BLUF: One of my favorite cedars. Simultaneously uplifting & brisk, cosy & warm. Woody/citrus scent supported by a quiet, dry vanilla. Performance is admirable for the genre, easily lasting 8-10 hours on my skin.
Rochas Lui rocks! Literally. It's curved base allows it to. Hilarious banter aside, this is a brilliant and unique way to present cedar, and a fine cedar it is.
I agree with Way Off Scenter that the opening is a little clumsy, although I don't find the amount of alcohol too off-putting; it's the neroli and cedar butting heads that produces a bit of a sour note. It's fleeting and doesn't deter me too much. I struggle to find anything barbershop about it, but as a duo, the wood and citric facets come off as a tad soapy at times during development.
The vanilla here is very restrained and contributes more to an overall richness, as opposed to its typical duties as a sweetener. I don't find much sweetness here at all, but it's about as cozy as a cedar-centric masculine can be.
For me, this is Michael Almairac's crowning achievement. Why this and Gucci pour Homme were discontinued and Joop! Homme lives on is just beyond me. I've stocked up on Rochas Lui through cost-induced gritted teeth, but as soon as I put it on, it's obviously money well spent.
This is mostly a cedar scent without the bitterness of cedar. A strong patchouli without the psy-rock hippieness; even an incense with the spiritual feel changed into a soapy barbershop vibe. But it is also a barbershop scent without the Fougère and musky clichées. And even a chocolate fume bearing the gourmand sweetness. A citrus that's all about the peel. A mediterranean one when sun doesn't shine. A marine view - out of the far distance. Lui Rochas is a good performer. It is a brillantly lasting but a quiet one, that's getting better the longer one is wearing it. A perfect signature scent. And a perfume that's most soothing to the actual wearer. One fine day this one will get some strange Patou pour Homme like honours. Glad that I've stocked up.
Today it was time again for Rochas Lui .
I can not get enough of this and it actually looks like that Lui could become something of a signature scent for this spring and summer. It is a citrus - neroli darkened down by amber , cedar , vanilla and patchouli. Scent -wise , it moves in the same territory as Xerjoff Kobe and Kurkdjian's APOM Pour Homme . I see images of a glowing sunset over a beautiful coastal Mediterranean town where a bunch well dressed men and women enjoying a long and enjoyable dinner.
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.