Cacharel Loulou : Perfume Review (Now and Then)

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As a kid I used to love puzzles and I spent many evening looking for the right jigsaw piece to complete the picture. Occasionally I feel that with perfumes I’m still playing a jigsaw puzzle game as the same fragrance reveals something new whenever I smell it again. This was the case with Cacharel Loulou. When I first smelled it as an 11 year old on my mother, I remember thinking, “the cherry compote.” It was the only part of Loulou I could recognize, because at that point I hadn’t smelled any gardenias or ylang ylang or incense. They didn’t figure in my Eastern European childhood.

loulou

Revisiting Loulou some years later after I had already worn gardenias tucked in my hair as someone tried to kiss my neck and having smelled pungent Indian incense, other pieces of the puzzle fell in place. I discovered with surprise and pleasure that it was not a juicy cherry, but a candied white blossom dipped in vanilla liqueur. I loved it just the same, except that it no longer seemed innocent to me. Loulou was quite a vixen, and though I wasn’t one at all, I liked to dab the parfum on my neck and play the part.

Originally created in 1987, it was inspired by actress Louise Brooks, and the perfume was Cacharel’s sequel to the innocent Anaïs Anaïs, which by then was an important trendsetter. The Cacharel team wanted something more seductive, more smoldering, but also insouciant and charming.

Perfumer Jean Guichard brought together the mouthwatering sweetness of vanilla bean with the heady opulence of tiaré, the Tahitian gardenia. According to fragrance expert Michael Edwards, Loulou was the forerunner of the edible, gourmand perfumes that we now take for granted. The combination of sumptuous white blossoms and vanilla custard satisfied Cacharel’s aims; glittering and voluptuous, Loulou smelled like a delicious morsel, but it behaved like a femme fatale.

Now, a few more years later Loulou and I have reunited after a long break. The puzzle now is that Loulou changed even more than I did. It’s now more Grace Kelly than Louise Brooks, more comfort than glamour. It smells like a gardenia lathered in almond milk soap, and the drydown reminds me of Nivea cream. Loulou feels cozy and sexy the way a soft silk camisole does.

At first, the change startled me–the top notes that do a good approximation of an old-fashioned hairspray didn’t help, but as the perfume settled, I stole more and more surreptitious sniffs from my wrist. Loulou was toned down, but the musky, creamy, warm finish still felt addictive. A pale grey whisper of incense gives it a subtle exotic accent, while the toasted almonds and vanilla are tempting. The closest comparison is to Guerlain’s Cruel Gardénia, except Loulou is much more fun.

One thing that remains true about Loulou is that she’s no wallflower. For all of her wholesome and well-scrubbed demeanor, she stands out in the crowd. The tenacity is impressive as is the sillage. She continues to puzzle me, but I’m holding onto my bottle and enjoying the game.

Cacharel Loulou includes notes of mandarin, marigold, black currant buds, jasmine, mimosa, tiaré flower, ylang ylang, heliotrope, iris, sandalwood, musk, incense, tonka bean, and vanilla. Available as the Eau de Parfum from Boots, Sephora (Europe only) and other major European perfumeries. I haven’t seen it in the US, apart from the discounters and Ebay.

Sample: my own Eau de Toilette and extrait de parfum from the early 1990s and current Eau de Parfum.

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112 Comments

  • Katherine: Beautiful review! I wore Loulou when it first came out and loved it. Haven’t smelled it since then but your review makes me want to try it again. October 28, 2013 at 8:36am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s also a bit bittersweet to revisit old favorites. I didn’t think that I had such an attachment to Loulou, since it was never a perfume I wore exclusively, but smelling it again was a pleasure. Even though it smells different, I still recognize some traits of Loulou I knew. October 28, 2013 at 10:37am Reply

    • Rose: Here is the original advert for Lou Lou:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_qb1XUUop4 January 21, 2014 at 11:27pm Reply

  • Mary: I love reading about older perfumes because thanks to your review of Casmir I’m now a proud owner of a 30ml bottle. A little goes a long way and I’m loving it. October 28, 2013 at 8:55am Reply

    • Victoria: So glad that Casmir turned well for you. I was just responding to someone else’s comment under the review of Casmir that it’s a great perfume, but it can be hard to pull off. On the other hand, you can find it at such low prices, so if you like it, you get a bargain too. October 28, 2013 at 10:40am Reply

  • Anne of Green Gables: After reading the favourable review in Perfumes: The A – Z guide, I tried Loulou at a local store with high expectations. Unfortunately, I didn’t like it at all. Even though I didn’t like the initial opening, I still held onto the blotter, hoping that something more interesting would happen. In the end, I got a really bad headache so I had to stop smelling. It was the same night that I tested Eden which I found also very odd (Sorry, Mr. Guichard!).

