The “classic” citrus-woody masculine fragrances (what was once the original and only “eau de cologne”, shortly) have always been quite an issue for me. I respect them and most of them smell really nice for me, but (call me shallow) a really boring kind of nice. I never owned one, mostly because I always find them too light and inoffensive; more than proper “fragrances” as I like to enjoy them, they seem more toilet waters to splash on after a shower and forget about them. Something fresh and clean, and that’s it. Usually with a crap longevity, too. Nothing wrong with that; just not my cup of tea. Well, Lui by Rochas is finally the first citrus scent that amazes me instead – not only I like it, I am literally *amazed*. Briefly put, it is a sort of soapy, woody citrus scent with a dark amber-patchouli shade: from this description it may seem the most generic, demure and boring masculine designer ever, but on the contrary... well, for some reasons that I don’t get (I guess this is the “magic” which sometimes sets the difference between good scents and mediocre scents), it smells incredibly good. Irresistibly good, much (much!) more than it may seem. It has a really peculiar dense texture which makes it velvety, bold, sophisticated in a sort of sharper, more “self-conscious” way than most of other citrus-centered “barbershop” scents – which are often more understated. The “trick” here is probably the warm roundness of amber and the earthy darkness of patchouli, which blend together with a hint of vanillic dust to create a richer scenario for the formal and clean brightness of the citrus-woody (and slightly floral) notes. The result is this irresistibly distinctive, refined, pleasant scent: clean and cozy on one side, making it versatile and safe, but with creative and unusual darker nuances making it something more than that – a true statement of contemporary elegance. Perfect projection and fantastic longevity. Ridicolously good, criminally discontinued, grab it if you find one.
I’m not sure I’m smelling what everybody else is here. For me, Rochas Lui starts out with a blast of raw alcohol, followed by harsh, peppery aromatics and a tart – even sour – citrus accord that feels almost like vinegar. Hardly the most promising of introductions. After a few minutes on the skin the tart and peppery notes meld into a pleasantly bittersweet woody-green accord, but the scent doesn’t really come into its own until a very dry and discreet floral note emerges to fill out the heart.
At this point Rochas Lui arrives at a highly distinctive and brilliantly balanced floral/woody/aromatic structure that goes a long way toward redeeming its awkward opening. A very rounded vanilla cushions the base, its sweetness balanced by some very dry cedar and lingering peppery accents. I’m fascinated by the way this foundation binds vanilla and wood in an accord that is neither edible nor indulgent. These sugar-free woody vanilla harmonics remind me of very little else, except perhaps for the late stages of Molinard’s classic Habanita, where vetiver and vanilla meld into a similarly cozy-but-firm construct.
Others have described Rochas Lui as an eau de Cologne variant or an old-fashioned barbershop scent, but I think the conspicuous green notes and vanilla distance it from traditional eaux de Cologne, while the apparent absence of lavender in the heart bars it from barbershop territory. Rochas Lui offers persistent sillage and endures for several hours on the skin, but (unlike earlier reviewers,) I do not find it intrusive or overpowering. To me it is a dignified, but never stuffy scent of distinguished character, and (again like Habanita,) one of the fragrance world’s great bargains.
i had 2 full bottles of 3.4 oz that i sold. hey i needed the cash more than the frag. wish i would have kept one though.wood,wood and more wood, albeit subdued and not in your face. patchouli and vanilla are discreet players that cover the bases quite well. very refined and rich. not an everyday scent. more for formal occasions..
I discovered Lui too late.. it was already discontinued. Fortunately it is still quite easy to find.
The key thing that i love in Lui is its bittersweetness. Lui is a vanilla based fragrance, but
the sweetness of Lui never gets overly sweet,thanks to bitterness of citruses and the tie with patchouli and neroli, a good example of the vanilla scent which is still stricktly masculine. A very nice work from the perfumer Michel Almairac. Longevity and sillage both are great, a little goes a long way.
Again, i find this fragrance a very soothing and relaxing kind ; it has an anti-stress element.
First i rated this a 4-star fragrance but soon had to go to correct my rating to a full 5-star fragrance. Found myself liking this more than Dior Homme Intense and that's a lot! Already a 3rd Rochas fragrance that gets 5 star rating from me. A coincidence?
29th January, 2013 (last edited: 30th January, 2013)
Welcome back to the 70s! Bright, lemony neroli over a smooth, sweet, well-balanced vanilla and patchouli base. It has a similar Disco Stu vibe to Acier Aluminium, but this is more wearable today IMO. Good longevity, you'll be smelling great 'til the glitter ball stops spinnin'. Sadly my disco years are behind me, but this would be great for the right trendy young go-getter.
To me this woody-chypre is mostly a tribute to the wonderful note of cedarwood (a touch of pencil shavings feel is notable) in its bloody and deep accord with the other starring note of neroli since each note circulating around that chord is perfectly appointed and balanced in order to exalt a sort of woody melancholy and an almost agreeable intensity that in this fragrance are plain and protagonist. The note of neroli, after its initial sour and alcoholic link with lemon and herbs, becomes more intense and appealing in a new chord with sharp flowers while a masculine blend of patchouli, vetiver and amber leads the smell towards the more virile, mysterious and comforting territories. A touch of vanillic smoothness imparts a final velvety trail to the wake. Really a good fragrance unfortunately discontinued.
27th April, 2012 (last edited: 04th September, 2012)