Loukhoum Eau de Parfum by Keiko Mecheri Review

Collage of Keiko Mecheri's Loukhoum Eau de Parfum and its notes, including rose, honey, hawthorn, vanilla, almond, and musk.

Sometimes before fleshing out a review I wear a perfume and take terse, rather unimaginative notes on my phone. Usually, the first handful of notes are short collections of clauses, and eventually when the words start flowing these evolve into sentences. I typically go back and flesh out those early notes into full paragraphs, but today, just as a very lazy move breezy style experiment, I won’t.

And so, here are my caveman-like notes describing Keiko Mecheri’s rose-Turkish-delight scented perfume, Loukhoum:

Rich, doughy, boozy sweetness. Hawthorn. Intoxicating doughy quasi-vanillic, almond-ish, almost but not quite playdough sweet. Almond extract in alcohol. Almond liqueur. Amaretto. Only underneath all this is there a hidden timid rose. Gentle and pink. Not the star yet. Now is all hawthorn almond booziness and sweetness and richness and dough. It’s easy to feel sated. This is perfume for a glutton.

Half an hour in, melding towards almost cherry. The smooth sweetness heading deep towards honey. Heart fluttering skipping seductive.

A glass shaker full of salt.

Forty-five minutes in, just a hint more rose color to the honey and hawthorn. Still doughy sweet almond marzipan dough. Salted homemade playdough.

Far away deep in there I’m getting tiny whiffs, tiny hints of something fresh breezy blue, almost chlorinated. Maybe it’s the salt in the dough. For a moment something in there is something like sunscreen.

An hour and a half in, a whiff of something deeper, almost earthier. Like what I’d thought of as the clay note in Imaginary Authors’ Memoirs of a Trespasser and the similar note I smelled somewhere deep in Ariana Grande’s R.E.M. Almost bitter but in a way more towards resin than towards green and moss. A deep dark smoky amber sort of bitterness. With a temperature a little like balsam of Peru, but that isn’t quite it. Incense-like and bittersweet.

Overtop, still a sweet-salty doughy hawthorn almond playdough, gradually lifting away now, revealing that far away earthy resinous bitterness and, somewhere deep that makes my ear canals tingle as I try to reach with my mind and sense it, the first sourness of the rose.

Five to six hours in: Okay, there’s an undercurrent of rose here, sour and living and bright and sour and alive. But at the front, still mostly hawthorn-almond, diffusing from a heavier doughiness to a lighter more airy and amber-accented powder.

Botanical illustration of a light pink rose with buds, leaves, and a stem.

Well, I’m trying to see the rose. But honestly? I don’t. There’s a fresh, faintly sour ripeness in there at the fresh edge of the almond dough that I’m trying to convince myself might be rose, an occasional hint of pink powder, but the truth is I don’t smell it. I just buried my nose in the vase of real wild roses on my kitchen table. Now that’s rose. And I honestly don’t get any in Keiko Mecheri’s Loukhoum. Just almond and hawthorn and honey.

I’m not sure whether my skin projects sweet notes unusually loud or I’m unusually sensitive to them. Perhaps neither. Perhaps both.

Does Loukhoum smell like, well, loukhoum? Sort of, in parts, by abstraction. It has certain characteristics of Turkish delight: sweet, doughy, sort of gummy around the edges, dusted with powder. It’s a rich, dense mouthwatering treat you can’t get off your mind until you try it, and then you’re very quickly rather sated in a few small bites.

Loukhoum doesn’t ever quite make me sick, though. It just gets boring. I’ve satisfied my sweet tooth, I’ve gotten my fix, I’ve had enough.

A small white bowl of light brown almonds.

In cold fall and winter weather, Loukhoum is absolutely hypnotic. I’d recommend it vehemently, in fact, to fans of Dior’s iconic Hypnotic Poison. It gets richer, deeper, nuttier, less almond extract play dough and more actual freshly-sliced almonds topping a gorgeous almond torte. There’s a texture to the note that almost reminds me strongly of pistachio, and a vivacious powdered-and-flowered edge that remains crisp well into the drydown.

