Today We’re Wearing Parterre

Who: David Bridger (DB) and Julia Bridger (JB), Co-founders of Parterre and Keyneston Mill, Dorset, a new fragrance brand with the largest botanic garden dedicated to scent and aromatics in the UK. The Mill gardens aim to grow and distill the key ingredients for the Parterre fragrance collection, in order to create a seed-to-scent ingredient experience for customers, who can walk among the plants and watch the distilling process in the Mill workshops. The Bridgers have surrounded themselves with a skilled workforce, including botanical experts from Kew Gardens and a perfumer who has made blockbuster fragrances for Chanel and others. It’s an exciting and bold new concept and it reinforces the vibe-of-the-moment, that British brands are where perfume innovation is thriving.

​DB. Today I am wearing Run of the River by Parterre. Originally this was my favourite during its development, because I naturally love citrus based scents. Run of the River smells of a variety of citrus ingredients, including bergamot, lemon thyme and bergamot mint and I can’t quite decide which ingredient stands out or that I prefer. There is violet leaf which cuts across the citrus, and also orange flower in the heart.

JB. Today I am wearing Root of all Goodness, one of our own perfumes which we launched last month. I wear a variety of perfumes. We are currently trialing two new perfumes for launch next year and we’re in an ongoing conversation with our perfumer, Jacques Chabert, who is refining and adjusting them, so we are regularly trying the latest iterations.

​DB. Run of the River was code-named ’Keyneston Mill’ during its development, and so I instinctively associate it with the river that runs past our small island near the house. There is a beautiful river bank on the island, and you can sit down and watch the river flow by. As a small contrast, I have always loved the orange flower within this fragrance and it reminds me of the Mediterranean.​

JB. I was drawn to The Root Of All Goodness as the frost was thick on the ground when I looked outside this morning. It’s is an earthy scent with vetiver in the base, and top notes of citrus and ginger so it is good for the soul on a bitterly cold day like today. It makes me feel warm but also invigorated.

DB. Julia and I are still relatively ‘new’ to the world of producing fragrances, but it is now, of course, central to our lives with the launch of Parterre. In the years since we conceived Parterre, we have worked on all aspects of creating fragrances – from designing the scented botanic gardens at Keyneston Mill, trying different plants for potential ingredients and then distilling them, sampling a wide variety of perfume ingredients and developing the fragrance with master perfumer Jacques Chabert. It has all been completely engaging and a lot of fun.

JB. Over the past few years while we have worked on the first Parterre perfumes, fragrance has become more and more central to our lives. We now breathe scent every day as we are continually distilling and reviewing the key note ingredients which we grow at Keyneston Mill, not to mention smelling the plants themselves in our crop fields and aromatic gardens.

DB. I have used a scent diffuser that pumps scent into the air for a number of years. This has been in my office and the living room, and I am sure many other places around the house. I try different combinations, and this week I tried a simple bergamot and frankincense combination which smelt fantastic for a Monday morning.

JB. Yes, we tend to use reed diffusers and steam diffusers. Candles tend to be for special occasions.

​DB. I don’t have a regular ritual for spraying perfume, because I live such a random day to day life. If it is a day to try a fragrance in development then I don’t put on a fragrance in the morning so that I can concentrate on the ones we might review later in the day. On other days, I put on one of our fragrances in development first thing in the morning so that I can see how it wears during the day. I also might wear an iconic fragrance, like a chypre from the 1920’s, so that I can stay in touch with the history of fragrance. Outside of perfume, I am constantly rubbing and shredding plants so that I can see how they smell. On a walk the other day I rubbed some cow parsley that had ‘gone over’ and it smelt interestingly spicy – a real find.

JB. I always start with a shower and I am very fussy about the scents of my shower gel and hair products I use. Thereafter I make a point of using unscented creams, lotions etc. so that whatever perfume I choose for the day is not competing with other scents. I may splash on a different perfume in the evening if we are going out and sometimes I use a pillow mist as I find that relaxing and sleep inducing.

​DB. In terms of unusual smells, I love the smell of our vetiver room! When we dry our vetiver ready for the distillation, it sits in a heated room for a number of days and the room bathes you in its glorious vetiver scent. This is not that weird. I think anyone would love the same experience.​

JB. I love the smell of decaying leaves in woodland.