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.