LouLou (Cacharel)

I rarely get defensive about a fragrance, but with this one I can't help myself. LouLou gets an unfair rap, particularly from adult men with better-than-average noses. The boys on basenotes toss some pretty tough words around:

"Think of this as the floral female version of Joop! Homme, very very loud and strong, with florals, spice, and heap-loads of sweet vanilla and helotrope."

- Scentimus

"Too much sugary and mellifluous for my taste."
- Darvant (I forgive your grammar because English isn't your first language - nice use of "mellifluous" by the way.)

"It’s “in for a penny, in for a pound” with LouLou. To enjoy it you’ve got to love the kind of retro, “perfumey” scents that granny wore, and you must feel no shame flouting your love."
- Off-Scenter . . . and ouch!

"... maybe this is a fragrance aimed just for attracting men . . . my friend also smelled it and said it was like vomit, a cheap fragrance she remembered from University."
- F_Frez . . . and double ouch!!

You get the picture. There's some pretty dismal opinions on poor LouLou. And I'm not sure why.

LouLou is one big '80s floriental. The jasmine, tuberose, violet, rose, balsam, cedar, incense, and ambergris explode off skin in a harmony not seen in current feminine fragrances. It's all so thick and lush that, by today's standards, it could be masculine. Vanilla quickly washes into the fray, adding a sweetness to the woodsy and floral mix. Eventually the sugar from the vanilla dominates, and the entire affair melts into a sweet, warm, and powdery aura. Like most '80s boudoir masterpieces, this fills the air around its wearer, and follows her everywhere. It is in no way a subtle or subliminal scent, and I'm the happier for it. Who needs another sweet-but-meek white musk whisper these days? Enough already, I'd be thrilled to meet someone wearing LouLou, if only to engage her on the topic of what makes a strong woman in today's Live and Let Die world. A woman wearing LouLou knows exactly what it takes to conquer the men and women around her.

My point is that LouLou is Kouros for ladies. It's brash. It's sexual. It's vibrant, complex, colorful, dark, attractive, intimidating, magnetic. I could see LouLou on a man (not so with Kouros on girls), but that doesn't take away from its majesty. Few men would even notice it nowadays, and those women who remember it could either be tired of it, or lulled into thinking it's too "big" for common use. Nothing could be further from the truth - it's exactly what we need. Women are strong, usually stronger than men. They're capable of childbirth. Surviving Menopause. Living to be 98. I think it's time we guys admitted that, as the stronger sex, women should wear stronger perfumes.

I find it intriguing that Thierry Mugler's canon of super-sweet gourmand perfumes get a healthy dose of positive attention, while the Grand Dame LouLou gets second fiddle. What's wrong with a scent that smells sweet, like Joop! Homme? Everyone likes sugar, and I've yet to find a definition of "mellifluous" that makes the term sound cheap, or undesirable. "Perfumey" granny frag = Liz Taylor's White Diamonds, and there is no comparison. And how exactly is a fragrance meant "just for attracting men" a bad thing?

Here's my review blurb, take it or leave it:

"This is the sort of perfume that truthfully hints at the contents of its wearer, like the jacket cover of a Dick Francis novel. She who wears LouLou in the post 9/11 cityscape is, by default, deeper than her peers."
- Enough said.


  1. LouLou? oui, c'est moi! I could swim in this stuff. I could drink it!
    Of course that's to exaggerate somewhat ;) but I couldn't agree more with everything you said. Poor LouLou, all those terrible things that people say about HER...

    I treasure this review as another of the far too few Tributes to my beloved LouLou. It's deserving lots more attention.
    Although I'm secretly happy we are just a few wearing it, I'm worried about discontinuation. Please Cacharel, don't touch my LouLou!

    Let it be. Neverending grandness.

  2. PS: I hate Thierry Mugler's, their sugar-coma perfumes and the (weird) dose of positive attention of people.... That's their loss! -evil smile-


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