The fourth fragrance from Parterre fuses a musky spiciness with the gathering evening to create The Hour of Dusk and Gold, a scent with its feet on the ground and its head in the clouds.
Angelica root, bay, nutmeg, wild carrot seed, orris, lavender, liquidambar (storax – a maple-like tree), vanilla, black pepper.
Nutmeg is one of those ingredients in perfumery that you either love or hate. Used judiciously it is warm, woody, and cosy, but too much and it becomes bitter, abrasive and irritating. Here it’s just about right, and a spritz of The Hour of Dusk and Gold first conjures the warm and comforting waft of nutmeg to roll from the skin. If your parents, or perhaps grandparents, ever gave you rice pudding as a child, with a generous grating of nutmeg on top, this is what The Hour of Dusk and Gold is likely to call to mind, at least at first.
Backing up the warmth of the nutmeg is something cleaner, more crisp – the bay perhaps – which gives a sense of air and space to the composition. It also tempers the warmth of the nutmeg slightly and more definitely stops the scent becoming overly gourmand in tone.
A milky liquidity hovers in the background, smoothing and calming any rough corners from the spicy nutmeg. It adds a luxurious, relaxing quality whilst not really being too noticeable. The cleverness here is the supporting characters which all serve to keep the nutmeg in line and whilst it is very present in the start of the scent, it doesn’t overbear or steal the show.
It isn’t easy to imagine how nutmeg and lavender will go together harmoniously, but here they very much do. As it ages, the fragrance seems to roll from the spicy nutmeg, towards the cleaner lavender. The lavender makes the nutmeg more floral, but the nutmeg makes the lavender more woody. It’s a rather beautiful marriage of notes that works perfectly.
Nutmeg and lavender both carry associations of calmness, relaxation, and ease. The result here is that the tone of the fragrance feels very measured, very gentle, nothing is forced or difficult and everything is flowing and in harmony.
A chalky orris tone lurks about in the background of the perfume, giving a dry feel which seems perfectly at home here. Whilst being relaxing, there is a sort of cleanliness about the fragrance too; it’s reminiscent of that post-bath feeling, skin all pink and powdered. The lavender enhances this at times, with a ‘clean laundry’ nuance, but delicately still, and remaining in proportion.
One of the nicest things about The Hour of Dusk and Gold is the sense of balance that the scent carries. Nothing dominates or becomes overpowering. This is continued in the base where hints of black pepper make their presence felt, but subtly, supporting the other spices and giving a gentle piquancy.
A mellow sweetness is infused throughout the wear of the scent, and it acts as an agreeable counterpoint to the spices, giving the composition an evenness, never becoming overwrought. Working particularly pleasantly with the nutmeg and black pepper, it also stops the lavender from smelling old fashioned and harsh.
There’s no doubting that The Hour of Dusk and Gold is a beautifully constructed, harmonious and detailed scent. It’s both pretty and comforting to wear. There is at least a potential downside though and that is the performance. The fragrance is very quiet and it doesn’t linger. Undoubtedly this won’t bother some people who will be charmed by its polite nature, but others will, for sure, be disappointed that this beauty doesn’t stay around longer.
There’s something charmingly Edwardian about The Hour of Dusk and Gold. Sure, the inspiration might have been an evening in Morocco, but to us it smelled more of an imagined Edwardian afternoon in summer, warm, bucolic, wholesome, badminton on the lawn and milk puddings for the children.
The other stuff
The Hour of Dusk and Gold is a quiet, personal type of fragrance. It’s elegant but doesn’t shout its presence at you – or people who come near you. It projection is limited to just beyond hugging distance or thereabouts. It’s the sort of fragrance you wear to please yourself, no-one else. As such, it would be ideal for wearing to the office, or on public transport, where it is considerate to not inflict your fragrance on others, even if it is delightful.
The longevity of the fragrance is limited – around two or three hours – so the question you have to ask yourself with this fragrance is does its genial beauty outweigh the limited projection and longevity?
We felt that this is a fragrance that would wear best in warm weather and the summer months. Whilst The Hour of Dusk and Gold smelled great in the cold, it also seemed less alive. Warm air seemed to suit it better, when it projected a little further from the body, and seemed to really come into its full beauty.
Although those of a more masculine persuasion could most definitely wear this scent, it felt to us that it fell more towards the feminine end of the spectrum although only just, it seems quite unisex. It feels like a very easy fragrance to wear, quietly humming away in the background whilst you go about the business of the day: unobtrusive, but delightful.
Parterre are based at Keyneston Mill in Dorset, UK. They grow, harvest and distil key ingredients in their perfumes themselves. The ingredients are processed at the optimum moment, before being sent to Grasse to be blended by master perfumer Jacques Chabert.
Read more about Parterre in our brand guide to them and the three fragrances they launched with – our favourite so far is the Root of all Goodness.
The Hour of Dusk and Gold is available from Bloom Perfumery London, where it is priced at £160 for 100ml EdP and £95 for 50ml EdP. Bloom very kindly supplied us with a no-strings-attached sample of this scent.
You can also buy The Hour of Dusk and Gold from the Parterre web boutique.