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'm in need for 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 interesting blend of notes that I really 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 very 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 cool 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 truly all about aromatic herbs and berries, this gem is simply not going to be for everyone. If there's one scent I know, it's L'Eau Bleue. I originally tried this scent when it was first launched in 2004, I remember it was middle fall evening and I tested it both on a paper strip and on 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 wearing?". Without any hesitation, I decided to buy it a few time 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, 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 really does smell that good! Such a natural, fresh, confident scent. I must admit that the initial spray is really 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 cool, 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 in a refreshing way. 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 aforementioned herbs 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 other fragrance I've smelled. The citrus and wood in the mix provide a beautiful backbone holding the composition together sublimely. Personally, 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 on here shows many of the same ingredients.
Don't focus on, or get overly distracted by the fairly 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 drydown, resulting in this creatively smooth "masterpiece". Fresh and forest-green, cool and warm, uplifting and relaxing, creative and versatile.
Honestly, it has definitely 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 vintage version lasts forever, this one becomes whisper soft after 30 minutes. Notwithstanding, in general terms, Bleue is still a nice 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 safe imposter version. Nice smelling, but that's about it.
A perfect rainy day scent which makes walking in the rain an even more invigorating experience. This one is a modern powerhouse with a unique twist, which in this case is a strong medicinal opening similar to the smell of a cough syrup. It's neither good or bad, 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 drydown 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 4 times more expensive.
The performance was pretty killer on the original one, about 9 or so hours with moderate to heavy sillage. Very masculine, I do not see this being doable for a woman. With that said, I definitely 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 impressive 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 nice. Don't use this during the warm and hot seasons, the aromatic and balsamic accords are too heavy with hot temperature. 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 indeed "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... it is a masculine for men who favor fragrances that are earthy and primal.