Bleu Marine de Cardin (Pierre Cardin)

Now discontinued, Bleu Marine is one of those strange proto-aquatic fragrances of the mid eighties that never got off the docks, but somehow lingered long enough to be remembered, and reformulated. It was composed by Raymond Chaillan (Ho Hang, Anaïs Anaïs, Marbert Man, YSL PH) and Martin Gras (Bogner Wood Man, Cerruti 1881 PH, Lapidus PH) in 1986, and doesn't have much of a following, although internet sellers seem to disagree. Currently the original 2 oz vintage in a splash bottle, pictured above, is no less than $38.21 on Ebay. Naturally this price is absurd. I picked up my bottle for $7 at Villa Fleur in Hamden, after doing a little checking on the labeling to ensure it was the real deal. If you see a 2 oz bottle of the original vintage, which is found in splash only, don't pay any more than $10 for it. It is 28 years old and isn't something Cardin was ever especially proud of. A great scent this is not. It's a good scent, at the right price.

Normally I wouldn't bother with Bleu Marine. I've seen it on several store shelves in a few locations (including mall islands), but had not gotten around to buying it until a few weeks ago. My interest in vintage scents is almost nonexistent, but fragrances like Bleu Marine have historical significance and make for good dinner party conversation. "Bleu Marine" is French for Navy Blue, a color the French consider to be always fashionable, unisex, and extremely versatile. One could take that to mean this is not intended to be an aquatic at all, but rather just a "neutral" masculine that can be worn anytime, at any place. It's another Reagan era fougèriental, and not a proper aquatic - not entirely. However, its pyramid is assembled in a manner that alludes to clear seawater by juxtaposing a dry amber and bittersweet lavender with green notes of basil, jasmine, and oakmoss. There's quite a bit of oakmoss, a fairly natural sandalwood effect, and plenty of dihydromyrcenol, which as we all know imbues accords with plenty of synthetic freshness. Spicy clove and carnation darken the waters with an oriental touch.

Given that it's almost three decades old, the perfume in my bottle smells unbalanced and somewhat off. The citrus top notes are all but gone, reduced to a whisper. I find in older fougères that the lavender note tends to replace all the other aromatics, probably because that material has a longer shelf life, and this has happened with Bleu Marine. Lavender is there, front and center, buttressed by a dank mossiness that becomes rather leathery in the drydown. The basil, artemisia, juniper, and cedar are all legible, but there's too much basil and too little artemisia. I sense the barest traces of artemisia in the base, which makes me think that when used properly, mugwort can actually smell very "blue" and fresh. Once upon a time, artemisia was a major note in Bleu Marine. I can't tell you how subsequent atomizer formulas smell, but the first Bleu Marine helped pave the way for scents like New West, Aqua Quorum, Bvlgari Aqva, and Polo Sport. It's more museum piece than anything at this point, but Bleu Marine remains a notable entry in the long list of interesting masculines from the 1980s.

1 comment:

  1. wow, yeah I actually got a smaple of pierre cardins bleu marine from a place I ordered a hair wax from on e-bay. I thought it was a fairly new release! anyways, I though it ight be an aquatic take, and comared it to some "blue" modern aquatic samples I have - including bleu de channel. anyways, this was for me he best of the bunch. not aquatic at all, but ohh the amber! mega amber shot in this, then later a bit of cinnamon comes through - not too much to make it spicy and harsh, not too little to not be recognized, but yeah. this stuff beat all the others for me and really smellt pretty nice! I like amber and this is an amber scent.


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