Gucci Rush : Perfume Review

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Rush

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Smelling Gucci Rush is like looking into a kaleidoscope: while the colors remain the same, the shapes and effects they produce change depending on the angle. From one perspective, Rush is a fruity chypre, with a nod to the baroque loveliness of Guerlain Mitsouko and Jean Patou Colony. From another, it is a thoroughly modern fragrance with its radiant accord of florals and transparent moss notes. When I finally think that I have it figured out, it presents yet another twist–a patchouli-jasmine note reminiscent of Diorama and Diorella. Yet, Rush is more than the sum of its parts and its distinctive character and strong signature make it one of the best fragrances created over the past decade.

Rush was developed in 1999 by perfumer Michel Almairac, whose impressive body of work includes such famous creations as Dior Fahrenheit and Chopard Casmir and excellent, if underrated, fragrances like L’Artisan Voleur de Roses and Rochas Aquawoman. With Rush, Almairac attempted to modernize chypre, a classical perfumery accord that predates even the birth of modern perfumery in the late 19th century. Chypre has a very distinctive character, where the powdery darkness of moss interplays with dry patchouli, sweet floral notes and effervescent citrus. The mossy-patchouli character of Rush becomes apparent on the first inhale, before one even notices that the sparkle of the composition is set not by the classical citrus, but by the floral notes. The traditional pairing of rose and jasmine is reinterpreted as crisp and abstract, oscillating between magnolia and freesia. The fruity notes are milky, creamy, enveloping, but the effect is more of a dry peach skin, rather than the juicy flesh. A dose of vanilla serves to round out Rush and soften the angular beauty of its mossy woods.

Rush does not explore the dark terrain of chypre; instead, it goes for the luminous facets of this interesting fragrance structure. The main accents to the mossy woody notes of the fragrance are the milky-sweet note of peach and the radiance of the jasmine-lily of the valley note of hedione. While this by itself is not novel–Guerlain Mitsouko is a famous peach chypre, and the patchouli-hedione accord is the backbone of Diorella, among others–Rush achieves a striking degree of complexity through the careful balance of its accords. While one sees the base notes of Rush as soon as it is applied on the skin, the fragrance still undergoes interesting changes before the exquisite combination of moss, patchouli, vetiver and musk takes centerstage. To tie it in with my recent discussion of a fragrance pyramid, it is a great example of a modern laconic style being able to convey a complex idea. I find wearing Rush to be a pleasure, as it has a beautiful sillage and a very memorable aura. It suggests elegance with a hint of mystery.

Gucci Rush (fragrance family: fruity chypre) includes notes of freesia, gardenia, cardamom, jasmine, rose, peach, patchouli, vetiver, musks and vanilla. It is sold at Sephora and is widely available from various online perfume stores. Rush shares many elements with classical chypre like Nina Ricci Deci-Delà, Jean Patou Colony from Ma Collection, Guerlain Mitsouko and Dior Diorella as well as with the modern sheer chypre like Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely, Narciso Rodriguez for Her, Gucci Flora and Thierry Mugler Miroir des Secrets (all of these modern chypres were created after Rush.)

Sample: my own acquisition

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38 Comments

  • dee: Rush is the signature scent of my non-perfumista best friend in the ‘verse; and I’m pretty sure that I’m anosmic to multiple elements in this fragrance, because to me is smells like a pretty little fuzzy-milky thing, when I’m told (by others) that it has killer sillage. No moss, no patch, no vetiver! What I smell is more of a zazzy Safran Troublant!

