Thursday, December 4, 2014

Keiko Mecheri: Les Loukhoums (Reblog from Il Mondo di Odore)

(originally posted at Il Mondo di Odore on November 23, 2011)

I have not been inside a doughnut shop for a number of years, but upon donning Keiko Mecheri Loukhoum for the very first time, it occurred to me that such a place would be an optimum front for a drug dealer. White powder is everywhere and in abundance. Cocaine, morphine, and heroin in white crystalline form (also codeine and caffeine...) are all empirically indistinguishable—at least by sight—from powdered sugar. There could be bags and bags of all of these substances in the kitchen where doughnuts are produced, and it would all look perfectly legit.

Yes, believe it or not, and to my great surprise, I have discovered that Keiko Mecheri has managed to create a perfume which smells exactly as it would (I imagine...) to snort cocaine in a Winchell's donut shop. I'm not saying that I have any experience in that sort of thing, but if I did, I am pretty sure that the olfactory effect would be very well mimicked by sniffing Loukhoum. It's not just sugary, nor is it syrupy. This is a complex cooked-sugar smell, similar to Spanish turrón or, to Americans, a low-brow confection known as Big Hunk. I do not know whether I have ever eaten or even seen Turkish delight, but Loukhoum manages to capture the essence of turrón and Big Hunk in liquid form. And that's a very good thing, to my nose.

But wait, there's more. There is also a decidedly alkaline smell in this composition which could be cocaine or caffeine or any number of other similar white powders. Basically what we have here are piping hot doughnuts rolled in the white powder mixture in the kitchen that would result if some enterprising drug dealer decided to use a doughnut franchise as his front. Unique!

Salient notes (from hawthorne blossoms, Bulgarian rose, Morrocan rose, Comores vanilla, precious woods, white almond, ambery notes

The white powders continue to proliferate with Loukhoum Eau Poudrée, which adds a baby powder-type note plus more flour into the already sugary-alkaloid mix of Loukhoum. Initially, I thought that the baby powderish note was not a good idea, but then it simply disappeared, ceding to a slightly less sugary but just as alkaloid composition which I found somehow irresistibly appealing, strangely enough. Or perhaps not, given my belief that these compositions do indeed contain a mystery alkaloid compound which may explain how I managed to use my entire 2.5ml sample of Loukhoum in a single evening and my entire 2.5ml sample of Loukhoum Eau Poudrée the following day. Serious addiction potential, to say the least...

I found both of these first two loukhoum compositions very compelling, and I was surprised at the naysayers. Perhaps they were laboring under the false assumption that loukhoum was oudh? Far from it, in fact, loukhoum could only form the basis of a very sweet gourmand composition, the only questions being: Are the notes of high quality and blended together pleasingly? and Do these creations offer something not already available? My answer was a resounding Yes! on both counts. My journey through the land of loukhoum was therefore destined to continue...

Salient notes (from white rose, orris powder, green of violets, narcissus, dragée notes, Madagascar vanilla, and crystalline musk

Yet another beautiful loukhoum creation, Parfum du Soir pulls out all the stops, throwing the ultra-trendy oudh into the already heady mix. All three of these KM loukhoum perfumes smell very similar to me in the drydown, showing most of their variation in the opening minutes. In the case of Parfum du Soir, the oudh appears to my nose up front, surprisingly enough, adding a dark and deep almost myrrh-like quality but then giving way eventually to the divinity-like alkaloid amalgam common to the other members of this trio.

After experiencing these exquisite perfumes, it seems clear to me that anyone who likes any of them will probably like the others, and anyone who dislikes any of them will probably dislike the others as well. I fall into the former category, and would love to have a bottle of any of the three, but will probably be adding either Loukhoum Eau Poudrée or Parfum du Soir to my collection. These are really addictive, though, so in the end I may just have to enter rehab...

Salient notes (from rose absolute, oudh, white almond, vanilla madagascar absolute, tonka bean, and benzoin

(adapted from reviews posted at on February 2 and 3, 2011)

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