I have a confession – I’m a perfume addict and have built up a huge collection of fragrances over my years of working in the beauty industry. I tend to choose heady, deep scents with some of my favourites coming from brands such as Tom Ford, Jo Malone and L’Artisan Perfumier. On my trips to the Middle East I always stock up on Oud-based fragrances for both myself and my home.
I first met Mark Constantine (the man behind the glorious Lush brand) nearly thirty years ago when he supplied the hair salon I then worked in with henna. I was also a big fan of his first retail venture in Cosmetics to Go. It was a fabulously gloopy, green patchouli-scented bubble bath called Smaragadine that became my absolute must-have.
Smaragadine made a brief appearance at Lush in their archive collection but sadly has since disappeared. I have visited their stores many times over hoping for a reincarnation but to no avail.
Recently I paid a visit to the new Lush store on London’s Oxford Street and hearing that they were producing exclusive products for this store only my interest was piqued.
I took a good look around its three floors and then ventured down to the Gorilla Perfumes area. I already own one Gorilla oil called Breath of God. This incense-inspired oil has a smokey odour and is very unusual. It contains notes of neroli, jasmine, rose as well as vetivert , amber and musk. It is modern but the classic notes remind me of face creams from my childhood.
At the Gorilla perfume area I was greeted by Akter – who turned out to be one of the most delightful and passionate people I have ever met in retail. I explained my never-ending search for a patchouli-style perfume similar to my long gone Smaragadine. He listened intently and then took me through the fragrance journey – whilst wearing headphones I walked through different areas where images and sounds represent the different perfumes. Akter expertly explained each one in detail and asked me questions along the way. The whole experience was very emotive and informative.
The first perfume I chose is called The Bug. The imagery associated with this scent was one of concrete and surveillance cameras – something initially I felt uncomfortable with. However maybe it’s the urban earthiness that made this the perfume oil for me. This scent is kind of animalistic (no animal ingredients!) and heady but with the sharp green notes of galbanum resin from Iran. The inclusion of sandalwood gives this a woody soothing edge too.
My final perfume purchase was for my partner at home. The onset of warmer days in London meant I wanted something fresh and uplifting for him. Weirdly despite its name I was drawn to Dirty and on smelling it I realised it was the perfect gift. The first note I picked up on was spearmint which gave this perfume a fresh, clean feel. It also contains herbs such as thyme, tarragon and lavender which I think gives it a cologne-type feel.
I was extremely happy with my purchases and even happier with the service that I received from Akter. Once home I did as I always do with my perfume oils, I mixed a few drops in with some alcohol to make my very own perfume spray.
If you’re looking for unique perfumes that will make you feel and smell great then head to Gorilla Perfumes at Lush . Oh and if any of you are still on the hunt for a replacement for Smaragadine then give Blue Skies and Fluffy White Clouds bubble bar a try – it’s the nearest I’ve ever got to my green gloopy dream!