    Loulou has a lot of character and it is definitely a memorable perfume but for my taste, it was too heavy and rich. It was very challenging and complex with a lot of things going on at the same time. Also, there was something that smelled medicinal to me. I’m still trying to figure out which note was responsible for that. Maybe, licorice or anise? October 28, 2013 at 9:03am Reply

    • Anne of Green Gables: Oh, I forgot to say thank you for the link to the video about FdB. I loved the way he said “I’m the judge who fell in love with the accused”. How fascinating! I also enjoyed the other video about Iris. October 28, 2013 at 9:09am Reply

      • george: Yes I loved that FdB video too! and it made me think of the trial scene in Pandora’s Box (which brings us back to Loulou and Louise Brooks). There’s an excellent documentary on Louise Brooks on the dvd copy of Pandora’s box that I have, which was produced by Playboy: it’s a must watch if anyone hasn’t seen it and gets the chance. October 28, 2013 at 9:32am Reply

        • Rachel: I missed the video. Could someone please post the link? October 28, 2013 at 9:38am Reply

        • Victoria: I’ve never seen Pandora’s Box, and I’ve been meaning to look into it. I’ve read and heard so much about Brooks, but I haven’t seen any of her films. October 28, 2013 at 10:54am Reply

          • george: If you do get a copy, make sure you get one with the documentaries Looking for Lulu and Lulu in Berlin. I just watched the trial scene again, and it so fits Lutens’ description of FDB, and knowing of how Pabst’s film would have been of interest to Lutens as a photographer- because of the cinematography- I cannot help but think that consciously or unconsciously it became part of the process of creating FDB. October 28, 2013 at 11:35am Reply

            • Victoria: I made a note. Thank you, George.

              I won’t think of Feminite du Bois again the same way after watching that video above. October 28, 2013 at 12:41pm Reply

            • Anne of Green Gables: Thanks for the interesting info, george. October 28, 2013 at 5:55pm Reply

      • Victoria: It’s great to hear Lutens himself describe what he thought of Feminite du Bois. He’s enigmatic as ever, though. October 28, 2013 at 10:51am Reply

    • Cornelia Blimber: Precisely that note makes it so attractive to me. Funny how different perceptions are!
      I don’t know whether my loulou is reformulated–bought it some 6 years ago. October 28, 2013 at 9:46am Reply

      • Victoria: My second encounter with Loulou was around the same time. It must have been touched up here and there, but it seems close enough to the original.

        If you, or anyone else who has worn Loulou for a long, smells it now, I would love to hear your opinion. October 28, 2013 at 11:00am Reply

      • Anne of Green Gables: Hi Cornelia, just out of interest (you can see my reply to Elisa below if you’re curious) do you happen to like marzipan? October 28, 2013 at 7:22pm Reply

        • Cornelia Blimber: oh Yes!! Especially the one from Lübeck, with dark chocolate! Mmmmm October 29, 2013 at 4:47am Reply

          • Victoria: I just had to go and grab a handful of chocolate covered almonds. No marzipan around, but those will do! October 29, 2013 at 10:01am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m not sure what it could be. Licorice or anise smell sweet, spicy, and a little bit green. Is it in the top or drydown? Loulou certainly has plenty going on. Strangely enough, it doesn’t seem all that rich and heavy to me, along the lines of a sweeter Love, Chloe or Guerlain’s Cruel Gardenia. But it may be because I’m comparing new Loulou to the bombshell it used to be. Or else, despite thinking of myself as a cool iris and vetiver fan, I really have a big appetite for creamy scents with lots of curves. :) Either way, Loulou is a challenging perfume, whether in its former guise or new. The creamy, soapy scents can be hard to pull off. October 28, 2013 at 10:49am Reply

      • Elisa: I think it might be the cherry note that smells medicinal to some people, like cherry cough syrup, or an aspect of the mimosa/heliotrope. October 28, 2013 at 11:24am Reply

        • Victoria: And it has so much heliotrope too! I didn’t think of that connection, but it sounds spot on.

