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Karma – a LUSH chameleon

As usual after meeting with a potential new client a few months ago, my colleague and I traded impressions. “Good karma” he said, and I agreed. We knew exactly what each other felt about this person without having to say anything more, and our brief assessment of their character has so far proven to be true. 

The word Karma lost its place in popular jargon for a couple of decades, but millenials have discovered it so I’m hearing it again. At the risk of being professorial, the Sanskrit word KARMA is the idea that certain actions reap specific consequences in this life or the next….if we show goodness we will reap goodness, badness gets badness. You reap what you sow. You get the picture.

You know what karma means, but do you know how it smells? Turns out that there’s an exceptional perfume named Karma… 

Karma is from LUSH Gorilla Perfume, which now includes over 100 fragrances. The current Gorilla Perfume line is in all the LUSH stores, and it’s definitely worth braving the wall of bath-bomb scent at the front to go in and explore the perfumes, which are usually on display near the back of the stores.

Father and son perfumers, Michael and Simon Constantine see scent as art, and are driven by their passion for creating scented memories and capturing fragrant moments in time – read their Fragrantica interview.

“We are an antidote to boring mass-market scents and a movement to get people excited about good quality perfume”.

This means that they focus intensely on what’s inside the bottle, use minimal packaging, source ethical ingredients, buy top quality essential oils and, of course, create truly unique non-gendered fragrances. They use 100% natural vegetal ingredients and the perfumes are hand-made in small batches at various LUSH locations, every bottle identified by the name of the technician, and the production and expiry dates. And the best part is that LUSH Gorilla perfumes are available in different sizes and remain reasonably priced. 

We list three of their exceptional scents: Breath of GodLust, and Smuggler’s Soul, which you can read about by clicking the links. Karma is the fourth exceptional scent. 

How does Karma smell?

LUSH describes it as … “our ode to hippies and head shops… inspired heavily by music...”. Launched in 1994, I’m guessing its inspiration was the 1983 blockbuster, Karma Chameleon by Culture Club and Boy George.  "The song is about the terrible fear of alienation that people have, the fear of standing up for one thing. It's about trying to suck up to everybody. Basically, if you aren't true, if you don't act like you feel, then you get Karma-justice, that's nature's way of paying you back." Source: Wikipedia

Spicy and citrusy, Karma stands up right out of the bottle on the first spritz. Sweet orange and lemongrass and lavender and pine in the opening, an uplifting, sunny, and sweet stew of zesty orange and lemon, that is refreshingly cool and earthy from the aromatic pine resin and the bite of herbal lavender layered under the citrus sweetness. 

In the heart, the patchouli note develops, but this is no stale head shop patchouli steeped in burnt incense and rank essential oils, this is the smell of the fragrant herb in the woods, an earthy scent in a mossy forest. Aromatic fir and elemi add to the woodiness, the cassis balances the sweetness of the citrus accord and creates a spicy cinnamon/clove effect that has hints of dark cola as it blends with pine and fir resins.

Like most Gorilla perfumes, Karma’s opening accord is big and unusual, a feature I happen to like. I love trying to figure out what I’m smelling. But, like most Gorilla perfumes, it also has a dry-down that is exceptional. As it warms on the skin, the natural oils burn off and soften, and like a chameleon, Karma transforms through the dry-down into a warm, enveloping, expansive scent. The deep citrus sweetness is perfectly balanced by the earthy patchouli, so that Karma takes on a creamy quality when the spicy resins are swirled into the mix. The waft is dreamy and soft, relaxing and comforting, lasting for several hours.

Michael and Simon Constantine definitely packed a big dose of karmic goodness into Karma. Its scent is authentic and true. After almost thirty years, it’s still a top-seller and Karma is also available as body lotion, soap, shampoo bar and bubble bar. 

Bubble bar? Hmmm…a trip to LUSH is in my future. 

Karma is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.

FYI - Tania Sanchez in Perfumes: The Guide, gives Karma 4 stars, P.339

Image - LUSH Gorilla Perfume "Karma" bottle -