LUSH Gorilla scents – US Edition

By Tom

I admit that I’m not a huge fan of LUSH, based upon a past Christmas gift that went horribly awry.  But I’d never been to the store so when charged with trying the “Gorilla” scents I thought, “how bad could it be?”

That, Tonstant Weader, is called “foreshadowing.”

I smelled the store before I got in there, which is usually not a good sign.  The smell wasn’t bad, mind you; it was just a little overpowering, like being mugged by a dryer sheet.  Luckily the scents were right in the front, showing either pride of place or the staff’s need of ventilation in their presence.  I tested on strips first, no fool I.  Then in the interest of science I tested three on skin.

Lust is jasmine, with an overarching, screechy metallic accord on my skin that was just god-awful.

Imogen Rose is powdery roses.  Not bad, but this garden path has been trod before, and far better.

Orange Blossom is neroli.  Tennis anyone?

Now I can’t call these serious reviews since I usually have to let myself live with a scent before committing myself to print on it.  I feel it’s my duty to readers to know that I didn’t just give this a cursory sniff and start typing.  These thankfully faded away after a few hours and I am not without being paid to going to re-apply.  For me, these are the scent equivalent of waterboarding.

In defense of the rest of LUSH, there were some great soaps, a shea-butter and rice scrubby thing and some (thankfully unscented) lotions, balms and salves that I would love to try.  I didn’t, not even to vigorously scrub Lust off.  Because I do it for you.

These are available at Lush stores and online, price dependent.  Personally I’d stick to the soaps.

PS from March:  The Gorilla Perfumes link on the LUSH U.S. website takes you to a UK page that displays the B Never Too Busy scents which LT and TS raved over in The Guide — if I recall correctly, several were 4 or 5 stars (and are listed in the appendix under B Never etc., not LUSH).  The LUSH website and the SA at the local store call these the “B sides” and they’re packaged in the Gorilla bottles — Breath of God, Ladyboy, Exhale, etc.  LUSH will ship from the UK but the local store says that with the possible exception of BOG, there are no plans to carry them stateside.  I’ve not bothered to hunt them down, but I am curious — have any of you tried any of the B sides?  Any opinions you’d like to share?  Thanks.

  • Persolaise says:

    I’ve most certainly tried them and I have to say I’m a fan. In case anyone’s interested, I’ve posted detailed reviews on my blog.

  • Flora says:

    Never tried any of these and now I am not tempted! I hate it when someone does a perfume that gives Jasmine a bad name!

  • bellemoon says:

    Whoa. Yes, I agree with Medea, after I wiped the Dr Pepper off the screen and quit laughing long enough. Lush is high priced, you get these little bits of things and if you order online they take FOREVER to deliver. I sent three emails to customer service and did not get a response. I finally called and left a not very nice voicemail about the lack of response. They called me 24 hrs later very apologetic. I have two free bath products on my account there waiting for my next order. That was done at the end of January. Somehow I think they still will be setting there.

  • nancy says:

    I also like Lush–there are a number of products that work for me, including their Karma perfume and shower wash–love that scent! They also have a solid shampoos that you can carry in a little tin–perfect for shampoo spillage klutzes like me. I have the jasmine one and it smells wonderful. I agree that the scent of the shop overwhelming, but it’s worth stopping in for a look.

  • lapidary says:

    I HAVE to go ahead and complete the Dorothy Parker quote, even though I haven’t smelled these:

    Tonstant Weader fwowed up.

    Huh, what would Dorothy Parker wear? It would need to 1) work well with gin and smoke, 2) attract the young man-candy, 3) be somewhat biting, acerbic, and yet needy, all at the same time.

    • Xendawg says:

      According to one of her biographers, Dorothy Parker was fond of the scent of tuberose, and had a REALLY heavy hand with it. A piece of trivia from a librarian :)

  • mariekel says:

    I am suspicious that LT and TS have been hanging out with Michael Kors and Nine Garcia — they been coming up with some WHACK assessments (we love you, Mondo!). Breath of God five stars?? That stuff is one of the few ‘fumes that made me want to peel my skin off. It managed to smell like rotting fruit and the gibbon cage at the Zoo simultaneously.

