An Earthy Ambassador from the Deep Forest: The Many Verdant Forms of Vetiver
Within each of us is a need for the natural world – no matter if it is a simple flower box on your kitchen window, or camping on top of Mt. Everest. Communing with nature comes well, naturally, to all of us in some form or another. And so it is with the scented world – perfume can take us to the great outdoors in any number of ways.
There are aquatic, sea-salt rimmed perfumes for the beach, and cool cypress fir scents that guide us up high into the wintery mountains. And some that bring out the hiker in us – earthy, damp and lushly green scents that beg for a long tramp through canopied forests.
For the perfume fan that loves the earthy smell of the woods, nothing beats vetiver. Vetiver is a grass whose roots, when distilled, create a smoky, mossy, mineral scent that induces a strong, deep sense of calm. It is one of the most complex ingredients found in perfume, with over 150 separate aromatic compounds, and it also acts as one of the best fixatives available to perfumers, which accounts for its frequent presence in fragrance.
There’s also nothing quite like the scent of vetiver. It’s both immediate and ancient, with a similar smell to the black, soft earth of virgin forests. It is a very masculine scent, but one that women also love to wear.
Here are some examples of vetiver perfumes that range from the light, minty, refreshing side to the loamy, mossy, high on the Scottish cliffs version. No true connoisseur of the scented world can be without at least one vetiver scent, and we guarantee that the more time you spend with this note, the more elegant and mysterious it becomes.
We’ll begin with the lightest example. Carven’s Vetiver originally came out in the mid-1950’s and was actually the first vetiver fragrance released on the market. This re-launch of that original, trailblazing scent opens with an exotic and tart blast of lemongrass and grapefruit, which then cools down into geranium and lavender in the heart. The base is a combination of cedar, benzoin and large dollops of vetiver, making Carven’s re-launch of this iconic fragrance a light, cosmopolitan entry into the mossy world of the vetiver note.
From the lightest to the sweetest (and possibly strangest) vetiver included here. Fat Electrician is a vetiver scent with a creamy vanilla accord built into the middle of it, so you get a feeling of tempting sweetness layered over fresh earth or brand-new leather. The result is as honest and liberating as a food fight at a funeral.
Thirdman’s Eau Inexplicable is a curious and fun example of a light cologne style done primarily in spices and herbs, rather than citrus notes. This fragrance is like dozing on a warm, smooth rock as the sun passes over your head after a long day’s walk on the trails. There is patchouli, cedar, and vetiver to spare in this scent, paired up with sage, pink pepper and geranium.
The vetiver here is in team player mode, and it adds a forest floor sponginess and sunlit warmth to cologne that’s stuffed to the brim with sharp spice. The vetiver draws the nose down into the soft, almost musky heart of the fragrance, while the crackle of the pepper and the menthol bite of the geranium swirl around the edges, competing for your attention.