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 drakosha-too.livejournal.com