Vintage L’Heure Bleue was my first Guerlain love. In fact, until I tried a really old bottle of vintage Shalimar extrait, no other Guerlain came close. There was just something about L’Heure Bleue for me, something that touched me deeply in ways I can’t always explain. Part of it is that I first encountered the fragrance during a happy time in my life, but mental associations are not the only reason. To me, L’Heure Bleue simply feels special. The way the notes are juxtaposed sometimes feels intellectually introspective in a way that almost rises to the cerebral, and that fascinates me, but at the same time, the fragrance always triggered an even stronger emotional response as well, filling me with joy, comfort, and a sense of serenity in a way that other legendary Guerlains did not at the time.
Fans of floriental powerhouses in the classical tradition, take note, Opus 1144 is one for you to try. It is a bold, complex fragrance with a divaesque character that harkens back to the great Guerlain legends, Shalimar and L’Heure Bleue, in their most concentrated vintage parfum form, as well as to modern creations by Mona di Orio and O’Drui. At its heart, it’s structured much like a millefeuille dessert where tart, lemon curd custard lies sandwiched between layers of dark, smoky styrax and balsamic-coated, musky leather, all dusted with vanillic powder in a haze of jasmine and iris floralcy.
Opus 1144 is many things, sometimes all at once. It is a lilting choral extravaganza where grand, bold opulence and monumental density dip into airiness and delicacy without ever losing strength. It’s a chiaroscuro of light and dark, masculinity and feminine, gourmand and oriental, hard and soft, acrid and sweet, cloying and beautiful — and I’m not completely sure what to make of all that, no matter how many times I wear it. In all honesty, there are many times in the first four hours when Opus 1144 leaves me simultaneously repelled and riveted, drawn in compulsively and with great admiration, but also put off and hesitant. One thing is undeniable: it’s something that any fan of the classics and of powerhouses in the floriental genre should try for themselves.