Lush Furze ~ fragrance review, with an aside on Lush Sun

Gorse bloom

If you'd asked me in, say, 2006, if I needed or wanted a beachy coconut sort of perfume, I probably would have laughed.1 That was the year that Estee Lauder launched Azuree Soleil Eau Fraiche in collaboration with Tom Ford, and I didn't bother to smell it until they reintroduced it the next year, at which point I realized that yes, I did need a beachy coconut sort of perfume. Azuree Soleil turned into Bronze Goddess in 2008, and Estee Lauder has been releasing it in one form or another every spring since then (see this year's entry here). It's one of my summer go-to perfumes.

Even then, I would have guessed that my beachy coconut perfume needs were small enough that they'd be adequately covered by Bronze Goddess for the rest of my natural life. Nope — here comes Lush Furze to pile on. Furze is part of the latest crop of fragrances from Lush, all of which were inspired by the lore of the English countryside, and Stonehenge, and all sorts of related Englishness. Furze in particular was reportedly triggered by furze (gorse) bushes growing in the yard of Lush perfumer Simon Constantine. I don't know the smell of gorse, although I think it's botanically related to broom (which I do know), but anyway, Mr. Constantine thinks it smells a little like coconut and vanilla, and that's where he went with the Furze fragrance: coconut, vanilla, mimosa, neroli.

The start is discordant in a way that few niche or mainstream fragrances are these days, when the first few seconds' performance on a blotter are sometimes all that matters. Oh, and it's strong. I thought for a minute or two that it might be a scrubber, but then all at once — poof! — it resolves into a sort of milky green floral-coconut-vanilla with herbal undertones, all finished off with a dusting of cosmetic powder. It gets a bit earthier and woodier in the far dry down, and some of the creamy sweetness fades. The lasting power, by the way, is excellent.

It's a quirky fragrance — not so quirky that it's hard to like or wear, but still, a little quirky — and seems like a happy collision of elements that ought not work together, but somehow do. The tone isn't really overtly beachy, and Furze has enough backbone that you needn't relegate it to summer-only wear, but like many people, I've been conditioned over time to smell coconut and think of a tropical beach — for me, the association is inescapable. Likewise, any coconut perfume I smell, I will compare to Bronze Goddess. So in my (overly compartmentalized) mind, I think of Furze as a mash-up between the Mediterranean beach of Tom Ford's (supremely commercial) imagination and the English countryside of Simon Constantine's (decidedly unorthodox) imagination, and I'm guessing I'll wear it (yes, it's on my buy list) when Bronze Goddess seems too staid, although I can confirm that it works quite nicely as a winter comfort scent too. 

Lush Sun is more overtly summer-ish, and Lush's own descriptions of Sun as "a big orange sun on a lollipop stick" and "zesty Orange, tangy Tangerine and a Mimosa fizz recline atop sultry Sandalwood for a real taste of The Sun" pretty much sum up what it's all about, although my main complaint about Sun is that the dry down is maybe a wee bit more flat than all that might imply (and I would say the same about Atelier Cologne's Orange Sanguine, which I bought but rarely reach for). Still, it's worth a shot, especially if you don't already have the orange category all taken care of in your own collection.2 I found it very enjoyable, if not as unusual (or long lasting) as Furze, but I liked it best layered with something else — it plays nicely with the grapefruit and clary sage of Euphoria (from the same collection).

Coming up next week: a brief review of Lush Flower's Barrow.

Lush Furze range

Lush Furze and Sun are available in splash or dropper bottles only, in a crazy array of sizes that only Lush would produce, and that I'm guessing even Lush won't produce for long: 7, 25, 28, 43, 46 and 92 g (prices for the 9 fragrances in the collection range from $15 - $175).

Note: top image is Gorse Flowers [cropped] by brianac37 at flickr; some rights reserved.

1. Although I've always liked CB I Hate Perfume At The Beach 1966 as a kind of "scent memory" (coppertone!) and admit to finding J Lo's Miami Glow fun too. And then there's the smell of the beach itself, sans sunscreen: Comptoir Sud Pacifique Aqua Motu.

2. My orange of choice: Guerlain Acqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic, and at the top of that review, there's a list of some other decent orange fragrances.


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65 Comments

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  1. Erin says:

    Darn it, I really should have ordered the Furze. (Probably Hellstone, too.) “Milky green floral-coconut-vanilla with herbal undertones” sounds delish. Is it anything in spirit like L’Artisan Cote d’Amour?