    You make it sound so divine V., that I’m going to have to try it again (and then again once more)– elegance with a hint of mystery is right up my alley! :) January 24, 2011 at 1:08am Reply

  • Ursula: Gucci Rush sounds interesting. A modern chypre, just what I like. Am curious to try it ASAP. January 24, 2011 at 2:47am Reply

  • Madelyn E: Gucci Rush is a undervalued treasure. The problem is the hideous plastic red atrocious bottle. I thin iy has a warm, sexy base with peach notes. I always get lots of positive compliments when I’ve woen it .

    i hope it is not going to be reformulated and discontinued. it is a spectacular scent ! January 24, 2011 at 4:09am Reply

  • Olfactoria: I agree with Madelyn and her assessment of the atrocious bottle! I still can´t get over such things easily! But that aside, your description makes it extremely interesting to try Rush again. I remember it dimly from years ago, but it surely deserves to re evaluated now that I am armed with a new perspective and your review. :) January 24, 2011 at 4:34am Reply

  • Victoria: It does have an impressive and very recognizable sillage. And great tenacity. However, those notes–moss, especially–are sheer. It does not use the classical oakmoss, but a sheer moss aroma material, so it is a different effect.
    On milky, I agree. Despite the red ads, I see Rush as white atlas. January 24, 2011 at 8:18am Reply

  • Victoria: I love chypre in general, so Rush is at the top of my list. Plus, a modern twist on classical ideas always catches my eye! January 24, 2011 at 8:20am Reply

  • Victoria: You are so right about the bottle, hideous, tacky, cheap and gimmicky are the kindest epithets I have to describe it. Yet, the perfume is so beautiful, it is worth exploring. January 24, 2011 at 8:22am Reply

  • Victoria: I am with you; I love a beautiful bottle, and that's what I am much more likely to notice. Yet, on the reverse, unattractive packaging will not affect my desire to own perfume, if the scent is beautiful. Most of my perfumes are transferred to plain glass sprays (easier to travel this way,) so I do not even display bottles anywhere. Rush is worth overlooking that plastic bottle. January 24, 2011 at 8:29am Reply

  • Carla: I am also anosomic to something in Rush. I always think it disppears within a half hour on me. I’ve tried it multiple times in stores, trying to understand why it’s considered a loud scent. What I do smell is absolutely nothing natural-like and I just don’t like it. I’ve given up on it. January 24, 2011 at 8:48am Reply

  • Carla: If I want a peachy chypre for parties, I go for Chinatown. It’s more floral than Rush. Rush just doesn’t work for me. January 24, 2011 at 8:49am Reply

  • Victoria: I definitely can see what you mean about Rush. It is quite abstract, not nature identical at anything at all. :) January 24, 2011 at 9:20am Reply

  • Rebecca: Hi Dee! Wow, my best friend also wears Rush. I tried it a few times and my husband complimented me on it. Remember I was complaining that he is so not into perfume? So, the positive comment on any perfume took by surprise. But since it’s my best friend’s signature perfume, I can’t wear it. :( January 24, 2011 at 9:43am Reply

  • Rebecca: V, what a nice review! I like Rush and so does my husband, but as I just wrote above, it’s my best friend’s signature perfume. Maybe, I should try the other perfumes you mention. January 24, 2011 at 9:45am Reply

  • T.Chi: Hi, this is the 1st time I’ve commented on here but I’ve been your long time reader/lurker!
    I have to agree with your review about Gucci Rush. Gosh, I thought I was the only one who finds GR smell similar with Nina Ricci Deci-Delà, which I like better (!).
    Gucci Rush is modern yet interesting. The lasting power is superrrb for an eau de toilette, but the dry down could actually make me sick.
    And @someone’s opinion: NOOOO, leave the bottle alone because I LOVE the red-tape-case design! =P January 24, 2011 at 9:57am Reply

  • Victoria: Rebecca, thank you. Definitely try Deci-Dela for an alternative. Another one to try is Gucci Flora, which I am smelling right now, it is close (much more floral though!)

