Saturday, October 11, 2008
Loulou by Cacharel
It was the summer of 1987, the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school. I was lucky enough to get to Europe for a month to visit family and travel around. My friend and I spent two weeks in Paris. When we first arrived in Paris, I bought Loulou in the airport. I was already a budding perfumista at the age of 16 and had Diva by Ungaro, Poison, White Linen and Joy in my suitcase. But something about the dreadfully tacky box and bottle containing Loulou captivated me, so I had to have it. I wore Loulou every single day for the rest of the trip.
I’ve been wearing Loulou more and more over the past year. Since wearing it exclusively in high school I haven’t worn it or even smelled it for at least fifteen years. Loulou and I are having a reunion of sorts. I admit it was Perfumes: The Guide that made me find Loulou again. For all the fragrances where I felt Turin & Sanchez didn’t get it right, they made me happy by getting it exactly right with Loulou.
Loulou is a diva. But she isn’t a cold, manipulative, demanding or selfish diva. Instead she’s the lovely warm, curvaceous diva that everyone on set loves. If Marilyn hadn’t professed her love for wearing Chanel No 5 to bed (and if Loulou existed during Marilyn’s time) I would say Marilyn wore Loulou.
Loulou is a loud yet soft, powdery floral oriental. Somehow, Jean Guichard, the perfumer, manages to keep Loulou from going completely over the top and makes you want to smell it again. I’ve read reviews that call Loulou a “grandma” sort of fragrance. I guess if you consider your grandma a sultry, exotic diva...in a burlesque sort of way...then it could be a grandma fragrance. Loulou is the sort of abstract perfume where I won’t even begin to describe the notes. It’s a well blended soft floral-oriental which creates an aroma that’s altogether it’s own without any realistic florals or spices exposing themselves. I think Loulou smells vintage, it gives a big nod and bow to classic, full-bodied and complex perfumes. I’ll put the list of notes below but I don’t think the list would help anyone figure out what it smells like.
I have a soft spot for under appreciated fragrances. Loulou, to me, is an underdog. She’s stuck in a cheesy 80’s box and a light blue and burgundy plastic bottle. The house of Cacharel has created some beautiful perfumes; Anais Anais, Eden and Noa come to mind, yet most seem to think Cacharel is an awful drugstore brand. Sometimes you really have to look beyond the packaging and just smell the juice.
I couldn’t agree more with Luca Turin’s final statement about Loulou:
“This is one of the greats.”
Sillage: huge – no more than 2 sprays please
Almost everywhere I checked had a different set of notes. This is what I believe to be the correct (or very close) list ~
Notes: Jasmine, bergamot, mimosa, apricot, cashmeran, marigold, Tiare lily, iris, sandalwood, vanilla & incense