          Anne, did Elisa solve the medicinal note puzzle? :) October 28, 2013 at 11:26am Reply

        • Anne of Green Gables: Aaah! Elisa, thank you for solving the puzzle. I think you’re spot on! :-) It should be heliotrope because I noticed the similar note in Apre l’Ondee. It’s the cough syrup smell for me and I smell something similar in marzipan and root beer or Dr. Pepper. I think this is the smell that Victoria perceived as the “cherry compote”. Through a bit of internet searching this evening, I learnt that both cherry and almond flavours contain benzaldehyde which happens to be one of the major components of the heliotrope. I always wondered why marzipan smells and tastes slightly medicinal to me and now I can understand. Thank you for solving one of my biggest scent mysteries of all time! October 28, 2013 at 6:23pm Reply

          • Cornelia Blimber: Yes, you are right…marzipan has a slightly bitter taste. October 29, 2013 at 4:49am Reply

            • Cornelia Blimber: Some perfumes have that ”marzipan” flavour: LouLou has it, and Van Cleef. It may not be the best perfume in the world, but Joop!le Bain is one of my favourites because of that note. Ivoire (vintage) has also a bittersweet note, but in my experience not like marzipan.
              I think I will buy marzipan today and wear LouLou! October 29, 2013 at 5:22am Reply

              • Anne of Green Gables: Which Van Cleef perfume do you mean? Enjoy your Lübeck marzipan with Loulou! ;-) October 29, 2013 at 8:47am Reply

                • Cornelia Blimber: “”Van Cleef” in the diamond shaped bottle! October 29, 2013 at 11:55am Reply

              • Victoria: I don’t know if anyone remembers Castelbajac, but that perfume smelled so realistically of marzipan and wasn’t too sweet. October 29, 2013 at 10:02am Reply

          • Elisa: Oh yes, I think many of the classic Guerlains have that medicinal note and I usually associate it with heliotrope (see also L’Heure Bleue). Glad I could help! October 29, 2013 at 10:51am Reply

      • Anne of Green Gables: Victoria, you really must have a big appetite for creamy scents if Loulou doesn’t feel that heavy for you. Or it must be that having grown up in Korea, my nose is not so used to smelling these big 80’s perfumes. ;-) As you can see below, Elisa solved the puzzle. Heliotrope was the culprit! I initially suspected licorice and anise as my nose is very sensitive to them and they have medicinal uses.

        I have a question (again! :-)). How is the Heliotrope accord constructed in perfumery? I read during the internet search this evening that Piperonal is used. Is that the only molecule that’s used? How does its smell compare with the normal benzaldehyde? Does it smell more vanillic? Thanks for your help in advance! I really appreciate it. October 28, 2013 at 7:18pm Reply

        • Victoria: Loulou today smells so much lighter than it used to be. The original Loulou was definitely big and rich, but it was nowhere near Poison or other big 80s perfumes. But you’re right that personal (and cultural) perceptions determine so much how we perceive scents.

          Heliotrope is not recreated as an accord of other notes. A perfumer would simply put in heliotropine (piperonal) and that’s that. Heliotropine smells like milky almonds, sweet, powdery. Benzaldehyde smells like bitter almonds and it’s extremely strong and pungent. A big glug of benzaldehyde is in Serge Lutens’s La Myrrhe, where it’s used to balance out an even more generous dose of myrrh. October 29, 2013 at 9:41am Reply

          • Anne of Green Gables: Thank you very much for the lesson. It’s so much fun to learn! I jotted all the information down in my notebook. I also learnt a lot about marzipan (it’s interesting that a small amount of bitter almond is added to enhance the almond flavour) because of Loulou. October 29, 2013 at 5:42pm Reply

            • Victoria: Glad that it was helpful, Anne! The interesting thing is that in the US the 100% natural almond extracts are labelled as “pure,” while if it’s labelled “natural,” it might be anything but. October 30, 2013 at 9:08am Reply

  • rimma: blast from the past! i wore it in the 80s and it seemed low key maybe because everyone else drenched themselves in opium and poison. October 28, 2013 at 9:08am Reply

    • Victoria: :) You know, in consumer surveys from the time, many women would describe Poison as fresh! Plus, I agree, in comparison to those sillage bombs, Loulou is pretty tame. October 28, 2013 at 10:51am Reply

  • Debs9: You’d be surprised but I received many compliments when I wore it. kind of feel curious to smell it again but worry to be disappointed. October 28, 2013 at 9:34am Reply

