Union fragrances - review
I have absolutely no recollection of how and when these samples came to my possession and it took me a long while to actually get around to trying them as I actually had forgotten I had them. Back in 2012 when they were first launched there was a big hype and they were sold out in Selfridges where they were exclusively sold as they were advertised – and truly are - unusual and unconventional perfumes with materials sourced from the four corners of the British Isles– and life.
The nose who worked on the fragrances is Anastasia Brozler who scoured the countryside for the most beautiful ingredients, gaining access to some of the country’s oldest private estates in her relentless search for the finest single notes that Britain has to offer. The resulting four fragrances are of singular and outstanding beauty – unique and yet strangely familiar to both residents and visitors acquainted with the magnificence of these sceptred isles.
Cnicus Benedictus or the Holy Thistle has been cultivated for its medicinal qualities for centuries. The perfume features notes of bay leaf, pine tree, fern and thistle.
Thistle is a very common sighting in Greece especially in the summer where in the countryside you can see endless fields filled with them – not intentionally though as it’s considered a weed. They have a very distinctive scent that in this perfume, for me, is very apparent and beautifully combined with the subtle bitterness of bay leaves and the green aromas of pine and fern. Having visited Scotland I must say it does reflect the wild landscape of the Scottish Highlands but for me it is the scent of summer, yellow harvested fields and open spaces.
Celtic Fire has top notes of oak, balsam fir and pine needles; middle note of fern; base notes are birch, myrtle and peat. The fens of County Derry provide the rich and smoky peat that is the inspiration for this scent and it really is a powerful one. It opens with the smell of actual fire, red hot and consuming, melting asphalt and rubber. The use of Marmite in the notes was ingenious as the salty – yeasty sensation brings the fire down a little and helps it transform into an ashy slow burning woody scent that lasts on your skin at least a couple of days. Not for the faint hearted and definitely for the ones that want to make a statement with their scent.
Quince Mint & Moss has top notes of mint, juniper berries and petitgrain; middle notes are thyme and sage; base note is moss. The quinces hail from Somerset, and sit at the heart of this fragrance, sweet, tart and juicy at the same time surrounded by the herbs, berries and mint. It’s the sweetest of all perfumes with a jam like quality, edible and fresh, vibrant and playful and it dries down to a lovely earthy skin scent thanks to sage and oakmoss that give it that moist refreshing scent the earth has after heavy rainfall.
Gothic Bluebell features hyacinth, narcissus, violet leaf, ivy, oak and bellflower and it’s my favourite of all 4 fragrances. The first time I saw the bluebells in spring I was mesmerized and spent hours walking among them as they were blooming in the depths of a forest like laying a carpet for fairies and other magical creatures. It’s simple but multi-layered and yet dark; deep green violet leaf from Devon and ground ivy from the enchanted woodlands of Dorset add a surprising depth to the fragrant bluebells as they are blended with the other flowers and enhance the woody – forest like feeling the fragrance evokes. An absolute masterpiece.