, with top notes of bergamot, lemon and ginger and a heady base of vetiver, leather and amber. Meanwhile, firm Bazaar favourite is Run of the River – a sparkling citrus, with fresh notes of bergamot mint, lemon thyme and juniper.
“The key ingredients for the Parterre perfumes are grown here, distilled on site and turned into oils, which eventually go out to our perfumers in France,” says Julia. “We’ve been planning this for about four years and growing the crops for two years – and the crops from then are now in the perfumes launching at Fortnum & Mason.”
Some of the oils distilled at Keyneston Mill
“It’s an experimental process,” adds David. “We have six acres of trial gardens with all these different varieties of plant. We pick a handful, put it through [the process] and see what it smells like at the other end. If it’s good enough we go and turn it into a crop on the rest of the 50-acres.”
As well as the perfume aspect of the business, the gardens will be open to the public, the Bridgers hoping for the area to become an “experimental, creative hub”, featuring a botanical cafe and a cocktail dome. “You’ll be able to come and have your cocktails and pick from the cocktail garden,” says Julia.
Looks like Dorset has been added to our to-go list.
By Sian Ranscombe, Harper’s Bazaar, October, 2017
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