Héritage opens with a flourish of bright, clear, short-lived top-notes, a bit of light conversation as a pretext for an assertively worldly overture that doesn’t waste its time in arriving. In this initial aldehydic zing, a pale lemon, translucent juniper berry and geranium, and a dry, orangey-woody petitgrain compose a classy little glisten: a hint of citrus-fruitiness, a touch of terpenes, simultaneously sparkling and tight; the richness of resins is right under the surface and colours everything a rich amber. I found myself thinking of the glossy but discreet coating that antique sellers call ‘French polish’, refracting light rather than reflecting it, mediating depth.
Héritage’s main event is a lavender-patchouli-amber combination with the amber carrying a heavy dosing of non-edible vanilla. Like many others, I also see a definite resemblance to Davidoff’s fan-favourite Zino; like Zino, Héritage is rooted in patchouli as domesticated by a fougère accord of mellow lavender and hay-like coumarin, its green edges supported by clary sage and, texturing the surface of all that earthiness, a subtly saturnine thyme note, and its base given a very solid foundation of dry woods (here cedar and sandalwood in place of Zino’s endearingly old school rosewood.) I’ve owned both recent and vintage bottles of Zino and can see the same patchouli at work here in the heart: sweetly dark and chalky, like malt or carob, earthy and dusty in a way that reminds me of cacao or peat moss. Unlike Zino, however, Héritage keeps its patchouli well out of the damp basement of humid mildew with its smooth vanilla-amber on the one hand and on the other a very Guerlain-esque floralcy on the other. A key player is orris, with its buttery, lipstick-like character on the one hand and cold-hearted woodiness of the other; a petal-soft violet note adds its hint of rainy-day reflection to what is a cool-yet-arousing soapiness I associate with iris/amber combination. A touch of spice agitates these ingredients without inducing sneezes. It’s gentlemanly, certainly, but the underlying impression I get is of an appealingly earthy character mediated by a touch of both powdery politesse and suave sensuality.
And there is a lot of character here. This patchouli offers some great range, becoming almost chocolate-cakey at the beginning in a way that reminds me of rich-yet-tailored unisex patchouli-based compositions like Reminiscence or Molinard, both of which rely mainly on a heavy dose of vanilla and unguent musks to smoothen and unify. Here, heavy muskiness is sidestepped in favour of a subtle scaffolding of woody-spicy effects, rendering Héritage a warm and affable personality that manages also to be self-contained and dryly light-handed (not qualities I always associate with amber-oriented fragrances!) Like two other Jean-Paul Guerlain creations, Vétiver and Habit Rouge, the full range of Héritage’s orchestration of notes and accords as they appear in published pyramids somewhat eludes me. I’m not sure I can detect a pine note per se, but then pine and juniper have a delightful overlap so who knows? Some notes, like coriander, citric, dusty, toasty and sweet, are probably just absorbed into a supporting role of extending and enhancing a bigger narrative player – in this case, again, patchouli...But patchouli in a waxed and burnished hardwood box made with neatly fitted dovetail joints. Woody -- but not quite woodsy -- patchouli.
I like this a lot and can see myself growing to love it. Patchouli is the centre of the universe here, but it is neither of the infamous hippy-headshop-oil variety, nor does it have the almost-boozy syrupy aspect of Reminiscence's excellent product. Though modern, it is not some kind of fractional, sheer maté-like synthesis (my apologies to Guerlain L’Instant, which I objectively respect but find I cannot wear). While not conceptual nor postmodern, it is constructed with self-awareness of its place in perfume history, and is laid out with classical French rationality into a series of agreeable parts that, for all its subtle and sensible balancing of proportions, is too good to find dull. If you think you can live up to projecting a bit of authority, this would be workable as an office scent, especially if you don’t mind people supposing you must have an interesting life outside of the office, and maybe inside of it as well. Projection is strong for the first 2-3 hours or so followed by an extremely gratifying drydown that lasts at least another three or four hours; as a skin scent it is tenacious.
P.S. With respect to some folks who describe this as ‘barbershop’, I cannot see anything in Héritage that truly places it in that category. Like Zino, its patchouli-amber is supported by a fougère structure (you can smell a very similar idea at work in Tom Ford’s recent and much-hyped Beau de Jour, and a similar base under all those layers of steam and beeswax in Penhaligon’s Sartorial), but not all fougères are born to the barbershop! This is darker and more amber-y...If you think of Prada Amber for Men as barbershop (as it was, by design) than Héritage is more relatable to the myrrh-infused Prada Amber Intense (I like this comparison, as there are some interesting similarities between the Prada and the Guerlain.) Though thoroughly refined, this one is earthy enough not to insist that you shave, suit up and make small talk, though it would be a helpful ally if you had to do so. I'm wearing this tonight to dinner at a local vineyard with a chocolate brown suede jacket, camel-leather black derbies, the 'good' blue jeans, a white dress shirt and a black knitted silk tie; a richly textured but minimalistic approach seems like an appropriate accompaniment to Héritage.
P.P.S. Disregard 'old man' or 'dated' connotations...that's just cyclical thinking. Amber-oriented compositions like Héritage, Zino, Obsession, Egoïste, Opium Pour Homme, and Givenchy Pi all hit the market between the mid 80's to late 90's. It's only natural that twenty to thirty years later they will seem especially reminiscent of someone's parents or even grandparents' generation. If this feels old to you, give yourself enough time with it to readjust your frame of reference; some things age well, other things poorly and others just...age. Héritage still deserves your attention because it avoids the clichés of overbearing 'oriental' (we need a new term!) woody-spicy ambers. I'd argue that of the above list, only Héritage and Egoïste have really remained accessibly wearable and in currently-available, high-quality formulation. It is a beautifully blended scent, perfect for autumn but likely wearable year round (except perhaps in high heat? I'll get back to you...)
