Guerlain Again: Héritage , Spiriteuse Double Vanille and Musc Outreblanc

Having covered a few new to me/old Guerlains last time, I thought I would make it easy/ be lazy and talk about some that I already have. Vetiver I have written about more than once and it is still somewhat a fragrance that I associate with someone I know so I really don’t wear it. I could have done Sous Le Vent and Derby, but (here’s where that lazy part comes in) they were waaay back in the perfume vault (hall closet) in their boxes, and I believe that they are discontinued again, so it would seem a little “nyah, nyah, look what I got” around the edges. But I suppose it does say that sometimes it’s a good idea to grab something when you can if you like it- I was a bit more flush then so it was an expense, but not a crushing one.

So I planned on pulling out Héritage , Habit Rouge, and Spiriteuse Double Vanille. But I realized that if I do have Habit Rouge it has migrated somewhere: into a tote bag I used to tote some to a sniff party? Did I hallucinate that I actually still own a bottle and really haven’t since the 70’s? Only time and organising my closets will tell. So Habit Rouge was out and the sample of Musc Outreblanc was in.

Héritage was released in 1992 and is one ot the few Guerlains that I can think of that list no vanilla anywhere. He notes (from Fragrantica) are:

Top notes are Lavender, Aldehydes, Juniper Berries, Clary Sage, Bergamot, Lemon, Violet, Green Notes and Petitgrain; middle notes are Patchouli, Coriander, Geranium, Pepper, Balsam Fir, Rose, Carnation, Pink Pepper, Orris Root, Jasmine, Cyclamen and Lily-of-the-Valley; base notes are Sandalwood, Amber, Oakmoss, Cedar and Musk.

After the bright opening I get spicy woods out of this and a lot of lavender- so much so that one me it seems much more like a fougére than an oriental. As a matter of fact it sort of seems like Monsieur Guerlain decided to take the Oriental citrussy hunting coat aspects of Habit Rouge, swirl in a goodly dose of Jicky’s Fougére lavender and amp it up to 11 for the early 90’s.

Is it good? Oh, yeah. If you’re going to hit the boardroom or the defense table this may be a the one you want: it has (in a different way) all of the rock-ribbed stalwart square-jawed aspects of Malle’s French Lover with a healthy dose of 80’s “Greed is Good” Wall Street added in. Gordon Gecko would wear Héritage. It is also, really FREAKING STRONG! So go steadily in the application: you want it to read as the boardroom, not the mailroom.

Spiriteuse Double Vanille came out in 2007 and I was a fan from the beginning. Mssr. Guerlain this time took Vanilla to what must be it’s ultimate expression here: it’s all vanilla all the time, from it’s boozy opening, which to me smells like vanilla pods soaked in good whiskey to it’s drydown, where the vanilla calms itself to a comforting blanket.

Fragrantica says:

Top notes are Incense, Pink Pepper and Bergamot; middle notes are Cedar, Ylang-Ylang, Bulgarian Rose and Jasmine; base notes are Vanilla and Benzoin.

If you love vanilla, this is heaven. If you don’t.. My bottle was actually given to me by the late Robin Jurado, who, after purchasing and deciding that it was a little too much, passed it on to me. I still have enough in the bottle that I’m not panicking (do you all do that too?) and I have to admit that it isn’t a scent that I reach for a lot, but especially on a cold winter evening this is as comforting as a cashmere throw. Both of these have the lasting power of plutonium, which is a good thing in my opinion, but again, I’d go steadily in the application.

The last is Musc Outreblanc. From (again) Fragrantica:

Top notes are White Musk, Neroli and Ambrette (Musk Mallow); middle notes are Orange Blossom, iris and Bulgarian Rose; base notes are Milk, Sandalwood and White Amber.

This one reads as it should be love: practically anything musk is right up my alley. Sadly, on me it missed by a county mile- the “milk” aspect with the rest is right there at the top and curdles to an almost marine note. Sort of a super-light version of the dreaded Secretions: the body may be further out to sea, but it’s still there, bobbing unpleasantly in the waves. Of course, your mileage (and skin chemistry) may vary.

