I must start the review by confessing that I dislike the smell of almonds. Almond note is my arch-nemesis in perfume, guaranteed to make me more uncomfortable than even anise, the other note I find unbearble. Therefore, I am perhaps automatically disqualified from being able to fully appreciate an almond-heavy blend like Louve, Lutens's latest export release. My almond-hatred aside, the fragrance strikes me as shockingly unoriginal. The sadly misnamed "She-Wolf" appears to be a non-exclusive flanker of the Palais-Royal-only Rahat Loukoum, toned down for the export tastes.
The almonds, the roses, the vanilla are all there, arranged delicately for a more well-mannered, less striking effect. The gorgeous honeyed smokiness of Rahat is gone, replaced by sweet powder. The beautiful balsamic undertone has been removed, whereas the fruity note has been strengthened. In Louve, I smell not just cherries but also raspberries. The fragrance is hazy, indistinct, strangely lacking in character and sophistication. It could have made a very nice kiddie scent (Petit Lutens?). Instead of evoking a vision of a noble, beautiful and dangerous she-wolf with the fur the color of snow, the perfume makes me think of a tiny white kitten with a pink nose smeared in talc and fruit jam. A cute association, that, but not something one would expect from a Lutens creation.
Louve should be coming to the States in the near future. Look for it in Aedes and Barneys.
Images source, Alamy.com.