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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Xerjoff Oesel

WHAT I SMELL:  Oesel opens like the dawn of a new day with a creamy, smooth, layered orange blossom.  It’s as if the sun warmed blossoms have exploded with their fragrant projection just at the peak of the late morning.  The florals are rich, thick and bountiful without being overtly juicy or sweet.  The mix of florals including jasmine, mimosa and Bulgarian rose are blended as if they were carried in the most fragrant nosegay and are melded so seamlessly as to defy you to be able to distinguish them, but for the voluminous orange blossom.  In addition,  Oesel is warm and full of bright yellow hazy sun and when smelled on the skin, the perfume retreats to the depth of your lungs.  After a while, a consistent and dried wood begins to float under the orange blossom giving the perfume an added dimension with just the slightest of dirt and earth.  Oesel is golden in every sense of the word.

From Fragrantica  –

Oesel perfume from the Shooting Stars Collection is a symphony of bright and rich notes perfectly mixed with the best raw ingredients. Orange blossom and petitgrain from Paraguay lead the path to the heart of Bulgarian rose and Sambac jasmine, which are skillfully wrapped in sophisticated mimosa and white flowers. Graceful result of this mixed breed is the ambery wooden base of Indian patchouli, cedar and tobacco flower, which exudes the character, depth and persistence.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  An orange blossom boutounniere…the perfect perfume for your wedding day.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE OESEL: rapturous, uplifting, joyous

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT OESEL:  Now Smell This, CaFleureBon, Confessions of a Perfume Nerd

BOTTOM LINE:  I finally set forth cleaning up my office and the stash of perfume samples that were invading every corner of the room.  There were quite a few of the perfumes I didn’t even realize I had in my possession.  So off came the tops of many for a quick smell.  Oesel was the loveliest of surprises and I wish I had tested it sooner.  In fact I loved it so much so that the next day I purchased a bottle.  How’s that for an endorsement?!

  • Bone Rating:  5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Oriental Floral
  • Classification: Marketed for men, but could easily be worn by a woman.
  • Expense: Varied…mid $200 for 100 ml eau de parfum


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V. Intense by Robert Piguet

vintenseWHAT I SMELL:  V. Intense’s opening is a beautiful burst of bergamot and sweet pear which is soon mixed with a warmed saffron.  Deliciously pretty, a ripe and juicy plum note soon comes to the center of the stage.  Not too juicy though, the plum is lush without being saturated.  Actually, it feels like it’s sitting on top of a lush green bouquet of patchouli.  The perfume has an incredibly radiance, as if the plum and patchouli are pushing out this warmed, yet powdered and dried sunny hue.  After some more, a hint of incense appears making the perfume mysterious and seductive.  After which a pencil shaving note of sandalwood appears while the perfume increases its powdery evolution with just the hint of cream.  In the end, the warmed tonka and incense make for lovely modern vintage vibe.

From Robert Piguet Parfums:

V. Intense opens with a burst of bergamot, pear and saffron, a whirling eddy of citrus and spice.  Soft rose, sweet ylang ylang and sumptuous plum unlock the daring core, a dalliance of fruit and floral that lays a warm, exotic path to the fragrance’s denouement.  Patchouli, incense, sandalwood and white musk create a magical dry down, as transporting as it is visceral.

nyc1950sWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME: Although V. Intense was only launched in 2014, it has a very urban sophisticated 1950s nostalgic feel to me.  It’s pretty and lightly sweet with just the right amount of powder and it feels ’50s fashionable in being neat, trimmed and tailored.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE V. INTENSE: vibrant, energizing, witty

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT V. INTENSE: AustralianPerfumeJunkies, Fragrance Daily

BOTTOM LINE:  V Intense, full of plum, is everything I thought I would not like in a perfume.  Instead, it’s understated beauty and urban sophistication is everything that I crave in a perfume.  I absolutely love it.

  • Bone Rating:  4.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Oriental Floral
  • Nose: Aurelien Guichard
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: Approximately $180 for 100 ml eau de parfum