The presence of vetiver in perfume is just as essential as a high quality rose oil or jasmine essence. It’s widely used as a fixative in base notes. Thankfully, it has also been explored as a single note, so to speak, emphasizing different aspects of its versatile character. In basic terms, vetiver has a rooty, earthy aroma. However, there’s a lot you can do with it. You can make it smoky as in Hermessence Vetiver Tonka or Vetiver by Annick Goutal. You can play upon its cold, wet, and salty facet – Sel de Vetiver by The Different Company, Vetiver by Guerlain, Original Vetiver by Creed. Quite opposite, you can also make it all warm and woody as it’s been done in Vetiver by Jalaine or Vetiver Oriental by Serge Lutens. Or you can simply rejoice in its rooty, earthy dryness that’s been rendered the best in Vetiver by L’Artisan (sadly, discontinued) and Vetiver Extraordinaire by Frederic Malle.
There’s nothing unusual or extraordinary about Vetiver Extraordinaire as far as vetiver is concerned – it’s vetiver at its core, unadulterated – green, herbaceous, earthy. However, it’s the most extraordinary rendition of the note I’ve smelled so far. It’s the King of Vetivers. Created by Dominique Ropion, the scent is said to contain the largest amount of Haitian Vetyver essence in the industry. Upon first spray, it’s seemingly straightforward vetiver, enhanced by bergamot, bitter orange, and just a hint of nutmeg. The longer it stays on skin, the trickier it gets: the ordinary green earthiness welcomes the extraordinary balsamic mossiness followed by a mild ozonic/watery undertone. The result is crisp, modern, and insolent. Take it or leave it, this vetiver will not budge. It was not an instant love for me. In fact, it’s taken a considerable amount of time to not only like it but actually love it with a passion. I reach for it most on days when my mood is chaotic, and my outfit is ordinary, and I need a healthy dose of understated, yet extraordinary charisma.
Vetiver Extraordinaire features the notes of bergamot, bitter orange, pink pepper, nutmeg, floralozone, Haïtain vetyver, sandalwood, cedarwood, oakmoss, myrrh, cashmeran, musks. It can be purchased from Barney’s New York or directly from the Editions de Parfums online shop.
Image source: barneys.com
20 comments April 30th, 2007