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Dear John: an Ode to Fathers

A storied fragrance

A Dear John letter is dreaded among deployed soldiers.

It’s a breakup message from a partner back home when they’ve found someone else, making “Dear John” a pair of words synonymous with sadness and inevitable loss.

Dear John Perfume is Lush co-founder Mark Constantine’s ode to his own absent father, named John, who abandoned him as a baby. The perfume was created with his father in mind, representing the idea of how a man smells: a comforting, fatherly scent with notes of coffee, coriander, lime and tobacco. Constantine recalls while creating the perfume that he "suddenly realized that it was the way that I thought my father would have smelled."

Dear John was born from competing feelings of love and abandonment. The mix of citrus, woods and spices creates a cozy, nostalgic fragrance that’s complex and evocative. But it did take time to evolve into the perfume we have today. Constantine says, "It took several years to perfect, starting life as a simple accord between pine and lime oil, then passing through a period of time as 'wake up and smell the coffee' and then with more work suddenly getting personal.”

Dear John Bath Bomb fizzing away in the tub

The blue and white Dear John Bath Bomb fizzing in a tub

The perfume is unlike any other: a carefully curated blend of fresh cedarwood, smoky vetivert and spicy clove bud oil evokes feelings of comfort and familiarity.

"With a warm citrus splash and strong coffee note, Dear John seems strange and familiar at the same time. With its unique coffee and lime blend it provides a sharp buss at first, which dries into a more subdued warmth," says Constantine. “This was the perfume that gave me the assurance to call myself a perfumer.”

This spring, you’ll find this unique fragrance in a collection of limited edition inventions released just in time for Father's Day. Dear John Shower Gel and Naked Shower Gel bring this complex, cozy scent to your shower, while Dear John Bath Bomb creates a comforting inky blue soak in the tub. For long-lasting fragrance and fabulous-feeling hair, Dear John Shampoo Bar delivers.

To learn more about Lush co-founder and perfumer Mark Constantine and his quest to find his father, check out the book Dear John: The Road To Pelindaba, coming soon.