Lolita Lempicka by Lolita Lempicka ~ perfume review

Designer Lolita Lempicka's eponymous perfume, launched in 1997, was already being compared to its obvious forebear, Thierry Mugler Angel, before it even hit the stores, although Parfums Lolita Lempicka insisted that their scent was much more floral. Still, of all the many spawn of Angel, as I like to think of them, Lolita Lempicka might be the most successful, both commercially (it was a top seller) and artistically.

And it is more floral. Perfumer Annick Menardo developed Lolita Lempicka, and she toned down some of Angel's darker, more jarring elements and replaced them with a sweeter, "prettier", less challenging blend of violet, iris and licorice (the notes: ivy leaves, licorice flower, anise seed, amarena cherry, violets, iris, vanilla, praline, tonka bean, vetiver and musk). The top notes are crisp and sharp and fruity; after that, it is a deep, warm fragrance, with a peppery-earthy base made edible by hints of chocolate and vanilla. There are vague hints of smoke in the far dry down hiding underneath the powdery finish.

I used to detest Angel, and to think that Lolita Lempicka, while an improvement, was too sweet to wear. I've pretty much come to terms with Angel, but it took me a good long time. I first "met" Angel when I received a spray sample as a "swap extra" some years ago. This was very early on in my perfumista career, and the smell emanating from the vial, unsprayed, was so pungent that I first "quarantined" it in a zip lock bag, and when that didn't work, I threw it out unsniffed. Now I almost like it, although I do sometimes wish that its devotees would wear it a bit less lavishly.

As to Lolita Lempicka, well, it is probably still too sweet for me, but given all the sweet fragrances that have followed, it doesn't seem quite so outrageously candied to me now. It is a more overtly feminine scent than Angel, and something about the combination of smoky earth + powder gives it what I think of as a coy, "good girl / bad girl" aura. Wearing it next to Angel several days this past week, I found I liked both scents better than I used to, but I finally decided that I preferred the more straightforward Angel.

Lolita Lempicka is available in 30, 50 and 100 ml Eau de Parfum, in 7 ml Concentré de Parfum, in 30 and 75 ml Eau de Toilette, and in matching body products. The smaller bottles can be found quite cheaply (less than $30) at the online fragrance discounters.

Note: I am wearing the Lolita Lempicka in Eau de Parfum and have not tried the Eau de Toilette; if anyone can comment knowledgeably about the difference between the two, please speak up!

Note: image via Images de Parfums

Update: the original Lolita Lempicka is now known as Lolita Lempicka Le Premier Parfum.

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68 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    LOL to the “quarantined”! I did the same thing with a sampler of Saks Fifth Avenue, Bond n.9; it's still unsniffed! :-)

    So what a good surprise: you appreciate Angel. I thought it would be too sweet for you. Here in Brazil there is a million of bad imitations of it and I didnt' like any of them – so, some weeks ago, I finally decided to sniff the real Angel; I loved it! It was sofisticated and beautifully strange on my skin. And, lucky me, I could swap two perfumes I didn't care much for an Angel. It's coming by mail and will arrive next week.

    Unfortunately, Lolita gave me a headache. I think it's the anise. I prefer (and love) L. What about reviewing L?

    Thank you, Robin, for another lovely review!

  2. Anonymous says:

    While I appreciate Angel (and I'm a total newbie, so maybe I'll be wearing it in a few years), I love and wear both Lolita Lempicka and the Au Masculin version – not too sweet, and for me, a creative blend of floral and gourmand.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I used to be addicted to Lolita Lempicka a few years ago, It was my biiigggg discovery back then. It was the first perfume that has impressed me with it's dark, unusual notes. I have never been a HUGE fan of Angel because it is just a little bit too much for me.

