Lolita Lempicka L : Perfume Review

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Lolita_lempicka_l

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

The contrast between the glitzy ornaments bedecking the Little Mermaid-like flacon and its voluptuous oriental contents is enough to make the newest fragrance from Lolita Lempicka, L, stand out in the crowd of placid summer editions and flankers (which, as I explained to my friend last night, are the perfume versions of movie sequels, and are usually just as disappointing). The burnt sugar and bitter herb redolent immortelle forms the main accord of L, which rests on the plush oriental base of vanilla, coumarin and sandalwood. The immortelle does not make it debut particularly often as the main note, and I can only think of a few fragrances where it unfolds in its sun burnt intensity, namely Annick Goutal Sables, Gobin Daudé Biche Dans L’Absinthe, and Christian Dior Eau Noire. Therefore, it was a surprise to pick up a bottle of Lolita Lempicka L and discover a bittersweet breath of dunes inside it. …

Perfumer Maurice Roucel renders the immortelle notes in a subtle gourmand guise. Those who enjoy Roucel’s Musc Ravageur would recognize the same vanillic-ambery radiance elegantly punctuated by the fresh and spicy touches. The woody notes of the base are accented with the animalic sweetness. It is a romantic–or a fairy tale, if you will–vision of the sand dunes around the Mediterranean coast, where the savory aroma of immortelle, the only flowers that can withstand the scorching sun, is suspended in the warm air.

When I tried it the first time in the winter, I thought that however beautifully composed, L lacked a spark. If I already can find the beauty of immortelle in Sables and Eau Noire, why would I need L? Yet, I find myself enjoying its elegant and seamless composition and the softness of this traditionally strong and vivid note, especially now that the days are turning warmer. The more I revisit L, the more I am convinced that this was one of the new releases worth anticipating.

Available in the parfum and the Eau de Parfum concentrations, Lolita Lempicka L includes notes of bitter orange, bergamot, immortelle flower, musk, cinnamon, vanilla, tonka bean and sandalwood. It is available from various online etailers such as Scentiments. The online shoppers in the UK, can pre-order it from Escentual.

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25 Comments

  • Liz: Hi V! Does immortelle smell like maple syrup? Sables smells like maple syrup to me, and I simply cannot wear that note. May 10, 2006 at 8:39am Reply

  • Marina: It was love at first sniff for me 🙂 This is the scent I reach for the most these days. Just absolutely smitten with it. Thank you so much for the review! May 10, 2006 at 10:07am Reply

  • Robin: Hmmm. My initial reaction was very much the same as yours: no “there” there. Dull, and maybe too sweet to boot. Guess now I’ll have to give it another try. May 10, 2006 at 11:29am Reply

  • violetnoir: Well, does it smell like maple syrup, V? I hate maple syrup. :):)

    Are any retailers, like Nordstrom, carrying it yet?

    Hugs! May 10, 2006 at 11:34am Reply

  • Tania: I have long thought that Musc Ravageur smelled like a base in search of a heart, so this is actually very interesting to me, especially because, with Sables, I’ve become so curious about immortelle. I confess, I’m becoming a sucker for a pretty bottle too. Interesting review. Sounds at least worth a smell. May 10, 2006 at 12:24pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Liz, immortelle may remind of maple syrup to some people, but honestly, it is not the first association I would make with it. It is not the smell I grew up with, but fenugreek is. It smells of bittersweet herbs and spices to me. May 10, 2006 at 2:12pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, I like it very much, but I cannot say that I love it madly. I think that I would still reach for Sables over L on most days. Nevertheless, I applaud Lolita Lempicka for introducing such an interesting composition, especially at the time when everyone is putting out such dull and predictable things. May 10, 2006 at 2:15pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, I doubt that you would like it more upon further trials, because this is the type of fragrance you do not seem to care for at all, however I may be wrong. May 10, 2006 at 2:24pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R (violetnoir), it is not the most obvious thing to me. Have you tried Eau Noire or Sables? The immortelle note in L is similar to those, but it is rendered softer, less aggressive. May 10, 2006 at 2:26pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: T, it is a more approachable (and gourmand) version of Musc Ravageur. As such, it is a very welcome release, especially from a prestige brand like Lolita Lempicka (ie, non-niche).

