I first discovered Keiko Mecheri’s Loukhoum several years ago – I quite liked it, but I thought it was too sweet and girly for me, especially considering that I am no longer an ingénue, to say the least. Recently I received it in a swap along with the two fairly recent flankers, Loukhoum Parfum du Soir and Loukhoum Eau Poudrée, all created by perfumer Yann Vasnier. Both of them challenged my expectations, as well as my previous opinion of the original.
Before I started my review, I decided I had to do some market research, so off I went in search of some actual Turkish delight sweets to see how close the confection-inspired perfume was to the real thing. I found a small package of the authentic stuff, made in Turkey, which turned out to be much less sweet than I had anticipated; my previous experience was with the version sold by the See’s candy store chain, which while delicious is also intensely, molar-spinningly sweet and I can only handle a piece or two at a time, and it is very soft as well. The imported Turkish delight was pleasingly dense and chewy with plenty of pistachios to cut the sugar. In fact, that is all it was – sugar, pistachios and citric acid to cut the sweetness, coated in powdered sugar that itself was not all that sweet. I was hoping to get some with rosewater or some other exotic flavoring, but I guess I will need to look further afield for that. In any case, it did indeed resemble the perfume called Loukhoum to some extent, but it’s not the exact candy that the perfume is based on, which does have rosewater along with dates and almonds, though the general idea is the same, a sweet base with some kind of nuts added. Loukhoum the fragrance is for almond lovers, and this delicate flavor is combined with vanilla, Bulgarian rose and several sweet, powdery flowers to make a hazy cloud of a perfume. If you love sweet Oriental gourmand scents but can’t stand the dreadful cheaper things like Aquolina Pink Sugar, this could be your dream perfume.
Next up, I tested Loukhoum Parfum du Soir, a concentrated version of the original with darker notes added. Then, dear readers, I promptly fell in love. I had been thinking it would be too much, even sweeter than the first, but no – with the addition of oud, benzoin, patchouli and Tonka bean, it becomes just what its name implies, like a velvet evening lush with sensuous anticipation. The rose is now rose absolute and Rose Wardia, a particularly potent rose essence, and the vanilla is Madagascar absolute. By ramping up the intensity at all levels and adding the oud, this becomes not a sugar fest but a celebration of sensuality. This is my clear favorite of the three Loukhoums and I may have to get some. Never say never, I guess!
The third in this series is Loukhoum Eau Poudrée, which unlike Parfum du Soir is a lighter, airier version of the first perfume, a fluffy puff of a thing, but instead of being too sugary it has a milky, calming feel to it. I was really afraid that this one would be like Villoresi’s Teint de Neige revisited, but it’s not, and since I am definitely not a fan of too much powder in perfume, I was happy to find that it is not nearly as much so as its name implies. The powdery note comes from orris and candied almond accord, lightened by narcissus, violet leaves and white rose. It’s a gentle fragrance, easy to live with and easily wearable for day, as long as you use a light hand. Its creamy, gentle nature would make an ideal comfort scent for someone who loves almond and vanilla but does not want the strong ambery qualities that so often accompany these notes in Oriental style perfumes.
All three of these fragrances are available online at Luscious Cargo and Luckyscent; the most expensive is the Parfum du Soir at $120 for 30 ml, which seems almost reasonable these days. The other two are 50 ml and are $80 and $90. (Also, the old tall, tippy bottle style is no more, replaced by a pretty, rounded flask.) Samples are also available directly from the Keiko Mecheri Web site and they offer a sample coffret of all three Loukhoums for $10. Any of them will last you a long time, since a drop or two is sufficient to last all day and well into the night.
Image credit: All three Loukhoums in a boxed gift set for $290, available from luckyscent.com