Guerlain Coriolan & L’Ame d’Un Heros

This post is a second installment to Now and Then series of reviews in which I compare different versions (in terms of age) of the same perfume. So far I only talked about Chanel Antaeus in this sort of way. In 1998 the house of Guerlain launched Coriolan, a woody chypre fragrance, taking its name from a legendary Roman general – Coriolanus. Obviously the scent was leaning towards masculine perfume audience. After a couple of years the fragrance was discontinued, however, in 2008, 10 years after Coriolan launched, Guerlain introduced “reorchestrated” (read: reformulated) version under the name of L’Ame d’Un Heros (eng. Soul of a Hero).

Guerlain Coriolan starts with the aromatic edge thanks to the vetiver accord. It smells dry and woody with the earthy feeling in the background. It creates a really big scented veil around the wearer for the first 20-30 minutes. After that time you can smell the sour and tart bergamot combined with lemon. There’s something juicy about these two notes but the aroma they give is mostly from their rinds. Citral and limonene seem to be providing the aroma.

After a couple of minutes those citric tones evolve and become muted, with the dusty feeling growing stronger and stronger. The oakmoss accord used in Guerlain Coriolan is exactly like that. It has this musty vibe that is somewhere in between dusted and powdered sensations. Nutmeg causes the oakmoss to be even more prominent, as nutmeg smells dry and spicy here. Sage introduces herbal elements to the composition but they never get strong. The herbacious vibe remains in the background, oakmoss and spices play the main role in this perfume.

The leather accord confirms the masculine character of Coriolan as it smells raw and dirty, a little bit like a horse saddle. There’s also a sweaty feeling to this note, the odour of a man’s body. Another dry spice – coriander recreates the earthy feeling of this perfume, making it even closer to the wilderness it represents. There’s also a bit of fennel which in my opinion adds a weird curry-like aroma to the composition. The petitgrain accord also smells dusty but also a tag green, just a little bit. Patchouli in the drydown adds the scent of damp earth, some rotting leaves on the ground.

Hints of benzoin introduce some balmy elements to the drydown, together with patchouli they build dimension and depth of Guerlain Coriolan. The overall feeling of this perfume is that is smells dry, musty and masculine. It’s built like a traditional chypre fragrance. Oakmoss plays the most significant role in it, together with vetiver and dry spices. The rest is slightly less important.

Some time after the launch of L’Ame d’Un Heros in 2008, when perfume lovers already made an observation that the fragrance is similar to earlier discontinued Coriolan, the house of Guerlain admitted to the fact that L’Ame d’Un Heros is “reorchestrated” Coriolan. Reformulation literally castrated the fragrance from what Coriolan had best to offer – the oakmoss. The fragrance starts with tart and brisky bergamot with a paper dry woody finish provided by vetiver.

The aromatic opening is continued with the colder and metallic aroma of juniper berries, that also brigh the elegant spicides of moderate levels. Soon L’Ame d’Un Heros becomes more citrusy. You can smell some juicy lemon and the rind, as well as some floral and creamy tonalties given by ylang-ylang accord. The scent of hyacint brings slightly more dominating chypre vibe to the composition. At this point you clearly can smell that this fragrance lacks the dusty, raw and dusky feeling that oakmoss was providing in Guerlain Coriolan. Too bad it’s no longer there.

After around 1,5 hours L’Ame d’Un Heros starts to smell woody and earthy with a patchouli note being especially noticeable at the moment. There’s also some piquancy and warmth from the black pepper, which spices up the blend. Immortelle adds this slightly dusty and syrupy impression but it’s not any close to oakmoss. For the next couple of hours the fragrance smells rather linear on me, effusing the woody-spicy combination with some citrus in the background.

