Guerlain L’Heure Bleue

Last week’s Posse post comments made for eye opening reading for me, even more than usual. Specifically, for some reason, I was left thinking about perfumes that are loved but which are horrible on me. In my Monday post, I had mentioned that the Guerlinade (which I think I had spelled incorrectly) generally worked well on me vs the overarching Caron (pre-reformulation) and Chanel offerings.

Ah, except for one perfume which no matter how many times I’ve tried it always smells the same and always smells awful.

So, I thought I’d focus on it in this post.

L’Heure Bleue gets a lot of love. People say it’s classy; it’s evocative; it’s memorable. It represents beginnings and endings; change; turmoil, due to its associations with that suspended time during which day has not yet become night.

I apologise in advance. Alas, no. It’s playdough. In any formulation it’s never been anything other than that great childhood clay-play on me.

And, for reasons I won’t examine too closely, that sort of pleases me.

Playdough is made up of flour, a lot of salt, cream of tartar, water and vegetable oil (and colouring) – at least that’s the recipe I could find online. I loved playing with it as a kid. Thus, I have a reasonable memory of what it smelled like: slightly sour cardboard. I recall tasting a number of thing I played with as a child (dirt [yes, seriously – this was before parents warned you off ingesting any and everything – and my mother was very hands off when we were growing up]; crayons; white Elmer’s glue … to name but a few) – but please note I was never ever attracted to the idea of tasting playdough (even given the word ‘dough’).

As I’ve said I adore a number of Guerlains (Shalimar, Mitsouko); I admire many others (Vetiver, Muchoir de Monsieur, Jicky).

L’Heure Bleue’s notes list includes anise, bergamot, clary sage, tarragon, orange blossom, tuberose, vanilla, sandalwood, iris and heliotrope.

Nothing out of sorts for perfumery there — you wouldn’t think from the list that one could end up with playdough.

Powdery, yes; delicate, maybe; sharp, sure.

Anyway, I’m afraid that my associations with L’Heure Bleue are now all negative – and it’s really too bad it has a great name. It’s just never ever going to be something I want to wear (and smell of).

So, happy Monday holiday – whatever its name is where you are.

Any of you out there have a L’Heure Bleue sort of perfume – ie, something that’s just never going to be good, no matter how many times you try it; no matter how good it is in the bottle; no matter how good it is on other people?

NB: Photos Pexels

  • Tara C says:

    LHB smells like rubber gloves to me. Mitsouko and Shalimar are similarly awful on me. I love all the names but will never be able to wear them, sadly.

  • Patty says:

    Yeah. L’hb on me is just nasty powder. It’s not even a thing, Same with Shalimar. I can smell it on others and think wow, amazing! Me, nope.

  • Musette says:

    L’HB in edt is gorgeous – but in actual extrait it is a Powder Bomb that gives me a migraine. Either way, though, it’s not a ‘me’ scent.

    Play-Doh (US spelling) – that made me laugh! Becauuuse… about 10 years ago (?) I sampled Anne Pliska’s eponymous scent and there was That Note… but I couldn’t pin it…. it bugged me all day/all night… around 2am it hit me – and apparently I sat bolt upright in bed, yelled ‘Play-Doh’ and then fell back to sleep! None of the dogs even cracked an eyelid (according to El O who casually mentioned the scenario the next morning).


  • Ariel says:

    On me, Jeux de peau by Lutens smells like multiple kinds of vomit all mixed together.

  • Bee says:

    I love L’Heure Bleue but it took me a long time to come around to it. My revelation came a couple of years ago when I visited the house of a French client to feed her cat and the house immediately smelled so good and I realised it was LHB. She had a huge bottle on the hall table and obviously sprayed herself before she left the house every day. I confess to sneaking a little spritz and by the time I got home I knew I had to have a bottle.

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    L’heure Bleu can be pretty hard to love. For me it’s a huge powder bomb. I find L’heure de Nuit much easier to wear. I can’t stand anything tuberose dominant. Too dense, well, just too much in general.

  • Carolyn Ring-Ade says:

    I own a wonderful État Libre d’Orange that I love, esp on crisp autumn days, – Vierges et torreros. So I thought that Amourette by the same house would be a happy experience. Fortunately, I had a sample to try and when I did, I was enveloped in the scent of horse dung. And it lingered. I had to wash it off with soap and water. Ew!

    • Cinnamon says:

      I recall when Amourette was released and thinking it sounded great. Still haven’t managed to sample it, but that’s not a great recommendation. Hmmm…

  • LaDona says:

    For me, it’s white flowers. Apparently, any white flower. Gardenia, jasmine…all turn immediately to cat pee. STRONG cat pee. Cat HOARDER cat pee, in an un-airconditioned trailer In summer. It’s just awful. Lol. So I have to stick to the spicy/nasty musky, amber-y, stuff. Which I am totally OK with.

  • Amateur Dilettante says:

    Apres l’Ondee is the Guerlain that will never love me, and the feeling’s mutual. After much meandering I learned it’s violets; every violet perfume I’ve tried smells like someone spilled beer on me, and if it’s violets + iris and/or leather, it smells like a perm (for those of us who remember when straight-haired people wanted hair to be big and curly). Violets must be too dainty for my eastern european peasant ancestry.
    I love l’Heure Bleu, and Hiram Green’s Arbole, precisely because they smell like play-doh. I thought maybe it was the heliotrope but Arbole doesn’t list it, so who knows. Somehow my brain goes to “victorian” and not “play-doh”.
    Also, I have tasted play-doh, it’s not good.

    • Cinnamon says:

      ok, so I didn’t miss anything by not tasting play dough. I love Hiram Green. His perfumes, even if they don’t work on me (Slowdive and Dilettante work beautifully). I can see it not being a great thing to smell like beer. Brandy maybe.

  • matty1649 says:

    Baccarat Rouge doesn’t smell nice on me but is fine on my daughter and grandaughters.

  • March says:

    Caron in general. Whatever that Caron base is, I bring out the absolute worst in it. It just smells so …. wrong on me, and so right on lots of others.

  • KimB says:

    The key to L’Heure Bleue is to wear parfum strength in the heat. Yes, heat – skanky, spicy, bergamot, aniseed. The heat brings out the bergamot and aniseed. LOVE it.
    Ormand Jayne is the line I just can’t do – play dough for me with most of them!

  • MMKinPA says:

    I know several people who wear Angel and smell good. On me it’s just horrid. I have a sample and pull it out every so often to see if it has changed. Nope- still nasty. I also have a bottle of Kenzo Flower that was a gift. Overwhelming powder. Can’t seem to get rid of it, but you couldn’t pay me to wear it.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Oh, yes. I used to work with someone who wore Angel beautifully. It made me try it again and still alas it didn’t work. But, it wasn’t as off-putting as L’Heure Bleue.

  • Portia says:

    Hey there Cinnamon,
    LOVE L’Heure Bleue.
    This would be a very short comment EXCEPT one of my besties, Scott, smells urinal cakes when he sprays L’Heure Bleue. Yep, those blue circles of scent in the mens dunnies are a pretty close replica when added too wee.
    I refuse to make the connection but he SWEARS it’s true.
    Portia xx

    • Cinnamon says:

      Eck, Portia, I know what you’re referring to and they actually make things smell worse. It’s always interesting what different perfumes do on different chemistries. Even if for some of us that ends up being rather gross.