    I used both versions of Lolita Lempicka, let me just tell you that there is a big difference in between the both of them. EdP version is so intense, rich,right away it hits You with it's spice/woody notes – the good thing about it is that it lasts forever. You kind of have to wait a little to get the smooth and nice amarena cherries in it, when it's liiicooorice opening settles down a little bit. It actually smells very much of anise seed. As of the other version, EdT it is A LOT lighter and more subtle. It is definitely a lot less spicy, itstead of the whole anise seed and licorice hit, You kind of get the impression of lighter cherry-vanilla-smoooooth, edible, fruity fragrance with just a few hints of woods. You can definitely recognize those so well known Lolita Lempicka notes in it, but it's just an echo of it. I actually prefer two sprays of the regular version, than the equivelent of six in the EdT… That's just my opinion because Lolita Lempicka is like a legend to me, like it's own, unique story. Once You take it's spirits away from it, and replace it with smoother notes – it does smell nice, don't get me wrong, but it's just not so LEEEMPICKA anymore.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I think that L is like a bottle of 100% vanilla and I can't stand it! The bottle is fabulous, just like the original Lolita EDP and EDT botlles. I have never thought of Lolita as a sequel to Angel because I think they are so different. Lolita is not too sweet for me and I really don't like any sweet fragrances. As expected, the EDT is lighter and more citrusy than the EDP. I wear and collect Lolita bottles but cannot abide Angel. I remember when it first came out and some of my colleagues got it in Europe when no one else had it here in Canada. They thought they were so unique and they were. Angel must be respected as an iconoclast in juice and bottle design even if one doesn't care for the scent. Now people waft by in a cloud of Angel, and it's no longer worn by just a few so it has lost a little of its cachet.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I was very surprised recently at how much I liked that LE Angel La Part des Anges, but it has been a really long time since I put the “real thing” on skin. Just goes to show that the longer you sniff, the more your tastes expand. Keep at it long enough and even that Bond Saks won't surprise you (although I didn't love that one either).

    The thing about L is that I am not a fan of immortelle. Maybe I'll give it another shot.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I'm wearing the Au Masculin today myself. Originally I liked it better than the women's, now I'm not sure. Might review that one later that week. They do layer rather nicely, actually.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, figured the EdT would be lighter but didn't know how much they'd tweaked the notes. Wish I had a sample of the Midnight version, I have tried that one but don't remember it well.

  8. Anonymous says:

    “Wafting by in a cloud of Angel” might have a lot to do with why I never liked it — people seriously wear way, way too much of it, and it has some hefty sillage even in small amounts.

  9. Anonymous says:

    So true! Both give me headaches in large amounts. I actually found the Lolita Lempicka body lotion has just enough fragrance to last the whole day! I have both the EDP and the lotion but can NEVER wear both.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hi Robin, I'd love to send you a sample of the Midnight! It's in my top three rotation these days, along with Kenzo's Ca Sent Beau and Black Cashmere…for some reason I keep getting hooked on gorgeous scents that go out of production!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I wanted so much for this to be my signature frag. I love the bottle the notes the image it conveys, But too much vanilla. I must be sensitive to it because I don't care for it.

    Are the vanilla fragrances what you consider too sweet Robin? Because I never quite understand what you mean when you critique something.

    -Becca

  12. Anonymous says:

    I also 'appreciate' Angel, but from a safe distance. I used to work out next to a woman who wore copious amounts of Angel while slogging away on the treadmill. Those were not memorable times.

    Re. Lolita: I love the bottle. I don't wear it because it is too sweet for me, but I have gifted my 13 year old neice with several bottles of Lolita (including their adorable LE minis) and am happy she has such an interesting fragrance to wear. She loves it, which is a good thing, because her predecessor was Pink Sugar and it drove my poor sister crazy. lol

  13. Anonymous says:

    It's true that Angel is often overapplied. When I first tried it, it was only three shots: one in each wrist and one in the neck. It was enough for me: at the beginning, I even felt a little bit dazzled – the same way with Chanel n.5 – but I knew I had to wait a little bit until I could really “feel” (and feel comfortable with) the perfume on me, just like with the n.5.

    And Bartamy, you're right about Pink Sugar: here we have a very nice Brazilian perfume that in some way is very close to Pink Sugar; it's even called Pink. Well, I gave it to the daughter of a very close friend of mine. After a couple of months, my friend confessed that she couldn't stand the smell anymore and simply threw it away…

    Robin, I will take your advice about the Bond, but I admit it will take a lot of courage to dis-quarantaine it! :-)

  14. Anonymous says:

    I so wish I liked LL – those bottles are gorgeous, but I don't. And I hate Angel. Sorry.

    The only time I did the quarantine thing with a zip lock bag was with a sample of Chaos. I also subsequently threw it away. It made me feel very unwell.

