Lolita Lempicka : Perfume Review

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Lolita-lempicka

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

Out of all the gourmand fragrances following in Thierry Mugler Angel ‘s steps, Lolita Lempicka is still the most innovative example. Even when viewed against the whole body of gourmand perfumes launched since 1993, its originality and memorable contrasted character make it stand out. If Angel and Coco Mademoiselle have the dramatic and bold presence of a blonde in a tight red dress, Lolita Lempicka is a mysterious stranger in a black gown. The cleavage is perhaps quite low, but the effect nevertheless remains elegant.

Created in 1997 by perfumer Annick Ménardo, Lolita Lempicka is a gourmand fragrance for those who want to eschew both the sugary prettiness and the cloying opulence of most fragrances in this category. Its main accord of gourmand patchouli derived from Angel is cleverly set against a herbaceous-violet accord which not only lightens the sweetness, but also lends Lolita Lempicka a striking sophistication. The brightness of green herbal notes, punctuated by the cool-spicy anise sets a radiant sensation that uplifts even the heft of the patisserie accord. The iris-violet chord likewise provides a soft, refreshing counterpoint, which elegantly bridges the earthy vetiver and dark balsamic notes of the base.

On the face of it, Lolita Lempicka with all of its candied cherries, pralines, caramels, and cotton candy, should degenerate into a sugar rush pastry fantasy. It is a testament to Ménardo’s talent that she was able to avoid it. This is perhaps not so surprising given how alluring Ménardo made the smell of rubber and smoke in Bulgari Black. Every time I wear Lolita Lempicka, I am amazed anew at its luminous, soaring quality that exists alongside its decadent and sensual aura. A pretty bottle and a gourmand list of notes should not scare men away from trying it, because like Angel, Lolita Lempicka can work surprisingly well as a sexy, masculine perfume.

Lolita Lempicka (fragrance family: woody oriental) includes notes of ivy leaves, anise, iris, violet, Amarena cherry, licorice, praline, vetiver, musk, benzoin, tonka bean, vanilla. Although it is closely related to Thierry Mugler Angel, Chanel Coco Mademoiselle and Prada, its fresh floral accord places it closer to fragrances like Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb, Estée Lauder Pleasures Delight, Bond No.9 So New York, and Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy.

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44 Comments

  • Carrie Meredith: It’s been some time since I’ve tried this, and your review has renewed my interest, thank you! December 27, 2010 at 1:08am Reply

  • Carrie Meredith: Oh! I just saw that Annick Menardo is the nose responsible for a scent that’s capturing my heart at this very moment, Le Labo Patchouli 24, which has a lovely gourmand note to balance the bitterness of the birch tar… that does it, I’m destined to revisit Lolita Lempicka. December 27, 2010 at 1:52am Reply

  • Madelyn E: My 18 year old daughter wore this when she was about 15-16. It is ultra feminine , very girl. I do not associate this scent with a more mature wearer like myself. It is a very pretty scent with great sillage though. December 27, 2010 at 2:16am Reply

  • Olfactoria: I just bought this the other day, because I saw it at a great price. After reading this wonderful review, I am indeed glad I did. You describe LL so perfectly, I immediately had to put it on. Once more you mess with my carefully thought out perfume schedule 😉 December 27, 2010 at 5:44am Reply

  • Marina: Ah, my Nemesis! Innovative Nemesis, but still…:) December 27, 2010 at 8:53am Reply

  • Victoria: I go back to LL time to time, and whenever I do, I am amazed at how well-put this fragrance is! December 27, 2010 at 12:46pm Reply

  • Victoria: Then you are definitely destined to revisit it! 🙂 Menardo is one of the most inventive perfumers, and her work is very interesting, whether she does something mainstream or niche. December 27, 2010 at 12:48pm Reply

  • Victoria: I know what you mean, associations like that are very difficult to break. For instance, my aunt wears Paris, and while I love this fragrance and admire its creativity, I cannot wear it, because I feel that it is her fragrance. Somehow, it does not feel right on me. December 27, 2010 at 12:49pm Reply

