I am what you might call an optimist. So when I read a fragrance description like “a cherry-cocoa lip accord, exquisitely transgressive, outrageously musky”, I decide to look for a sample. The quote refers to Lolita Lempicka Sweet, and depending on your attitudes towards smelling like lipstick and chocolate covered cherries, it could be either ghastly or delightful. I doubt you can have a noncommittal opinion about this fragrance. It will bully you until you make up your mind.
What you smell is what you get–a dark raspberry-rose accord reminiscent of retro lipstick and a dollop of chocolate sauce. This kind of directness is what attracted me to Lolita Lempicka in the first place. There is no pretense to aspire towards rarefied sophistication or sucked-in-cheeks elegance. The story isn’t about a precious Laotian resin transformed into a caramel candy. Lolita Lempicka also doesn’t mistake its press release for a philosophical treatise on happiness. No. Leave all of that to Viktor & Rolf Bonbon, Prada Candy and Lancôme La Vie est Belle. Sweet doesn’t take itself seriously, and as a result, you get an utterly charming fragrance.
Sweet was created by Anne Flipo, the same perfumer responsible for the wispy florals at L’Artisan (Mimosa Pour Moi, Violette Verte, La Chasse Aux Papillons). With Sweet, Flipo plays with mouthwatering, gourmand notes and comes up with a fragrance for a pinup. It has a sense of humor.
Despite the name, the sweetness isn’t overwhelming. Likewise, the “outrageously musky” part is mostly marketing copy puffery. Sweet is a gourmand, but instead of loading up on cotton candy and caramel, it gets its sugary notes from dark fruit and flowers–raspberry, violet, rose, and cherry. When the cotton candy and vanilla appear later, they’re kept in line by woody musk. This is not a subtle perfume by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s well balanced.
At first, Sweet smells like violet bonbons and rose makeup, and it even manages to evoke a sticky sensation of lip gloss. I can’t understand why I find this combination so compelling, but I do. On a grey, overcast day, it’s the equivalent of starting my morning with a piece of cake. When the chocolate cherries appear later, they’re not the artisanal, hand-dipped Pierre Marcolini variety, but the kind you get in a cheap red box at Walgreens. In other words, cherries and chocolate on steroids and equally satisfying in their artificial, gooey richness. One needs this sort of thing at times.
In case you’re worried, the chocolate-cherry is an interlude, and the rest of the story is occupied by dark raspberries, caramelized woods and musk (cashmeran is a musk with amber and cedar nuances, expensive, gorgeous stuff). Some parts of Sweet remind me of Chanel Misia (violet bonbons), others of Délices de Cartier (chocolate and red berries), and yet others of Lancôme Juicy Tubes.
True to its pinup heart, Sweet is a sillage bombshell. You’d do your fellow humans a favor by applying it with a light hand. If you want a fun gourmand that doesn’t smell like the rest of the sugary crowd, it’s a good contender. Just don’t buy it blindly, even if the red heart-shaped bottle melts your resistance. It’s a terrific fragrance, but it makes a statement. For some, that might be too much.
Lolita Lempicka Sweet features a cherry-cocoa lipgloss accord, iris, cashmeran and musk. 30ml/47,90€ (60 and 80ml bottles are also available).