A few years back, I would have no doubt shunned the idea of an event that celebrated fragrances in the way that I've seen Lush offer their consumers in the latter few months. The very notion would have made no sense to me whatsoever; it's perfume - what more can be said about it other than it smells nice? However, recent events have really changed my opinion on not only fragrances as a collective, but on the way we use our senses in every aspect of our lives.
Fast forward a good long while and I found myself being invited to a sensory experience at Gorilla Perfume's first official shop, just off of Angel tube station in London. Given the experience I had gained at other recent Lush events, I was no longer filled with trepidation at the thought of showcasing my inexperience to more pronounced perfume connoisseurs; instead I was ready to be inspired, and fall in Lush ever so slightly more.
With only a handful of other bloggers, it was a really relaxing and somewhat intimate affair. The shop itself is not that much larger than an average double room in the city, so I wasn't expecting a huge crowd to begin with. But it was lovely to see that each and every person in attendance was from a different background, and was able to bring something different to the table.
While we were waiting for everyone to arrive, we were each offered our first tipple of the night - a non-alcoholic cocktail inspired by the perfume Dirty. This sugary-sweet beauty was perhaps my favourite drink of the night - it oozed sophistication, and the fresh mint that accompanied the liquid added a kick to it that had me salivating for more. It was like drinking sugar syrup with just a twinge of mint. Perfect.
Once everyone had settled, we were first treated to a round of chocolate-matching. The fragrances Cocktail and Dear John were selected, and we were each given chocolates (vegan of course!) that had been created to compliment the different layers present in each of the perfumes. While we indulged in both delights, we were given an opportunity to talk about our experiences with the perfumes, and it was so strange to taste and smell how both products changed during our journey of discovery. It definitely gave me a much better appreciation of how sensitive our senses are, and how even the slightest change can alter our perception of smells so much.
The next part gave us an opportunity to watch a Sikkim Girls inspired cocktail being made - a demonstration that not only talked us through each of the ingredients and why they had been chosen, but one that told us the full story behind the perfume itself. If the premise of the actual Sikkim Girls had been at all alluring beforehand, the backstory was now firmly planted in my mind, and I have since carried out my own research into their history. It makes for a very interesting read.
After indulging in the deliciously rich and complex cocktail, we were paired off and given an opportunity to make our own cocktails - free to pick a perfume from Lush's entire range and use this for inspiration during the tipple making. Our group chose Smuggler's Soul as it is one of our firm favourites, and we got to work mixing and experimenting with various ingredients to try and convert the scent into one that we could consume.
Once everyone had finished, we shared our drinks around and described the choice of ingredients and the process that had gone into making it. While I wouldn't say ours wouldn't be passable in a high-end cocktail bar, I was surprised to find that the other bloggers really enjoyed its complexity and strange combination of whiskey smoke and lemongrass cordial. Again, we were treated to lashings of each fragrance while we enjoyed the taste of four very different, yet equally alluring Gorilla Perfume-inspired cocktails.
Once glasses were close to being empty, we were treated to one final surprise; an acoustic set performed by a fantastic local artist. Each song played homage to one of Lush's perfumes, and while the performance was taking place, we were able to enjoy each of the fragrances - the experience taking us on a beautiful journey that ended with a large applause and a roomful of happy faces.
Armed with a bag of goodies to indulge in, I spent the evening reminiscing over each of the perfumes used throughout the event, and as expected, fell in love with each of them all over again. No matter your experience with perfumes, or indeed Lush, these events will appeal to each and every person in some way. For those such as myself, who have a sound knowledge of Lush's perfumes, there is always room to learn more about the stories behind each one; for new fans, it's a lesson that'll keep on giving, long after you've left the venue.
Yet again, Lush were able to entice that ever-burning flame inside of me - the one that may never go out, but one that sometimes needs a little burst of oxygen to help it burn a little brighter. A beautiful, wonderful experience felt by all, and one that has me itching for the next event.