Fragrance

By Liz Bekesz

Mass market fragrance certainly is …nice. It’s a pleasant, mostly non-offensive affair that prefers to blend into the crowd. Never one to be too risky, bold, or expressive, mass avoids the eccentric and the left of center and instead plays it safe. From one scent to the next, much of mass fragrance can become virtually indistinguishable, like a sad olfactory equivalent of Top 40 Radio. Citrus notes? Check. Vanilla, Tonka, or Amber? Check. Scantily Clad Bedroom-Eyed Celebrity Name as Brand? Check. The formula gets formulaic and suddenly, it seems the biggest differences among bottles are the bottles themselves.

Thankfully, there are still some passionate perfumers out there who live on the edge and take risks. There’s nothing boring about these scents!

Gorilla Perfume is a new brand from LUSH perfumers Mark and Simon Constantine; a father and son team who believe fragrance should be a work of art, rather than a product of mass marketing. Gorilla Perfume is their antidote to boring mass-market scents, and they hope it can be something bigger as well: an entire fragrance movement to get people excited about high quality perfume.

“Sadly, it seems to me that the industry seems lackluster and a lot of the creativity is stifled by marketing campaigns…potentially there is great scope for a “revolution” in perfume and the industry that drives it and LUSH, with its policy of simpler production, quality of ingredients, and innovation encourages this,” Simon Constantine explains. Fortunately, in addition to being the resident perfumer for LUSH, Simon is also head of the company’s creative buying team; as such, he is able to search the world for the best pure and natural ingredients, and then personally see how they are grown and harvested.

Gorilla Perfumes are quite a personal project for the Constantines, with each fragrance inspired and influenced by their emotions, music, travels and experiences. Each scent tells a story and captures a memory: tip-toe softly through the Mediterranean orange groves via Gorilla Perfume Orange Blossom, delighting in a heavenly honeyed air of joy that lifts the spirit and fills the soul.

Discover the passionate embrace of Gorilla Perfume Smell of Freedom, a complex construction of three spicy, citrusy, and woodsy fragrance layers, each one informed and inspired by experiences of freedom-seekers Simon met in his worldly travels. Finally, lose your inhibitions, throw all caution to the wind, and give in to unabashed carnal desire with Gorilla Perfume Lust, a potent and pure jasmine highlighted with rich florals and a soft woody base. These are just three examples from a collection that’s artful, unusual, inspired, and fun. (These guys actually bottled an interpretation of a thunderstorm in reverse in Gorilla Perfume The Smell of Weather Turning; sadly, it is only available from LUSH UK – shall we start a petition?)

With so many wonderfully intriguing new additions, Gorilla Perfume may push LUSH out of the “cult” beauty category and into the limelight. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, if it exposes the masses to more exceptional, unique, and creative scents – though what happens should the quirky alternative eventually prove to be the darling of the masses?

LUSH Gorilla Perfumes available at LUSH stores and http://www.lushusa.com

It could happen to Theme Fragrance creator, Elizabeth Morrison. This former full-time photographer sees herself as “an artist who creates with fragrance and visuals.” She wishes the celebrity fragrance trend would just go away, and also thinks “men should not be stuck with vetiver.” Like the Constantines, Morrison is in favor of a more personal approach to fragrance. She is also a foodie, and explains, “Being a foodie plays a big part of how I work – scents and flavors are all entwined.” She also finds inspiration from her world travels, as well as from her own Brooklyn backyard, where she cultivates flowers and bamboo.

Quirky, portable, and utterly adorable, Theme’s little roll-on oils have big personality. Amuse and Paisley too, are delicious gourmand creations, arriving chic and tassel-topped (hey oil…nice hat!). Amuse is a light-hearted confection of strawberry and vanilla that’s sweet, but not cloying – it lingers ultimately as a creamy, musky floral. Paisley too is a decadent chocolate-amber-patchouli delight (no, it’s not polite to nibble on your own arm while in public). Equally delicious are the sumptuous poette, a concoction of purple fig and berries that evokes a jewel-toned autumn; and the sparkling ayja, an effervescent floral with hints of spice and a slightly creamy edge. Prefer strolling on the wilder side? There’s olala, where ylang meets with resins and mingles with patchouli to make for one sexy, moody, and slightly naughty temptress. Still not striking a perfect match? Morrison has more Theme Fragrances, as well as a line of “modern-retro-vintage scents” called Melodie Perfumes.

With so many interesting, off-center fragrance options out there, surely there’s something just perfect for you. Why not discover that new scent – or even six – today?

That is, unless you’d rather just go on smelling “nice.”

Theme Fragrance available at http://www.themefragrance.com

Originally published December 2010
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