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Friday, August 31, 2007

Perfume Review: Serge Lutens Louve

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.

41 Comments:

Blogger Ina said...

LOL! Right on! I liked it at first and got two comments: 1) cookies and jam; 2) baby bottom. Lovely things but not what I want to smell like and certainly NOT wolf-like, female or male.
P.S. Is Lutens done?

10:22 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Ina,
I hope he is not done. That would be too sad.

10:24 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Golly! I liked it far more than you, but really wish he'd just let the original out. I did like this enough that I will get a bottle, but it was a bit Rahat Ete.

i hope that it's a vicious rumour that he's done! Sorry, as much as I like it to leave this as his swan song is wrong!

12:10 AM EDT  
Blogger The non-blonde said...

I'm so distracted by the kitten (said the crazy cat lady). I've never had too much success with almondy scents, except for Lea Extreme and Le Baiser du Dragon. Jarling turned into a horrible mess on me, though I loved it on that cloth they use for sniffage.
One thing's for sure: I'll be at Aedes the second they get the bottles. I need to know.

12:11 AM EDT  
Blogger carmencanada said...

"Petit Lutens"... Funny ! I only smelled the scent strip in the shop and said "If you have Rahat, you don't need this one". Even Rahat I only wear about twice a year, now... Now I'm wondering if Sheldrake defecting to Chanel has something to do with this, let's say, situation.

1:28 AM EDT  
Anonymous lady jane grey said...

Rahat is disturbingly "too much" for me - I prefer the milder Louve...

2:59 AM EDT  
Blogger Faizan said...

Rahat Lakhoum is a ridiculous fragrance ..who in their right mind wants to smell like a Turkish Delight?? As a smell recreation its fantastic, but I severly question its human wearability. Its western equivalent...would anyone want to smell like a donut?

Louve on the other hand .. well I totally agree with you. It comes off as a watered down RL and strangely more wearable. I dont care for almonds, nuts, figs, cashews and all the other edible food item nonsense in perfumery so this ones a no-nofor me.

4:34 AM EDT  
Blogger donanicola said...

Eeek! Not a fan of almonds either (Brit understatement there) so happy to swerve this. Such a shame because the name conjures up something so much more independent and untameable. Teehee "petit Lutens". Thanks Marina!

6:30 AM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Tom,
I absolutely agree! As a swan song, this is very wrong!

7:05 AM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

G,
The need to know is what distinguishes a perfume addict from a "normal" being :-) I am driven by the need to know :-)

7:18 AM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

D,
One almost has no choice but to make that conclusion. Ad I yet I read article (a while ago) that said that it is official, they (SL and CS) will still be working together. I dunno...

7:19 AM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

M,
I am so glad it work on you!!

7:20 AM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Faizan,
I used to adore Rahat, but now my almond-phobia prevents me from enjoying it too, although I still think it is beyond gorgeous.

7:21 AM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

N,
I agree. Then name conjures up something else entirely. :-(

7:22 AM EDT  
Blogger lilyofbp (Judith) said...

Even my "need to know" has been damped down. Oh, I will smell it when it comes to Barneys (I'm not THAT far gone), but I have made NO efforts to get it before (feels sorta strange, sorta good:)

7:32 AM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Judith,
I know! A new SL is out and we are not falling over ourself with anticipation. Strange indeed. But also freeing :-)

7:36 AM EDT  
Anonymous Leopoldo said...

Enjoy the liberation while it lasts... I will too (though something is drawing me ever nearer to buying a full bottle no less of Un Bois Vanille - and I don't do vanilla.... hmmm)

8:07 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Well, I like almonds, but my (rare) almond-candy-gag-me needs are generally filled by Poison Whatsit (Hypnotic?) which is pretty much almondilla on me. But I'll smell this one.

Beating the dead horse again -- what makes me sad is the lack of originality. Even the SLs I hate are interesting; you were sort of guaranteed that as a minimum. Petit Lutens is sad, sad, sad.

8:10 AM EDT  
Anonymous greeneyes said...

This sounds completely underwhelming. The last Lutens I tried (and I admit, was driven to purchase a decant) was Mandarin, Mandarine (or are the names flipped?). I have samples of the other new stuff (not this), but they've gone virtually untouched. I've never smelled RL, so I can't speak to that, but I don't care too much for anything too foodie so the idea of trying it has never interested me.

