In 1912, L'Heure Bleue was born, and the world is a more beautiful place for it. The character of vintage L'Heure Bleue is hot tears on flushed skin, I realized this morning. I've taken advantage of a rare rainy day in Austin to wear it. It exudes from my skin like it is the natural scent of catharsis--the tremblingly uninhibited, floating feeling that comes after an emotional storm, when your anger and sorrow seem almost magically released through the pores. Have I had such a catharsis lately? No, but I'm wanting one, which may explain why it strikes me this way. It balances bitterness and comfort: after the first gasp of bergamot and flowery (heliotrope, carnation) spiciness, it keeps transforming. Its gingerbread-like accord is one moment brandied, one moment tarry; its anise is one moment candied, another moment medicinal. As it dries down, the tonka bean and iris continue to play out the drama of catharsis, with the warmth of the tonka bean countered by the cooling iris, like the effect of tears drying on flushed cheeks.
Bring on the purple prose, right? It's just perfume, woman! Snap out of it. Hm, okay, well suffice it to say, L'Heure Bleue can really put me in a trance like no other perfume. It just seems to keep going and going when you sniff it--the depths keep revealing more wonders. In any case, as you would probably expect, coming from a vintage-lover like me, the recent version of this parfum does not contain the same magic. There is a rubbery, synthetic note in the recent version that mars it. I've noted that rubbery scent in the recent body lotion (although in a body lotion I kind of like the new-doll-head smell), and was disappointed to smell it also in the parfum at the NYC Bergdorf Goodman's Guerlain shop a couple of weeks ago. This is such a fascinating perfume that anyone who tries it is certain to have a different response, however. Try both, if you can!