Just like you can appreciate sound, image, even taste, as an art - smell, or olfaction, can be enjoyed as one too. And, just like painting is the point to painters, perfume is the point to perfumers.
Gorilla Perfume’s second volume features six fragrances inspired by the Dorset countryside, and five more from travels further afield. What’s more, it is the first volume to include incense.
Because perfumery is an art form, each scent deserves recognition as such. That means giving each fragrance the space to be explored and enjoyed properly using music, light sound and smell.
In line with its natural inspiration, Volume II was unveiled at Lush Fest - a two-day festival of sight, sound and perfume that was thrown in the (very, very rainy) Dorset countryside.
In order to illustrate the deep connection between nature and the Gorilla perfumery process a stone circle was built. Unlike other stone circles though, each stone was scented with a different perfume from the volume. The stone circles still stand in the Isle of Purbeck, but unfortunately probably no longer smell of Gorilla perfume.
Great perfume, like great art, really infiltrates a person’s mind and emotions on a truly unique level. As well as using the finest ingredients and essential oils, Gorilla perfume locks into human feelings and explores them using interesting, and often controversial, scents and perfume notes. This means that the resulting fragrances not only have the power to evoke strong reactions, but explore them too.
Famous novelist Vladimir Nabokov once wrote “Nothing revives the past so completely as a smell that was once associated with it,” and nowhere is this more true than with Volume II. The fragrances that make up the collection have many diverse and unexpected origins, drawing on memories, anecdotes, people andplaces, as well as the other four senses.
For perfumer Simon Constantine a lot of this inspiration came from the rural landscape of Dorset where he grew up. He explains: “Having been born and raised in Dorset it was fantastic to discover such a wealth of largely forgotten heritage. Discovering this world for myself was exhilarating, and I quickly began creating fragrances inspired by it.
“I became aware of the wealth of aromatic inspiration around, gorse flowers on a winter's morning, rosemary smudge sticks burning at Stonehenge, freshly unearthed roots, vibrant tree lichens, berries, leaves, hedgerows, the list grows. Each provided enough inspiration for a perfume and then I had six fragrances all on this theme.”
One of those fragrances was Devil’s Nightcap. Its earthy and slightly mystical scent was inspired by the folklore surrounding a huge, ancient monolith (that’s a really big rock) called the Agglestone, which is situated on healthland at Studland, South Dorset. Legend has it that the rock was flung there by the devil in a drunken rage. The word ‘aggle’ is from the old Dorset dialect and literally means "to wobble".
Its complex bittersweet fragrance is hard to put into words, but is somewhere between a fresh, green forest, and a heady herbal incense that hints at the magic and folklore that connects the past to the present
Gorilla on tour
While six of the fragrances in Volume II are rooted deeply in the Dorset countryside, five are heavily inspired by the vibrant world of global music, art and dance.
So, to bring the scents to life the volume went on tour in a mobile exhibition.
The psychedelic green Gorilla Bus toured the length and breadth of the country filled with perfume, records and art.
Artists, including Plastic Crimewave, collaborated with each other to put on a series gigs and events that enlivened the senses and encapsulated the spirit of Volume II.
The Voice of Reason
This rich and seductive fragrance is inspired by Beat poets - musicians and writers that spoke up for revolution and gave voice to a generation.
The thick, musky fragrance is a combination of sandalwood and Buddha wood, while the slightly floral sweet edge comes from a dash of rose oil. This inspirational scent is reminiscent of low-lit rooms, espressos and air heavy with cigarette smoke.
Sikkim Girls is inspired by stories regaled to us by sitarist (that’s a kind of guitar player) Sheema Mukherjee. While travelling in India she heard rumours of the Himalayan Sikkim Girls; women so entrancing that they could seduce a man with just the subtle sway of their hips.
Accordingly, the perfume is sensual, heady and floral. Exquisite jasmine, tuberose and frangipani absolutes create an intoxicating fragrance that whispers of the women that inspired it.
Perfume may be a work of art, but to experience it is a deeply personal experience. Unlike sound and visual art, its canvas is different on every application. Fragrance and essential oils react differently on everything they come into contact with, meaning that the same scent will vary slightly from person to person.
But don’t take our word for it… head on down and try a Gorilla perfume on your skin and experience art at work.