I walked up behind my girls at the mall and said, “Okay, sniff me and tell me what store I’ve been in.” And they promptly chirped, “LUSH.” They deduced that from sniffing my clothes after I’d been in the store for 10 – 15 minutes, not anything I’d sprayed on.
But I had to (wo)man up and go in there, because it was time to sniff those Gorilla scents, at least the ones available locally. I skipped a few. Here are my thoughts on the ones I sampled, from least to most favorite:
Lust – “unashamedly carnal jasmine,” notes are jasmine, ylang ylang, rose, vanilla, sandalwood. Okay, it’s mighty indolic, and I’m not complaining about that – I like a dirty jasmine. But the first half-hour’s marred by that artificial-banana-candy smell I get sometimes from jasmine scents, and after that there’s still a plasticky note, and then the mothball note. Ugh. Maybe it’s better on you. Fun fact: I could smell this half a block away; my daughter is almost entirely anosmic to it.
The Smell of Freedom – notes are lemongrass, lemon myrtle, neroli, jasmine, ginger, fire tree, clove, black pepper, sandalwood, oudh, orris. I was sure this was going to be my favorite, and it’s not that it’s bad. But it smells like a pick-me-up tonic-scent from Body Shop or Origins, something they’d also have available in a soap and body wash. I was hugely disappointed, since based on those notes I was sure I’d love it. The girls said it smells like furniture polish.
Vanillary – Vanilla, jasmine, tonka. It’s got a buttery note I like, and would make a nice generic vanilla scent. My more critical daughters say it smells like something they could get at BBW. I think it’s better than that, but probably wouldn’t pay retail for it.
Breath of God – Neroli, lemon, melon, jasmine, rose, vetiver, sandalwood, cedarwood, amber, musk. You remember this one, right? The one they went nuts over in Perfumes: The Guide, five stars, and at least half of you thought they were insane? Okay, so – I cried. I mean, I did that thing I do where my eyes well up and it’s a little embarrassing in Forever 21, because, yes, it moved me that much. It’s a place-smell, like the inside of the temple of the reclining Buddha we visited in Bangkok — not just incense, but humanity — damp earth, smoky air, strange fabrics… that glorious, foreign smell, of other-ness. It’s essentially a murky, smoked-incense that (if it goes all wrong on you) should be sprayed on your clothes, try that. It was oddly short-lived on my skin; and the drydown was a hair too sweet, focusing on the fruity floral bits. Again, on fabric, it’s perfect. If murky, earthy incense sounds horrible to you, skip it. If you are like me and believe there is no such thing as too many incense scents, well, you may want to brave LUSH and try it sometime.
Karma – “inspired by hippies and head shops,” orange, patchouli, pine, lavandin, lemongrass, elemi, cassie. That description is so unfair, because this smells nothing like, say, a cheesy, medicinal patchouli or one of those “lotus rain” essential oils. It’s lovely, an inky-green scent somewhere between vetiver and pine, with a pale-straw-citrus note of lemongrass and a resiny base. I want a bottle. Okay, okay, and I want a bottle of Breath of God too.
Hot tip – according to the LUSH website, Breath of God is composed of 50% Inhale and 50% Exhale (their original scents, not available here.) If you find BOG too sweet in the drydown, throw some Karma on top, or spray them side by side on your sleeve. The combination is fantastic.
image: from LUSH site for Breath of God