I firmly believe that L’ Heure Blue is one of the most perfect fragrances ever created, even surviving the reformulations throughout the years. It contains a little something for everyone and that’s why it’s still around. It’s an oriental floral, lightly spiced. Strong but very delicate, like chantilly lace. Powdery and woody. A little sweet but dry. Resinous, musky, and very long lasting with a pleasant sillage and ladylike projection. Everything found in a great perfume combines in this bottle, but not too much of any one of those elements. It’s struck the perfect balance
L’ Heure Blue was created in 1912 by Jacques Guerlain and was said to metaphorically ring in WWI as “The Blue Hour”. And it does smell a little meloncholy and ‘blue’ but it’s not depressing by any means. It’s sitting on a country porch swing during a late afternoon summer rain.
It’s impossible to talk of L’Heure Blue and not mention the bottles counterpart, Mitsouko, which was created in 1919, also by Jacques, after the war ended. The name Mitsouko was taken from the heroine of Claude Farrčre’s novel “La Bataille” and, just opposite L’ Heure Bleue, is said to ring in the end of the war.
Most serious perfume collectors experience both of these fragrances at some point in their “purfumista career”, if not outright own both bottles, as many modern fragrances were inspired by and/or influenced by these (and other) early modern creations.
It seems that people tend to favor one over the other, as I’ve come to find out and also embody as I much prefer L’Bleu over Mitsy. l have them both in EdP and parfum strength.
The different concentrations wear just as expected: EdTs start off the most harsh of all the concentrations as it contains the most alcohol, but dries down quickly into a lighter version of the fragrance. The parfum, the most coveted of concentrations, is the richest and lushest of them all, but also the most costly, as they contains the highest percentage of precious materials.
Of all the old Guerlain classics like Mitsouko, Shalimar, and Vol de Nuit, I find L’ Huere Bleue to be the the easiest to wear and most suitable for all seasons and occasions. On my skin at least, it’s much more predictable than the others previously listed. Unlike Mitsouko (Mitsy), where I never know which notes will dominate with each use, and can only fully enjoy in colder weather, “L’Bleu”‘ is much more consistant and steady with my chemistry.
The notes that develop most prominately on my skin, from top notes to bottom, are neroli and coriander, carnation and violet, then sandlewood and vetiver. The overall impression I get throughout is slightly woody powdered florals.
L’ Heure Bleue may be perceived by younger generations as an ‘old lady’ perfume, but I don’t think it smells old or dated at all. Granted, I began my perfume journey with the generic soapy, fruity, florals, not knowing much in the way of classics and it did take a little time before I became intriqued with early modern perfumery, but “L’ Bleu” was an instant love for me and I find it very relevant to this day. I think this fragrance is timeless as well as ageless. Where I would perceive “Mitsy” a bit too matronly and out of place when worn on a young lady in her 20’s, I would think L’ Bleu flattering and very sweetly feminine, even a bit girly. I would even go so far as to recommend anyone interested in the classics to start with this one, as it’s a lighter, sweeter fragrance, no harshness at any stage, and very forgiving. A very classy, yet versatile lady indeed, that firmly sits in my top 10 favorite fragrances of all time.
Season: Listed for Fall/Winter but I think it works well year round.
Top notes: Anise, Coriander, Neroli, Bergamot, Lemon.
Heart notes: Carnation, Orchid, Jasmine, Cloves, Neroli, Heliotrope, Ylang, Bulgarian Rose, Violet, Tuberose.
Base notes: Iris, Sandlewood, Musk, Benzoin, Vanilla, Vetiver, Tonka bean