Vétiver Extraordinaire was released by Frederic Malle in 2002. The fragrance was created by nose Dominique Ropion, and includes bergamot, bigarade orange, pink pepper, nutmeg, floralozone (a "fresh air" note), Haitian vetyver, sandalwood, cedarwood, oak moss, myrrh, cashmeran, musketone and tonalide (synthetic musks). It is said to have one of the highest concentrations of vetiver of any fragrance on the market (25%).
It starts with a brief flash of very dry citrus. It is quickly joined by the spice notes, and for a few minutes, it is extremely diffusive, which I assume is the floralozone talking. After that calms, it smells like damp mossy woods and vetiver, and there is almost no point in trying to dissect it further, as it simply smells like the sum of its parts, and if you love vetiver, it smells very wonderful indeed.
Frederic Malle has said that it reminds him "of the forests in the north of France where his grandparents lived",1 and although I have never been in the forests of the north of France, I would imagine that that is as good a description as any. For a time there is a whisper of wood smoke over the vetiver, after that, it is just about linear, although the vetiver does get deeper and richer over time.
If you do not like vetiver, it is hard to imagine that you will enjoy it, as Vétiver Extraordinaire highlights the natural qualities of vetiver rather than tempering them with sweet or bright notes. I don't find it too masculine to wear, but there is certainly nothing added to make it more feminine.
Some time ago a dear friend gave me a lovely gift: the matching soap. It is simply wonderful. It has a very rich consistency, and the scent is extremely concentrated. One foil-wrapped bar perfumed my office for months before I could bring myself to use it in the shower. The soaps currently come in two other fragrances: Bigarade and Anterenea, and run $65 for 3 bars, or $70 for one of each fragrance.
Vétiver Extraordinaire has excellent lasting power. For purchasing information, see the listing for Frederic Malle under Perfume Houses.
1. The quote was originally from Travel and Leisure magazine, but the link no longer works and I cannot find the original article on their website, sorry!