    • Victoria: It definitely gets noticed. My husband is pretty blaze at this point about perfumes I wear, but whenever I put Loulou on, he comments on it. I’m beginning to believe more and more that some men really like white florals, since it’s the most complimented category in my perfume wardrobe. Interestingly enough, Hermes Hiris is another one that gets many comments, despite its mild character. October 28, 2013 at 10:56am Reply

      • Elisa: Yep, I always get compliments from men when I wear white florals. October 28, 2013 at 11:25am Reply

        • Victoria: They are also a noticeable group (with good diffusion,) but then again, among many big sillage perfumes, white florals win by a big margin when it comes to compliments. October 28, 2013 at 12:38pm Reply

  • Tijana: This brings memories… Used to be one of my favourite fragrance in late 80’s. Still have a partial bottle left, and although I can no longer pull it off, I recall back then getting tons of compliments on it! Thanks for reviewing! October 28, 2013 at 9:37am Reply

    • Victoria: I wonder what you will think of the new one, since it’s more understated (comparatively speaking).
      I also loved the blue bottle, like in the ad, and I’m a bit disappointed that the parfum is no longer around. At least, Cacharel kept its classics, unlike some other perfume houses. October 28, 2013 at 10:58am Reply

      • Tijana: I must try the new one – LouLou deserves so much from me :) I will let you know.

        Yes, I love the blue bottle too, btw, it was executed so well in different concentrations and sizes. But the one on the ad was the best – definitely.

        What amazes me that ages ago when I was not so much into the art of perfumery and disposable income, I would still pick to wear distinct and good quality fragrances. This does not speak so much to my special capabilities of selection, rather that there were fewer fragrances being issued and they were of much better quality in the “mainstream” price range. I see someone mentioning Anais Anais, while it was not my favourite, it was my mom’s and it was just another beauty to wear – so unique and beautiful! October 28, 2013 at 8:13pm Reply

        • Victoria: Oh, I completely agree with you. I was smelling Modern Muse by Estee Lauder and thinking of this too. Everyone and then some marketing person will comment that casual shoppers don’t care about originality, they only want something that smells good, so “as long as we have a good concept, the rest doesn’t matter.” And I’m starting to find this line of thought irritating. Yes, people want to smell good, but why they should be given such limited, boring choices? Anais Anais, Loulou and all of the classics were created to be sold and to please others, but they had quality, originality and beauty. They were affordable (unlike quality niche perfumes), they were memorable. Of course, there are still many excellent perfumes being made, at all price points, but with all huge number of launches, finding them becomes more and more complicated. October 29, 2013 at 9:56am Reply

  • Sandra: I love cacharel scents, and would love to try this one. It’s a shame that US stores do not carry Cacharel fragrances. I found Noa and Amor Amor at a discounted shop somewhere in midtown, occasionally I will see anais at tj maxx. I thought this city was suppose to have everything ! ;-) October 28, 2013 at 9:53am Reply

    • Victoria: I agree, it’s too bad. There are many excellent perfumes in the collection, such as Noa and Amor Amor. Noa is a cuddly, soft perfume, and Amor Amor is so exhilarating and fun. October 28, 2013 at 11:02am Reply

    • zari: Sandra, there is a perfume discounter 45th Perfumery near Bryant park (can’t remember the exact address) that has Cacharal. It did at least the last time I went in a few months ago. October 29, 2013 at 10:16am Reply

  • nikki: I love the flacon which is just gorgeous, but I recently gave my old Loulou away as I just won’t wear it. I tried it several times and also liked the description in Turin’s guide book, but no, I can’t stand the clinging sweetness.

    On another topic, Victoria: fakes on e-bay. I don’t know if this is of interest to you, but I just bought a fake huge bottle of Creed’s Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie which was done so well that only the fact that the glass stopper was glued together and the scent itself didn’t last more than a minute, gave it away. Seller counters with: “we get them from all over the world and they have different strengths.” October 28, 2013 at 9:57am Reply

    • Victoria: Turin’s description is very tempting!

