I had absolutely no intention to seek out a bottle of Loulou, the 1987 perfume from Cacharel. None. Zero. Nil. I didn't need it. I could live the rest of my life without it. After all, Loulou is seared in my perfume memory so clearly that I can taste it. When the perfume came out in the late 80s (I was mainly wearing Creation by Ted Lapidus around that time) my sister graduated from another Cacharel perfume, Anais Anais, to Loulou. I don't know how many bottles of this fragrance she used before moving on (to Tresor), but you could always smell it in the house, hours after she was gone to school. I was sure that's all the Loulou I could ever take.
I found myself as the owner of an old bottle of Loulou last month when I bought a lot of vintage perfume (you can never have enough Shalimar). I wasn't entirely sure what I was going to do with it, but less than a week later Victoria wrote about Loulou on Bois de Jasmin, leaving me no choice: I had to give it a try.
The first hit of Loulou took me back in time right away. It was 1987 or 1988 again, not necessarily something I was eager to re-experience. But I was surprised to discover how beautiful, lush, and womanly this Jean Guichard creation (Eternity, Deci Dela) is. Once the abrasive floral notes move aside and make some space for the rounder mimosa-jasmine and their tropical friends, things become more personal. Loulou is an interesting composition of contradictions: heliotrope and iris show their powdery facets, the sharp tagetes against creamy and sweet ylang-ylang and sandalwood, and the dry-down that satisfies the oriental lover with an almost edible vanilla note. Somewhere in there, an incense note joins and adopts a powdery character. It's a lot to take, for sure, but I can actually wear and enjoy Loulou. In small dozes and not too often, maybe, but enjoy it I will.
See more reviews of Loulou on Perfume Shrine and Katie Puckrik Smells.
Notes: mandarin, marigold, black currant buds, jasmine, mimosa, tiaré flower, ylang ylang, heliotrope, iris, sandalwood, musk, incense, tonka bean, and vanilla.
Loulou by Cacharel can be found at various discounters.