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.]