  15. Anonymous says:

    That's very kind — shoot me an email (nowsmellthis at comcast dot net) and maybe we can come up with a swap.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Tara, I'll have to try the body lotion — and am also wondering now about the Angel lotion.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Becca, vanilla doesn't have to have a sweet finish in perfume any more than in food, although I'm not sure that answers your question.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Bartamy, a treadmill is NOT where I want to smell Angel, LOL…

  19. Anonymous says:

    I wear fragrance very lightly — there are very few things I'd wear even 3 sprays of. Three spray of Angel might kill me, LOL…

  20. Anonymous says:

    LOL — see, I like Chaos. But not sure I would have back when I quarantined the poor Angel vial.

  21. Anonymous says:

    LOL to the 3 killing sprays of Angel!

    I always thought I used fragrance very lightly because everyone I know puts more than 3 sprays of everything… Now I'll have to review my concepts of “light use”. :-D

  22. Anonymous says:

    Clearly I'm the weird one — I (very literally) don't like anyone else to know I'm even wearing perfume.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Oi! Angel is one of my least favorite and I even wore it for a few minutes when I was 18! (In fact it took over JPG's spot in my rotation!)
    And it seems that I am always bombarded by SA's who are tying to harangue me into some new spawn of Angel! Yikes! And I haven't got the heart to tell them to go away so i take and sniff and…well, you know…
    But I find Lolita to be very pleasant when i smell it in passing, and one of my dear friends wears it exclusively. Nice but not for me.
    I got to smell the L recently and I agree with C above: Vanilla explosion…

  24. Anonymous says:

    By the way, does anyone know how to pronounce “Lempicka”? Is it French, lem-pi-KA, Polish, wem-PITS-ka, Czech LEM-pits-ka, or something else?

  25. Anonymous says:

    Look down about 5 posts below this one (from Friday, titled “The review I did not finish today) and you can watch the commercial…they say the name.

  26. Anonymous says:

    It is something of a vanilla explosion, but I think it is still the immortelle that bothers me in L…I will have to try it again. But you must build up the heart to tell SAs to go away ;-)

  27. Anonymous says:

    i never thought of LL as an angel spinoff. they are way different to my nose. angel is way more opulent, free-spirited, a little slutty, while LL is a tongue-in-cheek girly scent. i did not like LL when i first smelled it. way to sweet, but after reading the so-called guide, i was fascinated by the review and went back and stole my sample back from my housemate for a day. where before i smelled cotton candy, and was unwilling to get past that, now i smelled good and plenty's chowards violet pastilles, and sunshine. figuratively speaking of course! angel i go through phases with. one day ill think its gorgeous and sparkly (i wouldnt dare use more than half a spritz right in my decolletage) and others its patchouli candy, and then i get annoyed when my clothes still smell like hippie after i wash them.
    contrary to previous comments, i almost never smell angel around… weird. maybe its a regional thing…

    • ishtinkgute says:

      I have never smelled it here in the midwestern US.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Robin, I've been (quietly) taking such pleasure in your reviews for some time, meandering into very unfocused newbie scent-adventures. The other day I watched the LL commercial you posted, and was utterly compelled by the gimmick; I went out to spray Lolita Lempicka on my left arm and L on my right, and the first was much too sweet for me as well (headache ensued); I couldn't bear the immortelle on the other–I kept smelling my arm just for the perverse joy of saying “Oh, Lord, YUCK!” every 15 minutes or so.

    But I like licorice and anise…I wonder if anyone renders them in a more green or woody mood?

  29. Anonymous says:

    Angel is a lovely fragrance! I never bought it because I have this thing with needing to feel a fragrance is “my discovery” and Angel wasn't. But I made the most of a lovely big sample of Angel Peony a couple of years back. I would wear Peony if a bottle were to drop from the heavens but would not spend my own money on it.

    As for Lolita Lempicka, I find the bottle tacky and the perfume absolutely cloying, I choked on it the first time. No way I would wear that ever! L by Lolita Lempicka is nice though, you know, the mermaidy one is the orange box, bottle has a fishnet on it.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the review. I actually like Lolita Lempicka better than Angel…I have nothing against Angel but I remember smelling it once in a hospital: the patchouli and the odour of the hospital forms a really bad memory (I was giving a family member).

