Lolita Lempicka, L de Lolita Lempicka

If you were to ask me what the holiest site in Israel is, I wouldn’t respond with “The Western Wall” or “The Dome of the Rock”. Every woman knows that the most sacred place in our tiny, beloved country is the Michal Negrin store. Michal Negrin is primarily a jewelry store chain (although it seems to be expanding into the lifestyle business, with everything from clothing to wallpaper). The general theme appears to be wistful, old-fashioned pictures of women bedazzled by colorful rhinestones. It’s all very over the top, but somehow manages to stay on the right side of kitsch. I once spent a full hour there agonizing over whether I should buy the green version of the following 400 shekel ($100) decorative elephant. My best friend wisely dragged me away, but damned if I don’t miss that stupid elephant.

If the Michal Negrin store had a perfume line, it would undoubtedly be something like the Lolita Lempicka brand. Lolita Lempicka, with its stunning glass bottles and consistently interesting scents,  is somewhat of an oddity in the mainstream perfume world. Today I’ll be reviewing the original Lolita Lempicka, which was released in 1997 (which is freaking ancient in perfume years), and the newer L de Lolita Lempicka.

First up, Lolita Lempicka. In the wake of Angel, which was released in 1992, hundreds of copycats flooded the market, hoping to capitalize on Angel’s monstrous success. Lolita Lempicka has often been accused of being such a knockoff. I personally see no resemblance, although like Angel, Lolita seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it fragrance. I was solidly in the “hate” camp for many years. I thought it was the most disgusting thing I’d ever smelled. It was insanely sweet and smelled just like licorice (my least favorite note). I was legitimately puzzled as to how that gorgeous apple-shaped bottle could house such a revolting smell.

I finally retried it last weekend and am frankly feeling a little foolish. Lolita Lempicka is delicious and delicately pretty. It smells like sweet pastry dough and cherries. It is still very sweet, but when comparing it to L by Lolita Lempicka for this review, I was shocked to discover that Lolita Lempicka is actually less sweet and considerably softer. Luca Turin, a famous perfume critic, gave Lolita Lempicka one of his very rare five-star ratings in his “Perfumes: The Guide”. He declared it “the ideal accompaniment for flirtatious banter from prim girls in glasses.” As a lifelong four-eyes, I agree wholeheartedly. According to Basenotes, the notes are ivy, anise seed, violet, amarise, licorice, amarena, vetiver, tonka, vanilla and musk.

Unlike its predecessor, L de Lolita Lempicka gave me no trouble whatsoever. Created in 2006 by perfumer Maurice Roucel, L is imminently lovable. It begins with citrus and cinnamon, much like Maurice Roucel’s other masterpiece, Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur. L is far softer than Musc Ravageur, and for the most part smells much like freshly baked Snickerdoodle cookies. L would be rather generic, albeit delicious, if it were not for a curious salty note lurking in the background. That saltiness can be attributed to the immortelle flower, a note rarely seen in perfumery.

L is not quite as intellectual as her older sister, but she’s quite a crowd pleaser. My friends often ask to borrow perfume from me before we go out. They don’t want my Prada or Classique (“too heavy”) and they certainly don’t want my Yvresse or Chinatown. Inevitably they reach for the sweet, irresistible L.

Lolita Lempicka has a new scent, Si Lolita, which was released in France last summer but has no U.S. release date beyond “2010”. However, it has been getting very good reviews on other perfume blogs such as Perfume Posse, and the bottle is nothing short of stunning. I eagerly await its arrival.

Disclaimer: I own bottles of Lolita Lempicka and L de Lolita Lempicka, both purchased at Sephora.

22 thoughts on “Lolita Lempicka, L de Lolita Lempicka

  1. I’ve never smelled Lolita Lempicka, as far as I know (I live very, very far from stores that Let Customers Actually Smell Their Perfume!). I didn’t like L – a sample swap freebie – at all, though. It smelled to me like Organza Indecence ate a bowling ball: heavy. I do love OI’s spice-and-vanilla, not-quite-gourmand vibe, but L was just… I dunno, too much.

    I have a sample of LL au masculin awaiting trial, and I will probably go out of my way to sample Si Lolita, which sounds like just my sort of thing.

  2. “Too much” describes L quite nicely. Some people go in for that sort of thing, and some people don’t. I’ve never smelled Organza Indecence, it’s very sweet, right? There seem to be many fans of the masculine LL on MUA- they offer it as a less sweet alternative to the feminine. I am unsure what to expect with Si Lolita… the only fragrance with a sweet pea note that I have smelled is the horrific Sweet Pea fragrance from Bath and Body Works. I’m sure that it will be interesting, at the very least.

  3. I’m actually a fan of BBW’s body stuff, in that it seems to blend nicely with my Actual Perfume. The Ginger Vanilla bodywash is great under Mauboussin, TF Tobacco Vanille, Havane Vanille, that sort of thing. Moonlight Path lotion blends well with No. 5. And I do like Velvet Tuberose very much.