Not to mention that at $360 you could get good-sized bottles of Mitsouko, Jicky, and Shalimar. I know where my money would go.

So people have suggested that I do Chamade next when I do Guerlain. I’m almost afraid to because I may fall for it, but any suggestions? Let me know in the comments. And if Musc Outreblanc smells like heaven on you, do tell.

Both Héritage and Double Vanille are my bottles, one purchased at Fragrancenet (I think) and one was a gift. The sample was a gift with purchase. Photo is mine.


  • matty1649 says:

    I’m a massive Guerlain fan. I’ve never thought of wearing Heritage as a woman’s perfume. I do wear Habit Rouge.

    • Tom says:

      The person who is, in my mind, the “owner” of Guerlain Vetiver is a woman. She rocks it. I think Heritage could be rocked by the ladies as well

  • Pam says:

    I love Guerlain! True, I’ve missed many of them (location, location, location) but love the ones I’ve smelled. My only exception is Jardin de Bagatelles. Gave that bottle away pronto. But Chamade! Nahema! L’Heure Bleue! Habit Rouge! Yes, Heritage is wonderful. I’m enjoying your writing about my favorite House, Tom. Thanks!

  • Musette says:

    I’ve said before that Guerlain is a hit or miss House for me, as evidenced by my knowing NOTHING about these !


  • Dina C. says:

    Great reviews, Tom. I haven’t sniffed any of these three so was really curious to see what you’d have to say about them. Love your descriptions. In addition to Chamade and Apres L’Ondee (both of which I have and love), I’d enjoy hearing your impressions of Guet Apens/Attrape Coeur/Vol de Nuit Evasion. They’re all the same scent from what I’ve read. I encountered a sample of VdN Evasion and loved it. Another suggestion: Angelique Noire.

  • March says:

    Hm. I love SDV and that one surprised me too … also Robin, a teared up a bit. Lucky you, to have such a gift … I agree w Alityke that you should try either Apres or LHB, those are pretty classic, and also Chamade, which I have a vintage bottle of and could never quite decide how I felt about? It wasn’t boring though. I remember a vague oiliness to it (at the beginning?) and then some beauty.

    • Musette says:

      Chamade is, at least for me, a bit difficult to wear (that’s Kim Cattrall’s signature scent, iirc) – you have to get past that oiliness to get to the yummy Chamadeness of it all. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood.


    • Tom says:

      I kind of tear up every time I look at that bottle. She was a lovely woman. Kind, generous, smart and funny as all get-out.

  • cinnamon says:

    I have a sample of SDV which I mean to try. Really enjoying your Guerlain series 🙂

  • Portia says:

    I’ve never smelled Heritage! So weird. It seems to have completely passed me by.
    LOVE SDV! I have an older bottle that the juice is so dark it looks like old blood.
    Portia xx

    • Tom says:

      I think you would like Héritage a lot- you would make the Gordon Gecko aspect of it more Marlene. In the best way possible.

  • Alityke says:

    I do love SDV for its lack of sweetness. I recently picked up Shalimar Millesme Planifolia on a resale site & will do a side to side. I’ve never considered myself a vanilla fan but in a recent reorganisation I realised how many FBs or large decants I have of vanilla centric scents?
    I remember Heritage being popular with the male Consultant medics I worked with. Looking back it would be fab worn by the female Consultant medics. Then it would have had real power impact.
    Musk based scents other than MKK and MR are not my aesthetic (polite way of saying they make me hurl).
    I love MR & MKK for their human stinkiness. I guess I’m anosmic to the large molecule musks in them.
    The best smelling layering I ever wore was MKK with vintage Poison over it. No one complained & boy was it Gothic.
    More Guerlains for you? Insolence both EdT & EdP? Apres L’Ondee? L’Heure Bleue? Jardin de Bagatelle? Meteorites?
    Ok maybe something different from Guerlain? The above are all purple florals

    • Tom says:

      The lack of sweetness of SDV is exactly what I like about it.

      I always thought Héritage would be a great woman’s scent in a very Kate-Hepburn-in-pants kind of way.

      Love and adore both MKK and MR, and am taking noted on the Guerlain suggestions.