my occasional musings on life, love, art, perfume ... what else is there?

5.10.2005

L'Heure Bleue


In order to retain c'est chic status, I must write a perfume review approximately every 3.5 days. Here is today's:

Guerlain's L'Heure Bleue was introduced in 1912 (designed by third-generation perfumer Jacques Guerlain) and my inclination is to say it smells like it. Very old fashioned but very beautiful. I can imagine the scent wafting around a cloche-clad woman waving goodbye, sending Johnny off to fight the war to end all wars.

Literally, "The Blue Hour" -- which I suppose is twilight, or it could be the deep blue chill of dawn -- the scent is a bit sad, a bit plaintive -- wistful, poignant. Yes, romantic.

Stated notes are anise seed, bergamot, carnation, violet, rose, neroli, tonka bean, iris, benzoin, balsam, vanilla. Some sources state tuberose is in there, too, as are heliotrope and musk.

The florality is very much there -- I can detect carnation, violet and rose -- and the powdery drydown is weightily pleasant. Another serious fragrance. I like serious.

Per Luca Turin via Chandler Burr, L'Heure Bleue is older brother [I would prefer sister] to Après l'Ondée ["After the Rainshower"] (Guerlain), during which comparison he alludes to L'Heure Bleue's mystery and melancholy.

But my favorite reference to L'Heure Bleue is a quasi literary one: In Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, this is Claire Fraser's perfume. There's a wonderful scene in which she brushes her hair to a state of static cling and pours the fragrance on her hands, which she then uses to fragrantly smooth down her hair.

Since I adore that character, it's a wonderful association of scent with a timeless woman, a woman independent yet ultimately feminine. A transcendent woman of substance.

L'Heure Bleue is perfect for her.

8 Comments:

Blogger Atreau said...

I love L'Heure Bleue and I love the picture that you posted. It's such a haunting fragrance.

8:28 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Without ever smelling it, I now know this fragrance and the fantasy aura surrounding it. A beautiful review!

~clearing

9:21 AM

 
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

I cannot wear L'Heure Bleue. I prefer its relative, Apres L'Ondee. They are both melancholy but Apres L'Ondee is a little less melancholy.

Now I must know: why 3.5 days? Why not 2, or 4, or just whenever you feel like it?

11:23 AM

 
Blogger ParisLondres said...

I love this perfume (hated it in the past - immature woman that I used to be..)- the extrait is just one of the most hauntingly beautiful perfumes ever. In saying that I adore Apres L'Ondee as our scent guru NST mentioned above - it is less melancholic but so beautiful.


xoxo

1:07 PM

 
Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

I love l'heure bleue and am quite impressed by your beautiful imagery, description and association with this illusive fragrance.

Beautiful picture by the way!

6:18 PM

 
Blogger briefcandle said...

I adore L'Heure Bleue. Thanks for the beautiful review. I just wish there were more occasions where I would wear it.

6:28 PM

 
Blogger katiedid said...

That picture! What a good fit for the fragrance you're describing. You always find the best pictures, though.

6:53 PM

 
Blogger Annieytown said...

The picture is perfect!
I finally sniffed the parfum version of L'Heure Bleue the last time I was in NYC. At first I did not like the metal like opening but the drydown was so amazing. I was hooked afterwards. Thanks for reviewing it M!

6:22 AM

 

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