      That Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie doesn’t seem promising to me, and the different strengths argument makes no sense, especially in case of Creed. I would ask for a refund, Nikki. October 28, 2013 at 11:06am Reply

  • Zazie: In my parents house, a small wooden box contains the few survivors of a HUGE collection of perfume minis I put together during my early teens. As I waited to come of “perfume age”, sniffing and looking at my mini-perfumes gave me an incredible pleasure. Too bad so few had survived family moves, a perfume loving great-aunt that lived with us, and my mother’s vocation for “pruning”! To be fair, for some time I forgot I was a prefumista en-herbe, and didn’t think about all those little vintage treasures until it was too late – the best being gone.
    Anyway, two Loulou minis have survived. I’ve always loved the bottle (and the commercial!) and I remeber liking the fragrance (on others) when I was a kid, so during my last trip to my parents’ house, during my wooden box ceremony (in which I go through all the samples and minis in search of THE treasure that I might have overlooked before) I dabbed a little Loulou on my wrists…
    …nope!!!!! It was fun, at the beginning, this trip down memory lane – though my nose did not agree. But after 15 minutes I started questioning my recklessness and kept my wrist far away from my face for the rest of the day!
    Your post makes me want to try the current version – but on a blotter, to begin with!
    In any case. That bottle. I love it!!!
    And the TV commercials…. Loulou? OUi c’est moi… Love.
    p.s. (for those curious) Only one treasure came out from the box: a vintage egoiste which I swear smells like its loaded with real, uberexpensive sandalwood. The rest is a mish mash of krizias and de la rentas and Paloma picasso and other good 80s stuff that is not to my taste but I keep because they look so familiar. The mini of jardins de bagatelle that I worshipped at the time is nowhere to be found! :( October 28, 2013 at 10:14am Reply

    • Cornelia Blimber: Yes, that bottle was beautiful, they changed it alas. I found the old bottle in a second hand shop, but as I don’t care for empty bottles, I did not buy it. Now I wish I could find that bottle again! October 28, 2013 at 10:28am Reply

      • Zazie: I didn’t know they changed the bottle!!!
        it is/was so iconic…
        ok, if the new bottle is the “obelisk” shaped one that pops up in searches (just googled it), I think the people at cacharel made a poor switch!
        I wish I’d like the perfume enough to justify hunting for a vintage bottle… ;) October 28, 2013 at 11:06am Reply

        • Victoria: I think that the octagonal bottle was intended only for the parfum, which is now discontinued. But I may be wrong. October 28, 2013 at 11:16am Reply

          • solanace: I have 50 ml Eau de Toilette in that bottle. I remember when my mom took me to the store to get it as a late Christmas gift (it’s hard to translate how huge a thing this was for me in adult/global economy terms). They had the long spray bottle and the nice, short bottle with the long red stopper. After much consideration, I chose the unpractical one (of course), and I’m very glad I did. :) The box was pretty awesome as well, glossy black with colorful flowers, with a matte red inside, and it would open like an origami. Such a perfect design, so representative of its time and yet totally classic. October 28, 2013 at 2:03pm Reply

            • Victoria: Sounds beautiful! I’m trying to recall whether my older EdT came in a tall or in a squat bottle, but I don’t remember. I only packed amber vial samples of my “vintages”.

              I also remember being taken to buy my first perfume. It was such a big deal, it even warranted an entry in my journal. :) October 28, 2013 at 3:35pm Reply

    • Victoria: I just love this story, and yes, please try the new one for the sake of comparison. I still wouldn’t call it my top favorite, but I recently found a little bottle for about 10 euros, so I had to have it. I kept the older bottles for sentimental reasons, although when I gave one to my mom, she said that she can’t believe she wore that stuff. “Too heavy!”

      Older Egoiste (ha, sounds so funny!) is a treasure, because it really was loaded with precious Indian sandalwood, and the whole balance of other notes was exquisite. I like it in all of its guises, including the new one, but now it feels a bit more streamlined. October 28, 2013 at 11:11am Reply

    • solanace: My mom is such a pruner, too! October 28, 2013 at 2:05pm Reply

      • Victoria: Mine too! Sometimes I wonder how old things survive in my family. I’m a hoarder though, with occasional bouts of over-organization. October 28, 2013 at 3:41pm Reply

        • solanace: I’m a complete hoarder! Books and vinyl records and all kinds of stuff that might come in handy on a science/artsy project… Lately I’ve been collecting the spoons that come with the baby formula, in order to make a water wheel that will turn a small light on (hopefully. Otherwise I’ll be just accumulating red plastic spoons. :P) October 28, 2013 at 6:52pm Reply

          • Victoria: You make me feel better about my collection of mortar and pestles and pepper mills. :) October 29, 2013 at 9:49am Reply

      • Zazie: Solanace, I can imagine your feelings with that first bottle. My first one (jaipur, boucheron) was bought by my (non-pruning) father, and everything about it felt so special!!
        BTW, I didn’t know the Loulou box opened like an origami – it makes the packaging even more striking! Cacharel really hit the spot with Loulou, though I can’t wear it myself! ;) October 28, 2013 at 4:12pm Reply

