Guerlain Insolence Eau de Parfum, 2008

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(image, Melancholia)

Perfumers Maurice Roucel and Sylvaine Delacourte

I’ve read that Insolence is Maurice Roucel’s rif on Après l’Ondée (1906) but I take Luca Turin’s point that Insolence is more akin to l’Heure Bleue (1912). It’s as if l’Heure Bleue is being quoted or at least closely paraphrased.

Insolence EDT 2006 is an accomplished, tightly-constructed perfume with surface similarities to l’Heure Bleue. Insolence EDP is substantively different from the EDT and its ties to l’Heure Bleue are more fundamental.

I agree wholeheartedly with the characterization of l’Heure Bleue as melancholic. Though I wear it often, it best suits my darker hours. l’Heure Bleue has the introversion and detachment I associate with melancholy. It’s a great term, melancholy, ‘black bile’ and all, and it’s appropriately anachronistic. l’Heure Bleue is from the time of Freud. Insolence, on the other had, is from the era of neurotransmitter insufficiencies and medical psychiatry. A bit less romantic I’ll admit, but here we are.

Insolence and l’Heure Bleue are like twins born into different eras. Each is a heavy floriental with a pronounced violet/orange blossom accord. The difference is that where one is reflective, the other is expansive. l’Heure Bleue is doleful but lovely while Insolence has an easy laugh.

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