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.
Damn it! Another one! I have been obsessed with vetivers for about a year, and every time I think I have narrowed down the search (the only one I have a fb of is Vetiverru), another one springs up to try. I want a couple of vetivers at least – Vetiverru satisfies my desire for a lighter, crisper, more citrussy summer scent, but I am on the prowl for a darker, more wintery one. Just when I think, “it’s the Malle!”, the Tauer comes along, then Fat Electrician, then MPG Route, and Sycomore, and Vetiver pour Elle (another one for summer, really) and on and on. Teh only one I have eliminated as a “don’t need” is the Tom Ford Grey Vetiver.
Oh, well, it’s a fun journey, anyway.
LOL! And I’m kicking myself because I was >thisclose< to ordering a sample of the Etro Vetiver this week…and didn't (grabbed Messe de Minuit instead). Any fragrance where the green notes need underlining is a must try for me. You had me at green, herbal, and foresty.
Boojum: there’s always the next order….
…except I’m trying not to HAVE a next order. At least, not any time soon. I’ve just realized my perfume expenditures over the past year could have funded a small vacation. :/
Boojum: I kept track of ALL money spent on perfume/samples this year just to become “aware” of the “problem!” It really helped slow me down as I kept a running total of my expenditures!
Boo: I’m crying when I realize my perfume expenditures over the last year could have funded a fairly LARGE vacation to somewhere I’d love to be… like Barcelona. Sigh. Gandhi did say “action expresses priorities.” Hrmph.
Yeah…I didn’t track the samples, just the minis/bottles/decants. It was enough. Of course, now that I *know* I can find that kind of money…maybe I’ll start using up my samples and sock the money in a vacation account.
Tama, yes it is!
Great review, Kevin. I’ve been really intrigued by Etro Messe de Minuit and Shaal Nur for a couple months now, and will be adding Vetiver to the sample list. It sounds like a true and earthy vetiver and a fine way to start my exploration of the note. It’s always good to read that a reformulation hasn’t totally butchered a fragrance, too.
Ab. Scent.: I know…I was scared about this one.
Ahhh Messe de Minuit……ok, I had to appreciate my love of MdM for a minute…..vetiver is a note I’ve only barely touched on. The few I’ve tried haven’t grabbed my nose and said “hey, look at me” ….and the Andy Tauer one made the CEO sneeze and sneeze and sneeze. But of course nothing will spur a lemming faster than a Kevin review, so now I’ll have to go find a sample and give this a try. ….maybe in a few weeks….the CEO is still recovering from the spendy room spray Noel that I got yesterday. It’s lovely by the way, smells just like Christmas trees!!!
Daisy; glad you liked the Noel. (And the Tauer vetiver didn’t thrill me at all either)
I love vetiver too, so must track this down for a sniff. Tama, have you tried the Guerlain Vetiver for summer? It’s nice and crisp, with just enough smoke to make it interesting. I have to try it again now that it’s actually cold (at least today, tomorrow it’s supposed to be 60! In Boston!) I thought the Malle was fantastic too … I sniffed it in Barney’s, but I was afraid to ask how much it cost. Must keep remembering that “$100 is the new free”!
I have so far only Tried the Guerlain Vetiver Pour Elle, not the regular one, which I need to do. I LOVE Pour Elle!
Dzingnut: you can always get the travel sprays of the Malles…. And I was disappointed the Etros have skyrocketed in price with their redesign.
I need to try the Etro Vetiver…it sounds really rich and complex. And it’s nice to see a mention of my adored Magot, which generally doesn’t get a lot of love…
Gilty: when I wore Magot I was always grilled by passersby on what I was wearing. I need to see if it still smells the same.
Me too! Passersby and taxi drivers… It projects like crazy. I suppose it’s a little loud but I love it. If you retest from a new bottle maybe we’ll get a review…(nudge nudge)?? I was baffled by the LT/TS review in the Guide. It didn’t sound like “my” Magot at all…
Gilty: I felt the same way…and FEARED a reformulation! I’ll try to get my hands on a brand-new sample.
“Nothing will spur a lemming faster than a Kevin review” – so true! My FB’s of M. Balmain, Fath Green Water, L’Heure Bleu, Givenchy Vetyver can attest to that – and the list goes on. And I love them all. Thank you Kevin!
Dzing: you’re welcome.
I purchased this unsniffed awhile back, and moved it along quickly. I had several Etro FB’s, so I ASSUMED I would like this too being that I generally like Vetiver as a note. Great review though big K!
C: too rough for ya, huh? HA! Have you tried the Route du Vetiver?
I gave my boss a sample of Route and he said it was the kind of thing you wear to a board meeting when you plan to kick everyone’s butt. I gave him my sample because I hated it and then for some reason got it again and liked it. lol
Tama: I just LOVE it.
So many things sampled. Honostly can’t remember.
After having tried MdM and Shaal Nur I think it’s safe to say that I am becoming deeply enamored of Etro’s frags. This is another sample for the vetiver sample binge I’m planning on going on any day now. Thanks Kevin. You’re the Pied Piper of perfume revs!
