The Parfum and EdP versions of Mitsouko and L’Heure Bleue are back, after being reformulated due to a problem with one of their shared ingredients.

When the suspension was announced, Guerlain explained that while olfactive variations from year to year in raw materials are normal, the lab had detected a change that was too radical to justify further sale of L'Heure Bleue and Mitsouko. As a consequence, the brand decided to suspend the production of these fragrances for several months, while Thierry Wasser "puts all his talent and passion into readjusting the formulas of L'Heure Bleue and Mitsouko.”

Thierry Wasser has taught us that suppliers of raw materials changing their products is just as frequent a reason to reformulate or discontinue a Guerlain fragrance as are IFRA restrictions. Most of Guerlain’s old formulas contain ingredients that can be difficult to obtain nowadays. What a terrible waste that Thierry Wasser’s award-winning 2013 reformulation of Mitsouko EdP wasn’t granted a longer life.

From the fact that Guerlain chose to downright suspend the fragrances for months, we can deduce three things: 1) the ingredient in question played a significant role in the compositions, 2) there exists no readily available substitute for this ingredient, i.e. it wasn’t a natural, 3) there's a limit to how much Guerlain wants to compromise on its olfactive patrimony.

Fragrance review site Auparfum has had the chance to speak with Thierry Wasser about the recent problems and changes in the compositions of Mitsouko and L'Heure Bleue.

Thierry Wasser reveals that the problem was about a raw material called Iriséine, produced by Symrise. The scent of Iriséine is described as warm, woody, orris-like and heady, which gives depth and roundness to a composition. Symrise had to change this material, because one of its suppliers stopped the production of a special kind of methylionones. Unfortunately, the change meant that Mitsouko and L'Heure Bleue developed an unpleasant tar-like odour over time. The affected batches were coded 5T, 5U etc.

So what do the new Mitsouko and L'Heure Bleue smell like? The following description (which doesn't include the basics about Mitsouko and L'Heure Bleue, presuming you already know them) is based on EdP bottles batch coded July 2016. What you also may know is that comparing freshly blended and older juices essentially is a questionable endeavour that has caused a lot of confusion and misunderstanding in the fragrance blogosphere. Already within one year from the production date, a fragrance can have changed so much that comparing it to a new bottle doesn’t bring any real valid information. However, Guerlain’s statement of the formulas being "readjusted" almost begs for a comparative review.

Straight from the bottles, you can't mistake these fragrances for anything but Mitsouko and L'Heure Bleue, and maybe no one would have paid attention to anything being different if we hadn’t been notified.

On the other hand, in perfumery, the devil is in the detail, where something does appear changed. The overall impression is of brighter and lighter fragrances, somewhat flatter and less diffusive, and with less density and power in the base.

Read all the details at
(November 2016)

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