    I’m really wearing the heck out of this Gorilla set, or at least the four I got, and look forward to the Flower’s Barrow review (from you?). I can’t really decide whether I actually *like* Flower’s Barrow, but I’ve worn it enough trying to decide that I might as well. Along with the Enchanted Forest scent, I’m on a blackcurrant kick. It will be good to have another opinion on F’sB, because I feel overly influenced by the Lush website review comparing it to LP Hartley’s “The Go-Between”, and now all I can imagine is Edwardian clothing in sweaty summer, black currant pastilles and finding the deadly nightshade.

    • Robin says:

      They sent me samples of 5 of them, so of course I’m dying to try the other 4 — that’s how it works, right? I’ll have to hope US stores are going to have testers.

      Really not anything like Cote d’Amour.

      I’m not at all sure I like Flower’s Barrow either…almost included it here today but decided I should spend more time with it. Think it’s a cool scent in any case, even if I end up not liking it.

      What are your favorites from the set so far?

      • Erin says:

        With the lasting power, I think the 7 gram (?!) bottles are actually going to go a long way, so I do wish they had more of a sample size, so I could have order little dabs of the other five. I am really enjoying Sikkim Girls, even though it also has that strong, discordant start that makes you gack. Voice of Reason and Flower’s Barrow both puzzle me, but, like you said, they’re so cool and quirky, that I feel quite positively about them anyway, whether or not I like them. Devil’s Nightcap was the least interesting to me at first wearing, but I need to give it more time.

        • Robin says:

          I need to try Sikkim Girls again. Did not love it the first time. LOVE the name. Did you try Bug?

          • Erin says:

            No, that was the other one I wanted to try, based on Basenotes commentary. The citrus ones did not call my name, really, thoguh I don’t know why — I love B Scent.

          • Robin says:

            Oh, and sorry, I counted now and see that you didn’t, so sorry to force you to say so.

            IMHO, B Scent (which I keep meaning to buy) and/or 25:whatever (ditto) are both much better than Sun — Sun is fun, but oddly “plain” for this collection. Euphoria is a bit less citrus-focused than I expected, but it’s still close enough to the “cologne” genre to be of less interest to me.

        • Robin says:

          And better yet, a sample set!! Which I would buy right away.

          • Erin says:

            They had those great little sample sets they sold briefly in store, with 2g dabbers of Smell of Weather Turning, Cocktail, B Scent etc. So there is precedence!

          • Robin says:

            Exactly!

          • I know! It’s making me crazy they don’t have a sample set of these. I want to try at least half of them, and even at $15ish for the 7mL size, it starts to add up.

  2. Zazie says:

    Thank you for this timely review: in this period of the year I always long for beachy or jasmine-y white floral scents.
    My go-to beach scent is Montale’s intense tiare (the best drydown ever, but I’m not that fond of the opening anymore), and I wanted to broaden my “january-to-march” perfume choices: Furze sounds just perfect, you make me want to try it on the spot!!! And if anyone has other coconut-beachy perfume suggestions I’m all ears – especially if they involve white flowers of some sort!! ;)

    • Emily says:

      I am strangely fond of Monyette Paris oil (haven’t tried the EDP), though it seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it kind of thing. And speaking of love-it-or-hate-it kinds of things, I adore Guerlain Mahora — though it’s been discontinued and reincarnated as Mayotte, which is pretty spendy. I haven’t given it a proper testing yet, but I did think AA Lys Soleia smelled nice on paper.

      • Zazie says:

        Thank you for the suggestions: Mayotte sounds intriguing, I’ve just looked up the notes! I will dig out my sample of Monyette: I remember finding it too sweet when I first tried it, but my nose has travelled a long way since then- I sometimes don’t recognize my old tastes!!!

    • Robin says:

      Furze is great fun, but not in that sort of class at all (Montale, Monyette). Would add Andre Gas to that list, but don’t know if they still make it.

      • Robin says:

        Oh, and that Matthew Williamson scent that they probably don’t make anymore either. Sorry, I’m not very helpful!

      • Robin says:

        Read that and wasn’t sure it was clear — by “not in that class” didn’t mean it wasn’t as good, but that it wasn’t that sort of beachy-suntan-ish floral.

