It’s not often that a perfume turns 100 years old, heck it’s not often that a person hits the big one double zero, let alone a scent. But in a world where there are a cool 1,200 + perfume launches per year, many of which ride the coat tails of some quasi-celebrity or another whose career is most likely going to be short lived, longevity isn’t something that’s guaranteed. So it stands to reason that a perfume which has managed to last for a cool century should be celebrated.
2012 marks the 100th anniversary of Guerlain’s classic fragrance L’Heure Bleue and the house is celebrating in style. To honour such a huge feat Guerlain has released a trio of Thierry Wasser penned limited edition interpretations of L’Heure Bleue; L’Aurore, Le Crépuscule and Le Zénith, the latter of which has been added to the Les Parisiennes line as an Eau de Parfum entitled L’Heure de Nuit.
“I felt something so intense, I could only express it in a perfume.” Jacques Guerlain
L’Heure Bleue took its inspiration from the colour of the sky just before dusk, when the world is bathed in a melancholy blue light. L’Heure de Nuit represents a softer side of this blue hour, when the light is almost entirely faded from the sky and darkness begins to take hold. It encapsulates the placid coolness of the evening evoking feelings of calm rather than sadness.
White Musk, Orange Blossom, Iris, Heliotrope, Jasmine, Rose and Sandalwood
How Does it Smell?
L’Heure de Nuit starts as a surprisingly lively and effervescent fragrance. In the very beginning it appears as a stripped down version of Insolence, where the Godzilla-esque berries and fizzy hairspray-violets are washed away leaving room for a cool, bright and powdery blend of iris and heliotrope. Whilst being very much alive, L’Heure de Nuit manages to be incredibly understated with each of its intricacies playing out finely on the skin.
Where the original laid powder, spice and anise over a great big doughy base, L’Heure de Nuit opts for a more subtle approach of musks and sandalwood. The result feels like pale lilac suede, smoothly textured yet patterned with soft, powdered spices. It’s easy to enjoy this more finespun approach but at times it can come across as anaemic, almost as if it is deficient in a certain something to take it from being simply pleasant to transcendently beautiful.
L’Heure de Nuit is very well done, as you would expect from Wasser and Guerlain, but it fails to really put forward anything particularly exciting or special. Yes, it’s a softer, more powdery and iris-centric version (gotta love that Guerlain iris) of L’Heure Bleue but one can’t help but feel that compared to it’s non-Guerlain contemporaries, Kurkdjian’s APOM Femme in particular and the original for that matter, it is somewhat of a lacklustre effort. L’Heure Bleue deserves something more spectacular to honour this blue year, that said, I’d love to smell the other two versions…
L’Heure de Nuit is available in 125ml Eau de Parfum for $270 as part of Guerlain’s Les Parisiennes collection. It is exclusive to Guerlain boutiques and department stores where Les Parisiennes are sold (Harrods etc).
Image 1 via perfumshrine.com. Image 2 via perfumeniche.com. Notes via Fragrantica.