The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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Vintage Guerlain L’Heure Bleue

WHAT I SMELL:  This particular vintage L’Heure Bleue (why do I say it that way?  you’ll see below) eau de toilette opens with a bright and sweet bergamot and spicy anise which first goes on cool to the touch, but then warms considerably and quickly.  It smells mysterious and serious and rather mature and slightly medicinal.  This is not your Britney Spears of perfumes, but is a perfume that instead dazzles and sings with wisdom and grace.  There’s not a great deal of development as the perfume settles in to reside in a floral meld with a spicy carnation and tuberose center that is dusted with a violet powder that wraps the perfume in mysterious wisdom.

The top notes are opening with spicy-sweet aniseed and fresh bergamot that gently lead to the heart of rose, carnation, tuberose, violet, and neroli. The soft and powdery floral notes are resting on a base of vanilla, Tonka bean, iris and benzoin.

Blue silk floral applique gown by Valentino.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME: A romantic blue silk evening gown.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE L’HEURE BLEUE:  mild, measured, solemn

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT L’HEURE BLEUE: Kafkasesque, Bois de Jasmin, Monsieur Guerlain

BOTTOM LINE:  The review above it based on a 1980s sample received from the wonderful Undina.  It’s bright, yet serious and very powdery.. and I love it.  I recently found a 1980s unopened EdT bottle on eBay for next to nothing.  The bright top notes seemed to have faded away and unlike the version I’m writing about, it’s pretty, but much darker has much more rounded florals.  It’s nice, but it doesn’t carry the fresh feel like the sample I reviewed.  Then a couple of weeks ago I was in an antique store and found this massive Bacarrat bottle (200 ml?) of extrait from the 1930s/40s.  There was a sale at the store and I got the 1/2 filled perfume bottle for a great price.  The stopper was stuck and thanks to Mr. Freezer, I was able to dive into this treasure.  Again, after all these years, the top notes have faded, but the heart is glorious, deep, rich and very serious.  So three different versions and 3 very different perfumes.  I have to say that the light and pretty 1980s version is a dream and probably my favorite of the three.  But overall, none of the versions project on my skin.  Maybe it’s me that’s the problem?

IMG_0799This story just keeps getting longer…so about a week after I started writing the above, I felt compelled to purchase a bottle of the current version in the eau de parfum formula.  A great price added with a coupon I couldn’t refuse right?  Actually, I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to like it… but to my surprise I adore it.  It’s not quite as sunny as the vintage Undina sample, but it’s lighter and sweeter than my vintage EdT and parfum.  There’s a little incense in it and a little powder as it’s completely understated.  But what it defined for me, is that no matter what formula the perfume is in…my skin just eats it up and that means it has a pretty short lifespan on me.  That’s unusual for me, but I’m OK with it because I love to slather myself in any and all versions.   BTW, the new EdP layered with my old vintage EdT is divine!

  • Bone Rating:  4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Oriental Floral
  • Nose: Jacques Guerlain
  • Classification: Marketed as feminine but to me it’s very unisex
  • Expense: Prices vary for vintage versions, but the current EdP can be purchased for as low as $60 for 100 ml.


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Vintage Guerlain Vol de Nuit

When we were over to a friend’s house for dinner a couple of weeks ago, the conversation turned to perfume as their neighbor was talking about how she missed the old Opium from the 1980s.  My friend had mentioned before that she loved perfume, but since developing allergies related to fragrance years ago she had to give up wearing it…along with now having to use fragrance free detergents, soaps, etc.  She walked me up to her bedroom and said that her signature perfume was Guerlain’s Vol de Nuit.  She pulled out an old bottle that was 1/2 full, a bottle that looked to be from the 1980s.  I put a little on my wrist and it was heaven.  She took a sniff and loved it as much as I did, but immediately she could feel it overtake her throat.  I was thinking how horribly sad it was that she would never again be able to enjoy this perfume she loved so much.  She saw how much I loved the perfume so she reached to the back of her dresser and pulled out a box that contained an unopened new bottle that she has been hanging on to since the 1990s and she proceeded to give it to me.  I balked at first, but then she said that she would rather the perfume go to someone who would truly love and appreciate it as much as she did.  An incredibly lovely gesture, I was humbled and still am by this generous and thoughtful gift.  I have many perfumes, and a few vintage perfumes as well…but this perfume will always occupy a special place in my heart.

