Identical Cousins? Frederic Malle Heaven Can Wait and Guerlain L’Heure Bleue

Movie Poster from IMDB

Cinnamon wrote about this one earlier in the week– on her it was a total scrubber. Actually, being a kind person she wrote us to say that she was going to skip reviewing it because she basically had nothing nice to say. Now since the rest of use are firmly in the “If you don’t have something nice to say, come sit by me” camp we urged her to write it. After all, it’s a major company in major department stores. I personally will if not grade on a curve at least be nice enough to save my bile for the big boys who can afford a hit to the flanks- much like if I am at MacArches I will state that the new MacCrunchWrap TunaMacSupreme is swill, the home-made tuna casserole you serve I will just choke down and declare delightful. I just won’t ask for the recipe.

From the Gucci Sylvie campaign vie YouTube

In any case this email exchange that morning actually got my lay a$$ off the sofa and out for a walk over to the Frederic Malle Boutique on trendy Melrose Place (seen here in a screenshot from the uber-odd Gucci ad with Faye Dunaway from a few years ago, which was brilliantly skewered by the hilarious Deven Green) I stopped at the Santa Maria Novello store to buy some of my favorite pot-pourri (tip- when it loses it’s juice you can put it in the ashtray in your car. It’s still strong enough to scent that small space. Newly opened it’s overwhelming) and was given the bad news that Nostalgia- the wonderful scent of theirs that smelled like an old Jaguar (or I suppose Alfa) was gone, a victim of IFFRA. Grrr. Anyway, I went to the Malle shop and found that one of my favorite SA’s from the dear, defunct Barney’s had landed. We had a nice chat and he made me a sample. I was really glad to see him again, and am plotting the way to get him to marry me so I can get an employee discount. He mentioned that some people were comparing Heaven Can Wait to L’Heure Bleue, that the Malle was like a “younger cousin” and more approachable”

So, was it a scrubber? A cousin? I wore an overdose of the Guerlain yeserday and a heaping helping of Malle today and contrasted and compared.

First, L’Heure Bleue kicks Heaven’s butt. Heaven is like pulling up at the Valet in a new S-class Mercedes and feeling all top-of-the-walk just as L’Heuere Bleue’s two-toned liveried 40’s Rolls pulls up to let out Catherine Deneuve, who is taking her friend Marianne Faithfull to lunch.

Not to write that Heaven is bad, because on me it’s far from it. I can see where it went wrong on Cinnamon- that ambrette thing in the opening is off-putting on me in the same way that the aniseed one in the Guerlain can be. But while the Guerlain warms somewhat as it wears (but never completely, it is the “blue hour” after all) the Malle goes on cold and stays that way. The florist-fridge iris in Heaven Can Wait is chilled further with vetiver while the iris in L’Heure Bleue, though coolly powdered is warmed with that Guerlinade base of vanilla and benzoin.

Now, I do like Heaven Can Wait. If nobody had suggested a comparison I might have gotten the similarities on my own, but as it was stated I had to try it out. Of course the Guerlain is over 100 years old (doubtless reformulated many times) and it kind of shows: 12 hours later L’Heure Bleue still smells of L’Heure Bleue and you might feel you need to live up to that. Heaven Can Wait (if you don’t want to scrub it off) is far more accessible and “easy” to wear. It’s also $395 for 100ML ($275 for 50) while the Guerlain is $125 for 75ML when ordered directly from Guerlain (which you should do at least once- the packaging alone makes you feel like a princess..) I have the latter, and don’t think I need the former.

Oh well, there goes that marriage..

And just for the heck of it, here’s the opening from the Patty Duke show. “Identical Cousins”

Photos are mine, IMDB’s, a screen grab from YouTube, and Pexels.

Note: Many people (including yours truly) have been having issues with WordPress marking comments as spam. We at The Posse have no control over this, and as I mentioned it’s been happening to us. There isn’t a way that we know to fix this, so the best I can tell you is if this happens, copy and save your comment and try again later. I’ve noticed that if you exit the site and come back later it will sometimes have healed itself.

Again, sorry for the glitch, but it’s WordPress, not us.

