Paul & Joe Bleu : Fragrance Review



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 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



  • Sisonne: Dear V, I really waited for this review 🙂 Your description sounds very, very interesting, almost like a must-have for me!
    Can you perhaps compare it to other fragrances? (I´d have to order unsniffed – which I don´t like at all – that´s why I´m asking you that.)
    Off topic: Have you been able to test Parfum d´Empire “Ambre Russe”? I´ve a sample & I´m not sure what to think of it. It´s interesting for sure with its melange of Vodka & Amber, but it starts a little bit too “boozy” for my liking. January 9, 2006 at 7:09am Reply

  • julien: Nice review.
    I had one bottle but i gave it…it smelled to me like Opium for men,with less spices and a little less sugary.
    I thought it was a good perfume but no emotion in it.

    Did you enjoy it or is it the same for you?

    Kisses,j. January 9, 2006 at 7:56am Reply

  • Judith (lilybp): This sounds good–and it contains many of my favorite notes, but somehow it doesn’t feel like a “must-have” for me yet. Maybe it’s your use of the word “nice.” What do you think? January 9, 2006 at 9:45am Reply

  • linda: Lovely review, V! I sniffed these at BG and I bought Bleu right away. I loved it at first but I grew tired of it. It is not that different from a bunch of other orientals I have. January 9, 2006 at 10:55am Reply

  • Robin: Sniffed this one on a card but it did not interest me quite as much as Blanc…also looking forward to reading your review of that one! January 9, 2006 at 1:04pm Reply

  • Laura: This sounds sniffworthy! I’m going to make a lightning-quick trip to NYC in a couple of weeks and will check it out. Hope your landing back on earth goes easily ;D. January 9, 2006 at 8:07am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dear C, thank you. I think that if you like oriental compositions, you will like it very much. It is a beautifully composed fragrance that calls to mind classical orientals like Shalimar and its sweetness is reminiscent of Eau Noire by Dior. I think that for the price, it is a very good buy.
    I tried Ambre Russe once and I need to revisit. The first impression was that it struck me as a pleasant amber, but not a must-have, by any means. January 9, 2006 at 1:57pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Julien, it is a well-composed fragrance, but yes, if you have a large collection of orientals, it might strike you as lovely, but not necessary. I contemplated purchasing a bottle, since I liked it, but in the end, I think that I would not wear it too often, as I have many fragrances of this genre. January 9, 2006 at 1:58pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, thank you! I landed safely indeed, even if the plane was discovered to have a problem with its tire. The discovery took place right before departure, so all was well in the end. I think that you might enjoy Blanc more than Bleu. January 9, 2006 at 1:59pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, I love Vrubel, and I think that his paintings capture the feeling of oriental fragrances beautifully. I think that you might like Bleu very much, as it has a good dose amber + woods. January 9, 2006 at 2:03pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Judith, it is a very well-done fragrance, and if I would make a recommendation of a classical oriental, Bleu would be among the ones I would mention. My issue with it is that it is a bit too traditional for my liking. I would have liked some more daring touches. Still, it is lovely. I would especially like it on a man, because it is not too floral or too sweet. So, yes, it is definitely worth sampling. January 9, 2006 at 2:06pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Thank you, Linda! I suppose that you are right—it is fairly traditional, which can be a good or a bad thing. January 9, 2006 at 2:07pm Reply

  • Marina: That picture is gorgeous, and a lovely review. Blanc didn’t work for me and now that you said it, I really do see the comparison to L’Eau d’Hiver, which did not work for me either. But Bleu sounds like something I might really like. Have a great day, V! January 9, 2006 at 9:07am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: T, do try it! I think that it is very well-composed. January 9, 2006 at 2:07pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, I would imagine that Bleu would not be too much to your liking, however I still think that you should sample on your skin. The incense notes are very nice. January 9, 2006 at 2:07pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dear D, glad to see you! I shall definitely write on L’Eau d’Hiver and Blanc, both of which I really enjoyed. Indeed, I am planning to write on Parfumerie Générale soon too. Have you been to their store already? January 9, 2006 at 2:08pm Reply

  • linda: I gave it to my hubby and he is happy. 🙂 January 9, 2006 at 2:18pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Glad to hear that everyone is happy in the end! 🙂 January 9, 2006 at 2:31pm Reply

  • helena: I found Bleu to be similar to Shalimar. Do you find the same thing? January 9, 2006 at 4:26pm Reply

  • Tania: Sounds worth sniffing. I look forward to your review for Blanc! January 9, 2006 at 11:50am Reply

  • julien: And about the similarity with Opium for men?
    We want to know everything you can tell us,my dear!
    Kisses,j. January 9, 2006 at 5:11pm Reply

  • carmencanada: Dear V. Indeed, I agree with Judith, Bleu doesn’t exactly sound like a must-have… But I’ve very curious about your thoughts on L’Eau d’Hiver, which I sampled while purchasing Carnal Flowers. Also, I notice you haven’t yet turned your attentions to Parfumerie Générale. Have you any intention of doing it? I’m on the verge of ordering some samples (yes, it IS becoming an addiction…).
    D. January 9, 2006 at 1:08pm Reply

  • carmencanada: V., I couldn’t find a shop for Parfumerie Générale on their website (all I get is the online boutique). What comes up as “La Parfumerie Générale” on Google is a shop which has been closed for quite awhile and has nothing to do with Pierre Guillaume. Do you know something I don’t know? January 9, 2006 at 5:17pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Helena, I do find a similarity to Shalimar, however in so far as Bleu also follow the lines of a classical oriental. January 9, 2006 at 11:30pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Julien, I need to revisit Opium for Men again, although based on my memory, I would definitely agree with you. It has a similar effect. January 9, 2006 at 11:31pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: D, oh yes, you are right. I just checked and I do not see it either. Too bad about La Parfumerie Générale being close though, because I used to really like it. It carried many interesting lines. January 9, 2006 at 11:32pm Reply

  • peter: As a man, I found Bleu sweet after wearing it a few times. I almost regretted buying a bottle at first. Bleu and I made amends though and I received many compliments on it from women. I still don’t wear it as often as I wear Annick Goutal Sables and Duel but I like it better. January 9, 2006 at 11:43pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: I would agree that Bleu has a touch of sweetness that some may found obvious, not so much because it is very strong, but because it persists without changing. I would imagine that Bleu might be great on a man. Glad to hear that you made amends with it. 🙂 January 10, 2006 at 12:20am Reply

  • Maryhoff: I simply love this fragrance and am searching for it. If you have any ideas of where I can locate kindly share them with me. December 2, 2017 at 8:10am Reply

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