Marchless Fourplay

This time round, we’re hitting you with a Bertrand Duchaufour double whammy, care of l’Artisan Parfumeur: two arguably masculine numbers – the hazelnut, liquorice, cedar and honey blend of Mechant Loup; the papyrus, pink pepper and vetiver blend of Timbuktu.

 What do we all think?

 First up, Mechant Loup:

Patty:  Mechant Loup is a scent I should hate, what with all the honey running around in it, but after that initial opening blast, it settles down into a really wonderful, gourmandy scent. I can pick out the honey in it, but it doesn’t have that foul odor I associate with honey in perfumes, it is more like the wonderful smell of honey I remember from my childhood when we would get a big comb of honey, beeswax, everything.  Nothing tastes better than comb honey… Or smells better, and Mechant Loup captures that part of the honey, but also something slightly more sinister, like the big, bad wolf hanging around Little Red Riding Hood’s basket of honey, hazelnut treats and innocence….

Bryan: Although I do not believe in gendered perfumes, I must admit I more often than not, reach for the florals. I just hate the mass market smell of insipid “masculines” that clutter the windexed counters at department stores near all of us. I would agree that both Mechant Loup and Timbuktu fit the conventionally masculine stereotype. I do however adore them both. Big Bad Wolf (love the name) I will admit, has a special place in my heart. I wore it back when I was 26 and I had my first kiss (with a guy). I wasn’t going to share that, but more has been offered on this blog and I feel we know each other well enough, right? I mention it because I am a bit biased here. I stand by my initial reaction though, to this warm, nay hot juice. The hazelnut just envelops me and I am never unaware of the wolf’s presence….something I love in a fragrance. This is gourmand without the nauseating prettyness of angel. There I said it. Making up words is fun.

Lee: This is an oddball scent to me, and probably my least favourite Duchaufour creation. No, scratch that: I put it above the burnt plastic I get from Eau d’Italie. I used to own this but am writing my account purely from smell memory – let me know if I go wrong somewhere. Initially, it blasts me with a sour, entirely unique combination of liquorice, hazelnut and sweat. Then the honey creeps in and it becomes mild, not uriney like in the understandably underappreciated Miel de Bois, but definitely, and quintessentially, bucolic. This is a perfume composed of golden browns and forest greens, but there’s something in it that for me is somehow not quite right. I put it down to the hazelnut – something I love in chocolate, cookies, brownies or by themselves, but not a scent I like with this combination of other notes.

And now, Timbuktu:

Bryan: I have much affection for this one because it is so unlike everything else. Given that it is increasingly more difficult to find a unique scent, Timbuktu is a welcome blast of resiny earth. I gave this to a friend (twice, as he ran out) and he says he is complimented every time he sprays. He says the ladies love it (in so many not-so-silly words). I appreciate it, but I wear Dzongkha when I am in this kind of mood. I would love to smell it on Lee, though. I do have one gripe. This scent just isn’t as tenacious as I would like….but then again, what is?

Lee: No other perfume on me gets as many compliments as this one, but it’s one ‘fume where the perfume community is split right down the middle – sour, earthy, acidic, foul on the one hand; subtle, serene, heavenly on the other. To me, this is a gloriously full powered incense scent with a wonderful kick of something I’ve never smelled before. It’s difficult to pin down – it has ingredients I love but here, for me, the whole is so much more than the sum of its parts. It starts sour and earthy (but in such a good way!) and the smoke is there from the start, teasing around at the edge of the notes and sometimes taking centre stage. Someone said that it’s papyrus that has this effect, seeming both smoky and peppery at the same time, or just becoming one immediately after it is both, however that works… It’s wonderfully dry, but soapy and refreshing too. Perhaps to some people there’s too much going on, but for me it’s magical. And though I don’t own a bottle, it’s been on my ‘must have’ list for way too long. And I hope, not for too much longer. In fact, it’s something I’d love to wear lightly in the summer.

Patty:  Timbuktu hates me.  The flavor of vetiver in it just goes foul and then nondescript and vanishes. Odd, that! It’s a pretty powerful blend, but it’s like my skin just sucks it all up. I wish it had just a leetle magic, but, sadly, all the magic leaked out of the end of the wand.  🙁  

  • sybil says:

    Yay! Timbuktu! What you said, Lee. I like it so much, and I wanted to like Dzongha like that, but no dice. And ML, despite the great name, was just not happening for me either.

  • minette says:

    i like mechant loup, and would probably enjoy it quite a bit on a guy… but don’t own it… and timbuktu smells sour on my skin… though i hear it’s great and gets lots of compliments when it does work. i’d like to smell it when it does work. i have fared far better with dzongkha – which smells great on me and gets compliments.

    the idea to discontinue dzing! is just insane. that scent rocks. i’m wearing it today and loving it once again.

