Licorice and nuts! That's what first comes to mind when I smell Méchant Loup. I bet some guy high up the ladder at L'Artisan Parfumeur probably thought, "You know, I've always wanted to smell like black licorice and nuts. We need to make something that smells like that, and call it 'Mean Wolf'." What kind of a psychopath would think that?
It turns out the joke's on me, because this is an amazing piece of work. In all seriousness, this is probably the most interesting wood fragrance I've ever smelled. What sets it apart from all others is precisely its masterly use of both licorice and hazelnut. Normally you'd expect any fragrance with those two ingredients to be super sweet, heavy and overbearing. Méchant Loup is nothing of the sort. The licorice and hazelnuts are used sparingly, and are there to give color, depth and complexity to the two featured notes in Méchant Loup: cedar and sandalwood.
Rather than weigh the scent down, amazingly the licorice and nuts actually lighten the fragrance and give it lift. A perfume with dominant wood notes like this always risks smelling like sawdust, but in Méchant Loup, the licorice and hazelnuts give this a wonderfully sunny feel. It has the unusual combination of being both warm and light. It has an Acqua di Parma-like lightness and Mediterranean style that I love, and its subtle, almondy sweetness blends beautifully with the sandalwood. This is a happy scent.
Though I think Méchant Loup is a wonderful perfume, I do not recommend buying this without sampling it first. It's not for everyone, and the name "Méchant Loup" can be misleading if you're not careful - this isn't some animalic stinkbomb. I have to think that whoever created and named this fragrance was in fact not a psycho at all, but rather was simply being ironic, outsmarting all of us.
MY RATING: 9/10
Fragrance House: L'Artisan Parfumeur