- •Contact us
- •About us
- •Advertise with the FT
- •Terms & conditions
© The Financial Times Ltd 2013 FT and 'Financial Times' are trademarks of The Financial Times Ltd.
July 20, 2012 7:16 pm
As the celebration of all things British continues this summer, the fragrance fraternity have got in on the act with Union: the first perfume brand dreamt up, created, formulated, harvested and manufactured entirely in Britain.
Union will offer four scents: Celtic Fire, inspired by the fens of County Derry; Quince, Mint and Moss, both herbal and fruited, and reminiscent of arcane English fruits such as medlar; Gothic Bluebell; and Holy Thistle, which was sourced from the Kinrara estate on the banks of the river Spey.
The nose responsible, Anastasia Brozler, who has worked with fine fragrances for 20 years, says the perfumes were all “put together in our lab in St James’s and manufactured in Herefordshire”. Even the bottles – a modernist interpretation of the Union flag made of glass and brushed steel – were sourced and put together in the UK.
By comparison, Floris, another well-known British brand, may be manufactured in Devon but the ingredients are harvested and sourced from all over the world. It’s a similar story at Penhaligon’s – whose perfumes are also manufactured in Britain with ingredients sourced from around the world – and Jo Loves, the new brand from Jo Malone. But the will to stay British is still there, Malone adds: “Where possible we want to use British-based companies and retain or establish relationships here. I feel passionately that we need to support British industry and that the talent is here to be able to do that.”
According to Brozler, the Union team was motivated by the fact that a wholly UK-based scent had never been made before. It had nothing to do with, say, French ingredients not being acceptable, just a general patriotic urge. “The UK’s indigenous ingredients are just not available in the perfumer’s palate, yet they have been celebrated in art and literature for hundreds of years,” she says.
However, creating a completely British scent was not a simple task. Brozler and the brand’s founders (who wish to remain anonymous but are a conglomerate of businessmen from around the country) travelled to some of the natural wilds of the UK, from the peat bogs of Ireland to highland moors and the mountains of Snowdonia, to seek out interesting – both typical and recherché – ingredients for these four perfumes.
“The combination of the notes came naturally from their landscapes,” she explains. “Thistles surrounded by great Scottish pines and sweet heather, peat and bog myrtle, blue hallucinating ground ivy among a sea of bluebells – and we have even used a little bit of Marmite in Celtic Fire. With some of the most beautiful flora in the world, it is astonishing how few plants have been extracted for olfactory purposes in Britain,” says Brozler. “When we came to put the scents together, we found that we just couldn’t buy the ingredients and so had to source and harvest each ingredient individually – a very expensive but rewarding experience.”
The four Union perfumes are being sold in Selfridges (tel: 0800 123400) and cost £125 for 100mls.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2013. You may share using our article tools.
Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.