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.