Gorilla Perfume at (s)Lushfest 2012

A small child plays in the mud with his wellies on, holding a special Gorilla Perfume comic book created for the occasion by Plastic Crimewave

Fun in the mud!

Lushfest (affectionately nicknamed “Slushfest” due to the rain, wind and mud) was, amongst many other fabulous things, the launchpad for several new perfumes from Gorilla Perfume.

It was held at the Holton Lee site in Dorset from Wednesday 4th of July through to Sunday the 8th. This was the second Lushfest, and this year it was open to a limited number of external visitors (mostly friends and family but also a handful of competition winners and other lucky people who managed to get tickets). The public days were Saturday and Sunday. Other than a music festival and a general celebration of all things Lush, this could also be one of the world’s first “perfume fesvivals” – there were simply so many perfume events to see. If perfumers have recently begun crawling out of the woodwork and representing themselves as artists, one could say that Mark and Simon Constantine went a step further and made the launch of their perfumes more of a rock n’ roll thing.

A beautiful, haunting dead tree at the site for the Set in Stone stone circle

The site for Set in Stone.

On Thursday evening, Simon and his team had set up a stone circle up on a little hill by the campsite. Each of the stones were scented with one of Simon’s new perfumes, inspired by local history and landmarks. This collection of new perfumes is known as “Set in Stone” and features:

Hellstone: Inspired by an ancient burial mound known as the Hellstone. As described in lore written in 1803, the Devil himself flung this stone in place. The smell evokes unearthed roots and freshly turned earth and is accomplished using resinous, rooty and spicy smells like vetiver, cumin and beeswax.

Lord of Goathorn: Inspired by a small, uninhabited peninsula off the coast of Poole – and the fisherman who lived there and had his boats commandeered by smugglers who would then leave him bounty. The smell evokes the sea using seaweed, lime and basil.

Burning Rosemary: Simon visited Stonehenge on his 30th birthday and witnessed druids burning rosemary as the sun came up. This is the fragrance he created inspired by the smell of burning rosemary in the air. He used rosemary and cade oil to achieve this effect.

Furze: Simon liked the idea of creating an English equivalent of the French “fougere”; a new accord inspired by a native plant. The prickly furze bush smells a little like vanilla and coconut, so Simon created an accord from those two scents and made a beautifully addictive perfume. It was an instant hit at Lushfest!

Flower’s Barrow: Also known as Pines Hill, this Iron Age fort is said to have been taken over by the Romans and it’s said to be haunted. The fort is now sinking into the sea and nettles and brambles have taken over. Simon created a scent using sage, thyme, geranium and blackcurrant.

Live music performance at Set in Stone launch

The live music performance at Set in Stone launch

The Devil’s Nightcap: Based on one of the most mysterious megaliths in the town-place of Studland, this fragrance of oakmoss, clary sage and ylang ylang captures the magic of the stone that folklore says the Devil threw across the sea in an attempt to hit Corfe Castle.

We heard a live set from Simon Richmond and John Metcalfe from the Imagined Village and heard a talk by Paul Devereux. The weather favoured us during the evening – it had been raining all day Wednesday, and by Thursday lunchtime we were getting a little worried, but then the sun came out and our only problem was insect bites. Luckily there were bunches of rosemary burnt on the hill and the smoke scared some of the mozzies away.

Lushies smelling the scented stones

The porous stones were a wonderful vehicle for these very natural-smelling fragrances.

Everyone was absolutely blown away by the beauty of the new scents and the imaginative presentation of them. Many of us returned to the site on the following days to have some time with the circle. The stones have been left standing there and perhaps a thousand years from now someone will be wondering what they might mean.

Meanwhile, at the festival proper, two Gorilla Perfume tents held two different showcases for Mark and Simon’s perfumes. In the black tent, you could pop in to see a re-creation of the London Shoreditch perfume gallery and experience all of the fragranced rooms and stories.

There were a few hiccups due the rather extreme weather conditions on Saturday – the power went out three times (which meant the lights, tills, music tracks and other things didn’t work) but the team of perfume staff carried on through regardless, unflappably singing the Tuca Tuca instead of playing it from a recording; and hand-writing sales down on a soggy piece of paper.

The black tent with the Shoreditch gallery

This was the tent with the recreation of the London gallery, Paul’s bar and a surprise perfume by the tills.