        • solanace: I remember Jaipur, my friend used to wear it. Amazing stuff, I can imagine how you felt too. :) October 28, 2013 at 6:39pm Reply

  • Marsi: I’ve worn and loved Loulou ever since it was released. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that marigold is an unusual note. I don’t see (well, smell, actually) it often. October 28, 2013 at 10:56am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s usually a supporting character, but I also don’t find it as often in newer perfumes. It has this great green apple accent and an interesting interplay of bitter-sweet notes. If you like marigold, you can smell a generous dose of it in Estee Lauder’s Beautiful. A while ago, someone asked me to group together perfumes with marigold/tagete notes, so I’ve done it here:
      http://boisdejasmin.com/note/marigold-tagetes October 28, 2013 at 11:15am Reply

  • Elisa: Loulou is one of my happy perfumes: the name, the bottle and the smell all make me smile. I love how raspy the jasmine is. October 28, 2013 at 11:27am Reply

    • Victoria: Perhaps, that’s one of the reasons why it feels so appropriate these days. It has been cold, rainy and windy. October 28, 2013 at 12:39pm Reply

  • Andrea Marie: I have a copy of “The Chaperone” which is supposed to be based on Louise Brooks. It is a fiction but based upon her early years… I will now have to search for Lou Lou on the Internet so that I can wear it as I read the book! Thanks to all who mentioned the video/movies about her as well. October 28, 2013 at 12:40pm Reply

    • Victoria: If you haven’t tried Loulou before, I highly recommend looking for a sample or a mini first. It’s quite a character! October 28, 2013 at 12:43pm Reply

      • Andrea Marie: My wallet and I both thank you! October 28, 2013 at 12:55pm Reply

  • Austenfan: I remember the ad very vividly. Cacharel did some good advertising then. I liked the bottle especially the one for the extrait. Very pretty. The fragrance itself interested me, but I never cared enough for it to want to wear it. It was one of those perfumes that I would keep on trying whenever I passed by a tester, but never quite fell in love with. October 28, 2013 at 1:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: Since Cacharel is not distributing much in the US, I’m having fun smelling all of these old favorites. My aunt wore Anais Anais for many years, and it still smells of her to me. I was afraid that the new version might smell cheapened or too pale, but Loulou had so many layers that even if some were taken off, it still holds it own. October 28, 2013 at 3:30pm Reply

      • Austenfan: Anaïs Anaïs was my first perfume. I remember that I got my first mini bottle of that as a gift with an other order. I still like it. Although I hardly ever wear it, I would not want to be without a bottle of it.

        Apart from AA the other Cacharels I admire on others more than on myself. I have often complimented other people on Eden but somehow I do not wish to wear it myself. Very original fragrance though. And another beautiful bottle.

        Any idea why Cacharel isn’t distributed more in the States? I can imagine it must be nice to find old loves like that. October 28, 2013 at 4:26pm Reply

        • Victoria: Maybe, some Cacharel classics like Anais Anais are sold in the US, but I’ve never seen them. I also find it surprising, but it’s likely that Cacharel did better in Europe.

          You make me want to wear Anais Anais tonight! October 28, 2013 at 5:24pm Reply

          • Austenfan: In another of your replies I saw that you were actually taken to buy your first perfume. That made me smile. Such a lovely gesture from your parents.

            My family isn’t really into perfume. My mother has always worn it, but never “explored” it. I think she would just buy what was popular. What is funny is that because her sense of smell is really bad ( she is literally not able to smell burning food when she is cooking) she oversprays hugely. So she sports far more sillage than I tend to.

            Anaïs Anaïs is a wonderful scent. I’ll spray some in the air and hope it will make it to Brussels.
            We had a major storm here today, so it may just work. October 28, 2013 at 5:31pm Reply

            • Victoria: Except that I didn’t end up with the one I wanted. I wanted Poison, but my mom felt that Tendre Poison would be best instead. I might have been 12 or 13 then, I don’t remember precisely, but I recall being excited about choosing a perfume.

              Hope that you weren’t affected by the storm! The wind was howling the whole day and our balcony chairs looked like they might be blown away, but all was well in the end. October 29, 2013 at 9:44am Reply

              • Austenfan: That is a shame. Although I see their point about not letting their young daughter wear Poison.
                Still Tendre isn’t very tender either is it? I never liked that one, I never found it as balanced as the original. Of which I now have a mini of esprit de parfum.

