Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Review: Dirty from Gorilla Perfumes (2004/2011)

Is mint becoming the new lemon? Perfumers are wary of using excessive quantities of the latter in their formulae because years of cultural conditioning have persuaded Western noses that its zingy brightness belongs not in fine fragrances but in cheap, grease-busting detergents. Now everyone's favourite toothpaste ingredient seems to be suffering a similar fate. Its very particular bracing coolness is rapidly becoming synonymous with bog-standard, cut-price shower gels, which may be why I find it increasingly difficult to enjoy Parfumerie Générale's Harmatan Noir and Cartier's Roadster... although Guerlain's Herba Fresca still manages to remain compelling, but I digress...
Gorilla Perfumes are trying to exploit mint's awkward position in our collective sensibilities with the re-release of Dirty: on the one hand, they'd like us to perceive it as a serious perfume, but on the other, they're selling it as part of a cheekily constructed range of male grooming products which includes an 'Italian shower' body spray in a Febreze-style bottle, complete with chunky pump. Has their gamble succeeded?

Well, the first few moments of the fine fragrance are a chuckle-inducing herbal blend of such monstrous proportions, a few drops are enough to convince you that you're being chased down the street by a giant sprig of tarragon. When the mint comes into play, the mental images start becoming even more surreal. (I stopped writing notes when I began picturing a dolphin giving me a wink and offering me a stick of chewing gum!) With its freshness cranked up to fascist extremes, this is a strident juice that says you WILL feel cleansed and uplifted whether you like it or not. But ultimately, it makes the same mistake as Lutens' L'Eau, allowing the top notes to outstay their welcome.

Having said that, it is extremely tenacious, which is where the body products come in. I have no intention of reviewing anything other than perfumes here on Persolaise, but at this juncture, it's relevant to mention that the aforementioned body spray, a hair styling cream, a shower gel, a shaving cream and some 'tooth tabs' have all been designed so that when they're used in conjunction with each other, they create the overall Dirty smell. As far as tricks go, this one is probably more impressive on a press release than on a representative of homo sapiens, but it does convince - for hours on end - that the wearer has only just stepped out of the shower. All of which means that my overall verdict is this:

As a way of getting men to ditch dreary supermarket stocking fillers, Dirty deserves praise; it's got some character and it may well prompt the uninitiated to try more adventurous fare in future. But as another chapter in the Gorilla Perfumes story, it's something of a let down; compared to the likes of Orange Blossom or The Smell Of Freedom, it's one-dimensional, fairly predictable and more than a little annoying. Personally, I would have liked a 'body range' infused with the scent of Dear John or Icon, but I suppose they're just a touch too sophisticated for the Lynx brigade.

[Review based on samples provided by Gorilla Perfumes in 2011; fragrance tested on skin.]



  1. Haha, "Lynx brigade"

    I get the impression Dirty has left a dirty taste in your mouth and your nose?

    I completely agree with you in that, something like Dear John would have been much more sophisticated. Perhaps a tad too expensive to break down into a range of products? I also think Dear John has a more compelling back story and one that would tarnish it where it to be made into a range as well.

    Personally I think Dirty is a lovely idea. Mint and tarragon that's unoffensive and easy going - applied liberally of course :p

  2. Persolaise, good review. I haven't tried this, or any other Gorilla product, but I have tried Cartier Roadster and PG's Harmatan Noir, as well as another minty-ish number, Frederic Malle's Geranium Pour Monsieur and while they are all well done, I don't personally like mint in perfume. You're right, there's a massive association with shower and bath products. While on the subject of shower gels, I notice that a lot of these products pair mint with Tea Tree oil. I personally find this combination too bracing and intrusive, leaving my skin tingling, which for some may be appealing, but not to me!

  3. 'A few drops are enough to convince you that you're being chased down the street by a giant sprig of tarragon.'

    Persolaise, you have a way with words. Good review.

  4. Liam, if anything, the taste it left in my mouth was TOO clean!

    Do you really think it ought to be applied liberally? I found the power of the mint/herb combo too much after a while.

  5. Michael, thanks very much. I get what you're saying, but I'm afraid I'm a huge admirer of Geranium Pour Monsieur. In my opinion, the minty-floral aspect works wonderfully there, AND it knows when to turn down the volume and make way for something else.

  6. Sue, thanks very much indeed. I appreciate it ;-)

    I was going to write "bikini-clad, giant sprig of tarragon" but I thought that might be pushing it...

  7. Persolaise, I know Geranium Pour Monsieur has its fans and I do think it is well done. I do get your point though - it is about far more than just mint. I'm personally not a huge fan of mint or geranium, but that is a personal issue more than anything else. Funnily enough (or not) I do love mint in cooking and enjoy a mint tea.

  8. Michael, I love mint tea too... in fact, is there a mint tea perfume?? Quick, someone call the copyright police!


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