    I am however obsessed with the “Mugler blue” packaging (if such term exist). I remember creating PowerPoint slides on my presentation on the fragrance industry and spending hours getting that shade of blue corrent by playing the RGB codes…

  31. Anonymous says:

    Umm…I meant to say “visiting a family member”…(what's with my typos today???)…

  32. Anonymous says:

    I can't wear Lolita Lempicka, something in it doesn't work on my skin – fragrances with licorice and anise notes never do. I appreciate it on others, though, and I'm an old fan of Angel. Came across it at an airport when it was being launched and bought my first bottle, I think I've gone through two bottles since then, but I hardly ever wear it anymore. I still love it, but I'm so sick of the obnoxious clouds of it in the most inappropriate settings (and the obnoxious people wearing it! Obviously I'm one of them, but still…) that I'm hoarding the last drops in my last bottle, and only wear it layered with other fragrances.
    I walked past a woman with a 10-meter radius of Angel around her at the Keukenhof park in Holland in April, for instance. What kind of moron wears Angel to look at spring flowers (I very much doubt that she or anyone in her company could smell them) a bright, sunny April Sunday?

  33. Anonymous says:

    About smelling Angel, I've never smelled it on anyone, that I can recall, so I don't have the unpleasant associations that many people seem to have.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Violet pastilles is a great description — that's just what it smells like in the heart.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Did you smell that Angel Part des Anges? It was gorgeous. I can see wearing that, although can't see paying for it, and now it's gone anyway.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Oh, a hospital (like a treadmill) is not where you want to smell Angel!

  37. Anonymous says:

    We've got the same complaint about Angel — people wear WAY too much of it. It ought to come in a little bottle that dispenses a drop at a time :-)

  38. Anonymous says:

    Guerlain Anisia Bella (but discontinued, you might see it at a discounter) or their newer, but more green/ less anise-y Laurier Reglisse.

    Etro Anice, although wish it were greener/woodier.

    Absolument Absinthe — too clean for me, but nice.

    L'Artisan Fou d'Absinthe

    Caron Aimez Moi (more floral/feminine than the others listed)

    I know there are others, but those are what popped to mind…

  39. Anonymous says:

    The cinnamon bark in L de Lolita instantly conjures up cooking for me – reminds me of oatmeal cookies! It's hard to get past that.

    Vanilla is good in savory foods too. And I love the vanilla in AG's Vanille Exquise – definitely my favorite nonsweet vanilla perfume.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Which would be about $2 a drop!

  41. Anonymous says:

    Agree on the AG — the perfect non-sweet vanilla.

  42. Anonymous says:

    I just love the Lolita Lempicka bottle. Every time I go to a fragrance shop, I seem to go to it. While I like it, I do not love it enough to own a bottle. I do have a bottle of her L in my collection. Again, the love affair with her bottle. Oddly enough, I am not sure I have worn it. Someone sent me their bottle because they were not wearing it and it leaked a bit and the smell just overwhelmed me when I unpacked it and I have not been able to wear it since (and it has been nearly 2 months now).
    Now Angel, the first time I smelled it I I just knew my mother would love it. And she did, she wore it exclusively for 5 years. I now have her in Rancé Josephine (much lighter).

  43. Anonymous says:

    L is strong and sweet — I find it overwhelming too. But it has lots of fans!

  44. Anonymous says:

    I got this as a gift and have enjoyed it. It lasts forever (I can smell it 12 hours later as I write this) but doesn't distract me. Sometimes I like scents that I notice, but I also like the kind that just meld into me and this is one of those.

  45. Anonymous says:

    I find it really long lasting too, surprised anyone has had trouble w/ the lasting power.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Lolita Lempicka is legendary. I like to wear it in October. And I wear it every Halloween. *LOVE*

  47. Anonymous says:

    The perfect Halloween perfume :-)

  48. Anonymous says:

    HEADACHES!!!

    HEADACHES!!!

    lol im kidding well for me they gave me a headache but some people might not get it, but it gave me a hell of a headache bahh!!

  49. Anonymous says:

    Sorry to hear that! Some scents give me a headache too.

  50. Anonymous says:

    I can't understand why all people say that this fragrance is like angel. They two smell so different! Angel is fruity/sweet/oriental and Lolita Lempicka is fruity/fresh/anisy with a bit licorice. The only thing that these two fragrances are conjoin is the amazing lasting power.
    (I'm sorry for my bad english)

  51. Anonymous says:

    Your English is very good!

    They don't smell exactly alike, but they work with very similar themes, I think that's why so many people say LL is like Angel.