  • Phyllis says:

    I loved your post and I have always loved L’Heure Bleue. The clip from the Patty Duke show was a blast from the past. The prices for most perfumes now are almost as much as a mortgage payment.

  • Dina C. says:

    Loved this post, Tom! I know of two other scents that feature iris + ambrette: Chanel No 18 Les Exclusifs, and Donna Karan Iris. I have the DK, and have sampled the No 18 which offsets the chilliness with fruit. So glad to read about your take on HCW and comparison to the Guerlain. Love your humor. I love iris — i guess the chilly aspect doesnt bother me. The Patty Duke Show looked so cute — wish I’d seen it growing up. Many times my posts have been refused by WordPress, but I’ve learned the copy trick. Glad to know it’s not just me.

    • Tom says:

      I like iris in perfume but sometimes it reaaalllly doesn’t like me.

      Patty Duke was slightly before my time and didn’t make it into syndication the way that “Bewitched” or “Gilligan’s Island” did, so I never saw it until now.

      WordPress likes to mark things spam, at least 50% of the time when I comment when I am not logged in.

  • finanna says:

    I just love l’Heure Bleue! It has been my Christmas holiday staple for at least a decade (probably the only time of the year I wear the same perfume for a week or two). I have to get a few spritzes during the year too.

    I have a decant of HCW on the way, and looking forward to see how it behaves, although your wonderful post diminished my already low expectations. I am not hugely disappointed if it doesn’t make the drool list though.

    • Tom says:

      You know, if the L’HB connection hadn’t been mentioned I would have liked HCW a lot better. I do like it, just not enough to pay retail.

      Especially when the Guerlain is absolute heaven and a third the price.

  • March says:

    Bahahaha love your snark! And as you know, now I REALLLY want to try this. I’m such a Guerlain fan and I think I mentioned I desperately wanted to loooove LHB and make her mine, but she doesn’t love me back. (Mitsouko remains the queen.) Gonna have to order some of this from STC

  • rosarita says:

    I will probably never smell Heaven Can Wait and I can’t remember what I thought of L’Heure Bleue since I tried it early in my perfume journey. But I had to thank you for the Patty Duke opening – what a crazy pair! I loved that show but my daughter pointed out to me that whoever played opposite Patty just had the back of her head showing and she didn’t get screen credit. It’s an interesting story iirc.

  • AnnnieA says:

    Heaven Can Wait, and now so can we.

  • cinnamon says:

    Marry the Malle rep — absolutely 🙂 I can do L’Heure Bleue. It is not my Guerlain (that play dough note) but I can wear it. Clearly not so for the Malle. And totally agree Guerlain presentation when you buy from site or shop is beyond outstanding. Makes you want to buy more.

    • Tom says:

      I would if I could pin him down. But he’s younger and doubtless faster.

      Bleue does have the play-doh note but for some reason it play (doh’s) nice on me..

      Yes, their packaging makes you want to buy more. And since it’s the same price as the department store, why not?

  • alityke says:

    Prices for perfumery have become indecent!
    I’m not a big LHB fan, my misery of choice is Dune.
    I’ve had trouble with Jetpack WordPress eating a whole post since the formatting was updated.

    • cinnamon says:

      I just had a look at the new Liberty perfumes. £225 for 100ml. In the abstract, that’s a fairly decent price point. But what amount is ‘really’ within ‘reason’? I’ve started to think a lot more about that.

    • Tom says:

      I actually write and edit (yes, I edit, athought it doesn’t look like it) in Word because WordPress had previously hiccupped and eaten posts. Maddening. But what do you want for free?

  • Maya says:

    $395!!! That’s crazy. I love your comparison of the 2 perfumes using cars. Great images. I will stick with L’Heure Bleue and Heaven Can Wait, literally. (I couldn’t resist.)

  • Tara C says:

    I have smelled both and to me they are not similar. Heaven smells like medicinal cloves. L’Heure Bleue smells like powdery floral. I very much prefer LHB.

    • Tom says:

      They aren’t really similar but they do have similar aspects. I much prefer L’HB. I’m wearing it right now!