According to Wikipedia, the beginning of Guerlain dates to 1828 "when Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain opened his perfume store on 42, rue de Rivoli in Paris. As both the founder and first perfumer of the house, Pierre-François composed and manufactured custom fragrances with the help of his two sons, Aimé and Gabriel. Through continued success and the patronage of members in high society, Guerlain opened its flagship store at 15, rue de la Paix in 1840, and put its mark on the Parisian fashion scene." Since handed down four generations, Guerlain continues to influence the perfume industry across the globe. It remains one of only two long-standing houses, the other Caron, solely devoted to the production of perfume. Today, Guerlain boasts a luxurious cosmetic and skincare line as well.
The ethereal, cool and powdery L'Heure Bleue has been in production since 1912, around the time that my great-grandmother was a young woman. It was the year the great Titanic sank, the United States invaded Honduras, and New Mexico and Arizona were admitted as US states.
Current fashions highlighted the feminine hourglass by way of a corseted waist. Also popular were very large hats which were often adorned with feathers. Paris, the city of Guerlain, was the fashion mecca of the world.
Created by Jacques Guerlain to mimic candies and cakes found in old apothecary shops, L'Heure Bleue has lingered as a distinguished classic for nearly a century. It means literally "The Blue Hour", suggesting elusive, uncertain twilight. Touted as a "melancholy" scent, I find nothing sad about it other than the events of 1912. Rather its soft, powdery, masterfully blended combination speaks of vintage beauty, a delicate powdering of the nose followed by a precise application of lipstick on a stunning woman. Its subtle, semi-oriental scent even reminds me of the smell of my grandmother's makeup.
While its notes include neroli and aniseed at the top, carnation and iris in the beautiful heart and vanilla at the base, they merge together so gorgeously that they extinguish emphasis of one over another. Rather, like an Impressionistic painting that lacks outlines, their glorious harmony must be experienced up close to be appreciated. Cool as a silk scarf, soft as a light dusting of powder and a delicate breeze, yet sweet as a violet flavored confection, L'Heure Bleue is most certainly a feminine, timeless stunner. For women favoring subtle, slightly sweet and even less spicy fragrances, this classic scent long touted by many fragrance aficionados must be tried.
I have reviewed the Eau de Toilette formulation, which of the three available is the most subtle and powdery. I look forward to experiencing the sweeter and more intense Parfum.
Be sure to visit Fragrance Bouquet for her Forget Me Not selection.
Guerlain L'Heure Bleue can be found at Neiman Marcus and other department stores. It is also widely available on fragrance websites. A 1 oz. bottle of Parfum retails for $300 and the other concentrations, including Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette and lotion are significantly less.
Images courtesy of pnmiris.com, vintageblues. and cs.nthu.edu.tw