WHAT I SMELL:  Vol de Nuit opens with a warm, encompassing dried galbanum and a subdued bergamot.  The perfume is light, but it has a strange depth to it as it’s slightly spicy and lightly earthy.  The perfume tingles my skin as it begins to powder and dry with a wonderful layer of oakmoss and dried flowers.  After some time, the perfume begins to lighten to reveal a soft and tender, but earthy and lightly leathered iris.  The whole composition is extremely subdued and it wears very close to the skin, but unlike the other early 20th Century nod to aviation, Caron’s En Avion that is thickened with the dirt spattered first flights, Vol de Nuit is ultimately more romantic and dreamy.  The drydown is a slow and soft ride, but it’s the wait that’s worthwhile as the perfume glides in a hazy state of pure, but restrained bliss.

The top notes are bergamot, galbanum and petit grain; the heart reveals jasmine, daffodil and spices; the base combines earthy woods, iris, vanilla, amber and woodsy notes.

Night FlightWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  A romantic night flight above the clouds.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE VOL DE NUIT:  positive, subdued, dreamy

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT VOL DE NUIT: Bois de Jasmin, The Non-Blonde, The Black Narcissus

BOTTOM LINE:  Vol de Nuit isn’t about the grandeur of other Guerlain classics like Shalimar and Mitsouko.  Instead, it has a quiet heart that sings softly.  If the eau de toillette is this beautiful, I can only imagine what the extrait is like.  Let the hunt begin.  Thank you Paula for letting me fly above the clouds!

  • Bone Rating:  4.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Woody
  • Nose:  Jacques Guerlain
  • Classification: Feminine, but easily worn by a man
  • Expense: Varied.  Review based on the EdT version.


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Guerlain Shalimar Souffle de Parfum

Shalimar Souffle de Parfum2I love Shalimar and the intoxicating effect is has on me; it stands out in my collection as a classic and revered masterpiece.  So when I reached down in my big bag of untested samples and saw the sample of Shalimar Souffle de Parfum I immediately thought to myself that I was going to hate it.  I admit, that I was being prejudicial prior to testing this, but the words “souffle” and “Shalimar” together had me very concerned.  Shalimar is delightfully refined and adult…I am wondering if this new flanker was mean to bring the kiddies into the big time…maybe like the perfumed Joe Camel?!

Peeps2

Peeps

WHAT I SMELL:  Tangy lemon and then a buttered orange creme that’s surprisingly rich, lush, gourmand and inviting.  I like the fact that there’s a sweetness about the opening that is rooted in the lemon, but without a high dosage of sugar.  There’s also a wonderful shimmering hue that makes the fragrance sparkle.  After around 10 minutes the jasmine takes center stage, it’s clean and fresh and topped by the citrus.  I have to say that the fragrance thus far feels like a big chemical concoction.  However, in this case, that’s not a bad thing.  After another 5 minutes, Souffle (as I’ll call it from here out) starts to grown in projection.  There’s a creaminess that comes forward combined with vanilla that makes the perfume feel like a cross between an egg custard and a Peep.  The white musk adds a dryer sheet effect to the perfume which again, I feel like the combination of the Peeps, dryer sheets, etc. should make this a wreck.  Well, it’s not.  It’s just a flanker that is targeted to a younger audience and in that case, I would say that it works.  In the end, Souffle is a lemony tart souffle that’s bright and sunny.

From Guerlain:

inspired by a fabulous Indian love story, Jacques Guerlain created the legendary Shalimar perfume in 1925. Now, Thierry Wasser has breathed new life into this legendary perfume, taking it to the heights of sensuality.  A luminous, modern creation with notes of jasmine, vanilla and white musk.

easter-basketWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  An Easter basket.

THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE SHALIMAR SOUFFLE DE PARFUM:  happy, fresh, fluffy

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT SHALIMAR SOUFFLE DE PARFUM:  Now Smell This, Colognoisseur, The Candy Perfume Boy

BOTTOM LINE:  If you remove yourself from trying to compare this to the original Shalimar you’ll find that this is a nice light treat that’s perfect for a younger audience.  And I have to say that the name fits perfectly…this is a souffle of a perfume!

  • Bone Rating: 3.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Oriental Floral
  • Nose:  Thierry Wasser
  • Classification: Feminine
  • Expense:  $100 for 1.7 oz. Eau de Parfum