Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Guerlain L'Heure Bleue

In my very subjective mind, no perfume is more Guerlain than L'Heure Bleue. I may usually prefer to wear Shalimar or Mitsouko , but L'Heure Bleue was etched in my scent memory as an icon for all that is French long before I visited Paris for the very first time.

L'Heure Bleue is flowers and pastry. A very delicate, lace-like orange blossom note hovers over the more robust carnation. The official notes mention rose and jasmine, but the blend is so smooth that for me it has always been about the peppery carnation. That's also where the melancholy romance begins. The flowers are not sunny and pink, but awash with cool shadows. I always thought there was some lavender in the mix, but that might be just my mind playing tricks because of the strong color association and the combination of anise and almondy heliotrope.

As L'Heure Bleue progresses it moves from those flowers to pastry. Just like a person strolling the streets of Paris, admiring the sights, the architecture and the atmosphere, then caught by a whiff of freshly baked almond croissants from a nearby cafe. You must enter and indulge, taking in the buttery vanillic aroma of the place. Satisfied, you leave the place and continue your walk. The sun is gone now, city lights starting to appear and you wish there was someone by your side to share it all and spend the night.

L'Heure Bleue, a 1912 release, is one of the classic Guerlain perfumes that seem to have kept most of their original character. I own it in several concentrations, and at least one that is older than me, but find the current versions of the extrait  de parfum ($317, 1 oz at Guerlain boutiques around the world, Saks NYC, Bergdorf, etc.) to be very enjoyable.

Photo: Paris Sunset, 2009 from


  1. This is my MILs signature scent so I suppose I'm not that sad it hasn't worked on me. She deserves a new bottle of the extrait, wow that would be a fabulous gift for an incredible woman who has *almost* everything.

    I totally agree with your quintessential Guerlain reference. It absolutely is- the pinnacle of French perfume even. The name is so poetic, I can't think of a more romantic name for perfume that references my absolute favourite time of day.

    Gorgeous photo!

  2. Ah l'heure bleue, you sad creature of light an shadows, how strange and loveable you quintessentially French, how Guerlain!

  3. Whoo, you've just describe L'Heure Bleue as a classy, elegant and exotic perfume that would fit to today's sumeone summer.

  4. Have you sampled the current version of L'Heure Bleue extrait (2011 reformulation)? I would like your opinion on this newest extrait version. Some commentators say it's fine, others (such as "Larimar" on Basenotes) say that the extrait has lost most of its beauty.


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