What's more wonderful than the scent of vetiver? Of the "Fragrance Notes I Cannot Live Without", vetiver is in the top five. I started my vetiver love affair with one of the best vetiver colognes: vintage Guerlain Vetiver (to my nose, the contemporary version is wimpy and less vetiver-y than its old self). Other vetiver fragrances that won my heart were Etro Vetiver (discontinued), Frédéric Malle Vétiver Extraordinaire, Chanel Sycomore and Maître Parfumeur et Gantier Route du Vetiver (ummm ummmm ummmmmmm). But that list is skimpy; my vetiver beaus are too numerous to list here.
In June I ordered samples of some new(ish) vetiver perfumes, hoping that one or two might inspire lust (I never developed VD — vetiver dysfunction).
Abel White Vetiver: bergamot, lime, spearmint, ginger, Palmarosa, vetiver, vanilla, ambergris.
Abel is based in the Netherlands and makes "all natural" fragrances. White Vetiver is tangy and energizing (smelling like turpentine on first application); it has lots of lime in the opening, too. All notes (besides vetiver) fizz...and then fizzle. White Vetiver becomes a perfect "straight" vetiver cologne; it smells great and departs quickly (unless you are generous in your application or get some on your clothing). I never wear perfume to bed; it would interfere with my sleep. But I do spritz on some lightweight cologne at bedtime as my final "treat" of the day. At $150 for 50 ml of almost-pure vetiver...White Vetiver is too pricey for my ritual.
Masque Milano (homage to) Hemingway: Fanny Bal perfumer; ginger, rhubarb, Java and Haitian vetivers, cedar, patchouli, leather
Hemingway opens with sour ginger and nose-puckering rhubarb. As the head notes are percolating, bright, 190 proof vetiver arrives (this is the Everclear of vetivers). Hemingway's vetiver packs a punch and wakes you up; it makes me think cold vodka with vetiver roots in ice cubes might make a great cocktail. Hemingway has prodigious lasting power and sillage, so much so I suspect some synthetic vetiver is involved. But I don't care; it smells fantastic.
Ex Nihilo Vetiver Moloko: bergamot, Bulgarian rose, cypress, milk accord, vetiver, amyris, vanilla
Vetiver Moloko is a "lazy," nebulous, sweet and milky vetiver, a tropical, almost-edible vetiver (vetiver gelato anyone?) Along with the milk-vetiver accord, there's a dash of cypress and a hint of vanilla bean in the mix. Vetiver Moloko dries down to vetiver cream — silky and satisfying. We all have fragrances in our collections we find "addictive" (you just want to spray, re-spray, then bathe in the perfume). Vetiver Moloko is addictive to me, and why am I not surprised it's the most expen$ive of today's vetivers?
Heeley Vetiver Véritas: lavender, mint, Haitian vetiver, grapefruit
Vetiver Véritas is a "vintage" vetiver — masculine, semi-smoky, rich, sophisticated. Vetiver Véritas reminds me of old-style Guerlain Vetiver and the Turtle Vetiver line (remember those? your memory will have to suffice unless you own a bottle since they're no longer made). There's a hint of "sweat" in Vetiver Véritas; it's not manual labor sweat but sitting-in-the-sun-having-a-fancy-lunch-on-a-hot-day sweat...if you know what I mean. The sweaty aspect can be described as vetiver meets immortelle-grapefruit.
At this point in my week-long vetiver-fest, I'd met three that I wanted to own. Only one left....
Essential Parfums Mon Vetiver: Bruno Jovanovic perfumer; Haitian vetiver, gin accord, Mexican lime, juniper, lavender, gentian, cashmeran, Indonesian patchouli
Mon Vetiver is the least vetiver-y of today's reviewed perfumes. It reminds me of Byredo's Bal d'Afrique. Mon Vetiver is a strange brew: watery and fruity one minute, charred and nutty the next. I detect juniper berry, musk, lime and cashmeran mixing with vetiver. I like Mon Vetiver, but I already own Bal d'Afrique.
Today's vetiver perfumes run the gamut from good to great; is it even possible to "ruin" vetiver?
I had an enjoyable vetiver week. Please share any other recent vetiver perfumes vetiver lovers should try, and tell us your favorite vetiver fragrance.
Abel White Vetiver Eau de Parfum, 50 ml ($150) or 15 ml ($70); Masque Milano (homage to) Hemingway Eau de Parfum, 35 ml ($145); Ex Nihilo Vetiver Moloko Eau de Parfum, 50 ml ($225); Heeley Vetiver Veritas Eau de Parfum, 50 ml (135€); and Essential Parfums Mon Vetiver Eau de Parfum, 100 ml ($75) or 10 ml ($20).