Short Back And Sides On The Rocks, Please

06th June, 2011

When Lush invited me to sample a cocktail version of the latest Gorilla Perfume at their Covent Garden branch, I hoped I’d 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 or by emailing him at persolaise at gmail dot com.

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About the author: Persolaise

Persolaise is a four-time Jasmine Award winning writer with a lifelong interest in the world of fine fragrance. His perfume guide, Le Snob: Perfume, is published in English by Hardie Grant and in German by Süddeutsche Zeitung. He has written for Sunday Times Style, Grazia, Glass, The Scented Letter and Now Smell This, amongst others.


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    • illyria | 7th June 2011 15:58

      I tried that drink at the Gorilla event pop-up, where the cocktail was available in bottles previously designed for their Cocktail scent. I thought it was pleasant, a sort of vodka-limoncello mix. They didn't put us in chairs for it that time, though.

      (They also had a way to 'taste' their Orange Blossom scent, with flavoured rice paper).

      As for The Hairdresser's Husband, I'd completely forgotten about that. I think I will be popping over to Covent Garden!

      I keep hoping Lush will eventually 'recycle' the lovely 'Leading Ladies' perfumes from that event. But at a much lower price point... ;-)

    • Persolaise (article author) | 8th June 2011 07:01

      Illyria, I don't know anything about the Leading Ladies perfumes.

      By the way, trying scents on flavoured rice paper sounds like fun.

    • Emlynevermore | 8th June 2011 07:34

      Nice little piece, that.

      If you get a chance, tell them to sort out their American distribution. The US website carries only about half of the line's perfumes and seems perpetually sold out of samples.

      I have yet to visit a brick-and-mortar store, as the nearest one is a bit of a hike.

    • illyria | 8th June 2011 15:45

      It was quite delicious!

      I can't find anything online about the Leading Ladies, but they were scents designed in homage to certain ladies of influence. I wish I could recall the details of all of them.

      The only one I remember clearly was 'The Actress', an homage to Elaine Stritch. It was a spicy chypre with a touch of gin & tonic. I loved it the most of all the scents I tried in the Gorilla event, and decided to buy some when I got to the shop at the end of the rooms. Only to find that the Leading Ladies were limited editions, at £1500 per bottle. Yikes!

      So I sprayed liberally from the tester, which was all I could afford to do, and sadly consigned 'The Actress' to my 'scents that got away' file ....


    • Nukapai | 10th June 2011 10:20

      Thank you for a fun write-up! I love your witty descriptions. :) :cheesy:

    • Primrose | 13th June 2011 21:41

      Thanks for sharing this, Persolaise. I have been wanting to sample some of the newer Lush scents.

    • fayeee | 15th June 2011 14:16

      Tuca Tuca makes me smell like BO. Just doesn't work with my chemistry :(

      Love Imogen Rose though!

    • Persolaise (article author) | 18th June 2011 17:00

      Illyria, thanks for the info.

      Nukapai and Primrose, thanks very much for the comment.

      Fayeee, I really like Imogen Rose too: a beautiful, whispering scent.