Angel Belsey is a Londoner. She owns too much perfume and too many books.


A few years ago, I bought some expensive honey. When I got it home and opened it up, I was struck by the overwhelming stench of zoo. I imagined the honey must be somehow "off" (though honey doesn't really go off) or maybe tainted, so I threw it out and didn't really think about it much after that . . . . . . until Lush brought out their Flying Fox shower gel.

I love honey. I love it on my toast, in my cereal, in my tea. I like soap that smells like honey (Honey I Washed The Kids is a notable example from Lush, since we're talking about Lush) and honey-flavored lip balm. Honey is good. So when I read the Lush Times and saw "New shower gel! Honey and jasmine! Ylang-ylang to boot!" I imagined I'd be in heaven.

I was gutted, gutted, GUTTED when I flipped that lid open in the shop and got a great big zoo in my face.

The problem, of course, is that so many of us (and this definitely includes me) are used to blended honey: sweet, golden, consistent, tasty--but not particularly groundbreaking. In fact, though, there are countless varieties of honey out there, and smell, color, and taste all vary enormously among them.

Try a little experiment: go to Google and type in "honey smells" and look at the autocomplete suggestions that Google gives you. "Honey smells like urine." "Honey smells like pee." "Honey smells bad." "Honey smells gross." As I've discussed before with Miel de Bois, some people have a sensitive nose regarding the waste properties of honey. I don't, normally, but at least one of the four honey varieties in Flying Fox screams "ZOO!" to me, just like that expensive honey I bought years ago.

So I didn't buy that bottle of Flying Fox, and when the Lush/Gorilla perfume line was being promoted, I was repelled by the idea of Lust, which apparently shared the same fragrance as Flying Fox. But when I wrote about how much I hated Flying Fox, Mira from Lush pointed out that the fragrance isn't exactly the same. So I felt more positive about giving Lust a chance.

Mira is right. Lust is not the same as Flying Fox. The zooey element just isn't there, thank goodness. Lust goes on all jasminey exuberance. It's strong, and it's unlikely to go unnoticed, so it's a good idea to apply it with a light hand until you get a measure of its strength! It's almost like it comes out of the bottle saying, "OH GOOD YOU LET ME OUT NOW LET'S PLAY PLAY PLAY!!"

After a few minutes, once the jasmine has had time to calm down, the ylang-ylang begins to shine through. Ylang-ylang is one of my favorite floral scents, which is a good thing since it's in so many perfumes, but some people find it rather overpowering. But if you've applied Lust lightly, the ylang-ylang complements the jasmine very well--both compete to be the top dog in perfumes where they feature, but here they make a good team.

Over time the scent develops into a candied version of those first few minutes, but the fragrance doesn't change much otherwise. Lust has great staying power: that sweetness lasts for hours. I personally never get much of the rose or the sandalwood that are supposed to underpin the fragrance; I'm sure they are there, contributing in a small way.

And, since we started with honey, let's end with honey. After loving Lust, I decided to try layering the fragrance, so I gave in and bought a small taster bottle of Flying Fox. I was relying on the idea that the initial blast of any fragrance, however unpleasant, usually doesn't last. Yes, it's a zoo when I first squirt it onto my shower sponge. However, when I'm dried and dressed, all that's left is a faint veil of jasmine on my skin. So, all in all, even if Flying Fox will never be my favorite, it's ok, and it complements Lust very well.

Lust, Gorilla Perfumes/Lush, 2010 Notes: jasmine, ylang ylang, rose, vanilla, sandalwood

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