For The Boys...Well, not really.
Review by Tom
Today I thought I would review three men's scents from the magical (and sometimes criminally overlooked) house of Guerlain. I feel they are men's scents in name only; women I know wear and love them, and certainly do them justice..
Colombina did an exhaustive review of this one two months ago, and there isn't much I can do to add to it or top it. Rather than just write "what she said", I will add that the citrus opening is especially wonderful, somewhat like the candied opening of Acqua di Parma, but spicier and on me almost immediately joined by leather. The leather stays all the way through to the musky drydown. "Habit Rouge" is French for "Hunting Coat" and is, I believe, meant to bring to mind the fantasy of the man home from the hunt, and if this is what it smells like, I'm going to start hanging around stables...
Researching this fragrance, I was shocked to learn that it was introduced in 1992- it seems like such a classic that I almost have a sense memory of it. Not that it doesn't stand tall as a modern fragrance- but so does Jicky to me, and that's from what? 1890? That's what great about most Guerlain scents, they are as timeless as the Moon, and as mysterious. Heritage is a bold, woody and sharp fragrance that starts with a wonderful lemon/bergamot accord that's actually a little bit Annick Goutal-like, until the massive and wholly wonderful pepper and corainder pop into spice things up. It dries down to creamy but subtle vanilla, cedar and patchouli, with that Guerlain-y animal note that sometimes doesn't make it into the description but almost always makes it into the scent. Heritage is like finding out that the businessman's Savile Row suit is hiding a six-pack, and a few (ahem) other goodies....
Sometimes something comes along that is so simple, and so good that one can forget how singularly wonderful it is, until you come from long periods living with poorer imitations. Like sipping a glass of Oban after years of settling for Johnny Walker or curling up in the backseat of a Cadillac after years of riding in a Honda. Not that there is anything wrong with Johnny Walker of Honda cars- they are perfectly serviceable and affordable, one lacks the peaty singularity and the other lacks the swaddling leather, power everyting and A/C that could keep meat. Smelling Guerlain Vetiver after smelling most of the others out there is somewhat like the single-malt and the Caddy: it's so classic, so wonderfully done, so right that you will question why you ever thought of another: a perfectly played vetiver, lightly tinged with citrus and ending up with leather and amber that underscores but never, ever overpowers the eponymous vetiver. Others arguably may come close, but none will ever eclipse it.
Any of these Guerlains are available on the internet and in some discount stores at prices that criminally do not reflect their beauty. While I find that rather a slap in my sensitivities, it does mean that you can stock up. Even if one of them is total scrubber on you, at $25-30 dollars, how much would you be out? I guarantee you will be able to find someone like me who would be thrilled at the receipt of any as a gift.