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  Parterre Fragrances

The English Meadow

25 October 2018

Visitors to our Sidmouth shop often ask the provenance of our perfumes, noting the dominance of French and Italian houses on our shelves. "Have you no English perfumes?" they ask. Well, as a matter of fact we do: we have Grossmith of London (founded in 1835 and relaunched in 2008), and we have Ruth Maestenbrooke, and then there's Mark Buxton, the British perfumer in the trio of perfumers behind Linari, and of course Chris Sheldrake is British and responsible for some of Serge Luten's greatest hits. But compared to the overwhelming preponderance of French and Italian perfume houses, hasn't England a rather poor showing?

We explain to our clients that the reason for this is that our climate is against us. With the exception of Yardley, who made his name promoting English (Norfolk) Lavender perfumes at the end of the nineteenth century (Norfolk lavender was always considered superior to French because the cooler climate made better oils), we have no tradition of growing the ingredients for perfumes; hence no tradition of making them. That stock answer, however, is about to change.

Parterre bottles
Product development
A new venture called Parterre is redefining our preconceptions. Parterre launched in October 2017. Working from a 50 acre estate in Dorset, England, Parterre sow, nurture, harvest and distil on site the key ingredients for their perfumes. And the results are astonishing. The cultivation of almost 2000 aromatic plants has been overseen with expertise from the Royal Horticultural Society, and after small batch distilation of the flowers when they have reached peak condition, the oils are then transported to France for blending. The inspiration behind each of the first three perfumes produced by Parterre is uniquely English, but it has been interpreted by Jacques Chabert, the top French 'nose' behind Chanel's "Cristalle" and Guerlain's "Samsara", among many others.

photo of jacques
Perfumer Jacques Chabert
We read in the press of the increasing success of the British wine producers of Kent who are creating sparkling wines to rival the French producers of premier cru Champagne. Well, it has just happened with perfume too. Parterre's first three perfumes are truly outstanding. They are in a class of their own and if you haven't visited the shop yet to get these under your nose, a special trip will not be unrewarded. Vibrant, deep and rich, capturing the very essence of the English meadows by the river, and of the locally cultivated flowers grown there that went into them, these perfume are truly an olfactory sensation. You can read more about this exciting range here, but better still, get down to Sidmouth this autumn; summer in the English meadow has been captured and preserved.

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What the paper's say

Since discovering Woodforde & Co in Sidmouth, I know where to go to find my perfect perfume. This charming emporium is located in Church Street and is run by husband and wife, Jon and Jane Brewer, both of whom have an encyclopaedic knowledge and an enthusiastic passion for perfumery.

Devon Today