Voice of Reason

One of Gorilla’s fragrances is called the Voice of Reason, it was inspired by smoky beat bars that played raspy spoken word mixed jazz music until the early morning hours. With undertones of french cigarettes, strong coffee, and earthy sandalwoods, the fragrance is as unique as the music it sets to represent. The one track that encompassed the feeling of this scene was Gil Scott Heron’s I’m New Here. The lyrics are poetic. Give it a whirl.

 

“And I’m shedding plates like a snake
And it may be crazy but I’m
The closest thing I have
To a voice of reason”
-Gil Scott Heron

The Gorilla Perfumers are up to something…

Gorilla comic book cover

Not King Kong.

The Gorilla Perfumers have been busy in the lab again and new perfumes are around the corner. There is much more afoot, however, and the upcoming Lushfest will be a really unique showcase for some amazing new creativity. Head on to our Facebook page for your chance to win tickets or keep an eye on there and this blog for photos, updates and reports from the festival.

All will be revealed soon…

Lushfest is happening on the 7th and 8th of July in Dorset, UK.

Smelly concert?

Concert invitation

Don't you just want to touch that CUTE nose?

Lush Korea are about to have an ambitious event – they will magic up a kind of fantasy Carnaby Street-cum-Lush festival in Seoul – with live music, stalls and the full Gorilla perfume gallery experience to boot. They’ve entitled the event a ‘Smelly Concert’ which, of course, will induce no end of titters in any native English speaker, but will probably exceed all of our expectations of a truly modern day out.

I’m going there as the guest from our perfume department and really can’t wait to see what it will be like! If you happen to be anywhere near Seoul on the 29th and 30th of April, join us!

Pia

Sea Breeze

The words ‘be careful what you wish for’ sprung to mind today. I have been back in the labs sporadically since the beginning of the year, mostly creating product perfumes (yes it’s already time to make xmas products again!). However, I have had one burning desire to create a fragrance inspired by the sea. Not one of these ‘aqua’ or ‘marine’ style mens’ sports deodorants but an authentic smell of the sea. If you couple this with too much time reading Heston Blumenthal recipes you quickly get to a chemical called dimethyl sulfide. I read somewhere on the internet (uhoh!) that this is the material most commonly associated with the sea. It’s a chemical produced in digestion by plankton. Its also the smell of rotting death. When the sample turned up Agnes had to wrap it in a plastic bag, inside a black pot just to keep it in the same room.

I hadn’t realized quite how poky a scent it could be. In concentration its like decomposing onions cooking in cabbage. I actually recognized the gagging stench as that of durian fruit, the south east asian fruit synonmymous with love hate reactions. Apparently elephants can smell it from half a mile away, I’m not surprised. Anyway, I decided to dilute it and put the remaining concentrated stuff in the loo, by an open window, inside several sealed containers. The final joke was on Rowena who opened it this morning thinking it was handcream, her nose is the most sensitive of anyone I have ever met and so she stormed into the lab furious and repulsed having had a nose full of it. Smell of the sea is on the back burner for now : )

Simon

Grasse

trainers

Our trainers in training with one of the Lush founders and the global training manager.

We’ve had a busy couple of months with the Dirty launch and other projects! Mark and Simon are back in the lab and we’re all hoping for something new and exciting for later this year. Meanwhile, Lush as a whole has been redesigning its training system and a handful of strong candidates from different parts of the business have been appointed to the new role of a trainer-in-training. (Yes, that’s a mouthful. A whole bunch of us have been saying train-the-trainers over and over again for a while now so we’re used to it).

The training course they’re still in the middle of is pretty intense – nine weeks of first-hand practical experience, time with our founder-inventors, and their support staff, as well as some pretty tough exams – and very exciting trips! Below is Simon’s account of his trip to Grasse with our new trainers. Agnes is our essential oils buyer and Simon’s travel companion on many trips to visit our suppliers.

Train the trainers trip

I first visited Grasse in February, 2004. It was my first trip to the heart of French perfumery and the first trip I ever made with Agnes, our essential oils buyer. It lay the foundations for almost every other trip that I have been on with Agnes. She brought too much luggage, she talked the whole time and she wore the wrong shoes!

Our visit was the first step on a road to educate ourselves on perfumery and the world of essential oils and aromatic ingredients. It’s quite surreal to think that in these seven years we have literally scoured the globe visiting tribesmen on remote pacific islands, smugglers in south India (and more besides) to understand as much as we could about ‘the trade’.

Being back in Grasse was fantastic, much more so than I expected. We were accompanied by trainers from around the Lush world, all of whom were eager to learn as much about perfumery as we could teach them. And so what better place to start than the south of France? Blooms of bright yellow mimosa flowers stretched up into the hills as we arrived in the small town of Grasse. Our first stop was the International Museum for Perfumery (Museé International de la Parfumerie). They have made a great effort to make perfumery and ingredients the centre of the museum, complete with provençal and tropical gardens with ylang, vetivert, orange flower and lavender plants to see and touch. As an ingredients ‘freak’ , as one of our suppliers phrased it, I loved it!

