Gorilla Perfume at Lush

Tuca Tuca
Feminine and flirty violet perfume with violet leaf, cassie and vanilla to evoke memories of that first intoxicating crush.

Tuca Tuca starts off very hay-like, and from the start the violet is definitely present, but tinged with an overwhelming and astringent cinnamon/clove note. This seems a bizarre choice to me, considering how delicate violet can be. I want my violet brought out into the sunshine, not overshadowed with something as frightening as straight up cinnamon/clove oil. Fortunately, the addition of vanilla and vetivert helps to bring some semblance of smoky sweetness as it rapidly starts to dry down. In the space of mere minutes,  the beastly spice begins to dissipate into an impression of powder with a camphorous edge (mothballs anyone?) I say impression in the sense that its not a true powder, but some kind of chemical by-product of the mothball vapour. Jasmine isn't mentioned in the notes, but from subsequent perfumes, one could easily be convinced its been heaped into Tuca Tuca. As the scent hastens into the last stages, it does eventually come to rest as a faintly sugared, smooth violet, but unfortunately by the time it reaches this stage, there is zero sillage to propel it.
While its not a completely bad scent, it does lack a degree of care and patience. It stops short at the adrenaline stage, as if the creator couldn't wait to refine it, bottled it up and threw a price sticker on it. Unfortunately, its just too heavy-handed with all that spice and mothball vapour going on and feels rather harsh around the edges with jerky movements. Kinda like the cinematic difference between watching British TV with a sharp lens as opposed to American TV with a dreamy soft lens.

The trippy signature Lush scent of pine, patchouli and orange.

The Smell of Freedom
Opens with a fresh, herbal accord and reveals its complex, spicy and woody nature as it warms on your skin. It's a masterpiece of profound complexity and beauty.

A strong lemon-grass essential oil opening with a soapy quality to it. You could easily be fooled into thinking that this is a bar of Lush soap, in the scent of something reminiscent of the Christmas Eve Bubble Bar that came out in Dec '09. I searched desperately for the profound complexity in this fragrance, but kept coming back to that fictitious, vague bar of essential oil packed soap. Perhaps this is the aforementioned complexity, not being able to clearly distinguish where its going and who's jumped on for the ride. Lemongrass, Fire Tree Oil, Sandalwood, Neroli, Jasmine, Oudh.....theres definitely a buzz of activity in the ingredients, but no more profound than walking past a lush store and being hijacked by that familiar menagerie of soapy smells that waft out the door. In fact, this should probably be renamed "Lush". Daphne by Comme des Garcons did a pretty fine impression of the smell of a Lush store, but The Smell of Freedom absolutely nails it with its jumble of heavy essential oil ingredients. It veers towards the more masculine side, making it potentially difficult for a woman to wear, however, in the far drydown stage, it becomes softer and easier to wear (if you're that patient).

Carnal and sexy jasmine with an indolic character, floral notes and a soft, woody base.

Lust was the first of the samples I tried, not by choice mind you, it had leaked a few drops, but those few drops were enough to let me know there was a jasmine beast waiting to be unleashed.
Quite simply, Lust is a raging hot mess of jasmine on steroids. When I first sniffed, I reeled back as if smacked in the face and my eyes felt as if they wanted to water in defense. Theres the familiar camphor vapour shared by Tuca Tuca, which seems to amplify the already out of control jasmine with the buttery sweetness of vanilla wrapped around it to make it a tad more bearable. I wish I could say the vanilla saved the day, but its just not enough to restrain the heavy jasmine beast which is thumping on at full speed. Drying down, I'm hoping that the vanilla becomes more prominent, but its that persistent camphor vapour that ruins it all and at this point I have to wash it off.
The verdict? Scrubber. (Scrub hard!)

Orange Blossom
Fresh orange blossom and neroli perfume, with honeyed and woody notes, that smells like a distilled Mediterranean moment.

