Coriolan by Guerlain, 1998
Rated #360 in Fragrances
This one despite has not been able to step on the stage of fame as well as the great Guerlains did, deserves anyway admiration and attention. Coriolan is an herbal-leathery chypre with an hidden floral vibe and a melancholy soul. These features remind me a bit Sud Est Romeo Gigli which also owns a citrus-herbal initial accord and a melancholy and resinous woody-floral soul. The citrusy-herbal starting is strong and traditional but very natural. It's like touching with your hands the elements and inhaling the aroma. This natural accord, while retaining in the time its feel although a bit tamed, slides towards a tasty spicy heart mastered by the floral and sensual whiff from ylang-ylang, the starring note of the fragrance in my opinion, on the side of the absinthe. The latter is linked with woodsy elements in order to provide a touch of aromatic sort of anisic smell that plays an important role in order to sweeten and soften the fragrance till the boundaries of the oriental olfactory territories. The notable aroma of ylang-ylang is finally smoothed and sweetened by woods and leather. Some woodsy resins, a notable patchouli and floral notes complete the transition towards the accomplisced olfactory masterwork. The final outcome is a sort of leathery and resinous smell of ylang-ylang and anise with a boise vibe because of the influence from juniper and oakmoss. A great peace of art.
I'm actually surprised that I enjoy this. The first things that come to mind are syrup/caramel, but in a vintage type of way, not in a boozy way at all. Normally old/vintage smelling types of fragrances are a turn off for me, but I actually enjoy this. Good stuff, I'd say it's probably more appropriate for Fall/Winter.
This is anything but a powerhouse on me. This starts out as a sharp floral in the Givenchy Insense manner, but very quickly smooths out and refines GI's somewhat overbearing assault. Within a couple of hours it becomes essentially a skin scent with the occasional whiff of smooth woody floral. It lasts in this understated vein for several hours before evaporating. Given that this is probably Guerlain's least expensive men's fragrance and that it is discontinued, I'll give it a neutral rating. Smells quite good while it lasts, but I'd expect a bit more complexity and duration from the cats who brought us Habit Rouge and Mitsouko along with the majestic Derby.
Coriolan is definitely overlooked. Maybe because It's not aimed to wow you, it's not groundbreaking, it's not trendy or modern but let me tell you it is extremely solid. A dry woody chypre with a bittersweet character. Sharp and bitter in the opening with green citruses joined by juniper, various herbs and peppery hints, mossy/woody with leather refinements and subtle floral patterns in the outstanding drydown (which is the real point of strength of this composition). Patchouli and some vetiver reinforce the overall classic quality. Serious and classy. Yet another "reliable" fragrance by Guerlain.
I scrapped my earlier review and have an improved opinion of this scent. It is dusky-green and interesting. There is a bit of a sweet, licorice tinge which adds a note of interest. There are some good spices. The scent is full-bodied but (if applied carefully) not too sweet. The patchouli is not problematic. This is essentiall what was offered in the revamped and much more expensive L'Ame de Heros. My advice: this is just as good and is still available with some searching.
A beautiful, sharp, bittersweet cyphre with a fantastic theme and beautiful ingredients. The fresh citrus opening is foiled by the extreme green bitterness of the middle notes: ginger, absinthe, and juniper. The sillage is quite strong and herbal and it reminds me very much being lost in the woods. Juniper is a beautiful note, and with the ginger, it really brings out a strong bitter quality that you can almost taste. It is almost like the real citrus retires for an abstract interpretation of the idea of citrus - The acidic ginger, the bitter-crisp juniper, and the sweet ylang-ylang are both one accord and separate notes throughout the evolution. The base and the middle notes seem to be at war, and the tide of the battle shifts continuously, the mossy, resinous base winning (just barely) in the end. Just when I decide if it's sweet or bitter, medicinal or fresh, mossy or bright, I change my mind. I think this is what puts a lot of hardcore Guerlain fans off. It isn't straightforward or delicious, not comforting or warm. It's vaguely unsettling and inhuman - like curious metal structures amongst deciduous trees in winter, both beautiful and unfamiliar. I think this unfamiliar quality was a deliberate effort on the part of JPG - just look at how many unique, foreign ingredients he used in the creation of this perfume. Truly, this perfume is art of the highest quality, difficult to interpret though it is.