Preserved on ice, the hawthorn remains hypnotically fresh, with an edge that makes your heart skip and a depth that strikes you with longing. It feels like saccharine, youthful, anxious, dizzying, humiliating, panging, aching, stopping-to-tie-my-shoes-until-you-walk-by-so-we-can-just-happen-to-run-into-each-other-and-maybe-you’ll-look-at-me first love.

I was inspired to revisit and review Keiko Mecheri’s Loukhoum this week because I just recently reviewed Serge Lutens’ Fils de Joie and noted that perfume operates with a sort of loukhoum-like logic: breathtaking night blooming jasmine flowers neatly ensconced in sticky, oozing honey, a pretty and polite little piece of feminine candy with just a little of the wild thing left in it.

A pile of three pieces of loukhoum, a rose-flavored type of Turkish delight, along with a single red-and-white rose petal.

On my skin, Loukhoum lasts well over 24 hours, smelling like warm, sweet almond dough the whole way through.

What’s more, Loukhoum sticks and clings around me for days after I wear it. I’m not quite sure where it’s lurking: in my hair? In my clothes? In my desk? In my room? It becomes a bit dusty and powdery, familiar and staid, a sweet and, at long last, faintly rose-y powder scent lurking all around me.

It’s become a floral powder melange of sweet hawthorn, dry pink rose, and almond. The doughiness has evaporated into a dry powder that makes me think of old-fashioned very pink bathrooms with clawed tubs on Pinterest boards titled “coastal grandmother stealth wealth.”

On Monday I went to Trader Joe’s and sniffed a salted-caramel-pistachio scented candle. That melange of sweet, faintly salty, and pistachio-nutty notes reminded me strongly of Loukhoum. Though sweet marzipan-like doughy almond is the main player here, there is definitely something that feels like a pistachio note in Loukhoum. It’s an unmistakable nuttiness, more textured than almond, more crunchy and fun and reminiscent of ice cream.

When I first tried Keiko Mecheri’s Loukhoum years ago, I was ambivalent about it. The perfume really embodies the dessert that inspires it: it’s heavy, dusty, and sweet, and at first it’s marvelous, unusual, and new, so delicious and decadent, and then all of a sudden you’ve eaten one too many and oh that’s quite enough.

A glass jar of liquid honey wound with twine.

When I first tried it, I liked it well enough. It’s not something I’d normally gravitate towards — it’s far too heavy with sugary syrupy almond, with a weighty quality that makes it feel almost dusty on the skin. Still, the sweetness was an unusual delight, and I enjoyed it on my skin and thought about getting more.

By the second try of my sample, though, my sugar craving was sated, and I just felt heavy and dizzy in the sickly, syrupy sweetness of the dusty, nutty honey-hawthorn-rose.

It was too sweet. Too intense. Not for me. And yet… I couldn’t let my sample go.

And so even now, years later, sometimes I reach for Loukhoum, despite the fact this perfume is not my type on paper at all. I’m not a doughy sweet almond perfume gal. But something about this intoxicating, unapologetically feminine gourmand has left me utterly charmed. It’s a dessert I only have a craving for once every few months, but when I do, it is positively glorious.

A bunch of small white hawthorn flowers with oval-shaped medium-green leaves.

When it comes to gourmand Keiko Mecheri scents, I reach for Umé more often than I do Loukhoum. It’s a subtler, airier, fruitier perfume than this one. Where Loukhoum is exquisitely comforting and edible, Umé is exquisitely pretty and festive. Loukhoum is a pink-and-white minidress that looks a little like a wedding cake, while Umé is a romantic sort of frock with big puffy sleeves and a square neckline.

For someone who enjoys sweet almond scents on the regular, Loukhoum is a godsend and a delight. Warm and utterly indelibly nutty, this is a cozy comforting gourmand perfume for the books. It reminds me of a sweet almond dessert more than it does actual rose-scented loukhoum. This is marzipan with amaretto poured over it, drizzled with honey and sprinkled with hawthorn and rose petals.

A defiantly decadent delight.

Where to Find Loukhoum Eau de Parfum by Keiko Mecheri

You can find samples and decants of Loukhoum EdP at Scent Split.

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