Guerlain L’Heure Bleue

Two criticisms are frequently leveled at L’Heure Bleue, created by Jacques Guerlain in 1912. The first is that LHB smells too “old”. This is no doubt due to a hefty dose of aldehydes and powder, the hallmarks of classical French perfume. With its sweetness and delectable anise note, LHB actually feels very girlish and youthful to me. It reminds me of childhood ballet lessons- the dusty pink color of the slippers, the rustle of the tulle skirts, little girls twirling gracefully in imitation of their beautiful French teachers.

The second complaint is that LHB smells “sad”. After all, it was allegedly based on the concept of the “blue hour”, the point at which the sky has lost its sun but not yet found its stars. I searched for the sadness and melancholy in this scent, but each time that I smelled it I felt only joy. To me, L’Heure Bleue is a rapturous perfume. It is so utterly stunning, so very beautiful, that to celebrate seems to me the only suitable reaction. I imagine LHB on the almost unbearably lovely Keira Knightley.

L’Heure Bleue is available in three formulations in the US. The EDT is sold on the Sephora website for $70 for 1.7 ounces. The EDP is sold at Neiman Marcus for $118 for 2.5 ounces. The parfum is sold at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman for $317 (the websites don’t specify the amount of perfume).

Disclaimer: I brought a sample vial into Neiman Marcus and made myself a tester.

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7 thoughts on “Guerlain L’Heure Bleue

  1. All classic perfumes seem to fall under the category of smelling ‘old’ whereas I find them timeless.

    For me L’Heure Bleue is sad in that way sitting alone in a jazz club smoking Sobranie Pinks is ‘sad’. For me it’s the scent of the painfully beautiful sitting alone languishing in some muted sadness. It’s Keira as Cecilia in Atonement dressed in that diaphanous green dress, reminiscing sadly on what would never be. But there’s still that spark of brilliance, the understated joy that once was.

  2. Oddly for a classic scent, L’Heure Bleue doesn’t tap into any emotions for me. I think it smells pleasant (and I like it much better in summer than in winter – in winter, it smells like almond pastries to me, whereas in the heat, I smell more anise), but… it doesn’t grab my heart and squeeze. And yes, I have the parfum – I bought a secondhand, slightly-used 1 oz bottle on ebay from a woman who was getting divorced for $40. Yep, $40. It was a great deal. But now I don’t wear it all that often. It just… I don’t know. Deal or not, I’ll never use up a whole ounce of L’HB.

    1. Squeeeee, the parfum! That is a wonderful deal. I would be delighted to swap you for something that does squeeze your heart if you feel that you wouldn’t use the LHB.
      I was surprised by that too, to be honest. From all of the poetic MUA reviews, I thought that it would be a very emotional perfume. It is delicious, but not particularly moving.

  3. I’m using a sample of thise right now, only the EDT unfortunately. It’s beautiful in a dusky, old-world kind of way – it certainly makes me think of elegance in times past although I hate to say it smells ‘old’ due to the negative connotation. Lovely review

  4. “aah… L’HB… You are so much loved by thousands!
    I have you in EDP. I’ve always felt curious about you in the pure parfum…”

    All I can say about L’Heure Bleue is that it’s such a spectacular thing that you are literally waiting something magical happens. Reminds me of some Tim Burton’s, I’ve always felt fascinated with everything related to his world (and fairy tales in general): the stories are a complex combination of humour and tragedy, being a colorful palette. I think every feeling has a color and L’HB has all of them. Sometimes is the red of anger/passion, sometimes is the orange of happiness, sometimes is colored in the shades of purple of the loneliness, sometimes in the blue of sadness…

    PS: but please don’t make me feel as if L’HB has become quite common with the Keira Knightley association… she plucks my nerves!
    This reminds me of her co-starring with my beloved Viggo in coming Cronenberg’s ‘A Dangerous Method’, and it’s much more than I can stand in a whole day! 😦

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