    I also like Carla’s suggestion of Chinatown, which has a different character from Rush, but for a vibrant peach-patchouli-woods blend, it is unbeatable. January 24, 2011 at 10:11am Reply

  • Victoria: Welcome and thank you for commenting! :)
    I am delighted that someone else besides me likes Deci-Delà, which is one of my favorite fragrances from Nina Ricci. It has a very plush feeling, as I wear it, like velvet or delicate cashmere. Gucci Rush, by contrast, is less so, sharper, more abstract.
    I am sure that the bottle will be safe from any tempering! If they did not change it by now, they are not likely to do anything else with it. :-) January 24, 2011 at 10:19am Reply

  • dee: That’s one of the reasons I haven’t made a greater effort to wear it myself R., the BFF has ONE scent, and I have something like 100, so it doesn’t seem fair for me to “steal” it.

    That’s so cool that our best friends have such good taste! :) January 24, 2011 at 11:29am Reply

  • dee: While I can’t smell much, I do like what I can smell! Although, I’m all over the board as far as taste, and I can take or leave natural. ;) I wonder what it is we’re anosmic to? That would be good to know! January 24, 2011 at 11:31am Reply

  • dee: Well, it’s good to know I’m not *completely* missing the point! LOL. January 24, 2011 at 11:31am Reply

  • Victoria: Maybe, musk? I know that some people who cannot smell Veramoss and other mossy synthetic materials that well. There is a lot of both in Rush. All of us have our own idiosyncratic anosmia, and even many perfumers have them. Of course, a perfumer cannot have too many materials, to which they are anosmic, but the interesting thing is that you can work around it. I remember reading an interview with Maurice Roucel, in which he described how he overcame his anosmia to one particular musk.

    D, try Deci-Delà, if you have a chance. It is a fragrance in the same genre and is very interesting. If you like Rush, but have issues with tenacity, you might enjoy this one instead. January 24, 2011 at 11:48am Reply

  • dee: V., I’m adding Deci-Delà to my “perfumes to investigate” right now! Thank you for the recommendation! I’m going to try and find some other things with Veramoss as well, so I can try and nail down what this anosmia is—so I can overcome it!

    My hubby and I just found out that he can’t smell Ambroxan, which I thought was very interesting, and I’ve been spraying a dilution of it on him in hopes that he’ll develop a sense for it! :) Poor guy. January 24, 2011 at 12:00pm Reply

  • Victoria: *spilling tea and laughing hysterically*
    Poor guy! Can’t you at least spray him with something more interesting than plain Ambroxan? :) Like Paco Rabanne Black XS or Light Blue.

    Off the top of my head….Estée Lauder Jasmine White Moss contains a fair bit of oakmoss synthetics, Michael Kors Very Hollywood, Marc Jacobs Bang. I am sure that there are many others. I see that transparent mossy note clearly in these fragrances. January 24, 2011 at 12:14pm Reply

  • dee: Hmm… Maybe I’ll investigate Black XS, I think I remember smelling and liking it well-enough. Calamity J. would be a good one too, I think that has lots of Ambrox—although I probably don’t have enough to sensitize him ;)

    Now, Very Hollywood I had a spray sample of, and liked it well enough (the hubby really liked it), but it just smelled like a nicer tuberose to me (I hate tuberose). So it must be the mossy synthetics–because I don’t recall getting anything mossy from VH. I’m going to see about getting some EL JWM to sensitize me! Or Bang, although the whole Daisy and Lola thing kinda turned me off MJ… January 24, 2011 at 12:30pm Reply

  • Victoria: Bang is completely different from Daisy and Lola, of course, and if you like smoky, dry woods, it is a great choice.
    Black XS is one of my top favorite masculines. It was the first fragrance I ever bought for my husband. I still enjoy it very much. January 24, 2011 at 1:19pm Reply

  • Elisa: Great analysis … I wore this all through college and it’s just impossible for me to analyze now. I rarely wear it anymore but I do still have a bottle and put it on sometimes for parties. I do tend to forget I’m wearing this — it may be that it’s pretty linear on me, but my nose seems to get used to it, so other people may be collapsing in my sillage. Not to worry though, I don’t reapply. :) January 24, 2011 at 4:18pm Reply

