Perfume Directory

Vetiver (1961)
by Guerlain

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Vetiver information

Year of Launch1961
GenderMasculine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 1824 votes)

People and companies

HouseGuerlain
PerfumerJean Paul Guerlain
PackagingRobert Granai
Parent CompanyLVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton
Parent Company at launchGuerlain

About Vetiver

This popular fragrance by Guerlain was relaunched in 2000 with new packaging, a new bottle (designed by Robert Granai) and new colour juice. According to Guerlain, the scent remains unchanged and is as good as it ever was.

Vetiver fragrance notes

Reviews of Vetiver

Old school in all of the best senses of the word. Quality ingredients, really distinct notes to my beginners nose and very, very enjoyable to wear.

Also a beautiful example of balance - there are a lot of notes used in this fragrance that can be overpowering. The tobacco in particular is beautifully done - I've had a couple of costlier fragrances absolutely bludgeon me with tobacco, whereas in this application it is gently and deftly woven in.

I would have bought this at retail and have been convinced of the price/value proposition - at current pricing it's just stunning value.

It is quite different to most modern offerings, so Zealot Crusader's caveat for younger buyers to exercise caution in a blind buy is warranted, but that is the only hesitation I'd have in recommending it to someone. Thumbs up.
28th October, 2019 (last edited: 05th November, 2019)
What a veritable rape of this former classic vetiver! Also the other scents at Guerlain – see “Habit Rouge”! These “Wasser Spiele” are a horror! This further formulation is a shame! Since the 1970s meanwhile the fourth! And getting more worse with each version! I had this fragrance as the main perfume for almost 35 years. It's over for me with that Vetiver! Thank God there is Tom Ford's Vetiver and Givenchy's Vetyver. In fact the new one are an abomination, ultra-overprices but in fact cheap and ordinary. A real drugstore caliber – nothing more!
28th October, 2019
This is a great time to buy a bottle of Guerlain Vetiver. The current iteration is fantastic--a robust, effervescent, green vetiver with spicy, sassafras-like accents, a clean, grassy heart, and a balanced, substantial vetiver in the base. It begins bold and crisp, bubbling with a sort of fizzy spiciness, a distinctly green vetiver embellished with nutmeg, myrrh, and pepper. It's more complex than you might imagine, and after an hour or so, some transitions occur and the scent subtly develops into a fresher, "soapier" version of itself. Some of its spice recedes, and in its place subtle florals create a cleaner, out-of-the-shower impression. It feels its most classical and polished during this stage and seems designed for the man who is well-groomed, but not extravagant or ostentatious in any way. It's a sensible heart, and pragmatic as far as its function. Wearing Vetiver during the day, after being greeted early with its vibrant, spicy punch, its cool, clean middle carries me the rest of the way, and it's especially appropriate throughout the late morning and early afternoon as I go about my business, keeping me feeling clean and composed with few olfactory distractions. In its final stage, Vetiver becomes more woody and less grassy--its rootier qualities emerge, along with some earthiness. Here, it presents a balanced and well-done middle-of-the-road vetiver supported by notes of soft amber and sandalwood. Overall, this is just a great vetiver experience in a bottle. You get its various facets at different stages, and while Vetiver never really delves into the much darker, earthier side of the plant, it presents enough variety to remain interesting and compelling. It's also very functional, and is something that can be worn easily during the day, keeping you feeling sharp and put together. While vetiver is a distinct smell, and somewhat rare as a dominant note in popular, mainstream men's perfumery, Guerlain has presented it here in what, in my opinion, is its most palatable, widely appealing form, making this an excellent choice as one's first vetiver fragrance, or as a more useful component in any vetiver-lover's wardrobe. Considering it's current price of about $35 for a large bottle, Vetiver is a great deal and recommended as a blind buy to anyone who is familiar with how vetiver actually smells. If you've never smelled vetiver before, then I certainly recommend sampling this one (or any vetiver based scent), as it's a fairly distinct note. Thumbs up. Final rating: 9/10


Side note: I don't like to ascribe age ranges to scents as I feel there's little truth to the reality of what something smells like and what age it is best for, but I would advise younger men to sample or at least sniff this one out before blindly buying a bottle. That's mainly because vetiver is no longer the ubiquitous, widely-popular note that it once was. While it's often listed as a note in contemporary men's releases, that doesn't mean that it's featured prominently in any of these scents. On the contrary, more recently, it's most often buried in the base of scents, blended in among other vaguely woody notes and/or appearing so late in the dry down as to be an afterthought. So if your'e a young guy it's possible that you've never really smelled vetiver itself as a note. And because it's a very distinct note and smell (quite different from other woods and plants you may have smelled before), I recommend sampling it first.
13th August, 2019
Vetiver is a clean, classy, fresh fragrance that excels at being both masculine yet inoffensive - and thus appropriate for any occasion - work included. It reminds me somewhat of a freshly cut New England lawn in spring; a very fresh, green experience. After a couple of hours the sillage drops to personal space only, but that’s fine with me because I do often wear it at work. However, if one wished, one could sparingly re-apply this mid-day without it becoming cloying.

