I wasn’t sure what to make of Heure Exquise at first. It has quite a bit of the characteristic Goutal aldehydic floral bitterness in its top notes, but the resulting nose-tingling effect is tempered by a honeyed rose that quickly appears underneath it. Heure Exquise soon enters a sweet, dark rose-dominated phase that persists for a few hours. With time the honey accord grows bolder and takes on some of the animalic, urinous character it sometimes manifests at higher concentrations, but here, unlike say, Serge Lutens’s Miel de Bois, an agreeable balance is maintained. Previous reviewers have mentioned iris in Heure Exquise, and it does figure in the blend, but I perceive Heure Exquise as primarily a rose scent.
As a dark rose Heure Exquise bears some comparison with Czech & Speake’s No. 88, but the Goutal is a sweeter, softer, and more transparent composition, without No. 88’s aggressive spices and bitter-edged woods. It nevertheless remains a palpably nocturnal scent, calling up images of warm, languorous, humid nights for me. I should note that Heure Exquise projects for miles, with persistent sillage, so don’t wear a lot if you plan on being inconspicuous.
I tried so hard to like this, but my initial response remains: I found the dry, powdery scent overwhelmingly sickly-sweet. If I were to sum it up in one word, I would say 'cloying'.
My normal preference for scent tends to the citrus/herbal, but I love Songes and Myrrhe Ardente, so the richer florals have their appeal. But not this one.
Carnal and sultry
The use of galbanum in Heure Exquise is outstanding.
She's managed to compose a perfume that's absolutely sultry. The soft floral accord pierced and ravished by the galbanum.
Rendering a perfume that would've aptly been named Carnal Orchard.
Galbanum , in my experience , is mostly used detached whatever accord the perfumer has going in that perfume.
Imagine a floral accord and the galbanum note in tandem but on different tangents.
But in Heure Exquise the galbanum intertwines, harasses if you will, those shy spoken florals.
I recently picked up a bottle of the EdP and have been mesmerized by the craftsmanship deployed in utilizing the galbanum to compose such an animalic scent.
An iris fragrance in my mind, and based upon what I've experienced, is often counteracted with a distinguishable soapiness, heavy powder or an array of other floral notes. Heure Exquise is very different from what I'm used to. This is no Iris Nobile, Le Labo Iris 39 or Chanel 28 La Pausa.
I was actually surprised to see iris listed as a note here. When I first smelt this fragrance the dominant iris did not occur to me. I was too fascinated with the overall composition rather than determining particular notes.
Upon further reflection, Heure Exquise does have a lovely iris accord. This fragrance is stunningly simple. Somewhat dry, spiced powder with smokey undertones.
To me this fragrance is almost animalistic. It has many sensual qualities and it exudes confidence and an element of class. When the iris blends with the turkish rose, sandalwood and subtle spices, the result is almost ethereal.
Heure Exquise almost surpasses my undying love for Passion, also by Annick Goutal. Combined with great lasting power and an iris that shines above and beyond many iris scents on the market today, Heure Exquise is a sure winner in my eyes.
I cannot wait to get my hands on a bottle. The wait is almost too hard to bare.
Being a fan of many of Annick Goutal’s fragrance, and contemplating the name “Heure Exquise,” I was expecting this to be a beautifully soft, transparent delicacy. The opening surprised me: I was attacked by an acidic, aldehydic tour de force. The aldehydes are rampant to the point of being shocking. I have no idea where the acid came from… I can’t account for it in the pyramid. The rose note in the opening doesn’t come across very strongly for me, but the little bit of rose that does show through provides a clean and simple contrast to the frenetic aldehydes. It takes a while for the opening accord to settle down to something less aggressive. After twenty minutes I get a soft, clear rose note surrounded by a reduced sharp, clean, dry aldehydic green.
When it reaches the middle notes, an excellent powdery iris emerges. The powder is of high quality. I no longer smell the rose note. The middle has become almost an iris root solo – soft, green, powdery, and feminine.
The drydown is much the same as the middle accords to my nose; it continues green and powdery, and it exhibits very good longevity for an Annick Goutal fragrance.
I think that Heure Exquise is a good scent that, unfortunately, doesn’t perform well on my skin – it’s that chemistry thing again.