Sunday, June 17, 2012

Guerlain L'Heure Bleue 2012 Centenary Edition: the 100th Anniversary of a Classic

100 years ago...One beautiful late afternoon in 1912, Jacques Guerlain felt something so intense that he could only express it in a perfume. L'Heure Bleue was born in honor of that uncertain hour of dusk suspended in time.


 The centenary of this iconic fragrance is celebrated by Guerlain with a special edition. The Baccarat maison are responsible for the crystal and the house of Gripoix for the bijou adorning the neck of the special 2012 edition extrait de parfum Guerlain is issuing in celebration of their timeless classic.

L'Heure Bleue is offered in the emblematic "quadrilobe" bottle (penis gland cap and all!) ~created in 1908 for the Guerlain perfume Rue de la Paix and subsequently housing almost all the fragrances of the house~ in this year's Special Anniversary Edition. Exceptionally blue, deep and magnetic, dyed by the artisans at Baccarat. Blown, cut, polished and engraved by hand, this giant bottle of 490 ml of extrait captures the emotion of a dazzling work of art craft and is offered as a unique memento of the magical hour, enhanced this time by a unique jewel. This jewel on the neck of the flacon was designed exclusively by the House of Gripoix. It depicts a bunch of violets in molten glass crystal ciselé in 24-carat gold, wrapped around the neck of the bottle to twinkle in the dusk. L'Heure Bleue, dressed as a shower of stars, is revealed in an elegant leather case.

 A reformulation (not necessarily a bad thing, seeing as L'Heure Bleue has been dramatically changed in the recent batches) is under way too for the new coffret, offering a new 2012 edition in Eau de Toilette, Eau de Parfum and Extrait de Parfum. Thierry Wasser offers a new version: The powdery base notes are irresistibly endearing, as the L'Heure Bleue lovers like them so much. Under his leadership, the scent is sweet, illuminated with new freshness and modernity. The white musk mingles with iris. Heliotrope is combined with orange blossom accents to make it more marshmallow-like, powdery but with a gourmand note like a veil.
The old version will be still available alongside the centenary editions in all concentrations for the fans.

Thanks to Sylvaine Delacourte for her information on the new edition. 


  1. Count me in as skeptical. Guerlain unceremoniously reformulated HB just short of the 100th birthday. Now they seem to focus on bottles and presentation rather than content. If they haven't done already, there'll be a big Heure bleue make-up line; a good name anyway for a line based on shades of blue.

    Restrictions on heliotropin and eugenol seem unsurmountable for HB, but as usual, who knows. The description doesn't promise well (sweet, fresh?), but as usual descriptions are fantasy. We shall smell, if prices aren't themselves unsurmountable.


  2. Mimi Gardenia18:23

    Lovely bottle Elena. So, L'Heure Bleue is undergoing yet another reformulation! White musk , modernity - does not spell good news for L'Heure Bleue but I will keep an open mind.....
    I trust Mr. Wasser will try his utmost best to retain the character of L'Heure Bleue.

    I linked your article to Basenotes, Elena .I hope this is okay!

    My view - Reformulation is pants ! ( well most of it )

  3. My goodness, Helg, penis gland!? It's a clover flower!! It's true that Sylvaine Delacourte uses the word "reformulation" in the sentence about the box set, but I read it as meaning "a new interpretation" (the Wasser fragrance), and not the regular L'Heure Bleue...

  4. annemariec00:15

    Yes, I'm confused too. As I understand it, the current formulation that we can buy today at our local department stores and boutiques will remain. So - is the 'reinterpretation' just for the big jewelled bottle, or will it sit along side the current formulation, essentially as a flanker?

    100 years of L'Heure Bleue is a big deal for Guerlain. It's no surprise that it is doing a fancy bottle. Guerlain has always loved limited edition bottles. It has always intrigued me that its rival Chanel doesn't bother with LE bottles, or even LE perfumes come to think of it.

  5. Come to think of it, I don't think I have tried this classic. I will have to wait until next month's allotment for fun money to grab a decant.

  6. noetic owl15:19

    A classic iconic fragrance.. why reformulate? alas I can no longer wear L'heure Bleue (way to strong for hubby) but can appreciate its beauty from afar. hard to believe it has reached its centennial mark.

  7. M,

    I think the latest versions of LHB had been pronounced "a stranger" in the place of "a lover" when compared with the older when reviewed by Turania. :-)

    I do think eugenol and heliotropin are not unsurpasable. There are other ingredients and fantasy accords can go a long way, don't worry. But it won't be exactly the same as the 1920s versions of course, but then neither were the 1980s or 1990s version and for many people that's what the "vintage" scent was all about. So....

    I understand they're keeping the former version and renewing with a coffret with the revamped in all concentrations. So, not just packaging. ;-)

  8. Mimi,

    thanks for linking, of course it's all right by me!

    I don't know...people hear "white musk" and automatically assume it's an atrocious perfume. Actually Cruel Gardenia is full of white musk and yet it is a most refined perfume by Guerlain (no matter Turania panned it because it's $$ and doesn't smell like gardenias).

    It might be good, we don't know yet. Judging by what Wasser did with the Deserts d'orient collection (reviewed scents one by one on the blog these past couple of days), I have hopes. *crossing fingers*

  9. U,

    shocking as it might sounds, this is what a LOT of readers saw in the photograph on another venue I write for. I needed to address it. Like I said there in its defense, it's an ooooooold design and surely no "phallic" innuendo was meant. ;-)

    Hope I'm not unclear about the special edition being a new interpretation and the old one remaining as is (which is admittedly not the best form LHB has been in.....).

    Honestly the only version of LHB that has really captivated me over the years was the Parfum de toilette from the 1980s. Right when it was current. It loses something in keeping for two decades.... Alas, perfume is such a fleeting emotion!

  10. AMC,

    please read my above comments for clarification.

    To be honest, I don't hold Chanel at higher esteem for not issuing LE. They have their own share of atrocious flankers....and the Exclusifs versions of their classics (CdR, BdI, No.22) are somehow weaker and thinner than what they were just 10 years ago... :-(

  11. Eld,

    be sure to get a decant of 1980s or early 1990s stuff at the latest. ;-)

  12. Noetic,

    I guess they're reviving with a presentation and aiming to catch a demographic they hadn't reached before. As Cacio says, establishing a mark for the name as a perfume first (legend etc.) allows use for other things later on (makeup etc)

    Makes sense? Hmmm...

  13. Mimi Gardenia15:34

    Elena - yes there is still hope for L'Heure Bleue but I cannot help but lament a little.
    I LOVE the word 'Turania ' - heehee - it's a good one, Elena. :)


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