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  1. #1
    Dependent lovingthealien's Avatar
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    Default Guerlain Coriolan

    Any fans? I don't think this scent gets the praise it deserves. Yes, the opening is a little common, and I can see how the whole composition could be a let-down for the hardcore Guerlain fans. Not in quality, but in theme. Here's how I interpret it:

    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. He could easily make the same perfume over and over with small variations, but what would be the fun in that? We have all the classic scents (except derby) readily available to us. Don't get me wrong, I am definitely one of "those" Guerlain fans, and I crave that sweet Guerlinade like I do water, but I like a little challenge sometimes. Truly, this perfume is art of the highest quality, difficult to interpret though it is.

  2. #2
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guerlain Coriolan

    Like this scent a lot.

  3. #3
    Dependent knit at nite's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guerlain Coriolan

    Really nice post!
    Coriolan is an excellent scent
    Currently wearing: Ungaro (new) by Ungaro

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Guerlain Coriolan

    Quote Originally Posted by lovingthealien View Post
    Any fans? I don't think this scent gets the praise it deserves. Yes, the opening is a little common, and I can see how the whole composition could be a let-down for the hardcore Guerlain fans. Not in quality, but in theme. Here's how I interpret it:

    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. He could easily make the same perfume over and over with small variations, but what would be the fun in that? We have all the classic scents (except derby) readily available to us. Don't get me wrong, I am definitely one of "those" Guerlain fans, and I crave that sweet Guerlinade like I do water, but I like a little challenge sometimes. Truly, this perfume is art of the highest quality, difficult to interpret though it is.
    Nice take on this. Great review. I agree completely. I had to own it when I ran across some well-kept old stuff. It's not a "fun" Guerlain, but it's beautiful. Guernica in a bottle. The scent is almost memorable in it's difficulty to remember.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Guerlain Coriolan

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    ... Guernica in a bottle. .
    Stunning metaphor, RP.

  6. #6
    Dependent lovingthealien's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guerlain Coriolan

    Totally agree with you, RP. It isn't a fun Guerlain. It is actually pretty asexual, but it is still pleasurable and frankly not difficult to wear, either. It's intriguing. Somehow Hellraiser just came to my mind as well while smelling it on me in its deep drydown phase.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Guerlain Coriolan

    Great post, OP. I've been looking to try this for awhile, but your description just bumped it into my short list of stuff to try next!

  8. #8
    Dependent lovingthealien's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guerlain Coriolan

    There really aren't any reasons not to try it. It was made by Jean-Paul Guerlain, it's readily available, and it's cheap as hell (for a discontinued Guerlain "original" especially). I got a 50ml bottle for just under 40 bucks. Hell, even if you don't like it, the bottle is a wonderful little piece of glass and metal.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Guerlain Coriolan

    I evaluate frags based upon my criteria, which doesn't include a concern about what company marketed it. Coriolan has good-quality ingredients, note separation, note contrast, dynamism, and balance. Thus, it is in my rotation.

  10. #10
    Dependent lovingthealien's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guerlain Coriolan

    Well-said, Bigsly. If only all Guerlain fans were so open-minded...

    I have no shame in admitting that I'm a huge fan of all things Guerlain, but, as I said in my original post, considering the HUGE number of absolutely irreplaceable classics that are still readily available, there is plenty of room for variety. I think what makes Guerlain so special to me is that they really seem to be committed to providing only excellent, breathtaking perfumes. Guerlain is never hit-or-miss to me; some may perceive this as a "miss," but they would be denying the quality ingredients, note separation & contrast, dynamism, and balance that you pointed out. It's a shame that so many have come to this conclusion simply because they were taken off guard. A real bunch of old ladies, us Guerlain fans.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Guerlain Coriolan

    Beautiful description of Coriolan and a beautiful job of taking a position on the aesthetics of perfumery. Really a great read, lovingthealien. I'm another admirer of Coriolan. The persistence of the juniper note well into drydown is such a coup, imo. Plus the bottle is super cool.
    '...And you'll carry me down on your dancing
    To the pools that you lift on your wrist...'

  12. #12

    Default Re: Guerlain Coriolan

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    I evaluate frags based upon my criteria, which doesn't include a concern about what company marketed it. Coriolan has good-quality ingredients, note separation, note contrast, dynamism, and balance. Thus, it is in my rotation.
    Bigsly has articulated in a very short post exactly how I assess a fragrance. Coriolan is now on my to-sample list.

  13. #13
    Dependent lovingthealien's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guerlain Coriolan

    Quote Originally Posted by Strollyourlobster View Post
    Beautiful description of Coriolan and a beautiful job of taking a position on the aesthetics of perfumery. Really a great read, lovingthealien. I'm another admirer of Coriolan. The persistence of the juniper note well into drydown is such a coup, imo. Plus the bottle is super cool.
    I know! I love juniper. We have juniper trees in front of our house and I crush the berries to smell them in spring. So bittersweet, resinous, and bright. This fragrance really utilizes the juniper very well, and it does last the duration of the fragrance on me, too.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Guerlain Coriolan

    Coriolan, for me, is an essence of a scent. I spray most liberally with Coriolan and it sits well on me especially in warmer climes. It is one of those fragrances that mixes well with a very slight perspiration giving the wearer the feeling of 'natural odour' slightly sweet, slightly bitter and with a masculine aura.
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Guerlain Coriolan

    Interesting review! Another Coriolan fan here. It shares the oddness - clary sage? - with Parure. And the drydown is wonderful - that were the days they used oakmoss.




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