Paul Tvaroh from Lounge Bohemia was on site with his magical molecular mixology and offered visitors cocktails inspired by Mark’s Hairdresser’s Husband cologne. Meanwhile by the tills, there was a surprise perfume called HQ = “The smell of a Lush shop in a bottle”, made especially for Lushfest.

Over in the yellow tent, one could take a walk through a new showcase featuring:

The Voice of Reason: Inspired by the Beat Generation and literary figures like William Burroughs, Neal Cassady, Gil Scott Heron and Leonard Cohen. The scent feels like you’ve just walked past a bar where something exciting is
happening and you get a waft of cigarette smoke, booze, perfume, books… the perfume includes notes of sandalwood and tonka bean. It may rival our famously moving Dear John in its ability to cause strong emotional reactions.

The yellow perfume tent, featuring The Voice of Reason, The Bug and Sun

The yellow perfume tent, featuring The Voice of Reason, The Bug and Sun.

The Bug: Inspired by the paranoia of the modern age (and a track by the same name), this perfume was introduced by walking people through a dark corridor full of clips from cctv footage and glowing uv-lights. The perfume contains galbanum and black pepper.

Sun: An uplifting, fresh and beautiful perfume by Mark, inspired by his need of sunshine and good vibes during dark days. The Sun evokes Mark’s trips to USA during springtime and features orange, tangerine and sandalwood.

There was going to be a merry-go-round outside for people to experience Euphoria in, but it would have sunk to the mud, not to be found again until the same people who will discover our abandoned stone circle will dig the site for bizarre archaeological curiosities about a 1000 years from now, so that idea was scrapped.

Bottles of Euphoria perfume on the vintage bus

The vintage bus was filled with an eclectic mix of bottles.

Euphoria was available on the Gorilla Bus instead. It is based on aromatherapy research and includes materials known to cause feelings of euphoria, such as clary sage, grapefruit, lime and neroli.

On Sunday afternoon, we were treated to a live gig from Sheema Mukherjee. Her last track was called “Sikkim Girls” – which also happened to feature in her last year’s set and inspired Mark and Simon to invite her to the lab and create an appropriately seductive scent.

Sheema told us the story of how she was warned to stay away from these “dangerous girls” by a cafe owner in Darjeeling. Apparently, despite having their faces covered, the Sikkim Girls had managed to seduce and steal away his son-in-law. He said “it was all in the hips” and Mark wanted to create a fragrance based on this concept and Sheema’s song. The resulting tuberose and frangipani fragrance is extremely beautiful, and, according to Sheema, the authentic smell of a Darjeeling flower market.

Dizraeli running with a molotov cocktail towards three blue cars on a field

“Wait, was that Dizraeli?”

Possibly the most unusual showpiece was the launch of two new incense products. Mark and Si appeared on stage after Dizraeli’s set and talked to us about the London riots and the Jasmine Revolution – and how they were personally affected by both of these and wanted to encourage people to burn incense, not cars. During this speech, Dizraeli was seen running towards us and to a group of cars on the field next to the stage. He threw a molotov cocktail at the cars and blew up the cars! The crowd hadn’t expected this and there was a general air of W…T…F-just-happened in the air.

The Gorilla perfume bus

The Gorilla perfume bus.

Everyone’s favourite perfume place to hang out was the retro bus, painted by Plastic Crimewave and styled inside by our design team gurus to look like the back cover of an old Jane’s Addiction album. An assortment of different bottles decorated with labels designed by Plastic Crimewave housed all of the new perfumes for people to buy.

There were long queues because the bus could only take a couple of people in at a time, but people didn’t mind waiting (the bus was inside the Village Hall tent and there was always some good music on).

All in all, it was a magical event – and to think that the perfume showcases only represented one part of the festival with many, MANY other exciting things going on – you almost have to wonder how it was even possible to pull it off! Hats off to everyone who made this happen and participated in any way. You’re all amazing.

There are lots of videos of Lushfest on our official Lush YouTube channel and we’ve got a metric tonne of photos of all these perfumes and events on our Facebook page.

Perhaps we’ll see the Gorilla bus in other locations soon?



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.

Ready for a Dirty weekend?