  • Tigs says:

    Lee: I’m right with you, honey. ML – there is just something wrong there. I think it’s the nut, too. I usually have meaty/waxy/nutty amplification powers, but this one somehow becomes *very* light on me very suddenly. I have to spray and spray. My one real L’Artisan lasting power problem (Dzing! and Pd’E are okay in spray vials…) While it lasts, there is something a little too smooth about it and it feels as if it was aimed at the man who has pictures of hunting parties in dark wood frames in his “study”. Timbuktu is, of course, just plain wonderful.

  • Robin says:

    Really like both of these, Timbuktu more than ML I guess. But somehow, very surprised that L’Artisan is apparently discontinuing Dzing and keeping Mechant Loup, which can’t be a big seller? Or am I crazy? Not that I want to see ML go, but still puzzled over Dzing.

    • Lee says:

      Stunning really isn’t it? Unless somehow perfumistas are a curious breed and no-one else is buying Dzing…

  • Judith says:

    You know, I really like both of these scents, but I don’t wear them much. Either I don’t like them THAT much or (could it be?) I have too many perfumes!:o

    Loved the picture and the reviews!!!

    • Lee says:

      It’s when you buy something BECAUSE you think you don’t own it, only to realise later… that’s when to start fretting!:”>

      • Judith says:

        Well, um, that’s happened–but only with samples and decants, not FBs. Does that count??:”>

  • CH says:

    The guy in the middle of the post should be saying “Hey, Mistah Gumby!!” He’s has a very Python-like quality.

    Aside from the sillness, I like Timbuktu. The pepper is persistant on me, and the smokiness is light but intriguing. I agree with Lee on this one. Somehow, this scent works on me. I find it complex. When I wear it, I make sure I wear no other scent and use scentless soap and deoderant with this one. I find that others scents interfere with the balance of this complicated scent.

    I have not tried Mechant Loup. I think the hazelnut has scared me away. Oh yes, I love hazelnut as a singular note, or better yet, as part of a wonderful dessert. Plus, I love the scent of beeswax, again, as a singular note. Perhaps I need some coaxing to truly appreciate this scent. I hate to make a judgement before trying it; sometimes I eat my words! #-o

    • CH says:

      Ok, second time in a row. I really need to proof-read!

      1st sentence instead of “post” should be “picture.”

      Second sentence, Instead of “sillness”, should be “silliness.”


    • Lee says:

      Typos are always forgiven – I make enough mistakes myself.

      Sending you Timbuktu-scented kisses.

  • I wear the Wolf with as much enthusiasm as I wear MdB. It works in a warm, lush way on my skin. On my husband, the just owner of the bottle, it’s more of a power scent. Good for business meetings and closing deals. We can never agree who wears it better.
    Timbuktu is on my to-buy list. I get the sour opening, which is why I’ve been undecided for a while, but the rest of it is lovely. I don’t think of it as masculine, but we’ll see how it fares on the husband, who wears Dzonkha like a second skin.

  • MarkDavid says:

    I should wait before I spray in the morning until I have read every blog b/c it never fails, I’ll read a review and I’ll wish I was scent-less b/c I’d run and cover myself in the juice of the moment. Here: Timbuktu. I love it, too. But I find that even though I own a large bottle of it…I rarely wear it. I should change that. I think, even though I love it, it scares the hell out of me, one of the few scents I own like that. I’m really afraid of what other people are going to smell when they smell Timbuktu on me. I never thought it was so powerful, but after reading the reviews here, it seems it must have incredible sillage to constantly attract compliments.

    I have a special date tonight and I think you guys just answered my dilemma that I’ve been worrying over for a week: What scent am I going to wear? I think I’ll wear Timbuktu, and I hope he likes it!!

    As for Mechant Loup – I dont do nutty fragrances, though I did at once own a bottle of this – but I gave it to my father a month ago and he wears it really well. It has some amazing sillage for a L’Artisan, I’ve found. Its unique, yes, but like Bryan, I find it too generically masculine for my taste and I too would reach for a floral before this.

    Thanks guys!!


  • Christine says:

    LOVE the picture! And the reviews…

    As I remember Mechant Loup came across as *too* masculine on me, but it might be time for a revisit. A shame, because I was really ready to buy it for the name alone. Naughty Wolf? Sign me up.

  • Marina says:

    Great reviews!
    I sort of like and sort of don’t like both of these scents. They are quite capricious, sometimes work like a charm and sometimes smell awful on me. Strange.

    • Lee says:

      Y’know, capricious is the perfect word for ML. I decided, after a year or so, that it was just too variable for me to cope with. Timbuktu, however, moved from the zone of uncertainty into the room of love…

  • Silvia says:

    When I entered my first L’Artisan shop a few years ago and smelled everything that was on offer, Timbuktu was my overall favourite. If I repeated the same exercise now, I would probably pick out Voleur de Roses or Passage d’Enfer, but I still love Timbuktu and it loves me back.
    I can’t recall Merchan Loup but will refresh my memory asap.
    In general I find summer is the perfect season for this line, wonderfully sheer yet with character. And the poor lasting power seems to matter less.
    Thanks for the post !!!

    • Lee says:

      But on me, Timbuktu is easily overpowering – and for a long time. I’m a big fan of your two faves as well!