Norjunma1: If only I got commissions! HA!
Has anyone tried the Guerlain Frozen Vetiver flanker? not sure if its still in production but its on some discount websites ive been to, so i got curious about it.
Rictor: I’ve tried it and it disappeared on my skin within 15 minutes…a bit “fresh” to boot. Not a favroite of mine.
Rictor, I’d happily send you my sample vial if you like. I’m joe805 on MUA if you use that.
Joining the queue following the Pied Piper. Kevin, I am home recovering from the flu, and when I spotted your review I decided that THIS was the day for me to open my Etro Vetiver sample. Thanks for the inspiration! Of the vetivers I’ve tried, the two that I find most appealing are Sel de Vetiver and Annick Goutal’s Vetiver. But wow — this vetiver is really something different! On me, it seems to stay earthy and green, like something plucked from deep forest soil. I do get the woods, but not sure about the tobacco (that’s probably just lack of experience on my part). It’s delicious!
Question: Is Encre Noir anything like this?
is Encre noir Femme out yet?
I think so. I’ve seen a few comments about it. People sound disappointed.
I’m still kind of excited to try that one. I should order a sample. A floraled-up vetiver sounds sort of interesting, and I can’t think of too many that have crossed my path.
P.S. A little more time has passed, and now it is a bit more “brown” than “green”, with a sweet dried-leaf smell that I’m thinking is the tobacco? What a lovely fragrance!
Haunani: glad you like it!
Haunani: Encre Noire is in a “higher key” but wonderful and with astoundnig lasting power.
i’m going to have to go give the etro fragrances a second sniff. none of them blew me away when i checked them out a few months ago…but i could’ve just been in a hurry, or not had the right mindset.
the shoes (men’s) on the other hand, are integral to my life at this point. amaaaaazing. perhaps picking up a 2nd pair this holiday season if i can find the same deal i got on my first pair last year. i’m unabashedly in love with them.
Heydaves: I’ve always had a soft spot for the paisley shirts and scarves too….
Thank God I’m all greened out … otherwise I’d be doomed to try this one.
Hi K. So many vetivers! I wouldn’t mind trying this, but I have to confess: now that I own four or five, it feels like plenty. Two or three seem like enough for straight-up, unembellished vetivers. And even when “embellished” I think it’s a difficult note to tone down to the point where it doesn’t overpower everything else in a composition. It’s hard to explain my feelings on this, even though I really do enjoy the note. To me, the difference between Sycomore (probably my fave) and Encre Noire is negligible.
However, one I tried recently that *did* catch my nose was Cereus No. 11, a vetiver with LOTS of black pepper and some anise and juniper.
Etro’s a hit-and-miss line for me. I LOVE their Heliotrope and have been lemming a FB for awhile. Sandalo didn’t grab me, and I thought I liked Messe de Minuit, but the other night during a second test it turned from nice incense to dank mold on me after awhile.
Joe: OH! I’ve never tried Cereus No. 11!!!!!! And part of the “charm” (and danger…mood-wise for me) is the mold in Messe de Minuit…it can make me feel like I’m in prison…think “Fidelio!”
Or “Oz”. LOL. Or Oscar Wilde.
OR Kiss of The Spider Woman. HA!
Hmmm….an almost FB of Heliotrope in the cabinet feeling QUITE unloved for some time. wink wink.
Man, you are TERRIBLE!
oh, oh, oh! if you and Carlos arrange an adoption….I’d love to swap something for a bit of that Heliotrope!
or, of course, if there’s no adoption…..hey Carlos want to swap for some of that Heliotrope?
Enabling springs eternal.
Decanting your sample Miss Daisy! HEHE.
I have a sample of the EDT, and I think it’s awesome. Very smokey, slightly nutty and not overbearing at all. Can you elaborate more on how the lasting power and actual scent differ? I ask because the EDC sells a lot online for a good price and the EDT like you said is 165.
JR: the old Vetiver, strangely, smelled STRONGER than today’s version, but LASTED ON SKIN half as long. There is really no great change overall between the two formulas…except for packaging and persistence. If you shop around, you can find the $165 version at a discount.
Okay, thanks kevin!
Also, I am having scent confusion. I read your review of nightscape, and very spot on. I bought it recently and I love it – it’s quiet, but i find it very smoothly earthy. it reminds me or terre d’hermes, but smoother and richer with the animalic base. bottom line: it’s wearable and IMO somewhat ethereal and intriguing. second, i’ve been looking into another vetiver – a nice sharp, dirty one. So, I own Encre Noire, which is a staple for me, but I really like Villoresi’s – even though it is quite caustic, when it settles, it is like sweaty grass. I tried the Etro EDT and it’s very smokey – like smokey sweet bacon – but obviously attractive. I ordered a sample of the Route du Vetiver, as I haven’t smelled that yet. Any others that are in that category you might like?
Thanks a lot,