Dirty fragranceWe’re very excited to reveal the full new Dirty product range this weekend! There’s everything from toothpaste to fine fragrance and it all matches – in a new, clever way (if we say so ourselves).

Simon Constantine (Head Perfumer, Lush and Gorilla Perfume) decided to create a whole range of matching products—with a twist. He broke down the individual accords of the Dirty perfume and scented each product in the range with one of them. Starting with the Toothy Tabs, the Dirty guy can now get layered in a new and sophisticated way, building the scent back up again one product at a time. No more clashing product scents!

Dirty was one of the fine fragrances in Lush’s sister-brand B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful. Mark Constantine worked on the concept of guys who are too busy to always have a proper wash and might go for the ‘Italian shower’ option of spraying copious amounts of body spray under a worn t-shirt instead.

To cater for such lads, Dirty fragrance was born—an antidote to everything dirty and musty; its fragrance is minty, fresh, herbal and clean with a hint of sea air.

Mark also deduced that no matter how dirty a guy gets, he will at least brush his teeth before making love. Could mint therefore become an aphrodisiac?

Our customers have said that Dirty smells like ‘sexy guys’ so it seems that something is working…

P.S. Women have been known to borrow this perfume. This fragrance is definitely unisex!

Spring WashThe range

Dirty Toothy Tabs £2.00/9g
Dirty Spring Wash Shower Gel £4.25/100g, £8.50/250g, £14.95/500g
Dirty Shaving Cream £4.96/100g
Dirty Styling Cream £5.50/100g
Dirty Body Spray £12.50/180g
Dirty Perfume £2.00/2g, £9.00/9g, £20/27g
Dirty Solid Perfume £4.50/12g

The products are available in Lush stores nationwide and on our website now.


We’ve got a temporary home and some good news!

After a short hiatus from online retail we once again have a home – albeit a temporary one – where you can stock up on all the Gorilla Perfumes. There will be a new Gorilla website later this year and all the extras such as Perfumista Profiles will return.

To make things even sweeter, some long-awaited products are now available!

Many of the solid perfumes you have asked for have arrived. Find them in the B sides section.

The two halves of Breath of God, Inhale and Exhale, can now be bought separately in a new jojoba-based dropper bottle format. Those of you who visited any of our gallery exhibitions in London, New York or Tokyo will have seen them in the gallery pop-up shops.

We hope you enjoy these!

Simon: The Smell of Freedom part 3

One of Simon’s latest projects has been an olfactory portrait of three powerful people. The finished fragrance was unveiled this week at our olfactory event in London. Limited quantities of the perfume are available to buy at the show and the fragrance will be available at gorillaperfume.com from August. This free event runs until 18th of July so you can still make it, though spaces are limited.

Part Three: Oudh Heart

Our light and airy London office on Carnaby Street is a long way from Guantanamo Bay. Shoppers bustle by, Pret churns out paninis and lattes and we’re all sitting quietly in the office, waiting. The buzzer sounds and someone picks up the receiver. “Hi, its Reprieve”, the voice says over the intercom and the buzzer opens the ground floor door.

Reprieve provide free legal help to prisoners around the world  to secure each person’s right to a fair trial. In 2008 Lush first contributed to Reprieves work by taking part in their ‘Fair Trial My  Arse’ campaign. All our staff wore oversized orange pants with the phrase ‘fair trial my arse’ emblazoned on them criticising the use of illegal prisons such as Guantanamo. We also sold two bath bombs, each with a picture of a prisoner from Guantanamo bay trapped in the centre. As the bomb fizzed away your particular prisoner would eerily float to the surface of your bath. One, Sami Al-Hajj, was on hunger strike at the time, being force fed by tube daily.

Over the next two years we continued the campaign, updating on progress as the team at Reprieve battled on for fair trials or release. Political pressure mounted and Lush itself came under fire for getting involved in events that were ‘none of our business’. Then the news came that Sami would be coming home, no charge, free to go. Frail and 55 pounds lighter than the he was when he was captured, but he would be returning. The wife and son he hadn’t seen for seven years were waiting for him as he struggled off the plane.

The news was received with great emotion at Lush as we had all become very attached to the plight of Sami, who, at the time of his illegal imprisonment was an Aljazeera cameraman travelling to Afghanistan with a legitimate visa. I was nervous and excited about being invited to meet him.

