Dear John has a touching story behind it. It was created by Lush co-founder Mark Constantine as an ode to his father, named John, whom he had never met because he had abandoned him as a baby. Mark developed this fragrance over a long time as a representative of the idea of how a man and a father smells. A ‘Dear John’ is typically a letter written from a woman to her lover who’s away at war to let him know she’s found somebody else.
Lush describe Dear John as a comforting, complex scent with notes of coffee, coriander, lime and tobacco – though it doesn’t actually feature all these ingredients. Mark himself describes it as better up close, like burying your face into clothing to get the smell of a person.
Cedarwood and Vetivert Oils are what give the perfume the tobacco-like notes. Cedarwood has a comforting balsamic aroma with earthy undertones which is often used in aromatherapy to relax and calm the mind. Its definitely the note that my nose picks out first in the scent. Vetivert is a tall grass found growing in India and yields an oil with an earthy and smoky aroma. Vetivert is known as ‘the oil of tranquility’ because of its deeply relaxing effect on the mind and body.
Next we have Coriander Oil. Everyone knows the smell of coriander which is strong and fresh yet spicy and woody. Known for its warming and stimulating effects on the mind, it’s often used in conjunction with or in the place of coffee to give a similar aroma. Ancient Egyptians used to call coriander the spice of happiness because of its uplifting and energising effect on the mind. Coupled with the other ingredients I’d suggest it’s this which gives citrusy undertones like that of limes.
Lastly, Clove Bud Oil works in a similar way, also adding notes of spice and warmth and its perfect in a comforting perfume to envelop the wearer like a warm hug. Clove buds are put through a process of steam distillation producing an essential oil that is richly sweet and spicy.
Dear John is definitely a scent that grows on you. I didn’t actually like it at all to begin with, but after trying it out a couple of times I really began to love how comforting and unique it is. I can see why it means so much to Mark and how it can invoke old memories and nostalgia in some people. Although being designed around the typical fatherly scent, like all of Lush’s Gorilla Perfumes, its unisex!
Mark’s story actually has a fairly happy ending. He eventually reconciled with his father when Mark turned sixty, which you can read about in his biography that Lush are currently selling – Dear John: The Road To Pelindaba.
I definitely think Dear John is worth giving a go!
DRF Alcohol, Perfume, Limonene, Water, Glycerine, Cedarwood Oil, Vetivert Oil, Coriander Oil, Clove Bud Oil, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Citral, Coumarin, Eugenol, Farnesol, Geraniol, Linalool