Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Guerlain- L'Heure de Nuit

The new L'Heure de Nuit from Guerlain, a simplified modern version of the classic L'Heure Bleue, makes sense in the same way that the countless Shalimar flankers do. After all, we're celebrating the 100th anniversary of L'Heure Bleue, so what's better way to introduce a new generation to this masterpiece by creating a young and easygoing variation that's stripped of the more difficult elements of the original? It's yet to be seen how many of those who received a bottle of Shalimar Parfum Initial for Christmas 2011 will graduate to the real Shalimar. My guess is that will see more Shalimar converts than new L'Heure Bleue devotees, but not because L'Heure de Nuit isn't a lovely welcome to Guerlain.

L'Heure de Nuit is a sparkling and cheerful (cheerful??? a L'Heure Bleue flanker???) sweet and creamy floral with just a hint of powder (whatever perfumer Thierry Wasser did to keep the heliotrope and iris in check is truly admirable). It's youthful with that familiar sweet clean musk, but still somehow smells like a Guerlain fragrance: the foundation and relation to L'Heure Bleue are there, just without the melancholia and statement spices that can make the uninitiated feel entangled and suffocated  in Miss Havisham's curtains. Which is a shame, I think. A little challenge and maybe a bit less orange blossom sparkle (or an orange blossom imitation. Somehow it smells too clean to be real) might have taken L'Heure de Nuit beyond the cute, light, and inoffensive.

There's absolutely nothing to complain about in the scent itself. It's actually one of the best in its category; if it were released in a format similar to Shalimar Parfum Initial or even the limited edition Ode a la Vanille (and its own flanker, Madagascar something or other) I'd have been very happy and promptly bought a bottle to wear on many summer days or romantic spring nights. My issue is with the pretentious packaging of    L'Heure de Nuit in a 125ml bee bottle from Guerlain's Les Parisiennes collection and the pricing of $270. This positioning takes away the justification for L'Heure de Nuit as an entry level fragrance and leaves us with... what? If I'm after a luxury version I'll just go with the original in extrait de parfum. It lasts on my skin much longer.

See other reviews by Victoria on Bois de Jasmin, Angela on Now Smell This, and Thomas on Candy Perfume Boy.

Notes: white musk, orange blossom, iris, heliotrope, jasmine, rose and sandalwood.

Guerlain- L'Heure de Nuit ($270, 125ml) is available from Guerlain boutiques around the world and select department stores (Bergdorf, Harrods and such).

Paris by Night via
Paris Sunset by Mark Goldstein.
L'Heure de Nuit bottle via Guerlain Facebook page.


  1. Gaia,
    I have a small sample of L'Heure De Nuit, I received the samples when I purchased Delice De Peau , a body cream from Guerlain in a small jar , the cream has no scent and the purpose is to add a small drop of perfume to the cream .
    I take a small amount of cream out of the jar and add a drop of perfume and the perfume seems to last a long time in cream form.
    L'Heure De Nuit perfume is very pretty and I would love to own it .
    I just wish the perfume would be in a smaller size
    and the prize more affordable.
    I received samples of perfume from the Guerlain boutique in Las Vegas, Nevada

  2. I was waiting for your review of this one, Gaia! I entirely agree with you. For this kind of Amouage money, I want my LHB amped up, not toned down. I think perfume houses should stand more firmly behind their classics, instead of adapting them to please the less trained tastes of teenagers. Who started giving these teens money, anyway?

    1. I am 100% agreed with this. What a shame that the perfumers dumb down their classics. I won't be buying any.

  3. They've put on a prictag of $270??? They must be having a laugh. One would expect some kind of magical elixir straight from the heavens for that sort of price. As it happens, I am probably one of the few that doesn't understand all the hype over the original L'heure bleue.

  4. Can I just say an "Amen". I like this alot but to put it in a bee bottle and hence offer it at Les Parisiennes prices is cynical. Thank you for pointing that out and linking it to the Shalimar flankers. Goodness only knows what they're going to do for Mitsouko in 2019 (?).

  5. Same reaction here. I didn't smell the flanker, but it brings me back bad remembrance.
    Like why we pay the same price for Guerlain classics that are nowadays far worse.

    Speaking of l'heure bleue in extrait, IFRA hits harder on high concentration perfumes.
    I've got one tester of it, and it's mostly a sunny orange blossom on a delicious honey tonka and almondy base. Nice, but where is the drama? Where is the amped up jasmine, the doughy heliotrope jasmine, the herbal thyme and anisic counterpart, the tuberose lurking somewhere, the violet tinge.
    I wonder if Guerlain extraits are still worth buying. Nice compounds, but without a matching great composition they're not worth the price tag. We, perfumelover, should maybe stop to think the extrait concentration as the heaven of artistic integrity.

    And 270$ for this flanker, niche was not made to milk perfumelovers! The perfumes kept in flagship store where supposed to counterpart better margin (direct distribution) with artistic audacity and better compounds. 270 is outrageously high, for a fragrance worse than old heure bleue edt, and nerfed down for new generation.


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