Guerlain L’Heure Bleue

Another Guerlain Classic, L’Heure Bleue was created in 1912 with a little story about the inspiration behind L’Heure Bleue. Even though the story came to be a while after the fragrance did.

L’Heure Bleue, being an old classic of the Guerlain classics family finds its niche in such greats as Shalimar, Jicky, and Mitsouko. It has that definitive Guerlain base to it that makes fragrance lovers–well, anyone who’s smelled more than one classic Guerlain–instantly know where it’s coming from and what levels of history they can expect. L'Heure Bleue

In Bottle: That Guerlain signature scent is present in pretty much every classic they’ve put out. Though the base is a bit masked in the newer creations, it is the base that sets the stage for the old perfumes. L’Heure Bleue is no different. I get the base immediately, followed by neroli’s powerful presence, and the spiciness of carnation.

Applied: The base is the first to fade to the background but it never goes away. Neroli is up front and center followed by the spiciness of carnation. It’s strange how a fragrance can make one feel warm or cold. L’Heure Bleue feels cold. It’s a reflection of its namesake, the twilight hour when the land is coated in blue. The name itself is a dead giveaway, L’Heure Bleue translated to “Blue Hour”. And like most classic fragrances, I often have a hard time deconstructing them because they’re blended to discourage deconstruction. I can only get the feeling and have this mental block telling me that’s silly to try to describe it beyond that. So what I can say of this experience is that this starts off as a chilly citrus. It maintains the chilliness as the citrus melts away into a very classic fragrance with dominant notes of neroli, carnation, and a vanilla base that’s barely detectable.

Extra: One thing I’ve noticed with most people’s reactions to L’Heure Bleue is the aversion to a particular note. L’Heure Bleue, more so than other classics, is referred to as an “old lady perfume”. There’s a correlation there, I think. In particular, the neroli note derived from the bitter orange tree. To me, it smells extremely similar to the more acceptable, bergamot. By the way, wondering how to pronounce this? Here you go:  L’Heure Bleue (Lehr Bloo).

Design: The bottle of L’Heure Bleue I own is nearly as small as Mitsouko but I do own more of this juice. I find it more wearable than Mitsouko, personally. Even though some people would try to tell me I smell like an old lady. The bottle really is very similar and quite frankly, there’s not a whole lot to say beyond that. Mitsouko is a slightly greener, cooler color whereas, L’Heure Bleue (funny enough) is a warmer color. I find the bottle design to be more fitting for Mitsouko but I still appreciate the elements of it.

Fragrance Family: Floral Oriental

Notes: Bergamot, neroli, clove, jasmine, carnation, cedar, musk, vanilla.

Slowly working my way up to Shalimar whose initial burst still puts me off and it is the initial burst in that one that does it. I’m sure she’s beautiful once she settles down. In the mean time, I’ve got L’Heure Bleue, a fun fragrance to say and a beautiful, grown-up classic.

Reviewed in This Post: L’Heure Bleue, 2007, Eau de Toilette.

Balmain Ambre Gris

I don’t hate ambergris despite how often I make fun of it. I just find a lot of ingredients (or former ingredients seeing as many of them are now synthetics for very good reasons) to be amusing. Who thought up extracting musk to make fragrances? And how did they come to that conclusion anyway? Similarly, the story of the first chunks of ambergris discovery must have been simultaneously awesome and hilarious at the same time.

Er, anyway, Balmain’s Ambre Gris captures the essence of the note and it did it a little too well. wnqwqf45

In Bottle: Sweet with a musky, spicy, woodsy base that goes into the back of my throat and gets caught there. I get golden, warm and cinnamon in this but it’s definitely not gourmand. I don’t want to eat this at all. The musk is distinctly telling me not to and I’m going to oblige. It just smells fascinating.

Applied: Sweet, spicy and powerful. Ambre Gris packs a big punch as it throws itself in all directs around application spot. This stuff is potent and you do not need a whole lot of it to project yourself. The musks in this fragrance and the sweetness are trying really hard to convince me that this is what real-life ambergris sitting on a beach smells like. There is a very, very minor saltiness to this but I had to work for that one. Ambre Gris is golden, warm, and a bit racy. It’ll also last, and last, and last, and just when you’ve outlasted it, you’ll get a whiff or two and think again.

Extra: Ambergris comes from whales. More specifically, it’s a regurgitated waxy, greyish lump of substance mostly used in perfumery after appropriate aging. Most ambergris in fragrances these days are synthetic, in that they’ve had various compounds mixed together to simulate real ambergris due to a wide barrage of ethical, legal, rarity and expense issues.

Design: Presented in a grey tinted glass bottle, Ambre Gris is topped with a golden, ball-like cap. The cap reminds me of a golden inverse golf ball. I’m fairly indifferent from the look of the fragrance itself. It’s easy, functional, the golf ball cap is a pleasant element.

Fragrance Family: Oriental

Notes: Pink pepper, cinnamon, tuberose,i mmortelle, myrrh, smokey woods , benzoin, white musk, ambergris.

Interesting how I couldn’t pick up on the tuberose but now that I know it’s in there, I did get that slick, slightly floral up-your-nose-and-around-the-corner tuberose kick. Or I could just be making it all up.

Reviewed in This Post: Ambre Gris, 2009, Sample vial.