We’ve all heard or read the story of Little Red Riding Hood sometime in our childhood. Girl wearing a red hood meets a big bad wolf in the woods, who eats up her grandmother so that he can dress up as her grandmother in order to eat the girl subsequently.
I’ve never liked Little Red Riding Hood as a character. She’s always struck me as a whiny, bratty girl who disobeys her mother and goes traipsing into the woods. What’s more, she wears a hood that’s BRIGHT RED in colour, completely oblivious to the attention she is bound to attract on top of the fact that she’s a young girl walking ALONE in the woods.
That’s how I see Louve by Serge Lutens. Louve is one heck of a Little Red Riding Hood who smacks you in the face with CHERRY (apologies, lowercase cherry just doesn’t cut it), the kind you find in cough syrup rather than actual cherries. Strange, isn’t it, that something that’s supposed to cure you of your cough ends up choking you and causing you to cough even more violently instead? That’s exactly what the opening of Louve feels like, shoving cherries down your nose in the same way that the thought of seeing Little Red Riding Hood in all her annoying garb assails and repulses me.
I’ve always wondered why the big bad wolf didn’t just eat Little Red Riding Hood immediately in the woods, choosing instead to pay her grandmother a visit. It dawned on me that the big bad wolf’s true desire wasn’t really to eat Little Red Riding Hood (too much cherry), but to DRESS UP IN WARM AND FUZZY GRANNY CLOTHES. That’s precisely what Louve (incidentally, “louve” is French for she-wolf) does next. The wolf sees Little Red Riding Hood, is put off by her gaudy red hood, and decides instead that he prefers granny-chic fashion. And so, as Louve develops, it puts on a grandmotherly nightgown that’s almondy with a delicious whiff of vanilla. There’s still some cherry, but it’s more cherry garcia ice cream than cough syrup cherry, and it blends in very smoothly with the other notes. It’s a drydown that is oh so comforting and beautiful. I also detect a mild, soft musk, a little trace of the wolf who has successfully morphed into a granny. Personally, as much as I love the comfy drydown, some part of me wishes for the drydown to possess a hint of danger to represent the ‘she-wolf’. Perhaps mix in a little musk that’s dirty and animalic, à la Musc Koublai Khan? Now that would be one sexy wolf in grandmother’s clothing! As it is, Louve’s drydown is more a sheep in wolf’s clothing than the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing.
I wish I didn’t have to wade through Revenge of the Cherries to get through to the drydown, which is downright gorgeous. But personally it’s worth having to behold Little Red Riding Hood if I get to wear that comfy granny nightgown drydown. If you’re the kind who likes wearing comfy gourmand scents to sleep, I’d suggest spraying Louve four hours before you intend to hit the sack.
To be honest, I’d initially thought of “louve” as the biggest misnomer for the scent. Strangely, my hyperactive brain threw up the wolf in the story of Little Red Riding Hood and then everything seemed to fall into place! Now that’s one heck of a story to go with a fragrance.
~ The Smelly Vagabond
Louve is part of the Palais Royal Exclusive range but thankfully it’s available at luckyscent retailing at USD140 for 50 ml.
Do check back on September 1st for a special post and my first ever giveaway! 🙂