Perfume Directory

Vetiver (1961)
by Guerlain

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Vetiver information

Year of Launch1961
GenderMasculine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 1720 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

Vetiver is a very common note in men's fragrance, and it's no surprise that it eventually got it's own mostly single-note dedicated creation. Guerlain was not the first to bring a Vetiver cologne or EDT to market, but they already had the years of expertise with selling vetiver extracts long before they composed a scent featuring the note that theirs is often considered the reference vetiver scent. The story goes that Jean-Paul Guerlain was tasked with making the scent as the company's first exclusively male scent since Mouchoir de Monsieur way back in 1902, since the Belle Epoch was long gone and men with Victorian sensibilities weren't really walking the earth. The modern mid-century man had a desire for fragrance that he hadn't possessed back then, and it wasn't just dandies or dignitaries wearing this stuff, so something unmistakably masculine was in order. It's really no surprise then that this scent was based on Jean-Paul's impression of a gardener kept by a family friend, fusing vetiver with tobacco in the base to make something rich and earthly, very salt-of-the-earth.

Vetiver in any vintage ends in roughly the same dry-down, but older versions do take a rounder more tree-bark route to the destination than newer formulations, which mostly place that smoky and grassy vetiver note front and center for much longer before reaching the tobacco at the bottom. Spend your money where you like I say, as all different vintages will get you besides a different bottle is a different path from top to bottom, with the oldest incarnations before 1988 actually being lighter since they were originally made at eau de cologne strength. Ultimately, you have to like grass and tobacco to dig this, there is literally no way around the vetiver, which itself is more smoky than green, and provides that quality in any number of scents containing it that you have already smelled. Guerlain sought to isolate that herbal smokiness and build a scent up around it, epitomizing the working man's smell in the process with tilled earth, verdant freshness, and the lingering ash of ground-in dirt.
The secret to making pleasant what must all sound unappealing by description was the use of citrus and spices to lift and zest up the hard-edged core notes.

The best way to describe this to somebody needing a comparison to another scent would be an aldehydic leather fragrance made without leather, or a tobacco scent like Tabac without any oriental sweetness or amber; vetiver is pleasant, verdant, fresh, but not light, airy, or soft like most green scents that toss in flowers or fruit somewhere for an approachable feel. Vetiver is a proper man's scent for the man that doesn't want to smell like he's going to a high society function, but still wants to be pleasant company, even if he's turning a wrench instead of the dial on his dress watch. Vetiver is the ultimate work scent as nobody would ever find it offensive, but neither is it in the least bit suggestive, unless somebody finds rugged no-nonsense masculinity attractive. It doesn't overbear or flash a ton of sex-driven animalic notes your way, as it doesn't have any, nor does it try to be gentle like the lavender-based fougeres or the lemony chypres making the rounds in the day of it's release. Pure vetiver is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of vibe, but if you want to smell it dressed up just a tad, this really is the fragrance for you that should come before any others bearing the name.
28th November, 2017 (last edited: 12th December, 2017)
After wearing Tom ford grey vetiver for a year... which I really like (edp) I bought a bottle of Guerlains as this is really inexpensive and to many reviewer's the superior scent. With this scent I find it more organic and grassy but extremely simular (I think I purchased these in the wrong order)..it has the same sort of lemon vetiver combination but emphasises the root of vetiver and it's natural odour a little more..you can tell it has a vintage feel to it with the nutmeg and such in the construction but that's fine with me as it's got that classic appeal so many oldies have like pour monsier etc. It reminds me of a grassy version of dior eau sauvage at times, I do pick up a smidgen of Tobbaco which is nice.
If your after a more modern take on this genre then Tom Ford's is an excellent more wearable choice, but if you prefer the original of ideas and a classic more green approach try this or just have both. Its like comparing dior eau sauvage with dior sauvage. One thing I'll say about guerlain is they certainly know how to create a well constructed fragrance ..sometimes it's worth just having a spray and relaxing and smelling your hand every ten minutes to see where it's at. The final act in this fragrance is in the far dry down when it's a skin scent..you are left with the faintest citric woody smell that oozes class and sophistication.
18th July, 2017 (last edited: 21st July, 2017)
TooBIG Show all reviews
United States
Bought this on a blind buy because of the reviews and how talked about in the frag community.

I'm still on the fence. Smelling it right after applied doesn't smell very appealing to me. After about 20-25 mins it changes but I still don't know if I love it.

Definitely not an everyday ware for me. I like Veitver in other fragrances but this one is a little different to me for some reason.

Jury is still out. Maybe it'll grow on me and I'll be back with another option.
24th June, 2017
Based on latest version

The opening & mid of this fragrance strongly remind me off a mopped floor (with disinfectant) at a hospital. Perhaps the lemon/lime/ginger scented disinfectants were inspired by this fragrance. This association ruins it for me.

The dry down is basic green earthy vetiver.


Projection - 7/10
Longevity - 6-8 hours


5.5/10
20th May, 2017
Review of the ribbed bottle circa early 2000s:

A beautiful fresh vetiver fragrance with depth that maintains a great balance between soapy and dry aspects. There is a brief initial flourish of citrus, before paving way for the vetiver in the heart. The grassy aspects of vetiver are highlighted, yet there is a distinct woody tone that balances out the freshness. The mid phase also brings to fore a very subtle and discreet tobacco note - green, dry, aromatic, slightly smoky and only slightly bitter. This is paired harmoniously with a touch of tonka. Sillage is discreet but discernible, and duration is good for its genre at around six to seven hours.

The development is beautiful, and the composition is reasonably complex. Opulence is shunned in favour of a timeless elegance. It is absolutely delightful and delicious, and one can easily understand why it has been the reference vetiver over three decades. The greatest aspect is the stunning balance. All of this happens not as accident, but as a result of a master perfumer seriously dedicated to his craft.

4.5/5


Review of the 'tall' bottle circa early 2010s:

The biggest difference is that in this version Vetiver is brighter, airier, slightly less woody, and slightly lacking in depth. It still retains much of its charm, though not sure if that wonderful smoky tobacco note is still hanging out there. Slightly more approachable, and slightly less interesting.

Anyone missing the earlier version of Guerlain would be advised to consider Lubin's Vetiver, though the Lubin utilises a clove note that's absent in the Guerlain.

3.5/5

05th May, 2017
Zowiee Show all reviews
United States
One of my all time favs! Reformulated or not, it's magnificent IMHO. This would make my top 10 list, possibly a top 5 fragrance!
The initial blast reminds me of cinnamon toothpicks (do they still make them!?) from my youth. Then, through the dry-down this fragrance remains phenomenal. It lasts all day into the evening on me. And for that, I am thankful.
02nd May, 2017 (last edited: 07th May, 2017)

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