From Another (s)Century #2: Cacharel LouLou

She is sweet but dark. She’s mature, but irreverent. She is intoxicating, weird, and controversial. She was a massive hit in the eighties, and now she’s a hipster.

Meet LouLou: enticing, addictive, and headache inducing.

From another (s)Century is a series of reviews of vintage fragrances. The perfumes in this series were launched or designed before the year 2000.

LouLou came out in 1987 and it was a big in the eighties. I don’t know if that is the reason why, but when I first smelled it, it was familiar to me, even though I can’t exactly pinpoint where or how I have sensed this before.

I couldn’t find an official description of the fragrance notes anywhere, and different websites have different compositions listed, so I’m going with the one in fragrantica.com, which never led me astray. The notes of this fragrance are:

  • Top notes: Plum, Chinese Cinnamon Wood, Iris, Violet, Jasmine, Anise, Lily, Mimosa and Cassia
  • Middle notes:  Ylang-Ylang, Heliotrope, Orris Root, Orange Blossom and Tahitian Tiare Flower
  • Base notes: Incense, Vanilla, Benzoin, Sandalwood and Musk

Notes aside, this is a hell of a complex scent. Immediately right after I spray it, I can detect a lot of red fruit notes. It must be the plum, but to me it’s almost raspberry – actually, more like raspberry jam, because nothing about the opening is fresh – it’s actually deep, heavy, and winter-ish. And sweet. Like mulled wine.

Then, after it dries a little bit, but still in the opening phase, comes the wood and the incense. Gosh, it’s a lot of wood. Spiced and sharp and honestly, bordering on unpleasant. And there is a weird note of rubber… like burnt tires. Really strange. I dislike this phase of the scent evolution.

It might be just my skin chemistry, but after the dry down is over, smoky wood notes start to rise, massively. I can still smell the berries, and there’s a light layer of something sugary. It’s hard to describe. You know how a cinnamon stick smells sweet but still has that wood note? It’s like that, except it’s not cinnamon. I mean, I can detect the cinnamon, but it’s so much more than that. Like powdered sugar over a lit fireplace. Doesn’t make sense, but that’s how it is.

I can see why some people find this to be a powdery scent. It’s powdery, yes (if it wasn’t it might just well be a masculine perfume) and that’s what I like the most about it, but to me the wood and the amber compete with those notes and more often than not, end up coming out on top.

It lasts well for 6 hours and it’s very faint by the 8th hour mark. The sillage on this one is monstrous. I have to use just one small spray, otherwise, it’s going to bother everyone, most of all, me. Don’t get me wrong, I like this perfume. But it’s intense. It’s appropriate for a dinner out, during the winter. It’s definitely not summery, or light, or fresh. You could say it’s not young, but that’s not quite true. There’s something about the insolence of this fragrance that’s very teenager like, even though it’s clearly a vintage scent and therefore, feels more mature. This is the perfume version of “Girls just wanna have fun”. And like that song, it was a banger, it’s a classic, and I love it when I hear it occasionally, but I wouldn’t want to hear it everyday.

LouLou is unique. And lovely. In small doses.

2 thoughts on “From Another (s)Century #2: Cacharel LouLou

  1. I bought a bottle of LouLou back in the nineties and I had to give it to my cousin (she loves really intense fragrances) bacause I never managed to wear it without ending up with a headache. I’m really sensitive to very intense fragrances. It’s not about liking or disliking a fragrance, but what my body tolerates. That’s why I always make sure to test a fragrance on my own skin for several hours before buying it. I agree with you LouLou is rich, intense and with an overpowering sillage. It’s an amazing fragrance but unfortunately not for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally understand what you are saying, LouLou has given me a headache before too. I’m not always in the mood for it. But it’s pretty unique – I’ve never found anything quite like it.

      Like

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