  • Victoria: Hey, it is mutual! You’ve upset my carefully planned perfume wearing schedule more than once already. I have to get back somehow!
    (Just teasing you. Please carry on upsetting it! :)) December 27, 2010 at 12:50pm Reply

  • Victoria: I really need to think if I have a perfume Nemesis. Maybe, Serge Lutens Miel de Bois, which perfectly captures the odors of New York back alleys in the summer heat. December 27, 2010 at 12:51pm Reply

  • Olfactoria: Miel de Bois is my Nemesis to! Perfect rendition of a cat’s litter box 😉 December 27, 2010 at 2:27pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Birgit, you've nailed it.
    Yet, I know people who love this fragrance and find no unsavory associations with it. December 27, 2010 at 2:55pm Reply

  • Hannah: Lolita Lempicka was my first perfume, and I still really like it.
    I think Annick Menardo is my favorite perfumer, too. December 27, 2010 at 3:36pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Hannah, it is such a sophisticated fragrance. Despite all of its gourmand notes, it still manages to avoid sugary sweetness. I am wearing it right now and enjoying it tremendously. December 27, 2010 at 4:10pm Reply

  • Joan: I love Lolita Lempicka! I wore it all the time a few years back. To me, the anise takes stage from top to bottom, and the rest of the notes cascade beneath it. LL is very fairytale-like, I think, and the bottle just amplifies that. December 27, 2010 at 5:20pm Reply

  • Victoria: Completely agree. It is really one of those rare cases, where the marketing and the bottle are in a perfect sync with the scent. Even if I did not like the perfume, I would still want that beautiful apple shaped bottle. December 27, 2010 at 6:47pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: I like LL, not the least because of its associations with my favorite novel of all time(“… light of my life; fire of my loins, my sin and my soul.”)It reminds me of absinthe, and being gothically inclined, that is never a bad thing. December 27, 2010 at 7:33pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Lynn, I also associate it with Tamara Lempicka's paintings of voluptuous women! December 27, 2010 at 7:46pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: Fantastic! One of my favorite painters as well! December 28, 2010 at 7:19pm Reply

  • Victoria: I thought that you might enjoy her work too! 🙂 December 28, 2010 at 8:36pm Reply

  • Micah Vargo: I just got this for my wife for her Birthday. I hope she likes it. I bought it blind. It has a beautiful bottle. August 3, 2011 at 11:40pm Reply

  • Byanca: Wow!!! what a great review!!..I’ve been eyeing this perfume for a few weeks now…And after reading your review I’m sold!..I can’t wait to see what this smells like on me! January 15, 2012 at 4:56pm Reply

  • Victoria: 🙂 I hope that you like it! January 15, 2012 at 9:19pm Reply

  • Aida: I wore this perfume for going out in the evening, as my staple, for a few years in my 20s. Lovely, perfect, flawless, feminine! January 21, 2012 at 6:45am Reply

  • Amelia: This perfume is at this moment on sale 50% off on Sephora’s website! December 5, 2012 at 10:35pm Reply

  • Kate: I’ve recently started wearing this, and was unable to place a familiar root-smell. Today at lunch I recognized it: beets! I still love it, but now that I have beets in mind, all the other delicious aspects of the scent get lost. Alas 🙂 May 1, 2013 at 5:03pm Reply

  • Domestic Goblin: Is it just my nose playing olfactory tricks on me, or does Lolita Lempicka smell deliciously similar to Love, Chloe? October 14, 2013 at 3:21pm Reply

    • Victoria: I need to smell them side by side. Maybe, a sweet-spicy note that you’re picking up in both of them? October 14, 2013 at 3:55pm Reply

    • Aisha: On me, Love, Chloe is powdery (but not overly so) whereas Lolita Lempicka stays a woody floral. I really love both of them. October 15, 2013 at 9:15am Reply

      • Domestic Goblin: Aisha, I really love both of them too. I already own a small bottle of Love, Chloe and recently received a sample of Lolita Lempicka. Can I justify owning both? ;p October 15, 2013 at 1:58pm Reply