    I got a sample of Imogen Rose from the new line and found that to be a scrubber as well — it smells plasticky and powdery. Ugh.

  • Claudia says:

    I went thru a brief period of time in my teens sort of addicted to the smell of magic markers. I carried one in my purse and sniffed it whenever I got stressed. After awhile I realized that wasn’t a very healthful habit, and stopped. Guess I should avoid LUSH products……….

  • Tom says:

    there’s a lot of love on here for the BNTBTBBs. To bad they aren’t here in the US..

    • Erin T says:

      I didn’t like the new ones released at Lush (Tuca Tuca, Imogen Rose, Lust, etc.), and I certainly see why people find the store itself so overwhelming, but I have to admit I’m a little baffled by those who rag on the BNTBTBB scents and think Luca was smoking something or selling out when he reviewed them so positively. It seems to me that you’d have to know exactly what you’re getting into when you buy a scent that has “banana, seaweed, violet, chamomile, labdanum and oakmoss” (B’s Ladyboy). For Lord’s sake, that had better smell weird or I wouldn’t feel I was getting what I’d paid for! I thought a few of them were excellent and extremely dissimilar: Breath of God (very odd, but one of the best scents in the last few years, IMO), Cocktail (love it!), Ladyboy and B Scent, in particular.

      • Erin T says:

        Sorry, I meant dissimilar to each other – no real distinct house style, to me, at all. (Though I admit, in light of Furriner’s comment above, that I love ylang ylang and wouldn’t mind smelling its camphorous/magic marker’ishness in more mainstream scents…) Each smelled unique and different from other things out there. To me, they seem ideal for the perfumista market, since many of us love the bizarre stuff.

  • aotearoa says:

    I had some BNTBTBB samples and quite like the B scent – a lemony rose of great cheerfulness on the right day.
    Lush has made it’s way to our small Isles in NZ and I cannot get past the front door either – but the tweenies love it so it fulfils a purpose.

  • Elisa says:

    I kind of like Lust. I’m not usually a huge jasmine fan, and I dislike soliflores, but that screechy metallic thing you are talking about is weirdly addictive for me. It smells wrong, but I like it. I also get lots of honey out of it. Certainly NOT an everyday perfume, though.

    Agree that the stores are awful inside.

  • Teri says:

    And here I always thought I was missing something by not searching out a Lush emporium….

    I can scratch that one off my bucket list now :d

  • Bjorn says:

    I got a very generous sample pack from Lush with both older and newer scents that I’m slowly working my way through. It feels like homework..

    On Basenotes there was a comment about the carrier alcohol in the scents and he compared it to the smell of Magic Marker, and now I smell that too, in fact in some scents it’s ALL I can smell.

    Someone at Lush knows where the bodies are buried, I see no other reason for Luca Turin to rave about these…functional product scents.

  • angie Cox says:

    I have to agree ,I tried Imogen Rose and it was no better than a 10% rose oil from an aromatherapy shop. Tuca,Tuca had me having to go out into fresh air before I was sick. I went back and sniffed a few none stood out . Someone commented that at the price of a vial they cost more than Chanel Les Exclusifs. Lush does seem to have a base of devotees who are scary .

    • Tom says:

      Some of my friends are bug Lush fans. They like the soaps and the body butters. I don’t judge; I don’t have dry skin.

  • DinaC says:

    Ha! I laughed out loud at “mugged by a dryer sheet.” I haven’t even stepped into the LUSH store at the local mall because it has the look of one of those places where everything smells harshly synthetic or sickening sweet and fruity. Perfume snob? Who me? :-) Thanks for jumping on this hand grenade for us, Tom. Glad to know I can continue to ignore this line.

    I haven’t tried any of the Never B 2 Busy 2B Beautiful line.