  • donanicola says:

    Very interesting threesome (foursome in spirit, I’m sure) view. I love the sound of ML but was underwhelmed when I smelt it. Not a fan of honey in fragrances as a general rule (waiting to be broken). Will try it again though because I’m getting all Angela Carter type images of a wolf breathing honey over me – ooh! However, Timbuktu is FABULOUS. Lee nailed it I think. Can’t add anymore!

    • Lee says:

      Glad to see I’m handling the Brit perspective reasonably well N! ML is a little, erm, funny, isn’t it?

  • katy says:

    Very nice post ! I’ll have to try both… But I have to say something, I do love Miel de Bois, and wish so badly urine smells like that :”> It’s pure sweet honey, and incense, for me.

    • Lee says:

      Although I’m not a fan of MdB, I do have a soft spot for it. It’s a perfume underdog I feel I need to support…

      You should see March’s face when you mention it though!

    • Bryan says:

      Me too, Me too! I love Miel de Bois. I get a bit of the cat, but not in the uriney way. I get skanky honey and I love it.

    • tmp00 says:

      THANK YOU!

      I love Miel de Bois and will brook no arguments… [-(

  • Amarie says:

    Another great Fourplay ( minus one) post, thank-you.
    I did like the sound of Merchant Loup, maybe it’s the name that I want as I am a little wary of that hazelnut.
    Timbuktu on the other hand sounds just perfect: incense, smoke, pepper…yes please. I am just hoping that when I get to try it that it does a Lee type smell on me not a Patty ” Timbuktu hates me.” That would be just sad as I do love incense based smells so.

  • Dusan says:

    Hey guys, I’ve missed your foreplays, uh, fourplays (I’ll pretend March was late handing in her bit)! Timbuktu was love at first sniff. I remember being fascinated by the almost palatable smell of sour (arid) earth, the unique, exotic floralcy of karounde flower and not least, the incense. Not to mention I find it very sexy. Do wish though, like Lee, I had a bottle of Timbuktu and, like Bry, that the scent was longer-lasting.
    If ML is anything like L’Eau de Navigateur (waves to Erin) in that it is a light gourmand, I’m sure I would adore it. Bry, how cool that you associate it with your first kiss! Mine was a bit awkward and scentless except for the smell (and taste, ha!) of her lip gloss 🙂

    • Lee says:

      Oh, it lasts for an eternity on me, Dusan – longer half-life than nuclear fallout, I reckon.

      Navigateur is quite quite different to ML, though I no longer own either, so can’t comment any more precisely.:)

      • Maria says:

        Yes, Dusan, Navigateur and ML are quite different. Basically Navigateur works and my DH and ML doesn’t. 🙂 I do think the coffee note in Navigateur is a little bit too strong though.

        • Dusan says:

          Maria, for a coffee lover like yours truly, the note in LEdN is not strong at all, well, at least not overwhelming. Too bad it doesn’t work for your DH. Me, I adore it and it adores me back.
          I’ve been meaning to ask you if you read any Spanish perfume blogs that you could recommend? Give Norbu a scratch behind the ear for me. 😡

          • Maria says:

            Hi, Dusan, I haven’t searched the net for Spanish-language perfume blogs. I’m busy enough keeping up with the English ones! Navigateur works for my darling husband. I’m the one who finds the coffee note a tad too strong. Please don’t tell him. :-$

    • Bryan says:

      I do love the Loup for its romantic associations, though the guy turned out to be a true psychotic….control freak and all….but that’s another story (and another blog). Thanks for the comment, D, it’s always fun to read your thoughts.

      • Dusan says:

        A nice-smelling psychotic control freak? Oh dear! That’ll be stuck in my mind when(ever) I smell ML, huh! Are you telling me that there is or might be in the near future a blog of your own? That would be neat.
        Always a pleasure sharing my thoughts with you. 🙂

  • Maria says:

    Hi, guys, what dramatic occasion is that a photo of? Remarkable.

    I wish I could be enthusiastic about these two fragrances. I’ve never tried Mechant Loup on my own skin, but when we started exploring niche fragrances, K (the DH) got a sample of Mechant Loup. Overpowering in a not-good way. Too much of something not quite right. I fall into neither extreme camp re Timbuktu. It just strikes me as meh. However, as far as I’m concerned, Bertrand Duchafour, having created Avignon, can rest on his incense-infused laurels.

    • Lee says:

      We love your comments even if we don’t always agree.:x

      Now, more importantly, how’d the job interview go? And give the Norbster a hug from me.

      • Maria says:

        Ugh. The job interview. It did not go well. I faced a panel of five women, some of whom were sympathetic and some of whom wanted me to justify the gaps in my employment history. Hey, they asked me to come for an interview. I hadn’t even applied for that particular job. :-l I knew I had my friends’ good thoughts. 😡 back at ya.

        I’m soldiering on. Yesterday K and I had the best Chinese food we’ve had since leaving the East Coast. That cheered me up.

        • Lee says:

          I’m sorry. But I guess you’re too good for them. Who’d want to work with a bunch of sourfaces anyway?