It's that time of the year again. The sun starts to rise later and begins to set as soon as we step foot out of the office. The mornings are misty and bleak, and before we know it, we are dusting off the turn out rugs. Autumn is on its way. And I require L'Eau Bleue D'Issey, as blue as the Rosemary Blossoms, Juniper Berries, and Cypress Needles that stand out from this underrated gem. There is a complexity about this fragrance that is hard to put into words. It's just a captivating fragrance with an exciting blend of notes that I love. It smells oddly like a spice rack on a shed in the middle of a forest full of cypress trees during the rain. Issey Miyake, as a fragrance house, makes unique Japanese fragrances, and this is no exception. If you are anything like me, L'Eau D'Issey was a coup de foudre (love at first sight!).
A surprising blend of notes that might work well in a wet and cold season like fall, L'Eau Bleue is anything but your standard aquatic fragrance, despite its cobalt blue bottle. This fragrance is blue in an emotional sense. It's a rainy day, feeling solemn for no discernable reason, lost in a wet pine forest with no sunshine. Herbaceous, camphoraceous, sharp, and indeed all about aromatic herbs and berries, this gem is only not going to be for everyone. If there's one scent I know, it's L'Eau Bleue. I initially tried this scent when it was first launched in 2004, and I remember it was middle fall evening, and I tested it both on a paper strip and my skin. At that time I even got a vial sample that is very rare nowadays, then I entered a pub waiting for some friends of mine. It was when we hugged each other that I got a lot of compliments. "Damn, you smell so good, what are you wearing?". Without any hesitation, I decided to buy it a few times later, when I found a 125ml bottle at an affordable price. I wore this every day for a year, and it was my signature at that time. I always thought it was a brisk, sharp distinctive fragrance. Since it's been well over a decade when I owned a bottle when I came across a 75ml bottle online for about 20 bucks, and I thought. "Why not?" I just had to revisit it.
The 2018 release opens with woody aromatic accents of warm rosemary and nose-crinkling pink pepper, with juniper berries and cypress needles from the heart already noticeable. It's like when you stand too close to an essential oil surround diffuser. There's a camphoraceous green accord, loaded with a very naturalistic rosemary note that smells a bit pine-like. It includes crushed juniper berries, and an anisic element, possibly fennel or anything of that family seeds. Vick's VapoRub comes to mind. The combined forces of juniper, rosemary, ginger, cypress, and pepper are medicinal enough to create such a concoction. I love the green herbal notes, which come across in an uplifting and energizing manner. It's energizing, potent, and assertive, with a powerful green opening. The analogies of a fresh rainfall in a forest are just spot-on. It does smell that good! Such a natural, clean, confident scent. I must admit that the initial spray is strong rosemary and thyme, a little woody, which could be off-putting in itself for someone.
The magic of this one comes after about 30 minutes when those herbs mute a little. I can see why this wasn't a big seller as most novices choose a scent based on the top notes. A shot of lime juice and sweet mandarin jumpstarts a crisp and clean heart of juniper, cypress, and fresh lavender. This coniferous heart is rendered even greener with the addition of ginger. One feels a sense of mountainous green hills with broad, sweeping vistas over the blue Aegean. Forget the oranges and any fruity content. L'Eau Bleue is green, camphorated, and woody, weakening refreshingly. The blue bottle deceives, because the fragrance comes down to the notes of rosemary, cypress, patchouli, and oakmoss, at least on my skin. Incidentally, the patchouli is very obvious and earthy.
As it drys down it becomes a lot sweeter and earthy, I get a great mix of the herbs as mentioned earlier with the bright Atlas cedar and oakmoss, slightly citrusy. SIlky amber and polished sandalwood lingering in the background with all these other vivacious notes. Strangely enough, it has a green/blue sort of feel to it overall, unlike any different fragrance I've smelled. The citrus and wood in the mix provide an excellent backbone holding the composition together sublimely. I enjoy it for some time. If I had to compare this scent with another I know and own, I would dare to say there is a close resemblance with Grigioperla Essence, and comparing the notes listed here shows many of the same ingredients.
Don't focus on, or get overly distracted by the reasonably strong rosemary scent in the open. The rosemary eventually settles-in very nicely with the rest of the composition. You end up with a brilliant arrangement of cypress, rosemary, and juniper berries being front and center, while citruses, spices, woods, and amber play a subtle supporting role; all perfectly orchestrated in the dry down, resulting in this creatively smooth "masterpiece." Fresh and forest-green, cold and warm, uplifting and relaxing, creative, and versatile.
Honestly, it has been reformulated. While the surface has that juniper and rosemary bite I love so much, it fades quickly and becomes muted and muddled. While the old version lasts forever, this one becomes whisper-soft after 30 minutes. Notwithstanding, in general terms, Bleue is still a subtle brisk masculine scent; it just used to be a lot more sharp, daring, and distinctive, it attracted a lot of attention and comments. This one is the clean smelling office supported the imposter version. Pleasant smelling, but that's about it.
It is a perfect rainy day scent, which makes walking in the rain and even more refreshing experience. This one is a modern powerhouse with a unique twist, which in this case, is a robust medicinal opening similar to the smell of cough syrup. It's neither good or bad, and it's just different. That is why it should be tried before buying, as it may be off-putting. But if you get past the strange opening, the dry down is rich and deep, and the scent stays with you for many hours. The quality of Bleue is remarkable, could easily be a niche scent four times more expensive.
The performance was pretty killer on the original one, about nine or so hours with moderate to heavy sillage. Very masculine, I do not see this being doable for a woman. With that said, I don't see a man under 30 wearing this one either, although subjective. It would fit at the office or during casual moments. Bleue doesn't smell synthetic and is one of the most intense scents one can buy under 30 euro. Unfortunately, it doesn't get the attention or the respect it deserves. If you want unique, this is a good bet. I recommend this when you need to feel zen. Sometimes the fall and early winter rainy days are beautiful. Don't use this during the warm and hot seasons, and the aromatic and balsamic accords are too heavy with hot temperatures. Yet, there is a lighter flanker designed and more appropriated for summertime, that's l'Eau Bleue d'Issey Eau Fraîche.
Keep in mind that Bleue is true "a grower," meaning that for many, they may need to allow themselves time to grow into an appreciation of it, or otherwise miss out entirely on this one-of-a-kind gem. It is ultimately worth it!! So be patient when first trying Bleue.