                Your comment above about not being allowed to wear perfume to school made me pause. Having grown up where I have, I wasn’t at all aware of just how much freedom we had. I don’t remember any restrictions about clothes, make-up or anything.

                The storm was something else. First time in a long time that someone in Holland actually got killed as a result. Apparently it was worst in the North. October 29, 2013 at 10:48am Reply

                • Victoria: I tried to like Tendre, but I never really did. It’s only a fraction lighter than Poison, but it was probably equally loud.

                  Soviet schooling isn’t too different from the French model (except for the ridiculous restrictions on appearance), and for some people, it works really well, but for others, not at all. But I remember really hating school and being afraid of my teachers when I was younger. It also didn’t help that although I was shy and scared, I was extremely stubborn. If someone tried to get me to do something I didn’t want by yelling at me, I gave them what my husband now calls “a stare of death.” :) October 29, 2013 at 10:59am Reply

                  • Austenfan: My whole school experience was so different. I mostly really enjoyed it.

                    The stare of death sounds rather frightening! October 29, 2013 at 5:18pm Reply

                    • Victoria: I started to enjoy my school experience once I came to the US. From then on, it was very positive. October 30, 2013 at 9:10am

                • Cornelia Blimber: two people killed in Amsterdam, by falling trees. October 29, 2013 at 12:00pm Reply

                  • Victoria: I didn’t realize how serious it was until my father-in-law called to inquire on us! October 29, 2013 at 3:41pm Reply

                  • Austenfan: I didn’t take the storm that seriously until I read about the first death in Amsterdam. Very sad. October 30, 2013 at 4:47am Reply

  • solanace: I’ve had an old bottle of Loulou sitting on my vanity for years, because it is so pretty. I wore it just one of these days, at my son’s request (he’s fond of that bottle too, which might become a problem someday. :)) The juice was surprisingly well preserved, and I was in awe. It’s much better than I remembered! Back in the day, I saw it as a somehow improved version of Poison. It is so interesting to look at it now as a precurssor of gourmands, I can see it as a turning point. Thank you for this review, lovely as always, and which was very timely for me. October 28, 2013 at 1:43pm Reply

    • Victoria: Your son has great taste! :) Did he pick it only based on the bottle or does he like the scent?

      Cacharel might have done it as an answer to Poison, except that Loulou is softer. Well, that I suppose was not hard, since Poison is such a loud perfume. October 28, 2013 at 3:39pm Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: Poison : loud(?) It has strength, but it is also very balsamic , suave…I use it as the Tubéreuse counterpart of La Rose. October 28, 2013 at 5:18pm Reply

        • Cornelia Blimber: Sorry, Une Rose (Malle). October 28, 2013 at 5:19pm Reply

        • Victoria: If I spray it on the blotter in one room, I can then smell it through out the apartment. It has a big sillage, so that’s why I called it loud. I can’t wear it, but I like to smell it on others. October 28, 2013 at 5:20pm Reply

          • Victoria: I should say, I can’t wear it anymore, because I used to steal some from my mom’s bottle. I really wanted it to be mine, but she thought that it was too much for a 12 year old. October 28, 2013 at 5:27pm Reply

            • Cornelia Blimber: So already at 12 you were a parfumista with an excellent taste. What did attract you in Poison? The balsamic character? The exciting purple bottle? (Was it the splah bottle from 1985?). Or was it because it was the smell of your mother? did you wear it to school, and what did they say there? October 28, 2013 at 5:43pm Reply

              • Victoria: I loved that it smelled like wild strawberries. :) In other pieces of perfume puzzle, I realized after I’ve been in the US for a while that Concord grapes remind me of Poison too.

                I didn’t wear perfume to school, since no perfume or cosmetics were allowed. We weren’t even allowed to wear our hair in any way but braids. Trying to imagine the look of horror on my teacher’s face if I came to school redolent of Poison. No wonder that the US school with its much more relaxed rules seemed so wonderful to me. October 29, 2013 at 9:47am Reply

      • solanace: He likes the blue bottle! But he has great taste perfume wise too, since I’ve been showing him stuff almost daily since he was six months. :)
        I’m still fascinated with the thought that Poison has tuberose and Loulou, gardenia. A good perfume review can really enhance one’s experience. October 28, 2013 at 7:03pm Reply

        • Victoria: Sounds like a perfumer in the making! Plus, the South American fragrance market always needs new experts. It’s really booming! :) October 29, 2013 at 9:51am Reply

          • solanace: Wait to see the girl… :) October 29, 2013 at 5:10pm Reply

            • Victoria: Oh, I can just imagine! :) October 30, 2013 at 9:11am Reply

  • Julie: Such an enjoyable review as I sip my afternoon coffee in a local coffee shop.

