Tag Archives: 2008 launch

Garden Fantasies, Mona di Orio Amyitis

Perfume world on the outside might seem quite small but only when you’re inside of it you realize how big it actually is. The history of perfumery spans through centuries, every era having their perfumers, connoiseurs and their own needs & purpose. We can only experience a ‘slice’ of this cake, slightly bigger one thanks to places like Osmotheque. Probably each of us has this one fragrance in the back of our heads that we always wanted to smell, but when we realized that, it was already too late. That’s why I’m happy to get a chance to wear something I missed in the past.

Opening of Amyitis offers an abundance of green leaves. This smell of verdancy brings to mind mysterious lands from old times fairytales. It takes you someplace where the fragrance of thick, fleshy leaves of succulents entwine with smell that sparkles the idea of the green fans of palm tree leaves. Part of the foliage is still fresh and vibrantly-colored but some start to have dried edges. All of these smells weave an intricate pattern that is so special that you wouln’t mistake it for anything else. It’s a late summer fantasy. After a couple of minutes I notice some herbaceous accords.

For a moment or two the impression is almost like mint but it’s slightly more metallic. Afterwards it evolves into a smell reminding me of oregano. None of them are actually included in Amyitis oficially but brand advises to pay attention to notes such as savory and capsicum (paprica) which makes me think that perhaps they interact with each other and with my skin creating this herbal, mint-like aroma. Hint of caraway introduces first feeling of sensuality – it will develop significantly in a later stage of development. In this perfume caraway is like the smell of warm body, warm skin.


The longer I have Mona di Orio Amyitis on my skin the more mellow it becomes. After a leafy & warm herbal part the perfume becomes more substantial and smooth. However what first attracts my attention is a gorgeous iris note that emerges. Usually silky or velvety, creamy or buttery at times. Here it is none of those. In Amyitis iris is like the plushiest, softest suede you could find and after a bit more time it becomes more rugged, gradually fading into dry-ish, aromatic woodiness of cedar. There’s also a pretty touch of sophisticated violet – its slightly candied and a tad ozonic too.

Cedarwood & iris are like an inseparable couple that I love since Prada Infusion d’Iris debut in 2007. Woody character of Amyitis deepens and darkens a little bit with the scent of guaiac wood. It helps to build a solid frame for the scent and it also allows for a development of a greater depth and dimension in the composition. Oakmoss with its shrub smell creates a feeling of something dried, parched. Something a little dusty. But I find a thrill here and I’m drawn to this pseudo-chypre smell. Saffron in the drydown creates an embracing feeling of warmth that intensifies thanks to amber and balsamic & sweet opoponax. It’s those smells that linger on my skin until evening comes.

Amyitis was one of the earliest compositions created by Mona di Orio for her own brand. In a result of post-surgery complications she passed away only at the age of 42, leaving behind a number of finished and unfinished perfume formulas. After this sudden loss co-founder Jeroen Oude Sogtoen decided about remodelling of the maison and many fragrances were discontinued. This year, to celebrate what would be Mona’s 50th birthday a Signature Collection was released – bringing back Oiro, Amyitis, Carnation and Jabu in their original, unaltered forms. These eau de parfums are only available in discovery set, allowing you to make a selection of three 10 ml spray bottles.

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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.

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