The much-awaited hour of Jean Patou's 1946 L'Heure Attendue was the end of World War II. It's a Baby Boomer perfume, born from the longing, dreams and hopes of those who knew loss and pain. The fragrance is pretty but careful- Jean Patou L'Heure Attendue is not euphoric. Cautiously optimistic, perhaps, tinged with the melancholy of its lilac note.
L'Heure Attendue was composed by Henri Alméras a decade after Jean Patou himself passed away, yet it has the very French charm of the design house as it used to be. It's beautiful, soft but with an unmistakable bone structure. Galbanum doesn't appear on any list of notes I've seen, but I could swear it's there, green and uncompromising. L'Heure Attendue offers a bouquet of spring flowers, light and pale. But they still carry the last breath of a very chilly winter. Maybe that's what strikes me most about this perfume: despite a soft and lightly sweetened dry-down, it is almost devoid of real warmth.
It might be the EDT concentration. I've smelled a couple of older samples (the couple of mini bottles I have are from the 1980s reissue) but they were the same. Maybe the extrait de parfum is heavier on the sandalwood, thus warmer, but no matter how pretty and delightful Jean Patou's L'Heure Attendue smells, it doesn't allow me to fully relax. It's not a perfume for fantasies and daydreams. Instead, it opens up windows to a new morning and urges you to start the day.
Notes: lily of the valley, geranium, lilac, ylang-ylang, opoponax, rose, jasmine, vanilla, sandalwood, patchouli.
Images: A 1948 Jean Patou L'Heure Attendue perfume ad and two covers of Vogue Paris from 1946. All from hprints.com.