I find the drydown of this fragrance to be a bit herbal and green. There’s a bunch of sage bushes dried by the sun and I think some galbanum, however this note is not mentioned anywhere. Benzoin brings the slight balsamic and a little bit cloying feeling. L’Ame d’Un Heros is a part of Guerlain Les Parisiens – the exclusive line available in the boutiques. It’s housed in 125ml bottle with a wooden frame. EdT concentration.

Guerlain Corional and L’Ame d’Un Heros are not like twins. They are like sibilings. They share some similarities but they are not identical fragrances. In my opinion Coriolan is way better for the couple of reasons. If you do care for a good, manly chypre, I suggest picking Coriolan instead of the other one. However it’s been discontinued years ago, it’s still possible to get for a reasonable price from online stores. And it’s few times cheaper than the exclusive L’Ame d’Un Heros.

Tagged , , , ,

16 thoughts on “Guerlain Coriolan & L’Ame d’Un Heros

  1. jillie says:

    Very interesting to see old and new versions compared. As is the case with all reformulations (in my opinion!), the latest one always has less depth, less colour.

    I remember smelling the original Coriolan on chaps when it first came out and it was to my nose a typical “male” fragrance – I suspect that this was due to the curry/sweat note! I sometimes get celery from this. I think that mostly now fragrances for men have veered away from overtly masculine vibe and I am shocked to find that I am quite sad about that, given my aversion to those curry-type aromas!

    • lucasai says:

      Glad you liked the comparison. I think you’re right that “updated” to the restrictions are lighter in color and they don’t last that long.

      I guess you can say that Coriolan is a typical male fragrance. They don’t make those nowadays. Lately the fragrances for men are more spicy or fougere with a lot of lavender. Good at least fougere won’t suffer from extinction any time soon.

  2. hajusuuri says:

    I have never heard of Corolian so you’ve introduced me to a new Guerlain, albeit discontinued. I did not care for Heros and of course that is the one that is plentiful. Is Derby in the same collection? I have a decant from a swap! BTW, I am enjoying this Guerlain week!

  3. Undina says:

    I’m with hajusuuri on both counts – never heard of Corolian and didn’t care for Heros (or any other masculine offerings from that line, while we’re at that).

    My rule: not to test any discontinued perfumes (unless there is a very good reason to do so): I don’t want to fall in love with something not available. It’s enough that I have a couple of discontinued loves, I don’t want to create a new heartache for myself. But I still enjoy reading other people’s opinions on those perfumes.

    • lucasai says:

      Coriolan was discontinued really fast…

      I know what you mean, it’s exactly what I wrote in the first paragraph of this post

      • Undina says:

        Not really ;-P You wrote it in the first paragraph of you next post that hadn’t been published at the time when I wrote my comment – so you can’t imply that I’m not reading what you write 🙂

        • lucasai says:

          Oh, ok, sorry! And I’m not implying anything, believe me. That Guerlain week is a bit crazy for me

          • Undina says:

            It’s alright, I was joking. I just was so puzzled by your answer – I re-read the opening paragraph twice trying to figure out what you meant, but then decided you just phrased your response the way I didn’t understand and left at it. And only later, when I read the next post, I realized what you were referring to : )

            • lucasai says:

              I made a mistake regarding the articles order. I thought for the moment that opening paragraph from Apres l’Ondee was actually an intro to Coriolan. Go figure!

  4. Marco Chau says:

    Thank you for the review and comparison as I have never tried Coriolan before but do love L’Ame d’Un Heros (wooden frame version). I am now quite interested to get myself a bottle of Coriolan for comparison as well. By the way, I would like to point out that the bottle size of the wooden frame version should be 100ml while the Bee bottle version is 125ml.

    • lucasai says:

      Hi Marco and you are welcome.
      You can search for Coriolan online, it’s not difficult to find it for a good value. I wonder if you’d like it too If you’re Do much into L’Ame…
      Thanks for the info about bigger size of bee bottle

  5. Love the comparison sniff. Isn’t it funny how certain discontinued fragrances can reappear in altered forms?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: