Brand guide: Parterre

Parterre, based in Dorset, take the quintessential English country garden and bottle it, creating limited edition scents at the meeting point between creative botany and artistic perfumery.

The vibe

Modern fragrances with high-quality ingredients and attention to detail. Classic ingredient combinations produce perfumes which are successful in their formulation, whilst the quality of the components used are exciting for their clarity and depth.

The brand

English perfumery may have lacked the sexy sophistication of it’s French and Italian cousins, but that could all change with the advent of Parterre. Based in the heart of the English countryside, this brand are different because they aim to grow and produce many of the key ingredients in their fragrances themselves, at Keyneston Mill in Dorset. This means that each fragrance will have a limited run, due to natural variations in the fragrances extracted each year.

The scents

Three scents are produced at the moment by the house, with more to surely follow as their botanical range increases.

A Tribute to Edith

Listed notes (from Bloom’s website): geranium, rose, rhubarb, whisky, centifolia rose, rose de mai, davana, yarrow, benzoin, patchouli, sandalwood.

Think classical perfumery and you won’t be far away from A Tribute to Edith. The perfume is a homage to Edith Piaf’s La Vie en Rose and is charmingly nostalgic and classical in its formulation.

The rose that permeates throughout the scent is rich and fleshy, creamy and opulent. The rose starts off big but is, at times, overwhelmed by the buzzy geranium adding that astringent, almost sour contrast. To highlight this further, a beautiful rhubarb note comes in to play which makes the scent really shine. The rhubarb and geranium interplay lingers well, leaving you with a shiny, luminous hum of scent on your skin long after the more flighty notes have disappeared.

There’s something really wholesome and natural about this scent, it evoked 1940s land girls to us, or the sort of rose, geranium and spring water potion you might have made as a child experimenting with perfumery. It’s very lovely, very feminine and very classical. One for lovers of simple elegance and old fashioned values.

The longevity of the scent was decent, lasting until mid afternoon following a 7am application. The sillage, or projection, of the scent was also pretty good, going to around handshake distance or thereabouts.

Run of the River

Listed notes (from Bloom’s website): bergamot mint, elemi, lemon, violet leaf, clary sage, juniper, lemon thyme, orange blossom, frankincense, mate tea, oak moss.

We played outside a lot as children and Run of the River reminded us of those hot days of summers past, scrubbing through the greenery on the banks of a stream and then splashing each other with the stunningly cold water that never warmed, no matter how hot the day was.

Run of the River is a thoroughly invigorating and refreshing scent that will slap you in the face and wake you right up, much like the streams of our youth. The scent is bright, energetic and citrusy, the lemon thyme and bergamot explode as soon as it exits the bottle and the whole vibe of the scent is like the sparkles of light playing on fast-flowing water.

The fragrance is cool in tone throughout, having the expansive clarity of the mint, along with the violet leaf, to back up the lemony brightness. At times the scent felt inspired by a gin and tonic because of the slightly astringent juniper which lurks around the edges of the fragrance and the frankincense in the background feels a bit like the bubbles of a carbonated beverage bursting in your nose.

Run of the River is a truly joyful scent, the laughter of a stream, bottled.

This fragrance leans a little more towards the stereotypically masculine end of the spectrum – as citruses sometimes do – but could easily be worn by all genders.

The longevity of the scent was good, lasting to around mid afternoon before it faded. The sillage was more limited, seeming to go to under handshake distance.

Root of all Goodness

Listed notes (from Bloom’s website): bergamot, ginger, lemon, clary sage, hyssop, labdanum, amber, vetiver, leather.

Root of all Goodness opens with a gorgeous and seductive ambery wallow, brightened and invigorated by the pirouetting bergamot, which prances around the slower, denser notes like a ballerina. Of all the Parterre fragrances, this feels like the most complex and accomplished, a leathery, spicy, citrus concoction which exhibits skilled craftsmanship and intrigue.

There’s a lovely contrast between the lively, zesty citrus and the languid, unctuous resins underneath. The perfume is perfectly balanced between the two, one moment seeming more bright, and the next more comforting. A really compelling and wearable scent which shows facets of leather, lemon and a moreish woody undertone as it wears. It’s like putting on your favourite jumper on a crisp autumn day and heading outside protected from the cold. Lovely stuff!

Root of all Goodness heads more towards the stereotypically masculine end of the perfume spectrum. The sillage of the scent was good, projecting to just beyond handshake distance. The longevity of the scent was moderate, lasting to around lunchtime before it faded. It did last significantly longer on a blotting paper though, so maybe it was just our skin that ate it up.

The verdict

Based on their offering so far, Parterre aren’t going to win any prizes for novel and unusual note combinations, weird synthetics that smell like car interiors or dead goat, or wacky bottles. Instead, their intelligent line offers classical note combinations done well, with the novelty coming from the locally grown ingredients where possible. There’s something clean, wholesome and honest about the brand which it is very easy to like. The scents as a whole are robust and there is a clarity about the ingredients which makes you imagine that you can smell our cool English summers in them.

If this is British perfumery growing up, then maybe Dorset will become the new Grasse. We’re excited to see what happens next.

Buy it

The Parterre range is available at Bloom Perfumery London. Bloom very kindly provided us with samples of the range with no strings attached.

A Tribute to Edith is priced at £175 for 100ml EdP, and £120 for 50ml.

Run of the River is £160 for 100ml EdP, and £95 for 50ml.

Root of all Goodness is £160 for 100ml EdP, and £95 for 50ml.

Bloom also do samples of the range available on their website.

All three scents are also available via Parterre’s website.

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