Family: woody, spicy
Notes: lemon, bergamot, lavender, coriander, pink peppercorn, patchouli, cedarwood, benzoin, oakmoss, tonka bean, orris, vanilla
Classic cigar box
Period: The hard years
Possibly with the golden amber and perfectly harmonious layout of its feminine forerunner Samsara as a model, Jean-Paul Guerlain constructed Héritage in an aim to synthesize the immense olfactory heritage of Guerlain's past creations into one modern, masculine scent. He had since Habit Rouge accustomed the male audience to dare spraying on vanilla-scented orientals, and Héritage pushed the limits even further, playing on the whole legendary Guerlain scent repertoire. It combined aromatics, patchouli, vanilla, tonka bean, fine wood and spices to give off the most ardent and long-lasting radiance that — despite lavender, cedarwood and patchouli being established manly ingredients — brought to mind the house catalogue's oriental classics. And while Guerlain was at it, men were introduced to the intenser Eau de Parfum concept, hitherto reserved for feminine fragrances. But, Jean-Paul Guerlain knew how to build testosterone into sensuality. In Habit Rouge, it was fox-hunting and car leather upholstery, in Héritage the luxurious odour of cedarwood cigar boxes, complete with mahogany desk, pinstripe suit and leather-bound encyclopaedias.
Undeniably derived from Davidoff's 1986 fragrance Zino and all its Wall Street associations, Héritage was a wealthy, self-confident, elegant fragrance, brass-golden, warmly woody, peppered and bright in tone. The ad mentioned it as an "intergenerational" perfume for "a man who both is protector of a tradition and announces a new spirit." And yes, Héritage had the aromatics-and-amber style of a vintage Guerlain but the polish of something new. While some found its tight, shiny composition to be rather formal and buttoned-up, it can't be denied that Héritage, with its lavender, vanilla, and confectionary tonka bean, made for something celebratory and optimistic that with a big smile pointed all the way back to Jicky.
The name Héritage may also be inspired by the fact that it was the first fragrance to be marketed with a mention of the historic Guerlinade signature. Sylvaine Delacourte reveals that the creation of Héritage marked her entry as a fragrance evaluator for Guerlain. While working with Jean-Paul Guerlain on the composition, she learned that for decades the Guerlinade term had been forgotten within Guerlain's own ranks. She couldn't find anything about it in the annals. Therefore, she decided to do some research to find a precise definition of the Guerlinade, and to reintroduce the word in Guerlain's vocabulary and ad material. Read more about the Guerlinade
For the Héritage bottle, by far Guerlain's most refined and elaborate for a men's scent, Robert Granai wanted a reassuring, solid look, an expression of durability. As to illustrate the Guerlain motto of persistence and change, he let himself be inspired by Foucault's pendulum which hangs in the dome of the Panthéon in Paris. The bottle's stopper could be both the brass weight and the hemispherical roof, while the glass facets reflect the pendular movement lines as well as the Panthéon's impressive columns. It has also been noted that the architectural design incorporates the wedge-shape of a keystone, the stone piece that sits at the apex of a masonry vault allowing it to bear the weight of the building. Initially, the Eau de Parfum came with a heavy refillable gold case, but was later sold in the same atomizer as the Eau de Toilette. In 2016, the Héritage bottle was replaced by the classic "Habit Rouge" bottle, featuring a wooden cap that matches the exclusive Parisien line.
At Héritage's release party, an extravagant edition housed inside a wooden "cigar box" was presented. The box lid featured a reprint of an 1889 painting of an open window onto Guerlain's factory at Colombes and the Rue de la Paix shop.
Following Boucheron Pour Homme, Guerlain's Héritage marked when for the first time in perfumery men could choose between EdT and an EdP version. Although it's basically the same fragrance, the higher doses of benzoin, tonka bean, oakmoss and vanilla in the latter make a huge difference: they add a tremendous golden warmth and depth, and a smooth, poised burnish with no air between the notes. Some men might prefer the EdT, after all the conservative choice in terms of masculinity: more shaving-soap and cool, and full of earth and cigar box.
Where one in older bottles of Héritage find a certain damp sensation of salty seashore and driftwood broiling in the sun, there is today something slightly more clear and fresh. The explanation may partly be the juice's ageing factor, but also the restrictions that the IFRA has put on such ingredients like oakmoss and musk.
We love: the EdP from the 1990s
Use the EdP for its amber suaveness
Streamlined, yet classic, and unbelievably good on wool
Back to masculines Back to perfumes