    I was always drawn to the bottle colors. I love the combination of turquoise and red, and that it is opaque. Different and appealing somehow.

    Sweet is all that comes to mind when I try to remember its scent. I must try it again and see what I discover with so many years passed between us.

    Thank you for the memory! October 28, 2013 at 3:36pm Reply

    • Victoria: Glad that you liked it! Loulou brings back so many memories for me too, and even though today it smells differently from what I remember, I like it. Not an everyday perfume for me, but I always want to keep my bottle around. October 28, 2013 at 5:18pm Reply

  • MontrealGirl: Thanks for reviewing a classic. I wore Anais Anais years ago but oddly enough never smelled Loulou. I plan on smelling it the next time I’m in a perfume store. October 28, 2013 at 6:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: I think that Anais Anais is still more beautiful (and easier to wear than Loulou), but Loulou has its distinctive character. No wonder that it’s considered such an important perfume and trendsetter. October 29, 2013 at 9:48am Reply

  • Karina: The mother of one of my old school friends wore Loulou occasionally, I can’t remember the scent but I remember being intrigued by the bottle. There is something mysterious about the opaqueness of it and the contrast between the powder blue and deep burgundy colours. Perhaps it is a nod towards the contrasts of the perfume…

    Anyway as a lover of all things vanilla and gardenia, this review has convinced me to give Loulou a try! October 29, 2013 at 1:35am Reply

    • Victoria: I know some people don’t like opaque bottles, because it’s hard to say how much perfume is left, but I agree with you about mystery. The colors are really vivid too. The modern EDP bottle is unfortunately not that special. October 29, 2013 at 10:00am Reply

  • Figuier: In high school nice girls wore Anais, or Eau d’Eden; naughty girls wore Tresor or Loulou. I could never have pulled off a full-bodied oriental at that age, but always enjoyed the clouds of powdery oriental richness wafting from Loulou wearers. October 29, 2013 at 6:03am Reply

    • Victoria: Fun! A friend was just telling me that in her high school all of the nice girls wore Lauren. I’m trying hard to remember what girls were in my high school, but I only seem to recall Pleasures. October 29, 2013 at 10:05am Reply

      • Aisha: I must be a nice girl. I wore Anais Anais — and eventually Lauren — back then. ;-) October 29, 2013 at 11:19am Reply

        • Victoria: A girl with great taste! Nothing changed. :) October 29, 2013 at 3:41pm Reply

  • fleurdelys: Although I remember the debuts of Anais Anais and Lou Lou, I couldn’t have worn either of them at the time – they would have been far too assertive for me. Now I love them both – they taught me how to love white flowers! October 29, 2013 at 10:26am Reply

    • Victoria: I also find it more fun to rediscover these big classics now when they’re a bit less known. They feel very different from the trendy perfumes of today, and for this reason, more novel. Plus, in many cases, you can get a great bargain on them, as I did with my bottle of Loulou. October 29, 2013 at 10:32am Reply

  • Aisha: Your mention of Nivea cream made me smile. It’s kind of my comfort scent (as is Pond’s cold cream), because my grandmother used to use that way back when.

    I was devoted to Anais Anais when Lou Lou came out, therefore never bothered to try it. If I get an opportunity to try it now, I definitely will. Meanwhile, I guess I’ll just have to settle for going to my corner drugstore and get some Nivea cream. :-) October 29, 2013 at 11:17am Reply

    • Victoria: Same for me, Aisha! I just was talking to a friend of mine how much we would love the scent of Nivea cream as perfume. I often keep a little tub of it, and it’s the most comforting fragrance. October 29, 2013 at 3:43pm Reply

  • Gina: lovely review. I have worn LouLou for years, always come back to it, never stick with anything else for long. And the reason is that it has the perfect effect on people around me…isn’t that why perfumes are made? it’s all about the statement, the unspoken message. LouLou is all about understatement and it keeps them guessing. December 3, 2013 at 6:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: True! It makes you feel you and you radiate something special to others. :) December 4, 2013 at 3:34pm Reply

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