    I need to see the bottle in person. From the photos, it strikes me as bordering on cartoonish. May 10, 2006 at 2:33pm Reply

  • marchlion: This is the first comparison I have read to Musc Ravageur, which I like very, very much. So now I suppose I will have to try it (I have been avoiding it stubbornly because I couldn’t imagine there would be anything I’d want to smell in that silly bottle!) Also thank you for sharing your thoughts as you reconsidered the merits of the fragrance over a period of time. Often the key (for me, at least) lies in the comparison to other, similar fragrances. I have had gradual but complete shifts in my opinion when I compare them repeatedly. May 10, 2006 at 3:23pm Reply

  • Laura: Hmmm. I’m not familiar with immortelle, as far as I know, so I can’t get a sense of what this is like. I don’t remember Sables and I don’t know Eau Noire, so there’s no help from that quarter, either. Your impressions, though, changing over time and so well expressed here, make me want to try it. May 10, 2006 at 3:48pm Reply

  • BBliss: The review is great, and the discussion even more interesting. I am very, very curious to smell this now despite the bottle – which I also dismissed because it is truly goofy-looking. Mostly, I am curious about the immortelle note, which some say is maple-syrup-like but, V says no – more like fenugreek. I am fascinated because this is what my daughter smelled like immediately after she was born. I placed it as a pure, sweet smell like maple syrup, and it lasted for several days – the smell stayed on her knit hospital cap for weeks. Months later I took fenugreek to increase my supply for nursing her and I smelled like that, too, sweet, but with other smells mixed in – not as pure. Now the real question is, would I wear this, or just want to smell it for the association? And, if anyone knows, does immortelle smell like newborn babies? BTW my son never smelled like this – he had a newborn smell, but not sweet, not like the first one – he was all boy! Apologies for the long post – amazing what memories smell can conjure up! May 10, 2006 at 3:51pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, it is really quite nice, and as I sampled it over a period of time, I grew to like it more and more. Of course, I am a big fan of Maurice Roucel’s work. Sometimes one needs a better introduction though to end up liking a fragrance. May 10, 2006 at 8:16pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Laura, welcome back!

    As for L, perhaps, you might like it. It has a nice caramelized edge, which I love about immortelle. May 10, 2006 at 8:23pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Bbliss, I think that maple syrup is a good way to describe immortelle, but it is just not the first association I would make, because I was never exposed to the smell of maple syrup until only recently. Yet, fenugreek with a touch of burnt sugar is what I keep thinking of. I am not a mother, and I have not been near a baby in ages, so I have no idea whether immortelle smells like newborn babies. I am intrigued. Maybe, someone who knows might answer this. May 10, 2006 at 8:27pm Reply

  • Nancy: I am so in love with this fragrance, I just can’t get enough of it! I love both of the other Lolita scents and this is a perfect scent to complete the trio. I can’t wait to get the body lotion, bath gel, and I’d love to see them add a body powder as well. Lolita Lempicka has such fun packaging and I love the miniatures so I’m looking forward to see what they will do for L. May 19, 2006 at 5:32am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Nancy, I have not seen the ancillary line, but I am looking forward to it as well. I would love it if they came out with scented soap. May 23, 2006 at 2:24pm Reply

  • Ella: I’d love to read a comparison between the original Lolita and this newer one. I’ve never been able to find anything that I liked on me as much as that late ’90s release, no matter how often I try… February 10, 2007 at 4:20pm Reply

  • Jessy: I’m not a perfume pro but I know what I like. I LOVE this stuff. It has an inscense-ish scent to it (maybe like Nag Champa??) and it is just delicious. I got a sample at the Nordstrom Fragrance Festival and just bought the gift set with the lotion and shower gel. ($44 on Amazon!) Love this stuff – vanilla and amber and incense – thats what I smell. November 23, 2007 at 9:24pm Reply

  • ines: I only seem to have discovered this today and I’m loving it. I hope as it’s a flanker if I got it correctly, it’s still available. March 13, 2011 at 5:06pm Reply

  • Victoria: It is fantastic. I tried it just last week again and liked it even more. It is still being sold. I sampled it at Sephora. March 13, 2011 at 8:06pm Reply

  • Kitty: Love it. Received a bag of samples from a friend who was a perfume spritzer in Macy’s. Each day I would try a new one. Didn’t like it at first, but then I had to have it. Found it at Marshall’s & bought two.

    The juice in the vial and the bottles used to be blue but now is brownish. The fragrance is still the same lovely beachy incense.

    A mall kiosk near me had it. But they sold me fake Sonia Rykiel (returned it tho), so I don’t trust them. Sephora no longer has it.

    Enjoy it if you have it! I’m going to put it on right now. Yummy! June 2, 2012 at 10:22am Reply

  • Claire: Hi ! First, congrats for this great site . I’m French and this perfume is in my opinion, a kind of mix of two cakes : French cake named “pain d’epices” (a kind of cake with honey, spices : cinnamon) and a kind of cookie : Petits beurres.
    This perfume is really a great amber vanilla perfume with spices and honey. Masterpiece by Maurice Roucel. June 7, 2013 at 5:53pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Claire, for a delicious description! I agree, it’s an excellent perfume. June 7, 2013 at 5:58pm Reply

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