The wife absolutely loves it post dry-down after it jettisons the soapiness. Vetiver puts me in a better mood every time I wear it. This one was a blind buy for me based off reviews.

Scent 9/10

Longevity 7/10: lasts 8 hours but requires 5 or 6 sprays to account for loss of power as it transitions throughout the day if not re-applying.

Sillage: 7/10 for 2 hours then drops from there to 2/10 after 8 hours.
10th August, 2019
A few weeks ago, I awoke on one of the first days of a summer vacation and remembered that we were heading for the beach that day... a breezy beach near a conifer forest, with sand that stretches way out into shallows for ages, with tall, coarse grasses and soft grey sand. I had a sample of the silver-cap formulation of Guerlain Vetiver that had been sitting in my sock drawer and decided to wear it because vetiver often reminds me of the scent of driftwood. Vetiver and I have had a complicated relationship... I am emphatically *not* one of the people on whom vetiver lasts forever – on the contrary. There has also been something in various vetivers I’ve owned decants of (Encre Noire, both 'gold cap' vintage and recent-ish formulations Guerlain Vetiver, Vetiver extreme) that gives me headaches. I’ve admired vetiver objectively but never really had it work with my chemistry... so much so that I’ve never bought a bottle of Guerlain’s classic Vetiver, despite being a fan the both the house and the era.

Nonetheless, those mingling notes of neroli and liquorice, spice and woods wowed me that day, so I took a flyer and ordered a bottle...Headaches be damned. The bottle that arrived was the new version with the green wooden cap, batch code June 2017. A few notes:

Firstly, and most emphatically – no headaches! Something about the new bottle has been changed, for the better in my case.

Secondly, this vetiver seems (to me anyway) to be a little less smoky than the silver capped version; possibly a little less nutmeg as well? I like both smoky notes and nutmeg, but sense that the newest bottle is more balanced towards fresh aromatics (I pick up more citrus, and possibly more coriander as well). This is less the case of something conspicuously missing than a variation of interpretation.

Thirdly, performance (again, on me, pretty subtle) is similar or better to other recent (circa 2014/'silver cap') decants of Guerlain Vetiver I’ve tried... I get a great couple of hours of tasteful arm's length projection, then a subtle sillage that gradually settles down, the overall composition being mostly undetectable save as a (lovely) skin scent after four or five hours. I had a decant of the gold cap version that probably had a touch more endurance, but the difference between the product then and now was not enormous. It does reapply exceptionally well, however, never seeming cloying or top-heavy when reapplied midway through a hot afternoon.

There is a beautiful combination of bright neroli and bergamot up front, an orangey bloom both sweet and subtly sour, with the vetiver’s grassiness emerging with its keen edges brought out by very discernible notes of coriander, nutmeg and pepper. Waiting in the base are a sweetly woody blend of myrrh, tonka and just a hint of a light tobacco. I think this famous ‘cut hay’ drydown layered over warm skin might be one of the pleasant things I’ve ever smelled; the layers – soft and faintly mobile, exerting a textural effect that though subtle is very comforting.

The coherence of the overall composition is fascinating to me, as it is on the one hand simple, unpretentiously wearable and broadly appealing, and on the other somewhat mysterious, impenetrable and self-contained in its tact and composure. I think this contradiction is best explained as being the way that the composition simultaneously smells like a clearly discernible material (vetiver) while functioning like a masterfully crafted abstraction... How it can be both – authentic and artificial, simple yet highly articulated, is, to me, the ‘art thing’ with this fragrance... a totally fresh and convincing expression, every time I wear it.

P.S. I’ve commented on this before, but I still do not understand the ‘old man’ remarks... How could a fragrance that was created by a twenty-something smell geriatric? This stuff smells thoughtfully distinct, refreshing and uplifting, with none of the heavy accords that might be put to service to mask old smoke, stagnant grooming habits or general decay; nor does it smell like a generalized idea that has become ubiquitous in knockoffs and cleaning products. There is nothing try-hard or striving that suggests somebody’s long-since-lapsed impression of success. Simply put, it does not smell like a cliché – it smells like a miracle.
27th July, 2019
This is the 60´s for the suit man: Bond (Connery of course), Sinatra, etc.
Not High Ashbury.
Classic.
Like Dior Eau Sauvage with a cigarette.
The music? Lalo Schifrin, Henry Mancini.
Guerlain Vetiver is the perfect parfum.

23rd July, 2019 (last edited: 24th July, 2019)

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