I’m always crushing on something scented or other. My nose knows no limits. Candy Crush is where I showcase the beautifully scented things I’m crushing on right now so you can hopefully develop a crush too.
Do you ever have those days when you feel completely blissed out? Where there is not a care in the world and you feel great simply being alive? Well I do and I recently experience a wonderful day like this. It was the morning after the Fragrance Foundation Awards, at which Nick and I picked up our Jasmine Innovation Award for Fume Chat, so as you can imagine, on that morning after I was feeling, shall we say, ‘delicate’. But I have found that there is no hangover that can’t be sorted by a strong cup of Earl Grey so heading to Waterloo train station for a very special, early morning trip, I had myself sorted.
That trip was to Keyneston Mill in Dorset – the home of the very special Parterre fragrances. Now, if you haven’t heard of Parterre, you are missing out. With this brand, the name says it all and it simply means ‘of the earth’ and that’s because Parterre grows materials that are harvested and used in their fragrances. That may not sound that unique, after all, CHANEL does the same, but one must remember that this is all happening in England (a country not known for growing much perfumery-related) and for their first collection of fragrances Parterre has grown, harvested, distilled and used pelargonium, bergamot mint and vetiver. That’s right, vetiver, grown in England, not India, not Haiti, but England, of all places! I told you they were special!
At Keyneston Mill they grow these fabulous materials, harvest them and distil them before sending them to perfumer Jacques Chabert in Grasse, who composes them into fragrances. As you can imagine, there’s an ephemeral quality to this concept because the amount of fragrance made depends on the harvest and there’s no guarantee that these materials will be grown again, so it makes the fragrances feel extra special and each one comes in a numbered edition to highlight this. Currently there are three in the collection; A Tribute to Edith (a gorgeous, jammy rose that is a tribute to Edith Piaf’s La Vie en Rose and of course, my favourite because rose), Run of the River (a beautifully fresh citrus and mint inspired by the river at Keyneston Mill), and Root of All Goodness (an earthy, spicy fragrance featuring English-grown vetiver – I still cannot get over that). They are elegant, well-made fragrances that have an extra special feeling to them due to the
Anyway back to my blissed out day at Keyneston Mill. We arrived and ogled at the most beautiful Wisteria before donning wellies (it was a sunny day, they were not needed for anything other than instagram posing) and taking a tour around the gardens. There really was so much to look at and sniff. They have a number of collection gardens which showcase the plants they are growing as well as bigger fields for the actual crops. The flower garden was full of pelagorniums, magnolia and much more, but there is a fougere garden and a herb garden too. There’s even poly-tunnells filled with citruses and ferns, and a giant trellis ready to explode with jasmine flowers. There’s so much to explore and smell!
As we walked around the garden we would occasionally get to smell some of the materials that have been extracted at Keyneston Mill. My favourite was the cistus labdanum, which we smelled on the plant, but then in the bottle too. The warm, gauzy aroma was just so heavenly on this soft, summer’s day, I felt as if I was caught in a dreamy haze as I walked around sniffing it. Now I’m very excited to see what fragrance Parterre puts this labdanum into…
The fragrance brand actually feels like a small part of what happens at Keyneston Mill. This place is a destination. Did I mention that it is the largest aromatic garden in the UK? It boasts acres of beautifully fragrant botanicals and workshops are offered to help bring these things from the Earth in to the minds of the visitors. The focus is on education as much as it is experience, which is refreshing. There’s also a wonderful cafe here (The Scented Botanist) – a cafe that serves the fanciest lunches and cakes I’ve ever seen in a place such as this. They also hold events like cocktail parties AND they even have an open air cinema in the summer where they project movies onto the sail of a yacht. Super cool!
I know that this will not be my last trip to Keyneston Mill. It’s two hours outside of London by train and situated in a gorgeous part of the country. It is a feast for the senses – beautiful to look at, immersive to smell, and it tastes great, well the food they serve there does anyway. After a stressful and busy few weeks, I felt like a day of walking around in the sunshine and sniffing gorgeous things was just what I needed and perhaps, it’s what you need to. I consider Parterre @ Keyneston Mill a Candy Crush because it’s an absolute must-visit for perfume lovers. Maybe I will see you there, all blissed out and happy – until then, enjoy some photos of my trip below.
A Tribute to Edith – (£120/50ml £175/100ml EDP)
Run of the River – (£95/50ml £160/100ml EDP)
Root of All Goodness – (£95/50ml £160/100ml EDP)
Find more details on Keyneston Mill, including how to visit @ parterreatkeynestonmill.com.
Trip via Parterre @ Keyneston Mill.