P.P.P.S.: I have a recent decant of the EDP of Héritage but prefer my new bottle of the EDT. While the EDT is a cool autumn day made friendlier by a raking ray of gold-tinted sunshine, the EDP proffers a denser, more enveloping warmth…so much so that it feels related to the quasi-gourmand excesses of vanilla-balsamic powerhouses like Calvin Klein’s Obsession or YSL’s Opium Pour Homme. The EDP also presents an undercurrent of restless spiciness (such as a pink pepper note that is not nearly as insistent in the EDT) that remind me at times of the more demanding aspects of Chanel Egoïste or Tom Ford Noir. All the points of reference I've mentioned are fine compositions, but they project an overt sensuality that I think distracts from what makes the concept of Héritage original: a smooth, cool-headed-yet-spirited rewriting of patchouli’s earthy gravitas, emphasizing calm, chic, stability, and care with the details, all good things to surround oneself with right now.
Any woman who stays really close to your body and feel Heritage on your skin for a long period of time,will never ever forget your "almost" body scent. and this scent always linger in her memories.and this is the actual purpose of a fragrance. to linger in the memories.Heritage is a strangely captivating scent.the best way to describe this fragrance is luxurious, elegant and sensual,yet comfortable and casual.an absolutely gorgeous composition of dusty patchouli and creamy woods,along with smooth florals.it has character,charisma and yet subtle.woodsy and earthy yet sophisticated.the difference between vintage and currant version is minimal.
It opend with a multi-layered presentation of rich, comforting sandalwood that envelopes a gorgeous patchouli and carnation spice combination.the shimmering sweet notes of amber and citrus lend an almost dessert-like quality,while warm and a bit bitter mood of the headline lavender makes the mood of classical and masculine.the whole style and atmosphere reminds me to Jaipur Homme,both are refined and subtle.both can easily receive the "old whatever" comments from people who only ever smelled whatever is being advertised right now.spicy enough to be edgy and seductive. classic enough to be a signature, anytime,anywhere scent.it is neither "all business" or "party at the club",it is more like "classy gentleman relaxing after work" evening scent and intimate moments with his woman.the performance is very good.
For me this is on the edge of greatness and just because of that has a chef's table view of the real master in this category: Roja Dove Danger Parfum Cologne. They open pretty much identical cocooning you immediately in a sense of pecuniary relief at the 6 x price differential. Guerlain has saved the day you think. But after half an hour the master just takes it away. Heritage Edt becomes increasingly sweet and powdery almost powder puff and sent wafts up from my chest straight into my mask and started annoying me. Heart break.
The Roja remains sharp and masculine and lasts a lot longer as well. My only issue with it is that there are better smelling fragrances if you want the lighter type namely Mfk Masculin Pluriel and the Parfum version just requires a gentle dab to release one of the greatest fragrances of all time. Warm, masculine, subtle, monumental. Worth the enormous price tag? I do and did.
It's a real high-water-mark in modern men's fragrance.
I don't understand why more people don't talk about the coriander / Cilantro note (as in the leaf NOT the ground spice). It offers the scent a bracing green opening and mossy (damp) middle without relying on vetiver or oakmoss.
This Coriander leaf into a Guerlainade base of tightly interwoven lavender and vanilla is outstanding. Add a little musky sandalwood and you have a class act. The combination of notes comes off a bit lactonic in feel, some may say it is mature or powdery. I'd define it as a mild mannered neo-classical oriental!
Should be a safe blind-buy for a Guerlain fan. Deep drydown slightly resembles LIDGE in feel with its dirtied vanilla. Due to the tight blend it can feel a little compact and close and really pays dividends with multiple wearing's.
Overall a unique experience achieved using classical combinations. A real cultured gentleman's selection. I imagine P.G Wodehouses' all knowing gentleman's gentleman Jeeves making a perfectly judged application of Heritage
Starts with an in-your-face citrusy lavender, supported by aromatic notes (juniper and clary sage).
It keeps going with a noticeable dirty patchouli note (supported by an orchestra of notes, noticeably spices and florals (rose and geranium in particular). The base is a vanillic cedar, supported by moss, overall giving an impression of sandalwood (even if I can't spot it clearly, tbh). Beautiful, that said I had to spary something like ~1ml per wrist to reach just moderate projection... But no big deal, it's very nice and versatile, can be had for cheap, thus I recommend it, even if the performance is quite terrible. And yes: the drydown shares clear similarities with Zino.
Elegant without making a statement. That kind of fragrance that is not a real game changer, but that will be missed if absent in a collection. Classic, but still smells contemporary: the magic of Guerlain.
Colder days, 30+
Note: neutral rating because of inacceptable poor projection on my skin.
Amazing quality from start to finish. For the price Guerlain makes superb fragrances IMHO. Citrus opening, in the classic gentlemen's way, that blends into a nice tobacco juice with patchouli and peppery spice off my skin. I really like it and find it to not be overbearing even in warmer weather so this is a "Vivaldi" juice (FragBros). For the price, I would say this is a safe blind buy. Enjoy!