Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
For a lover of oriental compositions, Paul & Joe Bleu created by Pierre Bourdon, with its ambery notes folded into the velvety creaminess of woods and vanilla, would be a nice discovery. Fairly classical composition at first glance, it weaves the sweet incense and tobacco nuances of oud into its rich veil, creating an interesting orchestration that calls to mind nocturnal images. At the same time, experiencing Bleu makes one understand why oriental compositions are often compared to cashmere, for its gently powdery drydown embraces the skin in the warm and soft fashion.
The initial impression suggests a sparkling spicy composition with the complementarities of cool spices and bergamot, the crisp tartness of which barely hints at the sensuality of patchouli and the powdery sweetness of coumarin underscoring the base. The crystalline quality of the top notes melts away under the intensifying effervescence of spices. …
The composition warms up over time and where the hesperidic notes were brightening the arrangement, like sun rays playing upon the surface of a dark pond, the smoky and leathery elements begin to undulate, unveiling the oriental character of Bleu. Creamy woods accented by patchouli and musk lend richness to the base marked by the powdery warmth of vanilla woven through with the balsamic amber.
Bleu was created by Pierre Bourdon in 2003 for a fashion designer Sophie Albou, whose line Paul & Joe, bearing names of her two sons was established in 1995. Blanc, the other fragrance in the line was composed by Jean-Claude Ellena, and it is often compared to L’Eau d’Hiver (see my review of Blanc and L’Eau d’Hiver). While Blanc is a soft and gentle composition, Bleu has a warmth and sensuality characterizing oriental fragrances. The floral notes provide a soft ornamentation to the ambery and woody notes, cushioning their sharpness and strength; however despite the floral heart, Bleu is a fragrance suitable for men. Its powdery sweetness, reminiscent of the classical orientals, does not have a sugary or gourmand character, but instead it rounds out the animalic darkness of the drydown.
Notes include bergamot, coriander, caraway, cardamom, cumin, ylang-ylang, jasmine, rose, magnolia, heliotrope, sandalwood, oud, patchouli, myrrh, vanilla, and musk. Bergdorf Goodman in New York carries the fragrances. Online, the fragrances are available from the UK-based websites, Hqhair and Musthave.co.uk. In France, the fragrances are available from Le Printemps.
Painting: Mikhail Vrubel. Italian Night. Sketch for the curtain. 1891. Watercolor on cardboard. The Pushkin Museum of Fine Art, Moscow, Russia. From abcgallery.com.