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.