Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Guerlain Coriolan and L'Ame d'un Héros

Two years ago while visiting La Maison Guerlain in Paris, The Blond got a sample of L'Ame d'un Héros (soul of a hero), one of Guerlain's less famous masculine perfumes. He liked it it, but not enough to buy the 125ml Les Parisiennes bee bottle on the spot, especially at the outrageous exchange rates of summer 2008. L'Ame d'un Héros smelled like a very suave woods and greens cologne,  understated and easy going but having a strong backbone.

Looking online I realized that L'Ame d'un Héros had somewhat of a murky history and several incarnations, the most distinct was in 1998 under the name Coriolan. One look at the note list for Coriolan reveals that with bergamot in the top notes and an oakmoss-patchouli drydown, it's most definitely a chypre. A quick search has also revealed that while discontinued and replaced with the newly orchestrated (Guerlain-speak for reformulation) L'Ame, bottles of Coriolan were still available online at a deep discount.

A bottle was promptly ordered.

Interestingly enough, I probably wear Coriolan more often than the husband does. I love the almost tactile feeling of juniper branches and berries. It's green and can feel a bit sharp at times, and the lack of sweetness or smoothness in the base is unsettling, but I discovered that one tiny drop of Shalimar extrait on the décolleté fixes and Guerlainifies Coriolan for me. Most men probably don't need this gilding. Coriolan is easy to wear and despite the military association of the bottle, it has the same suaveness of L'Ame and bedroom eyes of the model from the ads.

Coriolan can still be easily found online for under $30 (1.7oz, 50ml). The oakmoss-less gentrified version, L'Ame d'un Héros, is available from Guerlain boutiques around the world ($225, 125ml)

Coriolan 1998 ads: couleurparfum.com


  1. I was working for a perfume distributor when Coriolan was launched in '98. I recall Coriolan being a bigger hit with the ladies right from the launch. I know a few women who have it in their collection :)

  2. Do I need this? Might have to walk down Broadway and see if it's there..

  3. Jane, I suspect oakmoss, in general, is a bigger hit with the ladies. Not sure why, really.

  4. Tom, I think you're going to like this one, so give it a try (but don't buy if it's overpriced there. You can find it so ridiculously cheap the suits at LVMH would have a coronary). It's so much better than most things in stores this days, especially in the pour homme department. I think it has more depth than the current version of Sous le Vent and Derby.

  5. Coriolan sits next to Sel de Vetiver on the "spouse's" shelf.

    That's "spouse" in quotations on purpose.

    Manly, yes, but I like it too...


  6. I'm having this on now and its almost like heritage eau leagere: the basic structure of heritage is here but only in lighter concentration (replace ambery vanillic base with immortelle and chypre base). I love the current heritage enough to own both the EDT and EDP as it unveils to an ambery cream brulee texture over time which i love so much...

  7. Gaia, I found out the information about your blog in net. And about Coriolan. I love it, but I have no idea where I can buy it. Especially in Europe, any e-shop. Maybe you know where it is avaiable? Please, send me any nformation you know, I'll be gratefull ;-)
    Regards, Ewa ([email protected])


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