9:58 AM EDT  
Anonymous veronica said...

Marina,
I thought you liked Farnesiana, which is very almondy among other things. Do you still like it?
It's a sad, sad thing about SL, I so don't want him to be done :(

10:48 AM EDT  
Anonymous Divalano said...

squeee, kitten! lol
Louve went sticky sweet on me, then got an odd sour note, then turned to sweet almondy powder. Once, never again. And I do like almond sometimes. Datura Noir has an almond note that I find seductive. And L'A Jour de Fete can be comforting & lovely (or too sweet. depends on the day.) But sadly, Louve & I are not friends.

10:53 AM EDT  
Blogger Ducks said...

I have to confess to being the resident sweet-tooth, but sadly, I am going to have to miss this one. While I enjoyed my honey almond ice cream and waffle cone last night, I don't want to WEAR it.

Heck, I was annoyed enough when I dripped it on myself. =)

I must try Rahat Loukhoum... the things that squick people about it are not scary to me, and it gets so much love.

(I'd usually rather smell like the kitten than the wolf, but maybe not a fluffy white kitten being used as a jammy powderpuff... wonderful mental image that makes me flee.)

11:06 AM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Lee,
Vanilla? What is happenng to you?! :-0

12:18 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

March,
The very mention of Hypnotic Poison makes me unwell. If you can handle THAT almondilla :-), you can handle the inoffensive little Louve.

12:20 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

P,
Mandarine Mandarin was the last SL scent to excite me, but even that excitement wasn't that huge.

12:20 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Veronica,
I still like Farnesiana, and that is perhaps the only almond left that I can wear. :-(

12:21 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Divalano,
I am not friendly with this kittne either :-(

12:22 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Ducks,
You know, I don't even like almond in my food. I don't why, I used to like it a lot.

12:22 PM EDT  
Anonymous veronica said...

Oh,poor you:) Now now,if I was left with Farnesiana as my *only* almond scent, I would still be in pretty good shape! Do you like it in EDP or parfum, is there a world of difference? I've been wearing parfum and loving it, but it's so darn expensive, I'm thinking of getting a bottle of EDP. Should I?

1:21 PM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Sounds like one we agree on M!

1:37 PM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

You know, right after I posted I remembered how much you hated HP. I felt bad contaminating your blog that way. ;-P

1:55 PM EDT  
Blogger Ducks said...

Heh, I like almonds... but I am not too partial to artificial almond flavoring/scent.

The partner has gone right off almonds in his food, too. He says I overdosed him on marzipan. Honestly, I cannot even remember the last time we ate marzipan, so it must have been a fairly epic level of hostile reaction, or a really serious natural aversion.

2:20 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Veronica,
Many people swear by perfume , but I like the EDP too. Farnesiana is gorgeous in any form.

4:42 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

R,
We do!!

4:42 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

March,
I sprayed Yatagan to kill the spirit of HP.

4:43 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Ducks,
Oh, I hope it goes away. :-(

4:53 PM EDT  
Anonymous edwardian said...

And I thought that Rousse was unoriginal and dull...at least spices are wearable for me; but a fruity-powdery almond scent is just perverse. Rahat Lakhoum Cherie ? If so, I can't wait for Muscs Koublai Khan Medemoiselle.

6:58 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Edwardian,
Haahaha! Love those names! :-)

8:41 PM EDT  
Blogger Beth Gehring said...

Marina, I am so with you on the Star Anise. However, almonds, raspberies and cherries sound absolutely delicious like a delightful Pavlova, that overly sweet confection of meringue and runny fresh fruit, but I probably wouldn't want to wear one, way too sticky!
When I think she-wolf , I steal my nephews bottle of Duel by Annick Goutal, green, musky and full of leather and wormwood!
I loved the kitten though, what a darling! And, many thanks for making me dive headfirst off of my diet and into the nearest pot of chestnut spread (just kidding, but severely tempted after reading this one!)

8:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Beth,
You just made me so hungry...hungry like a louve :-)
*goes off searching for something sweet*

10:17 AM EDT  
Anonymous Flora said...

Well, I think I will reserve judgment on this one as I do like almond if it's done well - but it sounds very little like a Lutens! I hope he's not done & I hope this is an anomaly. Even if it's "nice" I have come to expect more than that from this line.

7:40 PM EDT  

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