  • Marina: Love the review, not the scent :)
    And you made me spray Voleur, which I realized I missed a lot. :) January 24, 2011 at 4:43pm Reply

  • Natalia: ohh, what great timing!

    i used to wear Rush in college when i went out – and back then i didnt take that much interest in fragrances as i am now, so mostly to me this smell brings a lot of memories. a friend of mine with whom we had a conversation about this – a long time ago, more than a year, i believe! – told me she had a bottle she never uses. guess what, this New Year Eve it happened to catch her attention, and since we were celebrating together, she brought the bottle with her and i’m now the proud owner again!

    can’t wait to “test” it now, especially after such a beautiful review. January 24, 2011 at 5:40pm Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, I would surprised if anyone needed to reapply Rush, because the sillage is huge. It starts very innocuously, but until a certain point, it grows and grows… January 24, 2011 at 5:53pm Reply

  • Victoria: I myself went to dig out my sample, having realized that I ignored this little rose-patchouli for quite a long time. January 24, 2011 at 5:54pm Reply

  • Victoria: Such great news! You are reunited with your old flame! Meeting your old flame after a long time can be such an interesting encounter in any context. Yet, the perfume ones tend to delight more so, even if they also may have changed quite a bit since your first meeting. :)
    Do let me know how it goes! January 24, 2011 at 6:03pm Reply

  • T.Chi: Yesss, Deci-Delà is such a happy juice.
    You get your nails on your head saying Deci Delà has a very plush feeling.
    And to differentiate Gucci Rush from Nina Ricci Deci-Delà, I’d say Deci-Delà is like a high society lady with charisma while Rush is a young sexy girl who’d like to take risk… January 25, 2011 at 8:57am Reply

  • Victoria: What a great characterization! I agree completely. :) January 25, 2011 at 8:59am Reply

  • March: Oh, my goodness, look what happens when I’m off for a few days! (Real life has been interfering with my perfumage.) You know, right? My excessive and constant devotion to Rush? How it makes me smile? It’s very milky on me, sometimes it’s a comfort scent and sometimes it’s a going-out scent. I am careful where I wear it, e.g., not to dinner (man, is it strong!) I can’t think of a fragrance review you could have written to make me happier. So, thanks. January 26, 2011 at 2:20pm Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, what a sweet comment, March! I am so glad that I made you happy with this review. I feel sometimes that Rush is such an undervalued gem in our niche-loving group. I tell you honestly, if I had to select between Rush and the whole L'Artisan line, I would take Rush without even thinking. Not that L'Artisan fragrances are not good, but somehow Rush really gives me so much more pleasure!
    I am also careful how and where I wear it. A dinner party or a theater is not a place for Rush, because it is very strong. January 26, 2011 at 3:01pm Reply

  • Flora: Wow, I really have to try Rush, I had no idea it was like this! Anything that is a nod to my beloved Colony deserves attention. I saw this at a discount store recently for a very low price but I did not buy it, I guess I should have! Chypres of any kind fascinate me anyway. January 27, 2011 at 12:41am Reply

  • Victoria: It is just a nod, of course. However, it is so well-done that it should be sampled. I am against unsniffed purchases of any kind, and Rush is not something I would recommend buying without smelling first. It is a beautiful fragrance, but it is polarizing. January 27, 2011 at 9:20am Reply

  • kathyleather: Gucci RUSH so reminds me of the Dior Diorella from the 1960′s.. its twin… November 25, 2011 at 1:15pm Reply

  • Jennifer: Great review! I had a torrid affir with Rush in my early 20′s, when I also only had 3 bottles in my perfume collection. What a fun fragrance this is!
    It was also my first love-at-first-sniff experience with a perfume, I was then and always will be very careful and cautious when selecting a perfume, but this was like a chance meeting with Ryan Gosling…. all your plans just go out the window! Poorly bottled perhaps, but it couldn’t be more aptly named. This is a true rollercoaster in a bottle: it’s thrilling, breathtaking, and exhilarating! November 30, 2012 at 9:28am Reply

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