Monday 6 May 2024


A bottle of the perfume 29 HIGH STREET by PIA LONG for LUSH
When you think about the various possible inspirations for perfume then the list usually includes pretty standard ideas like music, cities, ingredients, memories etc. This is because these are the “inspirations” that are so often trumpeted by the many fragrance companies. Obviously there are others that can be called on to ignite the creativity, but one of the boldest was surely embraced back in 2013. Acclaimed perfumer Pia Long was at that point in her career working for LUSH and, due to an unexpected track change, the now legendary 29 High Street perfume was born. Eleven years later, it’s time to revisit the fragrance's story.

LUSH is the worldwide phenomenon that began life in 1995, and which was a reinvention of the original Cosmetics To Go. It’s a common declaration on every high street that you can smell the LUSH stores before you see them, like a scented attack on the nostrils, but there’s also something remarkably comforting about a scent that anchors fans from Edinburgh right down to Truro. So, it won’t come as a surprise to learn that the scent of the “shop” was bottled as a perfume and burned as a candle, but it almost didn’t happen at all.

Pia Long created the scent for an unused 2012 Christmas product, but the company saw another possibility. Pia’s formula was instead issued as a celebratory perfume, first privately, and has since become a limited edition that’s only available at the LUSH store in Dorset. Pia told me, “I spent time in the store to understand the most prominent product smells, then asked for a list of all the fragrance raw materials by volume so I could create the canvas for the perfume, since they would essentially be the ‘background smell’ in all LUSH stores. I then went over the list again, but adjusted them for odour impact.”

The box for the perfume 29 HIGH STREET by PIA LONG for LUSH
As testament to her skill, Pia only had time for two attempts at creating the final scent. “I learned a lot from that project, but these days I’d have simplified the accords a little and taken extra creative license with what the final impression could be – elevate it beyond the attempt at realism.” Now, Pia Long has since gone on to co-found her own company with Nick Gilbert, called Olfiction. Offering a full creation service, from the perfume right through to the marketing, the pair truly are a dream team. However, it’s time for us to go back to 2013. So, put Katy Perry’s “Roar” in the CD player and get ready to reminisce.

29 High Street opens with an arresting green-edged citrus blend, but immediately behind it comes the floral sweetness that is so associated with approaching any LUSH store. This combination of rose, jasmine, ylang ylang and touches of violet does also have a sherbet bath-bomb-esque element that comes through the centre, so helps to keep the scent uplifting. The development of the fragrance sees a soapy sandalwood pulling in hints of patchouli but, in a final interesting diversion, the pairing of clove and vanilla notes add a sugariness that is forever associated with LUSH. I’ll leave the final word on 29 High Street to Pia, “It is, in many ways, a snapshot of its time – which LUSH products were popular then, and much more besides.”

29 High Street is available in person from the LUSH store in Dorset, or by telephoning them on 01202 672217, and is priced at £29.50 for 30ml. [Sample provided by LUSH]

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