Product Type: Cacharel fragrances
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Loud Little Girl
Cacharel Loulou Eau de Parfum
Member Name: luxuryliner
Cacharel Loulou Eau de Parfum
Advantages: Distinctive and classic.
Disadvantages: Too big and blowsy for my liking; there's a note that turns a bit 'toilet-cleaner' on my skin.
Made by Cacharel and created by perfumier Jean Guichard - who also created Dior's Poison and Cacharel's Eden - Lou Lou came onto the perfume scene in 1987 and is still going strong. Like many Cacharel perfumes, it's a little difficult to categorise, but I'd call it a floral oriental, an exotic perfume with definite flowery qualities.
I've always thought Lou Lou's box and bottle were at odds with each other: the box is small, square and covered with highly decorative, lush-looking exotic flowers, painted in a swirled sort of style in dark, mysterious colours with "Lou Lou" written in blue curly writing. The bottle, on the other hand, is weirdly plain, a sort of tapered rectangle in blue glass which looks like ceramic with a burgundy strip around the bottom of the lid to delineate where the lid ends and the bottle itself begins. I'm not overly keen on the box - it seems a bit boring and a bit too similar to a lot of Cacharel's other boxes, particularly Eden - but unlike many people, I do like the bottle. It's perhaps not the most exclusive or expensive-looking bottle design, but it is eye-catching, simple and iconic.
THE PERFUME ITSELF
Lou Lou is opens with a real blast of oriental notes: jasmine is the first scent, followed by something a little bit orangey, a note of plum which gives a sudden richness and then a definite hit of ylang ylang which, when combined with the roundedness of the plum and the heaviness of the jasmine, makes the whole thing even heavier, really, really sweet and a little bit spicy/musky. The overall initial effect is actually very overpowering, even after only one small spray - too heavy, too obvious and too sneeze-inducing for my taste. There's not enough variety going on in the accord, just a load of heavy, exotic florals competing for attention without anything to offset the headiness or even just temper it slightly.
The top notes hang around for about half an hour before the middle notes take over. At this point some of the heaviness dissipates and I get the overwhelming sweetness of iris, a really sugary floral note which is somewhat artificial - I've actually noticed that this underlying artificiality and lack of freshness is a recurring theme with Cacharel perfumes, such as the unreal lushness/dryness of Eden or the false fruitiness of Amor Amor. Lou Lou goes very floral at this point and loses some of the oriental aspects - I detect tuberose and lily as well as the iris, and a definite dying down of the ylang ylang. As with the top notes, the middle notes are really big, with a huge amount of sillage; this is definitely a perfume to be careful with as you're liable to gas everyone around you if you spray too much!
The base notes start to appear after about 5 hours, and are absolutely dominated by vanilla and sandalwood. The sweetness of the iris slides into the equally sweet but less floral, more gourmand vanilla, underpinned by the smoky, swirling incense scent of sandalwood. All this sounds good on paper, but on my skin, the combination translates as soapy. Really soapy. I hate to say it but after 3 hours or so, Lou Lou smells a little like cleaning products - on me at least.
There's amber in there as well: very rounded, smooth amber (it's actually benzoin, a resin-like substance with a smooth, vanilla-ish, incense-ish scent) which gives a certain powdery quality to the perfume. I also get, at odd moments, something rubbery in the mix as well, although that might just be my skin or my imagination! The drydown of Lou Lou is ridiculously long, and that vanilla/sandalwood just goes on and on - I've had a shower and can still detect faint notes of sweet sandalwood lingering on my wrists even now.
I'm not a fan. I admire Lou Lou's audacity and ability to work on a grand scale, but all that sweetness, muskiness and heaviness is too much for me - subtle this ain't. Perhaps it's the combination of the overt 'sexiness' of the scent and the girlish name, but it actually kind of reminds me of a little girl trying desperately to be grown up! It's certainly very feminine, and also fairly unusual in execution and development, but isn't versatile or understatedly sexy; in fact it's so in your face that for me it couldn't ever be sexy or mysterious.
I like a 'sexy' scent to have something dirty, fleeting, difficult to understand or otherwise challenging about it, and unfortunately Lou Lou just doesn't have that: it may be a little odd but it gives itself up too easily and announces itself too much for my taste. I'm giving it three stars because I recognise its place in perfume history and like the concept of the huge, overblown floral oriental, but I certainly won't be wearing it myself.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
If you still want to give it a try after all that (or maybe because of all that!) you're in luck: Lou Lou is widely available and isn't too expensive. It's on sale in Boots and pretty much every department store, as well as in discount places like TK Maxx or TJ Hughes. Price-wise, I've usually seen it on sale for about £15-£20 for 30ml EDP, which is frankly fantastic value for money and makes this scent very pocket-friendly - if you happen to like it!
Summary: I like the concept of this one but it's sadly not for me.
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