        • Zazie says:

          Thanks! I understand what you mean; I’ll give Fruze a try anyhow: coconut, mimosa and powdery vanilla seem a very appealing combination! Coconut is one of very few fruity notes that I find appealing in a perfume, I think because of its milky smell and relaxed, tropical-beachy feel! :)

          • Robin says:

            Hope you’ll like it then :-)

    • donanicola says:

      You might like to try Bobbi Brown’s Beach and Bond No 9 do one, Fire Island I think it is.

  3. Emily says:

    Ha, I was just thinking yesterday that I should seek out another beachy-coconut perfume for whenever I need a break from Bronze Goddess. There could be a small bottle of Furze in my future, provided I can a) suck it up and deal with the aroma force-field of a Lush store; and b) manage to smell anything else once I get inside.

    • Robin says:

      I am wondering how they will do testers at all since these aren’t spray? Or if they’ll seriously sell 6 sizes of each of the 9 scents in the stores?

      I was just in Lush a week ago (bought Helping Hands & Grass) and none of them were there.

      Really not kidding that this is not beachy in the conventional sense, and I am comparing it to Bronze Goddess only because that’s how my mind works: must put things in their boxes, and I have only so many boxes to put things in.

      • Emily says:

        Though I also reflexively associate “coconut” and “beachy,” so even if it’s not beachy in the exact same way as Bronze Goddess, I’m sure it will seem beachy to me in some way. (Also, BG was the first coconut fragrance I learned to appreciate, so all other coconutty fragrances are automatically compared with it. I *totally* get the compartmentalizing-brain thing!)

        I think I’ll wait and see if STC or TPC carries this, and save myself a potentially pointless Lush-store-induced headache.

        • Robin says:

          Good! I’m afraid I’ve misled people into thinking Furze is something it’s not.

          I like Lush so much that I’ve sort of gotten over the smelly stores & overly eager sales people. In my local mall, it is comically right by Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret beauty, so it’s kind of a little Wall ‘o Smells section.

  4. Jessica says:

    Oh, I’m so glad you reviewed this. I haven’t seen the new Gorilla scents anywhere in person yet. Looking forward to Flower’s Barrow!

    • Robin says:

      I almost expected them to do online-only in the US, but it doesn’t say that on the website so we’ll have to hope they’re in stores soon.

  5. mindxpandr says:

    Hi Robin and Everyone! I had no idea how to get this information to you to share and thought you’d want to know if you hadn’t heard it already… Sorry for just appending it to this particular post, but I was in a hurry to get it to you…

    http://theweek.com/article/flipbook/239685/eau-de-beacutebeacute

    • Robin says:

      The upcoming D&G baby thing, is that what you meant? Interesting what a fuss they’re making over it in the press, when other baby perfumes don’t seem to attract any attention at all!

      But I absolutely would want to know if I hadn’t already, so many thanks!

      • mindxpandr says:

        Yup, that’s what I wanted to call attention to. Thanks for not banishing me for the list for posting in the wrong place! I didn’t know there were baby perfumes until I read this article. I guess that’s what got me all fired up in the first place…

        • Robin says:

          Oh, we don’t banish people so easily :-)

          Burberry has Baby Touch, and Bvlgari has Petits et Mamans. And Guerlain had one, forget what it was called. And so on.

      • hajusuuri says:

        This brought back memories! I bought a bottle of the Burberry Baby Touch (I did not pay attention to names then) for myself. The bottle was cone shaped with a rounded bottom so it rocked. It also came with a terry cloth pouch with an embroidered sheep which to this day I use to protect my travel alarm clock. And, I drained the first bottle and bought a second one and I think that got drained as well…then I discovered Hermes perfumes so came the end of my Burberry Baby Touch obsession.

  6. mysterious_scent says:

    Real life gorse does smell like coconut! there are plenty in the place I live! Lush Furze is a quite realistic gorse!

  7. Lys says:

    Oooooo, interesting. Funny b/c the packaging, which I like, does not say beachy in the least evn tho I’m sure beachy sells.

    I find most Lush perfume hard to take, being either too squishy (notes all blend together) or kind of nasty (indole as in dental decay). This sounds unobjectionable. … I wish they’d do more of their stuff as testers in their stores.

    • Robin says:

      I don’t know…if you don’t like their style, you might not like this either. I do think B Scent (which I love) is one of their “gentler” fragrances. And maybe 1000 Kisses too.

