Love (LUSH)

I opened the mailbox, and out flew summer-- an unexpected tenant for a postal receptacle during any season of the year, but especially in January, when the metal mailbox latch is so cold it stings one's fingers.

I soon discovered the reason for summer's unauthorized presence in my letter-and-bill zone. My LUSH Exclusives Miniatures Set had arrived-- not entirely intact. The glass vials had been packed into their little tray so tightly that the center vial had cracked clean down its length, releasing every drop of its fragrant contents into the surrounding cardboard.

The very same tragedy once befell the authors of Perfumes: The A-Z Guide. The "escaped" perfume in question was the now-discontinued orange-sherbet Mack truck known as Keep It Fluffy. In L&T's opinion, the smell pervading the box was so stomach-churning that it nearly wrecked their desire to sniff the rest of the contents. Luckily for us, they soldiered on.  And luckily for me, it was Love that busted out all over.  I could hardly name a more appetizing scent to alleviate the disappointment of a shipping mishap.

LUSH describes Love as a "tempting apple and spice" fragrance, but the fruit that speaks loudest here is bergamot-- painting a virtual sunrise in every zany hue along the red-orange-yellow spectrum. To a chilled Nor'Easterner, it projects the bright, uplifting appeal of a piping hot toddy made with Seville orange marmalade and more bourbon than is strictly necessary. At the same time, it also smells like a bowl of Froot Loops. Whether you think the combination of liquor and kids' cereal is all that great an idea depends (I suppose) on your tolerance for both juvenilia and the cold. Personally, I'm fine with the former. But having been born in Chicago during a lake-effect deep freeze, I possess a hard-wired horror of temperatures below 70°F. I must have warmth and light; Love gladly serves 'em up in megadoses. With every inhale, I could imagine winter becoming less of an evil and more of an chance to scope out prime snow fort real estate.

Still, I wanted to wear Love, not merely huff it off of a piece of cardboard. So I got straight on the horn to Lush Customer Service. (Could they have been nicer or more helpful? I think not. Oh Canada!) Within days a new vial of Love landed in my mailbox, accompanied by several adorable soaps (including the coveted marzipan Snowcake). Ever since, the level of perfume in the vial has been dropping sharply-- but not due to breakage. Call it wintertime therapy, the equivalent of time logged under a sunlamp: I need this. It's medicinal.

Some might cavil (not without reason) that no fragrance so blatantly candied could be taken seriously. And normally, with my repugnance for fruity florals, I would agree. But when (as now) the leaden sky is spitting snow and the world outside the door seems less than hospitable, Love -- sweet, sweet Love -- proves unconditional.

Scent Elements: Lemon, lemongrass, bergamot, apple, cinnamon, cassia, jasmine absolute, rose absolute, ylang-ylang absolute