    March, today I was at Anthro, and sniffed a bunch of stuff. I sniffed the Happ & Stahns (not-very-special watery green floral). Also sniffed the five “made by the makers of Le Labo” scents (none of them were love at first sniff). The things I liked the most were from that Rather Novel collection with all the tea scents. I spritzed on Cape of Good Hope, 5 o’clock at Belvoir Castle, Hamarikyu Gardens and Silk Road Caravan. I missed out on two of them: 1856 Darjeeling and Taverns & the Hague. I thought all four of the ones I tried were very nicely blended.

    • Tom says:

      I need to stop in Antrho as well. Thanks for the reminder!

    • March says:

      Those Novel Collection ones I think I’ve mentioned … three times? For anyone who likes tea scents, I think they’re worth checking out. I liked the red tea and the mint tea ones.

  • Anna in Edinburgh says:

    I’m clearly a rarity here;-)
    Breath of God (BNTBTBB version) is haunting and ethereal on me, and “superworldunknown” (ditto) is delicate with gentle floral/fruitiness. I apply very lightly and use them at this time of year and on through winter, and they are very rewarding. (“superworldunknown” is a happy and bright ‘snuggle into the scarf’ scent on a very cold snowy day, for example, making me feel more colourful and cheerful than I would otherwise.)

    Sorry that they are “hurled across the room” scents for you: maybe they don’t travel well outside the UK climate??

    cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

  • AnnieA says:

    Lush makes me sneeze just walking by it, much less going in! Time to use the simian emoticon!


  • Victoria says:

    The smell of Lush stores overwhelms me. I even cross the street in order to avoid it. That being said, when I have received samples of Lush fragrances in swaps in the past, some of them were quite interesting.
    B Never Too Busy scents are worth exploring, but I find their drydowns rather sharp and abrasive.

  • maggiecat says:

    I’ve tried some of their soaps and was underwhelmed. One of their “massage bars” was so oily as to be hazardous (and not a very efficient way to get cleanr besides). Lush is not for me. I have a similar initial response to Body Shop stores, but I actually like some of their scents and products quite a bit. Don’t know why they insist on putting the awful, penetrating ones near the door…

  • Style Spy says:

    Breath of God absolutely stymied me. My review could be boiled down to three words: “What… IS that???”

    My favorite Lush thing (which I don’t even know if they carry anymore because I haven’t been inside one in a couple of years) is the caramel honey soap. Delicious. And I did use a bath fizzie thing many years ago (I rarely bathe, I’m a shower gal) that had a truly wonderful jasmine fragrance, but then, yes, there was the scrubbing. Those fizzies are the housekeeping equivalent of those reddish tablets they used to give you to chew when you were a kid to reveal where you were leaving plaque on your teeth after brushing. (Anyone else remember those?) Although it was almost worth it because my kitten clambered up on the side of the tub to investigate the fizzing sound and there was hilarity. I have a Christmas-scented one that’s been sitting around for I don’tevenknow how long. I should probably just give it to someone.

  • Olfacta says:

    I didn’t much like “Breath of God.” It think I called it “Gasoline and sticky candy.”

    • Tom says:

      thanks for saving me from that one!

    • Rappleyea says:

      ::Insert little guy pounding the floor hysterically::

      NOW you tell us! You sent me my sample of BOG! LOL! Anyway, I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of it. My take was old garage with a hot lawn mower that had just been turned off, still warm and mechanical smelling, along with the scent of the chunks of grass clippings stuck in the blades and wheels.

      • DinaC says:

        Wow! That is a vivid word picture. I can totally smell that scene. Like totally! (Insert Valley Girl emoticon here);-)

    • vanessa says:

      In a mischievous moment, I once labelled a sample of Breath of God I was sending to a swapper “Breath of Dog”.

      But I do like other scents in the Gorilla line, and I think their likeability is hugely linked in with “skin physics”. They even seem to vary from dab to dab for reasons I cannot fathom.

  • March says:

    Well, I’m already on record as having complained about the way their stores smell. I find it overpowering, and I sniff scents all day long. (The Aveda store has a similar effect.) So part of the reason I didn’t try these is I couldn’t face going in there, and didn’t think I could smell them if I did.

    Also lol about the bath soaps, I told the girls they couldn’t use those bombs after the first one left the tub covered in glitter, confetti and blue dye.