The next day Agnes had arranged for us to make a trip to visit Jean Françoise. Jean Françoise is considered one of the best distillers in the industry. He, and his family have grown and distilled oils in the region for generations and he is the man entrusted to grow and distil Chanel’s Rose de Mai, a fine quality rose oil only grown in Grasse.

Here all the trainers were given a lesson in how the distillation process works both for essential oils and then on to the solvent extraction of absolutes. To me these are vital processes but very difficult to describe, so being fortunate enough to have one of the worlds finest talk us through it was the ultimate classroom experience! In fact he was just in the process of extracting some vanilla absolute for us to use in our products.

It was a real pleasure to re-visit where it all began and to have the opportunity to enthuse others with a passion for perfumery and ingredients that we have.

Simon

Check back tomorrow for Simon’s sea air experiment…

Filling the World With Perfume: podcast

Pia LongJust as I would never expect to win the Lotto (though it’s nice to dream about it), I certainly didn’t expect to become so involved in the perfumery business. Of course I hoped that something like this would happen one day and worked hard to make it happen, but being part of the Lush family and so busy with the Gorilla Perfume project with Mark and Simon has been exactly like winning the Lotto for me. I still can’t quite believe it.

I am delighted when I can help someone find the right fragrance for them; get someone to really become conscious of their sense of smell; to awaken them to the somewhat unappreciated art-form of perfumery. Not to mention how wonderful it is to learn about the actual raw materials and the secret formulas behind it all!

Esther from our Lush Media department has been working on an intimate series of podcast interviews, looking at different aspects of our business and interviewing people who are normally considered support staff for our senior co-founders and product creators. Today we’ve published “Filling the World With Perfume” – when Esther and I sat down and talked about the topic of perfume for a while. Have a listen!

Pia

We had a hoot in New York City!

Simon at the door

Simon waiting for the show to kick off

Touring with the Gorilla gallery is not too unlike touring with a band. All the equipment and the set have to cross continents and deliver the same experience regardless of location. The team works hard behind the scenes – hectic preparation backstage, nerves, laughter; late nights. It’s all there.

This is fitting since the idea for the brand was born in a conversation Mark and Simon had in Canada – about making a series of new scents, like one might release singles and an album. The music idea never went away and now we’ve even got an actual cover version of the famous Italian pop song playing in Ibiza nightclubs.

Even though North American Lush has its own factory, all the fine fragrances are handmade in Poole, Dorset, UK. Trying to estimate how many are needed is always tricky and shipping everything over in time is scary to say the least. When you think of a perfume factory, your mind probably conjures up images of shining stainless steel vats and production lines. Nothing could be further from the reality of how our perfumes are made. There is a handful of skilled compounders working their little butts off, hand-mixing every single batch of fragrance, hand-filling the bottles and even the tiny samples, sticking on the labels and handling the packing and export, too.

The fact we’ve pulled off such a huge launch seems close to miraculous!

Condom machine for the Dirty room

Backstage: condom machine for the Dirty room. That seems awfully seedy...

Charlotte travelled from the UK a couple of days in advance to prep and train the ‘storyteller’ team. Meanwhile, Katie and Jo (the duo behind the gallery exhibit interpretations of Mark and Simon’s perfumes) built the set with the help of our North American Design team.

When the gallery opened its doors to the press on the evening of 22nd of September, we were all excited and hopeful that our efforts would be well received.

And boy, were they! Below is a selection of what visitors from that night had to say:

The sociable and entertaining nature of the event was a good fit for the Lush Gorilla Perfume line, where perfumer Mark Constantine and his son Simon weave their personal stories into the stories of the perfumery raw materials. The result is product images with a remarkable depth and texture. Avery Gilbert, author of What The Nose Knows.

To call Lush’s entrance into the perfume biz grand would not be an overstatement—the handmade cosmetics giant just launched its very own fragrance house with not one, but ten thoughtfully conceived scents. Style.com

NY readers, before you even begin reading this post, I want you to stop what you are doing and run, don’t walk over to 54 Crosby Street in SOHO, where LUSH is throwing one heck of a fragrance party. Kraseybeauty

I was, and still am, pretty much over the moon. The event itself…went down like a museum exhibit of sorts, or like select scenes from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. You know, where the president’s talked about how great water slides and ice cream are? LUSH took on volunteers from within their various stores and taught them the stories behind the perfumes in the line, which the storytellers then repeated for the guests as they came in and out of the thematic rooms of the gallery. My favorite room was the one they set up for a perfume called The Smell of Weather Turning, which was inspired by a witch, a musician, and a dream. This scent is comprised of English peppermint, hay absolute, and new oakwood. It’s intense and amazing. BUST magazine

On the 23rd, we had the lovely Sniffapalooza group join us at 54 Crosby and one of the visitors was the editor of Perfume of Life, another good gathering place for perfumistas. Her full description of the event is a good read. The gallery was open to the public for the first time that day and as Brandi, the NA PR manager predicted, evenings were our busiest time. “New Yorkers go out after work,” she said, and we saw the evidence.

Gallery map front

Gallery map front

Gallery map inside

Gallery map inside

Were you there? What did you think?

Feedback postcards after day 2

Feedback postcards after day 2

Visitor comment

Visitor comment

Visitor comment

The touring perfume gallery will make three more stops. We’re preparing for Japan and Russia next!