Short Back And Sides On The Rocks, Please
When Lush invited me to sample a cocktail version of the latest Gorilla Perfume at their Covent Garden branch, I hoped Id be treated to the sight of half a dozen inebriated sales assistants trying to do the Tuca Tuca dance between the soaps and the bath bombs. Sadly, my wish didn't come true. But Lush events usually find some way of injecting a sense of cheeky fun into what could otherwise have been a banal situation, and this one was no exception.
The star of the show was The Hairdresser's Husband, a scent created by Mark Constantine in 2010 and named after Patrice Leconte's 1990 movie. Described by Lush as a "classic cologne" with notes of grapefruit oil, organic lemon myrtle oil and tonka bean absolute, the fragrance was inspired by a scene in the film in which the main characters decide to celebrate a post-row reconciliation by drinking any alcoholic substances on which they can get their hands. As the action takes place before the days of denatured alcohol, their binge involves consuming the contents of - you guessed it - several bottles of perfume.
To complete the homage to the film, Lush decided to commission Lounge Bohemia Bar's "mixologist" Paul Tvaroh to create a drinkable version of The Hairdresser's Husband. According to the press release, what Constantine "really wanted was for someone to be able to come along and be able to drink the cologne." And sure enough, on the evening of the 16th of May, a handful of bloggers and beauty journalists was given an opportunity to have a sip of Tvaroh's concoction and a sniff of Constantine's.
After queueing to enter a small room in the shop's basement - decorated with mirrors and mock-retro bottles - I was shown to a stool, tied up in a hairdresser's gown (the things I do for Basenotes...) and introduced to my friendly coiffeuse, Nikki. She then 'encouraged' me to drink the cocktail whilst she sprayed the scent on my hand. As I was already aware that our gustatory and olfactory senses are closely related, I wasn't surprised by the strength of the connection between the beverage and the fragrance. But the experience of consciously trying to focus on smelling and tasting at the same time was weirdly disconcerting, to the extent that when Nikki smiled at me and said, "So, what do you think?" the only word that I could utter was a rather gormless, "Vodka." I don't think that was the response she was hoping for.
Still, the event ticked all the right boxes as far as eccentricity and innovation were concerned and it also proved that Gorilla Perfume remains a label to watch in the increasingly crowded fragrance world.
The Hairdresser's Husband was originally showcased at the Gorilla Perfume Galleries - a travelling pop-up exhibition which, so far, has visited London, New York, Tokyo and Seoul. At the moment, the fragrance is on sale only at Lush Covent Garden.
About the author
Persolaise is a Jasmine Award shortlisted writer and amateur perfumer who has had a strong interest in the world of fine fragrance for over 25 years. You can find out more about his work at www.persolaise.com or by emailing him at persolaise at gmail dot com.