  8. Antje says:

    Ok, I can almost guarantee that Furze will not be sold in Germany. In German, it means ‘Farts’. I am having tears in my eyes as I write this, my inner 12 year old is coming through…

    • Robin says:

      LOL!! But it is there, on the German website, and according to Google translate, the description says “Seriously: This perfume smells much better than … well, you know what we mean!”

    • mals86 says:

      Oh, that’s hilarious!

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      That’s awesome!
      Reminds me of a story I heard (maybe everyone’s heard it, too?) about Chevy having a hard time selling their Nova car in Latin America. It didn’t occur to them until much later that it translates into “Doesn’t Go!” :D

    • tulp says:

      Hi Antje, I thought exactly the same :-D

    • mickimicki says:

      Hi, I’m German, too, and I saw it in a Lush store just before Christmas. They were unpacking all the new Gorillas and placing them in the store. I noticed the name (and happened to know it means gorse – don’t ask…) My 12-year-old son was with me (yes!) and he told me he was going to get me some for mother’s day… “funny!” The SA said she had no idea how Lush were expecting her to sell a perfume called “farts”… so true… I think they should stick an extra label or a banderole over the English name…

      I didn’t try any of the new stuff then, because my nose was dead already after 10 minutes in Lush. But it’s good to know I’ll get something nice and summery for Mother’s Day ;)

  9. hajusuuri says:

    Coconut is usually a non-starter for me but I will try this one. The Herald Square store did not have this last week. The store itself looked pretty shabby to me and there were just too many things on display in that tiny storefront.

    • Robin says:

      What a shame! Neither of the stores near me are shabby, although they really do have lots of product crammed in there.

  10. Abyss says:

    I tried a bunch of these shortly after they were announced and Furze was the one that – unexpectedly – stood out for me. I completely agree that it is discordant and quirky and fun with that weird neroli/coconut combo. I don’t even know if I’d want to wear it but I enjoyed smelling it.

    As for the name, I suspect they are aware of the meaning and are probably not that bothered. After all they do those Les Cacas henna things with something like “No sh*t hair colour” for a strapline.

    Oh and my local Lush has testers for them, how odd that they haven’t made it to US.

    • Robin says:

      I think they’ve only been on the US website less than a week…they definitely are launching here much later.

      And agree, they like funny names & probably wouldn’t care.

  11. daruma says:

    I tried a few of these the other day and was very pleasantly surprised and may even buy a few. In general I detest Lush perfumes (other than Karma), finding them harsh and clumsy but these were of a whole different level of skill and subtlety. I can only assume that the son (Simon) is taking on more of the nose duties from his father.

    • Merlin says:

      Someone once referred to the style as naive perfumery, and when I think of it like that I really enjoy it. Then again, others with more experienced noses say that some of these rival the best of exclusive niche-market brands! More and more I am finding that I actually like the smell of real aromatic essences, so maybe this makes a difference?

    • Robin says:

      I like quite a few of them — B Scent, 25:whatever, Silky Underwear.

      I actually have no idea where either of the Constantines were trained, or if they were in fact trained at all. Either way, the Lush fragrances don’t smell like they were made by someone trained to make fragrances at the big flavor & fragrance companies, as is likewise true for most of the smaller indie & natural brands and even for a few of the larger niche brands. So I guess it depends on what you think the proper standard for a good perfume. These definitely don’t conform to the mainstream “rules” (top notes must smell good on paper, must have smooth transitions & no spiky notes, etc).

      • Merlin says:

        The ‘rules’ described that way, however, sound like very artificial constraints – some dependent on commercial considerations (top notes) and others on propriety. I would think a good perfumier would be, on some level, aware of the rules and thus able to manipulate them. So Picasso, for instance, would know how to draw in a realist style but would decide not to in order to create an alternative effect. If he drew like he did just because he had no idea how to create a realistic looking face then presumably he would not be considered a great artist.
        Some of the great perfumes are compared to symphonies because of their supposedly impeccable structure. So, in this way it is possible to appreciate this formal structure while not actually ‘liking’ it.
        It seems that when people criticize Lush perfumes they mean that the perfumier seems to have no technique. To me that seems a fair criticism – it may not be ‘good’ perfume (unless the maker can demonstrate that he knows how to do ordinary professional perfume) but it may still be possible to enjoy the effect?

