Parfums de Nicolaï launched Vetyver for men in 2004. The fragrance includes notes of vetiver, cumin, black pepper, clove, coriander, ylang ylang, jasmine and tonka bean absolute.
Vetyver opens on juicy citrus notes overlaid with heavy spices. The cumin is quite strong, but the effect is moderated by the pepper, clove and coriander; despite my general hatred for cumin in fragrance, I didn't find it unpleasant here. Mind you, I didn't love it, but I didn't find it unpleasant. The spices get drier and dustier as the citrus fades, and while they do calm somewhat, Vetyver stays quite spicy straight through the dry down. It is not quite so curried as say, Christian Dior Eau Noire, but it does have a mild Indian food vibe.
The florals are subtle, and the base smells like earthy woods with a very faint hint of vanilla. The vetiver is quite noticeable, and more so the longer it is on skin; I liked it best after an hour had passed and the cumin had finally settled down to a whisper. Even then, it is not really a straightforward vetiver-focussed fragrance in the manner of Frederic Malle Vetiver Extraordinaire. All the same, it is beautifully done — as always with this house, it smells like attention was paid to the quality of the raw materials — and although it is not to my taste, it is very much worth trying. To my nose it is more masculine than feminine.
For pricing and availability, see the listing for Parfums de Nicolaï under Perfume Houses.
For another take on spicy vetiver, try Lorenzo Villoresi Vetiver.
Note: the image shows vetiver grass grown for erosion control in Senegal, via Centre Mampuya. For a picture of the root system (from which the oil used in perfumery is derived) see my review of Vetiver Tonka by Hermès.
Tomorrow: vetiver fragrances by il Profumo & Le Labo.