Méchant Loup fragrance notes

    • pepper, star anise, honey, myrrh, licorice, toasted hazelnut, vanilla, tonka bean, cedar, sandalwood

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Latest Reviews of Méchant Loup

The opening is filtered sunlight through the trees and forest honey. More reverie than fanfare. Sweet, but also shadowy, with a nebulous milky element. Someone is peering through the trees, I see.

The heart reveals more licorice and the creaminess becomes drier, more wistful, greener even, with the woods and their resins overcoming the honeyed glow.

It dries to a whisper of sweetness, cedar, and sandalwood. It's twilight in the old growth forest.

This one is a very personal fragrance, not a showstopper. Be that as it may, this brings the enchantment, and for that, I am happy.
8th March 2022
Méchant Loup by L'Artisan Parfumeur (1997) is a fairly creative niche fragrance, from a time before niche just meant "more expensive designer takes" or "fragrances too risky for the standard lines, sold at an upcharge to mitigate the risk" ergo, before late-stage capitalism sucked all remaining soul from the Western perfume industry. As such a "niche for the sake of being niche", something L'Artisan Parfumeur itself practically invented and used to excel at, Méchant Loup is a bold fun mix of masculine tropes that aren't too out there in bizarro-land to become a particularly adventurous person's signature. At its core, Méchant Loup is a tobacco scent not unlike Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme (1994) or Versace The Dreamer (1997), but dressed up in some aromatics and spices, slightly earthen musky things, and overall forest floor vibe in order to achieve the theme of the name, which roughly translates from French to "big bad wolf". Sadly, this isn't the total animal bomb some people might expect with a name like Méchant Loup, but it does get the point across well, being a decent example of Bertrand Duchaufour's work for the house (partly where he made a name for himself). Méchant Loup won't huff and puff or blow your house in, but it's nice in the way it tries to stuff a big hairy beast into a cummerbund and cufflinks, while letting its bulk strain the seams just enough be noticeable.

A bit of aldehydes and a floral tobacco greet the nose upon the opening spray, which is when Méchant Loup smells most like the aforementioned designer tobacco fragrances. After this opening, you begin to catch the licorice and pepper notes more openly, with some odd sour hay-like vibes coming from the coumarin-derived tobacco note mixing with what appears to be fenugreek and myrrh. Méchant Loup is almost built backwards, with the heavy spicy notes in the opening, and smoother fresher fare lying in wait. After the spice melange subsides, honeyed benzoin and gourmand notes of hazelnut and praline take up the heart. The "big bad" wolf seems less bad by this stage, but then the earthen slightly musty mossy elements kick in, with oakmoss, sandalwood, vetiver, cedar, and near-fougère green tones lightened by a clean white musk. This clean muskiness is counterbalanced by something dank, like a peaty vibe I have no name for, returning us a bit to the badness we expect, even if this is one civet or castoreum note shy of truly being lupine in virility. Méchant Loup was made in the 90's, so I suppose it's beholden to the ultra-clean sensibilities of the day. Wear time is 8 hours with medium sillage, and as mentioned, could be a year-round signature with little fuss. Additionally, I think there is enough airy feel and lightness that you could just about call it unisex, since the tobacco in Méchant Loup remains mostly floral.

Méchant Loup is not the most challenging niche fragrance ever to come from L'Artisan Parfumeur, nor even the most daring of the many compositions Bertrand Duchaurfour, the niche wunderkind, has cranked out over his prolific career. What this is though, is an interesting and creative tobacco fragrance that wouldn't really have a parallel in the niche world until Frapin L'Humaniste (2009) would come along over a decade later. Something like this now wouldn't really even see the light of day in the current niche perfume environment of 101 clones of MFK Baccarat Rouge 540 (2014) or Baskin Robbin's 33 flavors of santal, since the niche market really just mirrors the demographic-driven-to-death world of designer perfume, just with a tad more variety in it's over-abused tropes that the MBA's calling the creative shots say will bring in the big bucks. With artisanal perfumes obsessively focused on finding the oldest surviving mysore sandalwood oil to squander, the most-times-distilled oud, or picture-perfect recreation of your dad's cologne from 1973, it also seems unlikely this kind of creativity is coming out of the indie perfume scene anymore beyond the likes of someone such as Bruno Fazzolari. Oh well, at least Méchant Loup hasn't been culled like so many of the arguably more-interesting L'Artisan fragrances have, so you can still secure samples or full bottles and not deal with the three little pigs on eBay. Thumbs up.
7th June 2021

For years after it's release Mechant Loup and I had this dalliance. I liked it; but not that much; I thought it was intriguing, but not that much.... We went out together, but never went steady. It has a hard to describe fragrance with a sort of "foggy" aspect to it. Something like a nutty fragrance that was backed up by tonka and wood, and everything was under a cover of some kind. Maybe you could call it soft and creamy. You have to admire the maker of Merchant Loup, he's got to be a special guy for making a unique fragrance. There aren't many out there that have this affect. Twice I planned to buy it, but demurred once I got to Bergdorf's Mens. That's not me. I can be impulsive. Maybe this is a fragrance is for someone who waits and waits. You sly wolf you.
17th March 2021
It's hard to describe, but it's very pleasing for a woman. It smells like my redhead skin when it's sun-kissed, with also some freshness from herbs and clean spices. Beautiful.
30th June 2020
Reading the notes I thought this was going to be a really eccentric fragrance of sweet honey, nuts and radix, that was either going to be a smash-hit of inspiration or really awful. It's actually neither. It opens quite softly, with a delicate fusion of honey with a hint of licorice, cedar and the faintest hint of pine straw. There's also something ever so slightly soapy which gives the fragrance a much ‘cleaner' vibe than I expected - it's definitely a forest in the morning after a cold night, with the sun just starting to warm things up and tease out all the different smells all at the same time. It's more of an ambiance. There are no strong individual notes, no collisions of big flavours. There's nothing particularly animalic. In short, I think the “big bad wolf” must have been out the day they collected the notes for this fragrance.

