My first niche perfume purchase was a bottle of Etro Vetiver Eau de Cologne way back in 1990. I bought Vetiver, along with some wonderful Etro soaps, at Etro’s Beverly Hills boutique, and I became an instant Etro fragrance fan. Over the years, I’ve owned several bottles of Etro Vetiver, Sandalo and Magot; I’ve also enjoyed bottles of Messe de Minuit (the fragrance that helped launch the Incense Revolution in perfumery) and Patchouly. In the early Nineties, Etro’s perfumes smelled exciting, rich and different to my baby “department store-trained” nose and a new, expensive, niche perfume passion was born. Etro led to Comptoir Sud Pacifique, which led to Jean-François Laporte (L’Artisan Parfumeur), which led to Creed, which led to Czech & Speake, which led to Penhaligon’s…on and on to this day.
Etro Vetiver, by perfumer Jacques Flori, was released in 1989 and lists notes of artemisia, clary sage, cypress, cedar, tobacco and Bourbon vetiver. Etro Vetiver opens with green artemisia and sage; the herbal, forest-y notes are strong and clear — invigorating. As powerful and smoky vetiver takes center stage, it’s joined by cedar-cypress and a smooth tobacco note. Etro Vetiver’s vetiver is forceful, but as the fragrance dries down, the overall character of the perfume changes from sharp, green/herbal to dark, almost-musty, woody mellowness.
My two favorite vetiver fragrances are Etro Vetiver and Maître Parfumeur et Gantier Route du Vetiver; if you like Route du Vetiver but find it difficult to wear — give Etro Vetiver a try. (If you haven’t already, do smell these two great vetiver perfumes.)
Etro recently redesigned its perfume packaging. For this review, I tested Etro Vetiver (now in Eau de Toilette strength) from a bottle in the newly designed line. Just like current (reformulated) Guerlain Vetiver Eau de Toilette (which also used to be an Eau de Cologne), the “new” Etro Vetiver Eau de Toilette is less “bold” than it used to be, but its lasting power has improved.
Etro Vetiver is $165 for a 100 ml bottle of Eau de Toilette; the fragrance is also available in perfumed after shave, body milk, and shower gel (all excellent). For buying information, see the listing for Etro under Perfume Houses.
Note: top left paisley image via Wikimedia Commons.