  52. Anonymous says:

    Thanks :)
    Yes, that might be the reason why most people compare these two fragrances. I prefer the Lolita Lempicka, because it is sweet and fresh at the same time, but Angel is great, too.

  53. Na says:

    i’m falling in love with lolita lempika-
    very charming top note is very distinct from that of Angel’s.

    • Robin says:

      Glad you found a favorite, and agree…they aren’t dupes.

    • ishtinkgute says:

      That top note IS very different, and I felt celery from it. Slightly salty. Salty and sweet is such a wonderful combo.

  54. ishtinkgute says:

    I just got a sample of Lolita Lempicka from generous Nordstrom and I smell celery! That was my first feeling. Celery plus sugar. I love it. I love it. The celery is disappearing a bit after 20 minutes, but it was celery. (Mea culpa, I am an Angel lover, but I love this extra celery thing.) Does ANYbody else smell celery?

    • Robin says:

      I don’t, sorry!

      • ishtinkgute says:

        I swear I must have a nose flaw. I got a sample of Hanae Mori pour Homme this week and trying it tonight, I’m smelling a faint smell of chain smoking sweaty dude. Everyone else loves it. It’s drying down and less offensive to me, but the first 30 minutes were tough. I just smell the wrong things, I think. Not a sensitive nose, just a merely insane nose…

        • Robin says:

          It might not be that you’re insane but that maybe other people like a faint smell of chain smoking sweaty dude…seriously.

          • ishtinkgute says:

            lol! It might be so! I do kind of like B.O. Certain kinds.

  55. FairylyMagical says:

    I’m no fragrance expert, but I sure do know when I like one! And I absolutely, hands down, LOVE LOVE the Lolita Lempicka eau de parfum! It is heavenly! The top notes – although initially strong – are very sweet, but not cloying. The middle notes and the dry down are my favorite of this perfume. I don’t detect celery as one reader mentioned, but the fragrance combinations are very unique and sexy! Not sure why everyone compares it to Angel. . . I don’t smell much resemblance. LL has so much depth and complexity, whereas Angel screams young, adolescent, immature. Sorry :(

    • Robin says:

      Interesting, because would guess the sales are the other way around…that Angel purchasers are generally older than LL purchasers. But I’m just guessing!

  56. Owen says:

    I had the eau de toilette a year or two ago and I found the box today. I sprayed the inside of the box and the smell is still there.

    I liked it at the time, but I’ve gone off it. I think it smells of liquorice and sometimes gives me a bit of a headache.

    and as for selling well. House Of Fraser used to sell it, but now only has masculine and the vody products, so I don’t think it sold too good in the UK. the only places I could find Lolita Lempicka now are at airports or abroad. or even the cheap discount sites.

    I also didn’t see the resemblance to Angel either? my Law teacher wears nothing else but Angel. I dont the two have any similarities. Angel is more creamy than this.
    I prefer Alien to Angel anyway.

    I got a bit excited to smell the forbidden flower, but after reading the review on that it sounds boring.

    and if I come across the eau de parfum (haven’t smelled it yet)

    • Owen says:

      oh, it posted while I was still typing.

      … I’ll let you know about the eau de parfum with the eau de toilette when I smell the edp. :)

      • Robin says:

        The Angel connection is the heavy patch + sweet foody elements. It is not that it smells like Angel so much as that the idea is clearly derived from Angel.

  57. Subhuman says:

    “Coy” is exactly the vibe I get from LL, too. There’s just a hint of something sensual beneath the flowers and Easter candy. I find the rampant Angel comparisons specious at best – really, they smell nothing alike, although on paper it seems like they should. Angel is weirder, louder, darker, and just generally more interesting to me. LL is very nice, but too uncomfortably sweet for me to wear. That said, I’d much rather smell it on young women than the latest Chance flanker or Victoria’s Secret Nightmare Demons Hellish…er, Dream Angels Heavenly.

    Also, where’s all this licorice that everyone talks about? Anise/licorice is one of my favorite notes, and I get so little of it in LL it’s hardly worth mentioning. (Sigh.)

  58. sweetgrass says:

    I tried the edt of LL at Nordstrom, and all I smelled on me was violet candy, as if I had just sprayed liquid Choward’s on my arm. And it didn’t even really progress into anything else, either. It just sort of faded away over a couple of hours. I like violet candy, but I don’t really like smelling like it.

    I haven’t tried Angel, but this review and the comments describing it as weird and dark are kinda making me want to check it out.

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