If you love your Neroli straight up- Orange Blossom is going to make your day. As you can already guess, its Neroli full-on at the opening, true neroli essential oil mind you, not the chemical stuff. The honey is restrained and has been added lightly to stave off any untoward indoles that could potentially spell "cat pee" for this scent and render it unwearable. However, those with 'cat pee' sensitive noses might still find it too much and not be able to get past it. It hovers from start to finish, adding just a touch of sweetness to round the heavy oils out. Instead of Jasmine, Ylang Ylang is the supporting actress, another wise choice that again is well behaved and doesn't claw her way to the front or clash too hard with the honey. Just a touch of sandalwood to warm it up, and there you have it- Orange Blossom. I wouldn't say it conjures images of the Mediterranean, it comes off too dense and is in need of a lift with something brighter to evoke a Mediterranean atmosphere. Certainly not distilled- rather, stewed. Not a terribly inspiring or original scent, but wearable albeit amateurish and unimaginative.

 Imogen Rose
 Inspired by Simon’s daughter, Imogen Rose is an exquisite rose perfume with dry vetivert notes and a powdery amber accord.

Harking back to Tuca Tuca's opening, Imogen Rose bursts upon the scene with an immediate intensity of hay/straw. This time I have to pull back a bit to let it scatter into the air a bit, as it starts to catch in the back of my throat. Thankfully, it wears off within the space of a minute or so, and the rose ascends to the top of the staircase like a debutante making her grand entrance. As she glides down the stairs to the tune of  "To all the Girls I've Loved Before", she is accompanied by a smoky gentleman of vetivert on her arm, setting the scene for a surprisingly romantic, yet innocent rose scent. The drydown is rather swift, and before long the prescribed amber accord brings a soft, almost gourmand, powdery sweetness to the composition that reminds of the far drydown stages of Tabu. As I am sampling from a vial, I am doubtful of the sillage and its staying power- however this could simply be a matter of limited application- it may very well last longer with a few full sprays. I do struggle to add more depth to this review, but thats all pretty much all there is too it. Its not a knockout and its not going to change your life. Its polite, pretty, approachable and an easy to wear fragrance (if you can look past that unfortunate rabbit hutch opening). Lush lovers of rose scents will be very happy with this ethically pleasing and openly sentimental fragrance. It feels like they put a lot of care into this one and I have to say, it is a lovely tribute.

The sweet and sensual vanilla perfume with floral and smoky notes.

The Smell of Weather Turning
The fragrance plays a trick of staging a thunderstorm in reverse. It opens with the fresh feeling of rain on greenery after the clouds have passed and develops a darker, smokier character as it warms on your skin. In the final stages, the smell of sweet hay and woods.

Weather Turning starts off with an effervescent minty burst, surrounded by a fresh grassiness. A concealed suggestion of wet earth lurks beneath, and for some reason the combination at this stage gives off an impression of wet, earthy onion grass. The grassiness is well behaved and given its overuse in Tuca Tuca and Imogen this is an unusual but welcome, show of restraint and carefulness. A few minutes into it and the mint is really starting to warm up, astringent and bracing but as as it reaches its eye-watering climax, it suddenly transforms into smoke. Chimney smoke to be exact. I dont know how smoke fits into a thunderstorm, but if you can imagine billows of dark stormy clouds gathering, I guess it finds a parallel visual translation. 10-15 mins after application its all chimney smoke with an undercurrent of mint vapour and I am left with the feeling that I've been given a slice of cake, but none of the icing.
I wonder if this is it, and make myself a cup of coffee. By the time the jug is boiled, I give it another go, and the black smoke has moved on and it is now a transparent gray, smoky haze. Unfortunately, the sillage is minimal at this point and I am having to rub my wrist under my nostrils to get at it. As it wears down even more, the smokiness has almost vanished, and we are down to the last dying stages of Tuca Tuca. Barely a whisper of powdery sweetness, then.....gone.
I get the impression they took their time with this one, and put a lot of thought into it. Its an amusing scent, but Im undecided as to if I would willingly canvas it on my body. While smoke is an interesting note in perfume, I dont want to be 'that girl' who smells like a bonfire.


semireformedbadgirl said...

Wonder if it's Cade Oil in The Smell of Weather Turning that is used in the solid shampoo soak and float?

The Perfume Genie said...

You could be onto something there- in fact now that you mention it, Snake Oil has the same smoke-scent.

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