Lolita Lempicka like every self-respecting successful fragrance brand puts out limited editions as the occasion arises. This is our first experience with one of their flanker editions to the original Lolita Lempicka (1997), which was a re-take on Angel by Thierry Mugler (1992). Fleur Défendue was created by perfumer Annick Menardo who also composed the original Lolita Lempicka. The scent already outsold according to Sephora US, not to be brought back. It sounded rather dramatic and perhaps even tragic so soon after its launch when first announced as the composition sounded promising. Either we are not quite ready for this composition or they were not quite ready to launch. At any rate, it flew off the shelves. If you are pining for it, the only recourse apparently is to turn to Europe where it is still available. (Update: one of the 2 sizes is back in store).
Fleur Défendue (Forbidden Flower) opens on conventional soapy top notes and segues into something with a bit more definition (white ambergris and some generic crunchy green accents). It reminds us there and then vaguely of a dozen other scents, Tommy Hilfiger Dreaming among them, which recently epitomized for us a kind of generic Jane-Doe scent.....
Smelling on, it is surprising to see how this scent has opted for smelling so toiletry-like and déjà-vu.
As the composition warms up it becomes a bit more interesting as a doughy iris mingles with cozy amber becoming also a bit lactic, but still qualifies as barely captivating. There is an impression of vague and cool floralcy hovering above the warm balsamic and root-y (iris) base which overall gives way and evolves more and more into a rather heavy dessert, pudding, with time. There is indeed a "powdery abundance of Violet" as the ad copy points out. The violet note in fact is not very well distinguished from an iris one in this case to the point where it feels like a defect, a lack of subtlety, this put in the context of a perfume that seems not to make much effort at distinguishing itself by polishing its notes. The much vaunted Absinthe flower and Aniseed flower notes feel generic, at best, both on blotter and skin, but are fresher on skin as the balsamic notes do not develop as much.
A Morello cherry accord on a faint background of crushed green herbs and a cloud of vanilla almond emerges in the drydown. Who does not like Morello cherries? We experienced briefly some tender feelings of nostalgia for a cough syrup not doubt experienced during the distant years of our childhood (an impression we derive also from Guerlain Après L'Ondée, but in a good way) but certainly it is too far now in the past for us to fall under the spell of the Morello cherry, even if musky.
If there is a moment of saving grace in this perfume, it is in the longer drydown when the scent turns into what it does best, being a rather indefinite warm powdery comfort skin scent offering woody tonalities, with no extravagant naturalist claims.
The packaging and advertising campaign are lovely.
For people who like really heavily powdery scents, do not smell many other scents, and do not care about learning the names of flowers and plants.
Alternatives: Après L'Ondée by Guerlain; Dior Hypnotic Poison
Top notes: Absinthe Flower - Strawberry Leaf - Mimosa Stem
Heart notes: Peony -Violet - Aniseed Flower
Base notes: Almond Musk - Morello Cherry Musk.