Strains of Guerlain’s heritage float like olfactory ghosts over a banker wearing pinstripes in a wood-paneled boardroom. As he sits in conservative elegance and restrained reserve, the Ghosts of Guerlain Past move over him via Jicky‘s aromatic lavender creaminess and Habit Rouge‘s citrus cologne opening that lies atop slightly leathered, balsamic resins. There is also the Ghost of Guerlain Future in the form of L’Instant de Guerlain Pour Homme, as well as strains of a fragrance created years later by a Guerlain family member for another company entirely. This is Jean-Paul Guerlain‘s Heritage, both the name of the actual fragrance and an intentional, symbolic encapsulation of parts of Guerlain’s past.
Heritage (officially spelled with an accent as “Héritage“) is actually meant to feel familiar on some levels. The fragrance was created in 1992 by Jean-Paul Guerlain and, according to the unaffiliated website, Monsieur Guerlain, he intentionally sought to combine some of the most beloved parts of various Guerlain classics into one scent, but to push the limits even further,by “playing on the whole legendary Guerlain scent repertoire.” At the time, it was probably an inventive idea; there weren’t endless flankers back in 1992, and the call-backs to Guerlain’s Jicky and Habit Rouge subtly swirled in a sea of other notes that helped to make Heritage a singular character in its own right. I remember smelling the fragrance shortly after its release, and finding it elegant but also very interesting. People sometimes reference bankers when talking about Heritage, and it definitely gave off that vibe, but what a chic, pinstriped banker he was and how he dominated the room with his complex, powerful presence.