This is the most dramatic of the esteemed early 20th century Guerlain classics I've tried, the others being Shalimar, Mitsouko, and Apres L'Ondee. Shalimar is the darkly beautiful stunner. Mitsouko is the eclectic. Apres is cute and innocent. L'Heure Bleue is the somewhat moody drama student, who is quite stunning herself, but doesn't intentionally draw attention to her beauty, as there are other things to attend to.
L'Heure opens with a distinct bready/pastry note that reminds me of the slightly yeasty opening of Mitsouko, but in a more dessert-like form, due to the anise and a note reminiscent of almond butter. Plush, somewhat indolic florals create a powdery makeup-like backdrop, and envelop the opening in a light animalic cloak which is a strangely "cool" and medicinal, as opposed to the furry warmth of most animalic scents.
There is a hint of melancholy here, but I do not find that it dominates the scent. Perhaps a sad event has happened, and this is acknowledged by that dusty, wilted, almost decaying note that is more obvious in Mitsouko, but here the message seems to be to keep calm and carry on, and try to enjoy the little things. Have a pastry.
Despite the hint of melancholy, it is a very bright opening overall, and its utterly unique notes are felt well into the heart, as more traditionally florientall powdery notes begin to dominate. Even then, this is a cool, aloof powder, likely due to the relatively strong presence of iris. Never does L'Heure Bleue lose its character. It just seems to relax on the skin: the indoles dampen, the make-up and pastry note becomes a delicious memory.
The overall sense of coolness never leaves entirely, but it feels natural despite the ordinarily warm oriental structure. Instead of being cozily nested by the fire on a winter night, L'Heure Bleue is out wandering in streets, feeling the prick of the cold against her face, but not really noticing, because she is pondering some deep thought.
Unisex. Great longevity and sillage. Exquisite creation.