Our Green Living goddess reports back on her favourite finds from London town.
It’s my new favourite shop – a beautiful haven of scents and sensibility. Just as there are soundtracks to our lives, there are also scents that perfectly reflect a moment in time. At Gorilla Perfume in London, there are scents for running away to join the circus, starring as the princess in your own fairy-tale and fragrances to remind you of sitting on dad’s or granddad’s knee in the 1970s. Yes, they’re that esoteric, and wonderful with it.
There’s no other shop like Gorilla, which is tucked away down an historic passage in Islington, beside antique shops and wine bars. It’s an offshoot of Lush, and we’re all familiar with walking down a high street and immediately knowing there’s a Lush store nearby, thanks to the wonderfully heady scent wafting out of the shop, making our town and city centres much more perfumed places to be in.
This little shop of delights stocks more than 35 fragrances but it’s more than just a perfume shop. It also features a vintage listening booth with vinyl LPs, because its founders – father and son duo Simon and Mark Constantine – believe that scent and music go together, and are inspired by certain types of music when creating their perfumes, as well as being influenced by their love of art and poetry.
Volume 3, entitled Death, Decay & Renewal, of the Gorilla scent collection has just been released – it’s called a ‘volume’ because Simon and Mark release ‘albums’ of fragrance. And this one features, among the collection, a gentle floral fragrance with a solemn name, Death and Decay, which inspires thoughts of meditation as well as mortality. There’s also Princess Cottongrass which comes with a backstory about sunny meadows, an elk and a beautiful princess. Or you could try The President’s Hat, named after a book by Antoine Laurain or Stayin’Alive, with its booming frankincense bass note (perfect for Christmas!).
But don’t just take my word for it, the shop has to be smelled to be believed. I fell in love as much with the stories as with the scents, and came away with Dad’s Garden (Lemon Tree) – a fragrance that captures a contemplative moment in the sun, and Sun, a perfume from Vol. 2. Next time I have my eye on The Smell Of Weather Turning, from Vol. 1, simply because I love the name so much. You can buy some of the fragrances in Lush stores, but if you’re ever in London, do make a beeline for this real find of a shop.
You can pop in for an individual perfume consultation or simply soak up the atmosphere and browse the books, posters and artworks that inspired the fragrances. It’s one of those treasures of a shop that you’ll go back to time and again.
Gorilla Perfume, 3 Camden Passage, London N1 8EA.