So on that day, accompanied by Reprieve representatives, Sami whose photos we had become all too familiar with entered the room . Looking healthier again he shook our hands and smiled widely. Sami had made a remarkable recovery in the few months after his release. As we sat down he gave a great speech to us. He was resolute in his commitment that what had happened wouldn’t overshadow his future. He wanted to create something positive from his ordeal and to move forward. He appreciated the thoughts and support from people all over the world and he took strength from the fact people had acted for him throughout his imprisonment.


Simon: The Smell of Freedom part 1

One of Simon’s latest projects has been an olfactory portrait of three powerful people. The finished fragrance was unveiled this week at our olfactory event in London. Limited quantities of the perfume are available to buy at the show and the fragrance will be available at gorillaperfume.com from August. This free event runs until 18th of July so you can still make it, though spaces are limited.

Part One: Fire Tree

I have been in love with Aboriginal culture and art since my school days. Having taken several trips to Australia, I had begun to get disillusioned with the way such a rich and mystical culture could be so decimated by Western living.

On my last visit to Australia I was fortunate enough to have time to visit the Warmun art centre. In a remote community on the eastern edge of the Kimberely range, the art centre is a modern yet modest facility for the local artists in the Aboriginal community of the Gija people. One particular painting of a solitary baobab tree left a lasting impression on me. It was inspired by 7 Gija people who lost their lives there. Thought to have stolen cattle from the ranch where they had been settled, the suspects were taken to the creek and shot. Now the baobab tree stands as a memorial to the event and a small plaque has been added to commemorate the sad loss of life.

Later that same day I meet a lady at a community gathering. To all intents and purposes she was a young aboriginal lady. When we talked, I realized that not only was she remarkably young-looking for her age but that she had led an incredible life. She had travelled extensively through Europe and South-East Asia as an artist before settling with a French duke in Darwin to have children. Nowadays she has moved back to her home and lives a mixture of modern life and bush tucker.

Its struck me that the seeds of recovery had been sown there. It was good to see that such a rich and rewarding life could be led by a person who a generation ago would have been actively ‘bred out’ and whose culture still struggles to survive.


Simon: The Smell of Freedom part 2

One of Simon’s latest projects has been an olfactory portrait of three powerful people. The finished fragrance was unveiled this week at our olfactory event in London. Limited quantities of the perfume are available to buy at the show and the fragrance will be available at gorillaperfume.com from August. This free event runs until 18th of July so you can still make it, though spaces are limited.

Starting today, we’ll publish Simon’s story of The Smell of Freedom in three parts.

Part Two: Old Delhi Station

A short but powerful man beckons us. His name is  the Venerable Ngawang Woebar and he’s a Tibetan monk. He welcomes us into the small room of his office and asks what it is we want. I struggle to explain that we are looking for a way to help Tibetans in their plight. We have travelled all the way to Mcleod Ganj in Dharamsala to ask this question. I now feel a bit awkward.

He takes us outside onto the balcony overlooking the pines. He describes how he came to be in Mcleod Ganj. As he talks, sweet ginger, lemon and honey tea is laid on the table and he quietly unravels the tale of his epic journey from Tibet to India.

When he was a young man he became an activist in Tibet, protesting for rights of Tibetans and supporting the Dalai Lama. The Chinese authorities imprisoned him for handing out leaflets and waving the Tibetan flag. After four months without trial and suffering interrogation and abuse throughout this time, he was released. Being further victimized and expelled from his monastery he decided to leave.

Without a passport or permission he had to take the treacherous route to Nepal. The three week journey was a tough one, travelling 30miles a day across the Himalayas, carrying all the supplies he needed. The day before his group reached Nepal they ran out of food. They resorted to eating rolled balls of snow with salt sprinkled on top. Barely sustained until he arrived at the Nepalese sanctuary he was deported to India where he joined the many thousands of desperate Tibetans who had to flee their homeland.

What was so endearing and powerful about his story was his delivery. Calm and warm, he smiled as he recounted the torture that he had been through. A look of quiet resilience that his experiences and his faith had endowed him with was the most moving thing of all.

As we arrived back in to Old Delhi station the fragrance of spices mixed with the smell of humanity were indelibly imprinted in my memory of meeting Ngawang and hearing his amazing story.