Elegant, evocative, enigmatic, eccentric - Coriolan seems to be one of those Guerlain fragrances that really divides opinion. Personally, I love it dearly - an alchemy of ingredients that almost defies description in terms of conventional fragrance categories and yet somehow achieves its own sort of odd perfection. Imagine a soiree in the Faubourg Saint Germain. In one corner, the Baron de Charlus sniffs his wrist appreciatively. In another corner, the ever-ailing Marcel, propped on a chaise longue, does the same. Both are wearing Coriolan. "It seems that forever," murmurs the Baron, "I have been seeking such an overture: this rich depth of plum-coloured velvet riddled with the aristocratic sharpness of watered silk, both companiably wedded to a sour-sweet, brackish sophistication and a heroic roughness!" "The overture," murmurs Marcel, "is pleasant enough. But the true glory of this scent is in the last, lingering moments of its basenotes. They have been present there like a phantom, from the beginning, but now, at last, they achieve their apotheosis, leading me into an underworld of disappearing echoes, lost lives, lost loves, full of pride, swagger, gratitude and regret. True poetry of the perfumier's art!"
I've been a fan of this for over 10 years, and was beside myself when it was discontinued (seeking any available stock to hoard so that I'd still have it). I still have 2 half-empty 1.0 oz atomizers and just got my hands on a 100ml recently. Coriolan is elegant, bold, and dries into a wonderful combination of oak moss and patchouli that dries and lingers on the skin without cloying. Longevity on this is excellent for something of EdT strength, and I've never lacked for compliments upon its wearing. Not to mention the thought put into just the bottle design was daring, and it's simply nice to uncap a fragrance and not need to place a cap down and back on. Sadly, I'm disappointed both that they've discontinued this wonderful scent, but that they've reincarnated it with some differences in L'Ame du Heroes (which is far less available, and to my nose, just more a feminine scent), leaving only Heritage and Vetiver as Guerlains in my collection. If you can simply find a sample, do so. The citrus top transforms quickly into a wonderful chypre worth experiencing.
A violet powerhouse? This to me is the restrained, tasteful answer to some of the over-the-top acrid pugent herbal wood scents of the 80s. Coriolan is the scent of a strong man, but not a blaringly strong scent; you won't have to be as careful applying it as you would with Aramis or Antaeus. I expected it to open as a somewhat dry wood scent, but it has a lot of florals that sweeten the wood considerably. These greenish florals give it a little of that otherworldly aura that I find in violet scents, or in synthetic florals like Prada Amber. I'm not seeing much evolution, but that doesn't bother me. Just the fact that it stays within reason is noteworthy for this genre. As the violet (or whatever it is) becomes more and more obvious in the base, I can fully appreciate how it has tamed the beast of the 80s powerhouse. Resinous wood remains underneath, but still without any offputting sharpness (a lack of the usual patchouli?) I guess you should go pour some Grey Flannel into your Jules!
I love when fragrances remind me of something distinct. Yatagan makes me think of roasting meat in a dry forest. Silver Factory makes me think of a hot chainsaw. And Guerlain Coriolan makes me think of an airplane. Yes, an airplane. After a strong citrusy-spicy opening, I clearly get that smell that hits you when you first step in the door of an airplane and start walking down the aisle looking for your seat, particularly on hot days. It's the smell of clean airplane seats, filtered airplane air, and hints of tarmac and jet fuel. You get to your seat, and your sexy seatmate is sipping a martini and wearing a great spicy floral cyphre. I suppose in reality this impression comes from the medicinal bitterness of the absinthe note and some of the spices in the heart, but in combination with the other notes present, the overall effect is: airplane. For me, this is a good association. I like traveling. The smell evokes a feeling of embarking on a modern voyage. Nobody else has mentioned this strange airplane connection, so maybe it's just me, but I have to mention it; it's so very distinct for me. Sillage is medium and longevity is high.Coriolan is a fun scent to wear.
Coriolan by Guerlain, 1998
|Top Notes||lemon tree leaves, bergamot|
|Middle Notes||juniper, absinthe, coriander, nutmeg, juniper|
|Base Notes||oakmoss, patchouli, everlasting flower|
|Perfumer||Jean Paul Guerlain|
|Bottle Designer||Robert Granai|
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