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.
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). :)
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
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.
Wicked wolf? I think not! Incredibly unique and wonderful? I think so! It's hit or miss for me with L'Artisan, but upon first whiff, I was engaged with Mechant Loup. A truly odd and captivating old-candy style anise, in combination with cedar and pine, ever so slightly graced with a sweetness I wish I could pinpoint! Some say hazelnut, some say honey. If the longevity and sillage were stronger, this may have climbed into a favorites list! That being said, a head-cocking, eyebrow-raising, wonderful scent truly worthy of a try! 8.5/10!