    But you’re right, Sweet Pea was just naaaaasty.

  4. Velvet Tuberose is just great. I’ve heard it compared to Carnal Flower, which I have sadly never tried- can you confirm this? I’m so mad, I was a little later to their semi-annual sale than usual and I missed all of their Ginger items 😦 I did manage to snap up a $4 bottle of Brown Sugar and Fig body spray, though, which is a great, slightly gentler dupe of Ralph Lauren Hot. I’ll have to try Moonlight Path with No. 5 now!
    Sweet Pea dominated the halls of my middle school. I consider it something of a nemesis.

    1. I really like VT – own a bottle – but it doesn’t really smell like Carnal Flower to me, CF being very green, fresh, natural tuberose and my very favorite tuberose scent so far. (Reviews of those on my blog.)

      1. I read, loved, and commented on your CF review! I have been very much in the mood for “fresh” smells lately. For some reason I’m not reaching for my orientals as much.

  5. I keep finding myself drawn to Lolita Lempicka every time I go into Sephora. I blame the bottles because the juice is always a bit too sweet for my liking, however I may have to revisit the original though I simply love the bottle for L so very, very much.

    I’m envisioning one of the bottles in my collection now … this could be disastrous.

  6. Great review, and you nailed it on the snickerdoodle reference in L. It reminds me of oatmeal raisin cookies.

    I recently tried L de Lolita Fleur de Corail and was very disappointed… it was disjointed, very salty, with an undercurrent of something akin to JLo’s Deseo sand accord and some jarring floral notes – basically, a bag of mixed tricks that never came together.

    The original Lolita is lovely, and I collect the minis – they make some adorable, lovely little gwps.

  7. K and Prestige, thank you for reading! I did not care for that Fleur de Corail flanker at all, it was not worthy of the L name. The bottles are so beautiful, and I think the new “Si Lolita” bottle is the prettiest of all.
    K, please do try Lolita Lempicka again. It comes on strong, but is actually fairly restrained as time passes on. I have been having a straight up terrible week and have been trying to use LL to cheer myself up, and it’s actually working pretty well!

  8. Well, I was thinking over running over to Sephora this evening, so I may have to at least get them to make me a sample of it so I can see how it develops.

    So sorry you’re having a bad week.

    1. Yayyyy! LL is certainly far from your beloved orientals (which are my favorites too!), but I really find it quite charming. And thank you so much. I am dealing with the unexpected breakup of a very long relationship. What can you do?

      1. I do occasionally stray from my orientals. The only gourmand I really wear is Hermes Elixir des Merveilles, however sweet pastry dough & cherries sound kind of delightful and it’s making me want to hit up Au Bon Pain now.

        It’s one of those unfortunate things that happen. Don’t let it get you down too much.

  9. I got a bottle of L for my mom a couple of years ago – that bottle really is the prettiest little gem of a thing. About the only thing I can smell here is vanilla – perhaps I have anosmia going on with this fragrance? I’d like to one day have that wonderful bottle in my collection though. Any/all of her bottles come to think of it. 😉

    1. Rustic Dove, I doubt you are anosmic! L is very, very vanilla heavy. Maybe Si Lolita will suit you better? I have a very bad feeling that even if I don’t like it, I’ll have to have it anyway… I need that little pink bottle in my life!!! Thank you so much for reading! 🙂

  10. Couple things – don’t know why my work name keeps popping up (I’ll have to fix that before someone gets all smart and follows me over to my ‘real’ site) but I’m Amy. 🙂 Hullo!

    And sorry to hear about the break up. Treat yourself, be good to yourself and if you drink, pls remember to take an Alka Seltzer and Advil before bed. 😉

    1. It is a pleasure to meet you Amy! Thank you for the good advice 🙂 We’re getting 24 inches of snow this weekend, so everything seems pretty gloomy now, but I’m sure things will get better soon.

  11. Finally received my bottle of LL yesterday and I’m kind of in love. I’m not sure if it’s just my desire to add some form of variety into my florietnals & aldehydes or the fact that it truly does smell like ‘sweet pastry dough & cherries’, but it’s a charming little fragrance. I can’t get over how great it smells.

    It’s not sexy, it’s not that sophisticated, but it’s a charming, kind of quirky, yet still a little bookish and I’m really enjoying the way it smells on my skin.

    Thanks so much for making me revisit this perfume.

  12. Thanks God L is not intelectual. There is nothing less interesting then an intlectual sceant worn by an ” intelectual” woman who thinks the “intelectual” fragrance matches her witt and gives her feminity a ” twist”! The result is an oddity, a precious ( like in my preciousssssss) wannabe combo I so often see/smell. No, L is no mind-joke. I happen to love L. The French DO know a few things about perfumes.:)

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