  • Marsha says:

    I tried to enter a Lush store once and when I hit the wall of scent at the front door, I was knocked backwards just like I had walked into a brick wall. I felt the arteries in my brain giving me the warning signal: Migraine Alert! Migraine Alert! No Lush for me.

  • sybil says:

    Well, I’ve stopped feeling bad about my lack of Lush access….
    and got a good laugh to boot. Good score pre-coffee! I think Dorothy Parker would be honored by this review.

  • Louise says:

    I had a bad asthma attack 10 seconds after entering the Lush store once.

    However, I ventured in again recently, and remember seeing a few other Gorillas than those you mention, Tom. Or were they BNTBs? Anywho, there was one I rather liked, and am planning to re-try. Just disremember right now.

    Cool packaging, at the least ; )

    • Tom says:

      There’s a bunch of them I wasn’t in the mood to purchase any for sampling so I just applied a random 3 to my skin. maybe I chose the wrong 3?

  • Winifreida says:

    Aaaah thank goodness, another fruitless pilgrimage averted – although I puzzled long and hard over Luca’s adoration of the BBBB whatevers after gobsmacked run-ins with Lush stores….as an old unreformed hippie-headshop sort of flowerchild they are just too FLOURO; give me a dusty old pot-pouri any day…although I guess you could give them cred for sort of Andy Warhol-ing the modern aromachemical and polychrome colourant combo.
    Actually I sound too harsh; the same stuff is in your face in the department stores with a slutty ad campaign and ten times the price; maybe that’s what Luca meant!

  • Kathryn says:

    I know those BNTBTBB perfumes must smell good on some people, because the person who sent me samples has excellent taste and an amazing perfume collection. However, on me Breath of God was certainly a Gorilla scent, as in King Kong. Superunderworldunknown was even worse, Godzilla. Pretty scary stuff.

  • Furriner says:

    I was game, and got (not all at once!) a few in the 9 ml sprays (The Scent of Freedom, Tuca Tuca, and Karma) and a few in the solids (Lust and Orange Blossom), because it was the cheapest way of going, and I wanted to sample. to be honest, they all kind of smell similar. Lush loves them some ylang ylang, because it seems to appear in the notes of a bunch of their fragrances. The 9 ml sprays are stronger in concentration than the solids, and the larger bottles are stronger than any of ’em! I’ll probably give them to my niece, who may be too old for them.

    The Smell of Freedom was godawful on me at first, but it dried down a little better. I have a cold at the moment, so can’t smell anything at all, so I can’t re-spray them to give you a better picture. Orange Blossom wasn’t bad, but was nothing remarkable.

    Lust in the solid comes in a lurid popsicle red, which does go on your skin that way, and possibly your clothes. The solids are kind of like a softer chapstick with scent.

    I’m sorry to hear the B SIdes will not be coming stateside, as that is what drew me unsuspectingly to the counter to begin with.

  • Musette says:


    It’s a good thing I have all my own teeth, else I’dve (how does one contract that, btw? it never looks right)…anyway I. would.have. spit my ivories all over the keyboard.

    Thank you for doing this. Think of all the sinuses you will have saved!

    I hate Lush. Well…I shouldn’t say that. I don’t know if I hate Lush. I can’t get close enough to it to determine. Macy’s has Lush and I always dash past quick! like I’m being pursued by a very angry, soapy dog.

    xo >-)

  • tmp00 says:

    Nava- if there’s a Lush store near you let us know what you think of them.

    And thanks!

  • Nava says:

    Thanks Tom. I’ve been meaning to check these out for a while now… still hoping to.

    Glad to have you aboard. Keep up the great work!

  • Madea says:

    I loathe Lush. I hate their whole faux-natural, ‘we’re not sythetic except when it’s easier and cheaper to be’ thing, and I think the products are overpriced and mediocre for what one gets.

    Whoa. Anyhow, I’ve never tried the perfumes, but having tried the other things (soaps, etc) I can honestly say I’m not tempted much.

    //decides to drink some diet coke and calm down//