It's actually quite pleasant and almost fougere-like. As it dries down, it's got the same green+yellow+brown vibe but instead of “clean” it becomes ever so slightly warmer and more mellow, like a sort of heavily diluted Cuir Pleine Fleur without the leather. There's still no wolf to be found.

It's difficult to know what this fragrance is for or when to wear it. I like it and it's intriguing enough that I'm going to try it again, perhaps with a heavier application to see if I can get more out of it and maybe it will show s different side to itself in a different season. We'll see...
27th January 2019
I get a blast of licorice and little else. I couldn't wear it.
16th July 2017
I would say this does take awhile to enjoy. The licorice and honey come to the fore in a nice blend, neither of which are stronger than the other. Not a huge fan of licorice. That being said this is very enjoyable. As the combination heads towards the middle ground, the cedar and hazelnut come through. I do get a slight sandalwood vibe in the dry down. Overall a great scent. I would say try before you buy... just to be sure this is up your alley. Otherwise.... Enjoy!
12th April 2017
I really don't know why I wanted to try this one, I should have known better!
Just based on the name alone I thought it would probably smell gross, and it actually does! I fully agree with Luca Turin's review of this one. There is nothing pleasant about the way it smells, and I wouldn't want any guy to wear this. Try it at your own peril, but I honestly don't recommend getting a sample. Save your money.
27th November 2015
Méchant Loup opens with an odd sort of cheap nutty-tobacco fougère accord topped with a sort of pine-nutmeg accord, overall echoing a bit (just a bit) the reformulated version of Captain by Molyneux with less complexity and more focus on the woody-spicy part, blended with a say, “drugstore vibe” of balsamic-herbal cough syrup feel and an overall “brownish” feel of anisic, caramelised sweet woods and dried resins. I honestly don't get any honey nor the “hazelnut” note, to me this seems more just an almost nondescript and rather faint balsamic-woody scent with a sweetish, yet dry and light anisic-resinous base and a whiff of generic herbs, also with a really subtle powdery-soapy feel.

I do admit that for the first minutes (and sadly, only for those), Méchant Loup succeeds in conveying a bit of a “fairytale”, childhood-inspired rendition of a forest ambiance, using “brown” aromatic-sweet tones and an ethereal, elegantly weightless texture instead of a more predictable cascade of green pine-herbal notes. Think of Serge Lutens on a military diet: resins and sweet notes are there, but there's really no gourmand thickness here – all smells rather dry and breezy, distantly echoing also the salty woodiness of Miller Harris Fleurs de Sel.

So far so good, and now the bad news. As most of L'Artisan offers, Méchant Loup actually and definitely feels in fact way too tame and kind of cheap to be compelling enough. The mild “magic” you get at the opening vanishes as soon as you've paid for your bottle, quickly collapsing down to a really cheap, flat and annoyingly persistent musky-woody anisic-soapy drydown, which is the only evolution you'll get (and please appreciate the stretch of calling it “evolution”). Some – mostly desperate sales assistants, I guess – would call this ethereal and delicate, I'd call it just pale and faint. I can't stand L'Artisan's consistent attempts at selling lame weakness as a “style choice”. Normally I wouldn't care since their concept aren't that interesting as well, but here it's a bit of a shame since I think this would be a really nice idea, just wasted in a really mediocre execution.

19th November 2015
Time to show myself up as the novice I am. Tested it this morning, then re-applied this evening, from a small sample. Then just read some other reviews and I think I must have completely misunderstood this. The first image that flashed through my mind was water, a freshwater lake with the sun glittering on the water, wet skin, a woman, not a man, summer, and the colour blue. Sweet, fresh, watery, feminine, very pleasant, happy scent. I don't get forest, or darkness, or complication and I certainly don't get anything lupine or even canine in any way at all, except to admit that I do love the warm, nutty smell of the pads on dogs' feet! :). After reading the ingredients, I got the hazelnuts, and tasted in the back of my mouth, rather than smelled, the liquorice. Lots of honey. And something fresh I don't recognise. I don't think it's cedar, I know what that smells like. For me it's Red Riding Hood flopping down on her towel after a refreshing swim by the lakeshore, still in her swimming costume, in relaxed, holiday mood, her wet skin drying in the sun. Nothing big, hairy or menacing in sight... Very sweet, pleasant smell, but not for me. Still a thumbs up though.
(Apologies to those who say I've got this so completely wrong: you may be justified. But I resolve to be honest). :)
6th July 2015
Starts of sort of animalistic (wet dog or body sweat) and kind of sweet at the same time. The licorice mixed with the honey would have that effect. It actually starts out like a lot of fragrances would end as a skin scent. Strange. This one is not a bad fragrance, just not for me. 6/10
1st April 2015
A watered down, less vanillic John Varvatos for men to me. Not sweet in a gourmand way, sweet in a John Varvatos way. If one likes JV, he or she may like Mechant Loup. As it dries, it's more and more like JV. They are like the same scent on the dry down, so disappointing. The nuts were there and gone quickly, I get no honey, no licorice. Just a watered down, John Varvatos, with a smidge more cedar.
30th October 2014