The thing that is very enticing about Union is that every single ingredient is located in Britain. It’s all very well to be pumping out Lavender or Bluebell fragrances to evoke the British countryside, but when your ingredients are sourced in France or Spain, it’s only a trick of the nose that makes you think of Britain. Your nose can’t tell where the ingredient came from, but the economy can, and come to think of it, your carbon footprint can.
Union’s first four offerings are a mixed bag of Britain. On the one hand, Quince, Mint & Moss is a lush green fragrance with a tangy twist rounded with earthiness. It’s very usual and rather lovely. Gothic Bluebell is, in my view, just disturbing; a bit like madly fancing someone but loathing them at the same time. Head and heart don’t work in synch with Gothic Bluebell. It’s skin, earth, ivy and finally flowers. Really, you have to try. My favourite, Holy Thistle, is the most evocative of all the scents and is utterly beautiful. Yes, you could very well be on a moor surrounded by grasses, heather and thistles on a fresh and sunny day. I get that, and I don’t usually get it with scent unless it is blindingly obvious. This isn’t obvious, but stirs the memory. Anyone who has ever tramped a Scottish hill will recognise something in Holy Thistle. Finally, to Celtic Fire. It’s vile; utterly horrid. Everyone says this is the ‘Marmite’ fragrance and that would be because it’s got Marmite actually in it. Apparantly, I was one of only two people who didn’t like it.. but I so severely didn’t like it, I refused to even give it a second go. Bleugh. Luckily enough, creator, Anastasia Bozler, thought this was hilarious.
The lengths Union has gone to to get the ingredients they wanted within their strictly British parameters is extraordinary. Bluebells, for example, aren’t grown commercially (previous bluebell fragrances are hommages rather than the real thing) and are highly delicate. Picking two or three bells from each stem wearing white gloves was actually what happened to gather enough to extract oil. Such extraordinary attention to detail is what makes Union special.
It goes on sale mid-June (for £125) at Selfridges and also at www.unionfragrance.com