        • Robin says:

          Absolutely — there are good perfumes and bad perfumes, we all know that! And there absolutely are perfumes that are harsh, clumsy or clunky. But at the same time, there are so many scents that are too far out of the modern mainstream style to evaluate them by the usual rules. Vent Vert, the original version, would no doubt be considered “harsh” today, ditto with Ma Griffe (again, the original). I was thinking of those 2 in particular because of the huge rush of green (probably also galbanum) that opens Furze — a perfumer today making something to sell in a department store would never get away with that, because the rules of engagement for department stores are not what they were 60 years ago. Even to launch Angel today — that would be hard. Angel is not immediately apparent as a masterpiece on a paper blotter, and took a good long time to find a following. Today, with 1000+ new launches a year, a department store would simply not keep it in stock if it did not sell in the first year. And I think that is why we get so much generic, smell-alike but technically competent fragrances.

          So yes, it would be an absolutely fair criticism to say Simon (or Mark) Constantine has poor technique, I just wouldn’t agree. His technique is different, to be sure, but I personally think many of their scents are brilliant.

          • Merlin says:

            Its nice to know that one is pleased with something that has objective value:) I’m not at the point where I can discern the ‘structure’ of a perfume – whether the notes are differentiated enough, for instance, or whether they are harmonious enough. I can only tell whether my nose wants a repeat sniff!

          • Merlin says:

            By the way, I just attended a seminar on the publishing industry and was shocked to learn that most bookshops here do not stock the backlists of authors. They keep the latest offering on the shelf only! Its like the same thing in a different arena, and even more depressing.

          • AnnieA says:

            @Merlin, libraries are fantastic as they are the best source of backlists around…

  12. Merlin says:

    They’r not out yet, here in South Africa, but I’v been told they are hoping to have them before Valentines. The only shop they have is in another city but I’m going to ask someone to bring me the small bottle of Furze and I was thinking maybe Devil’s Cap too as it seems to have had a good reception…

    Then again I have just fallen in love with The Smell of Freedom solid – a blind buy that I had thought, up to a month ago was a total mistake. Now I’m thinking maybe I should get a travel spray of it too-

    • Robin says:

      It’s nice when you eventually fall in love with a blind buy :-)

  13. AnnieA says:

    I like Guerlain Acqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic too, except it only lasts about 5 minutes on me. For mandarine I have Par Amour Toujours, pretty well the only perfume I have with lots of rose.

  14. donanicola says:

    I really enjoy reading your reviews, Robin! Normally I scuttle past LUSH shops as the pervading smell is just too much but the display of Sun got me all intrigued so I went in and I’m glad I did. These are fun scents and I love the graphics accompanying them. I am from the same part of England (Dorset) and love the place. The blurb written about the inspiration for each scent is very evocative of the region for me and another reason why I want to explore them better. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Robin says:

      The graphics are wonderful, and also nice to see scents that aren’t in the standard black Lush bottle, which I do not love in any case.

      How nice that they have “local” meaning for you too!

  15. Carry says:

    I’m a long term lurker on this blog, just reading and learning. But in this case I felt like leaving a comment.

    When I read this review I was excited. Simply because furze is my all time favourite nature scent.

    I live in Ireland and we have furze all over the place. It’s indeed a kind of coconut scent, but not quite. It’s fresher, greener, only a waft of coconut, sweetish, but not cloying, like the waft of coconut oil in the hair of Sri Lankan women, when they are passing in a monsoon shower .
    And you can only smell it on sunny days in the summer and usually early evenings. It was the first impression I’ve had from this emerald isle when I moved here. A very unique scent.

    I always wished that some of the perfumers out there would invent my favourite nature scent. That is coconutty furze with a hint of flowery hawthorn blossoms embedded in fresh grass and wet earth after a springtime rain in the evening. It’s so divine! And not at all beachy and summery.

    It was a bit complicated to get my hands on Lush Furze, but today I’ve got it.
    They’ve got the idea right, that is the green, the sweet and the quirky. But not quite. There is too much vanilla and the greens are too harsh and disappear too quickly.

    But altogether it comes close, a kind of rough diamond of my idea of the perfect Irish Spring Perfume.
    Anyway: highly recommended!
    And thanks for the review!!!

    • Robin says:

      Carry, thanks so much for delurking, it’s nice to hear a detailed comparison to the “real thing”!

    • Hana says:

      Great description of gorse/furze, Carry. Today, I went for a long walk here in Scotland. I smelled gorse bushes on the way and I wished someone had made this into perfume. I need to pop in a Lush shop to try Furze soon.

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