        • Aisha: Of course you can! One bottle is rather plain and the other is decorative. 😉

          Really, though, I also have a full bottle of Love, Chole and a sample (deluxe mini) of Lolita Lempicka. I wear the Love, Chloe when I want something floral/powdery but not too overpowering. I wear Lolita Lempicka when I want something with more of a sweet anise/herby scent. I can see how you’re picking up similarities between the two. I pick up some similarities too when I first put them on. But their dry downs are very different (at least they are on me). I do hope to save up for a bottle of Lolita Lempicka eventually. 🙂 October 15, 2013 at 6:26pm Reply

          • Victoria: You’re the supreme enabler, Aisha. 🙂 October 16, 2013 at 9:07am Reply

            • Aisha: I try.. 😉 October 16, 2013 at 7:19pm Reply

  • Aisha: I usually don’t wear perfume when I attend choir practices, but I really wanted to wear something other than deodorant last night 😉 so I reached for Lolita Lempicka. I just put a little dab on, and it was absolutely wonderful. I’m not sure if others could smell it on me (that wasn’t my intent), but the anise and herbs in the scent gave me the lift I needed to sing through a slight cold. October 15, 2013 at 9:21am Reply

    • Victoria: Get better, Aisha! I’m getting over a cold myself, so I can relate.
      A tiny amount of perfume can be such a boost, even if you have to be around other people. It need not bother anyone else, but you can enjoy little wafts. October 15, 2013 at 11:18am Reply

      • Aisha: Thank you. 🙂 Drinking your ginger and cinnamon tisane also helps. October 15, 2013 at 9:15pm Reply

  • Cacomixtle: I’m so glad you reviewed Lolita Lempicka, Victoria, I never would have thought to try it without reading this. I’ve fallen in absolute love with it much to my own amazement… I would have otherwise had the general impression that it was just perfume fluff, another vanilla cupcake in the walmart discount bin lol. I’m shocked to find that it has complexity, nuance, and that while, yes, it is very much a fairy tale like fragrance… it’s a fairytale for women at least as much as young girls. ~sigh of violet scented pleasure~

    And, does anyone else smell tobacco in it, or is it just the mix of cherries, vanilla, and anise masquerading as some strange interpretation of pipe tobacco? November 20, 2013 at 9:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: I also get a tobacco note, or something that reminds me of a fine cigar. I had a friend who was crazy about cigars, and while I hated the smoke, I loved the scent of cured tobacco leaves that wafted whenever he opened his cigar humidor. There is a hint of that in the drydown, and the contrast between the tobacco, vetiver, woods and candied cherries makes for an intriguing scent. Very happy that it has another fan! 🙂 November 21, 2013 at 10:05am Reply

  • GinaP: I bought a 1.7 oz because of this review (and Tania Sanchez’s) and still not sure if I can get over its intense vanilla, which is a scent I love to eat but not wear. My nose singles the vanilla out from the palette like nobody’s business! I can’t even distinguish any green herbacity or anise (I do get cherries). I’m waiting to see how I’ll feel about it an hour from now…. March 7, 2016 at 9:34pm Reply

    • Victoria: Definitely give it longer. It takes a while to develop. March 9, 2016 at 1:28pm Reply

      • GinaP: I did! I did! I LOVE it now!

        I’ve never had this experience with a scent before — where I’ve first really had aversion to it, but then evolved to absolutely appreciate it! Thanks, Victoria…. March 9, 2016 at 1:59pm Reply

        • Victoria: Yay! Very happy to hear it, especially since I also love LL. March 9, 2016 at 2:42pm Reply

  • Sophie: How would you say it compares to La Petite Robe Noire EDP? I notice they share some notes in common, but I imagine that the character and overall feel of the two are quite different 😛 March 22, 2016 at 2:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: LPRN is much sweeter and has less licorice. Overall, I prefer Lolita for its less sugary character. March 23, 2016 at 4:06pm Reply

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