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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Heroic Thursday: Guerlain L'Ame d'Un Heros and Washington Tremlett Royal Heroes

Guerlain's and Washington Tremlett's takes on what a hero would smell like could not be more different...or further from my idea of a "heroic" fragrance.

L'Âme d'Un Héros, Guerlain's re-introduction of Coriolan in a more exclusive (read, expensive) form, in the Les Parisiennes line, is what I think of as a very classic (read, conventional) masculine scent, fresh, a little soapy and cold, on a darker, woody-herbal-mossy base. The most attractive note here is vetiver, which has the pleasantly sour, sorrel-like undertone that I enjoy, and which reminds me in a very, very distant manner of the vetiver note in Djedi, where it is also paired with patchouli. The slightly powdery, almost leathery base of L'Ame makes me think of Derby. I feel bad evoking the names of Derby and Djedi in relation to L'Ame d'Un Heroes, because, although some parallels can be drawn, the two glorious perfumes would serve as an endorsement of sorts for L'Ame, and L'Ame does not deserve it. It is an elegant scent, no doubt about that, very wearable, very versatile. But it lacks character and originality. Suited for a hero? Nope. Perhaps for a member of nomenklatura.

Washington Tremlett's creation is heroic only in a sense that it dares to smell rather ...unexpected for a scent that is supposed to be a) masculine, b) inspired by "the heroical [sic] value of Horatio Nelson and his Royals" and c)"characterized by historical glamour". The notes provided by the company are mandarin, bergamot, clove, anise, cedarwood, patchouli and tonka, but I also smell very strong ginger, and, combined with the sweetness of citrus fruits, the latter gives the blend a candied, almost edible undertone. Royal Heroes has the same dark gourmandness and mouthwatering booziness that I love in such perfumes as Le Dandy, Une Crime Exotique and Mechant Loup. Admiral Nelson and his Royals would never deign to wear something so ....what is the word I am looking for?...not obviously masculine? metrosexual? sexually ambiguous? fluffy? Having said that, although Royal Heroes does not smell as my idea of heroic (for that, I would refer you to the great leathery chypres of the past, for example, Yatagan), it smells incredibly attractive. It is a warm, sweet-n-spicy, comforting fragrance that is perfect for the horrible weather we are having now. Much to Nelson's consternation (or so I would guess), it is also entirely suitable for a woman.

L'Âme d'Un Héros is available at Bergdorf Goodman, Royal Heroes at

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Blogger elle said...

Great reviews! Absolutely cracked me up. :-) Have zero interest in L'Ame, but I'll have to give Royal Heroes a try - adore Le Dandy (although I just realized it's been approximately three and a half centuries since I've worn it), so anything reminiscent of it should work for me. Must say, though, that I loathe the WT bottles. They look like shampoo or bath gel bottles. Same designer who did the ones for Juliette Has a Gun? I know - I'm in a mood. :-) In the end I don't care about the bottle if the scent is divine, but...I always still hope for attractive bottles to match the scent.

9:54 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

You know, it's more like Une Crime to me.That is so true about bottles looking like Julliette!

10:40 PM EST  
Blogger Gaia, the non-blonde said...

I'm rethinking my Guerlain love at the moment, and this doesn't sound like good news.
Not sure the admiral smelled all that great: ships, blood and 18th century funk. So, I'm rethinking my heroes. Tim Gunn is sort of an hero and he can definitely wear this (as probably can I)...

11:29 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I vote for fluffy boozy!

I hope they have this at ScentBar!

1:34 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

I am rethinking my Guerlain love but in a positive way. In a sense that I am starting to feel it again, for one very Guerlain scent at least. :-)
I totally agree that Gunn could wear L'Ame. And I mean it in a good way :-)

6:39 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Me too, always :-)
I am almost positive they have it at LS.

6:40 AM EST  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

I will dutifully sniff, when I'm NYC -bound !

8:08 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

Never was too crazy about Coriolan in the first place, so. . . .

The WT sounds interesting. But have you tried Black Tie (did I miss a review)? That's the one I'm really curious about.

8:18 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

I hope you are coming soon

8:22 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

I tried it, review tomorrow. I l loved both "masculines" by WT

8:24 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom, "Fluffy Boozy" sounds like a stage name. I'll leave it at that. :-)

12:29 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Haha, yes it does!

12:38 PM EST  
Anonymous denise said...

Rats. Guess what my first unsniffed purchase was? Coriolan. The notes sounded promising...anyway, I love vetiver. Not everything I own has to knock my socks off, right?
Thanks for the great reviews.

1:10 PM EST  
Anonymous DeniseL said...

(Oops I should have been clearer: I ordered the Coriolan this past weekend, it hasn't arrived yet. I thought it sounded like something the BF and I could share.:))

1:11 PM EST  
Anonymous leopoldo said...

Coriolan's a nice scent. Some of the guys at basenotes adore it. I'll have to try the other one, but hon, I ain't in no rush.

2:41 PM EST  
Anonymous edwardian said...

I bought Coriolan when it came out and I loved it until I finished my 50 ml bottle, then I moved over to something else (can' t remember what). Your description is perfect: there might be patchouly and vetiver in it but don't expect them to be anything more than just nice and polite. Aren't heroes called that for taking risks? This one plays it way too safe.
I liked the original name, by the way.

5:29 PM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

M, oooh, I've got to crack open those WT samples, Royal Heroes sounds great!

6:11 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

I am sure you will enjoy it. It is elegant and versatile.

8:08 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

I haven't been in no rush to try nothin' for ages now :-)

8:09 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

I like the original name too.
Nice and polite is often very useful in everyday. Unlike some truly "heroic" fragrances that might be out of place in our PC environment.

8:10 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Can't wait to read what you think!

8:10 PM EST  

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