I was excited to learn a month or so ago that Lush had some new fragrances coming out, especially after the news, last winter, that the B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful scents, sisters and brothers to the Lush line, were being discontinued. It turns out they weren't being discontinued, just re-conceived and repackaged, though getting all those old "B" fragrances at half off was worth the scare.
The new packaging is good news and bad news: good because it doesn't look as cheap as the old packaging; bad because looks can be deceiving. The new packaging leaks--just a little, which doesn't bother me too much. It doesn't leak as much as seep, and I solve that problem by not trying to carry the bottles around or storing them upside down or sideways. I don't tempt fate if I can avoid it. The problem is that the only identification on the bottles comes in the form of a paper tag around the neck. That might not be much of a problem either, were it not for the seeping, which tends to saturate the tags. At least when the tags deteriorate and fall off, you can smell the stuff a mile away. That makes it easier to tell one bottle from the other. Otherwise, they're identical: basic black.
There are more than five new Lush releases but, at least in the U.S., only five are stocked. You can get others online (including the B Never scents, which are now referred to simply as B Scents). I like all of the brick and mortar releases, though I find Imogen Rose and Smell of Freedom to have longevity issues compared to the remaining three. Lust is an indolic jasmine which is, as some have said, pretty sweet. The sweetness doesn't bother me a bit. I love Lust. It lasts forever, and like the best by this brand's perfumers (Mark and Simon Constantine), feels dense and rich, a strange mix of edible, floral, and woody.
My favorites are Tuca Tuca and Orange Blossom. Tuca Tuca is a violet fragrance, essentially, but a take I haven't seen on the note. Vanilla, yland ylang, jasmine, and vetiver round it out. Its creaminess has a doughy depth to it, filling up space the way the smell of baking bread takes over a house with an almost physical presence. Call me wacky, but I don't consider any of these latest Lush (aka Gorilla) scents entirely feminine, let alone whimsical, save for maybe Imogene Rose, and I've always sensed that Lush is a pretty forward-thinking brand, so it was disappointing to read the company's description of Tuca Tuca:
"It's that fun and flirtatious girl inside us all--she's mischievous with a naughty sense of humour and an infectious giggle. She likes to dance like no-one's watching and run through park sprinklers with abandonment, just because she can. She's whimsical, carefree and when the sun shines just right she can go from being sweet to sensual with the bat of an eyelash. Tuca Tuca is the epitome of how fast your heart races when your eyes meet the boy you've got a crush on!"
I think that drivel speaks for itself. Sadly, I doubt that by "us all" Lush means to say men, though as many guys as women have, I'm sure, a girl inside there somewhere. The worst part, probably, is that I can't imagine any such girl I would want to spend tons of time with. I understand Lush is selling to the Macy's walk-through customer. This is the suburbs. Maybe it's me; I'm out of touch. Maybe this fantasy of twee coquetry appeals to women of all ages. Maybe it's simply a tween thing, and should be disregarded, like all the sparkly glitterdust Lush stamps onto its bath balls (There's a thought: are bath balls a coded reference, meant to bring out the inner boy in the privacy of one's own tub?). Still, it's weird. Without the above copy, I would never have guessed that Tuca Tuca wasn't meant to be taken seriously.
I'm obsessed with orange blossom, especially the last year, and I put a lot of pressure on Lush's interpretation. Thankfully, they do it justice. This is probably my favorite orange blossom to date, the antithesis in approach of Penhaligon's recent take, which lasted all of five minutes on my skin, failing to compete with the distractions of the outside world for my attention or anyone else's. Like Gaultier's Fleur du Male, Lush gives interesting dimension and extension to orange blossom with coumarin, going one further with beeswax, a note which produced similarly interesting results in Penhaligon's recent masculine, Sartorial. I could sit and smell Orange Blossom all day, and Lush makes that possible: As with Tuca Tuca and Lust, this one is tenacious.
When I entered Lush at the mall, a sales associate half my age immediately informed me that of the five new scents (she assumed I hadn't heard of, or come looking for, them) two could be worn by men: Orange Blossom, and Smell of Freedom. As I'd already reached for Imogen Rose instead, I had a moment of panic. What if I grow a vagina!?