As a die-hard fragrance nerd it’s difficult not to love Gorilla Perfume, the fragrant arm of those smelly bath purveyors Lush. For one, they march to the beat of their own drum, drawing inspiration from subjects as varied as Thai Ladyboys and Italian showers. But perhaps most importantly they are an outfit that champions that old idiom “It’s all about the juice”, caring first and foremost for the perfume above bottles and marketing.
This passion for perfume has allowed Lush to birth a line of beautiful, surprising and sometimes downright-wacky fragrances that challenge one’s notion of what constitutes a scent as much as they serve to inspire and foster a life-long love for all that is perfume. It sounds corny but it is brands like Gorilla Perfume that are the reason why I love perfume, when there is so much to be cranky about they have the ability to restore one’s faith in perfume and make one smile with a single spritz. You gotta love that Gorilla!
Late last year Gorilla Perfume launched 12 new fragrances (that’s right -12) under a new collection entitled ‘Volume 2’. The overall look of this new collection feels like a shift in direction for Gorilla Perfume and I’d say the scents themselves follow suit. There seems to be less focus on the cartoonish hijinks of the past and greater emphasis on a more mature approach – dare I say that our Gorilla may have grown up?!
I was sent a few of these new scents to try and today I’d like to share with you my thoughts on two of the most intriguing; Furze and The Voice of Reason.
“A furze bush near your homestead will protect from curses and hexes. A friendly looking shrub, its yellow flowers smile at you like little suns. Walking across windy moors where they grow in gleeful abundance, they seem to nod their golden heads in greeting, shining brightly even on the greyest of days.”
Gorse, Vanilla, Mimosa and Coconut
How Does it Smell?
Furze is my personal favourite of the four new Gorilla’s I have tried (reviews of the other two will be up next week). It is inspired by gorse, the thorny evergreen shrub that is common in the UK (although I must admit that I’ve never knowingly come across it). As expected from a fragrance inspired by a bush, Furze is incredibly crisp and green from the outset. It has a vegetal dewy-ness to it that feels as if it is bursting with minerals and purity.
The first half hour or so is an essay in photo realism. One can picture the cool, nature-filled air of a florists as one inhales the calming aroma. With time Furze moves away from the refreshing nature of the stems and the leaves to the sweetness of petals and pollen. It slowly becomes creamy and sweet with vanilla, tinged by the dusty perfume of violet petals. Compared to the opening this almost edible quality appears to have come from nowhere but the reality is that the transition is so seamless that it slowly creeps up on you.
In the base vanilla and coconut take precedent, making for a dreamy, plush finish that despite being a little bit tasty is done with such a steady hand that Furze never loses touch with the noble shrub from which it draws inspiration. This dichotomy of nature and the ever-so-slightly gourmand makes for an interesting mix because it never feels entirely plucked from nature nor entirely edible. Furze sits somewhere happily in the middle where both worlds overlap to create something entirely new.
“In the basement café, tucked over on the wrong side of town where the tourists won’t wander…the walls are throbbing. The beat, all-pervading, all invading, entrances the dancers. The band plays to back up the bard who’s pontificating, through the air, smoke laden, and the hep cats supplicating. Above the squawks and the steam of the coffee machine, over the chatter and patter of the crowd who are gathered. We are The Voice of Reason.”
Sandalwood, Buddhawood, Coffee, Cigarettes and Rose
How Does it Smell?
Now a notes list that contains “sandalwood, buddhawood, coffee, cigarettes and rose” most definitely piques my interest and it would be safe to say that The Voice of Reason is most definitely an interesting perfume. As Gorilla Perfume puts it, The Voice of Reason is inspired by “the talkers and bards, Leonard Cohen, Gil Scott-Heron, Alan Ginsberg, the Beat poets, the ones who spoke for us” and with names like that being thrown around one can expect something good.
The Voice of Reason represents a multitude of sounds through a cacophony of smells. All at once it smells like; leather, smoked ham, cigarette ash, barbecue sauce and rum. It is both savoury and sweet and constantly swirls like a wheel of fortune, stopping briefly on each facet before continuing with its constant, frenzied motion.
As a shapeshifter, The Voice of Reason never really seems to settle in to anything specific. Even in its final moments it portrays its many nuances, albeit in a more subdued fashion. Like the ‘bards’ it intends to evoke it feels slightly tortured, and as with all great musicians it is the imperfections and the turmoil that makes for the best music, or in this case the best smells.
I will happily say that The Voice of Reason is a wonderful and unique perfume that you should definitely seek out. That said, I don’t like it and it is not something that I would wear. On me the barbecue sauce aspect is too prominent and instead of making me crave a hot dog it sends me straight for the Brillo pads. On paper though, it is wonderful and you would be silly not to road test it yourself.
Both Furze and The Voice of Reason are available in 7g, 25g, 28g, 43g, 46g and 92g Eau de Parfum from Lush stores and Gorilla Perfume online. Prices range from £10-£100.
PR Samples. Quotes, Notes and Images via Gorilla Perfume.