Vetiver root has been used in perfumery since day one, but the eponymous masculine Vetivers fixate on it with a particular reverence. Vetiver isn’t simply the masculine equivalent of the feminine white floral. It’s become a ceremonial totem of male toiletry, ranking with the fougère as a masculine olfactory reference. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Big Three (Carven, Guerlain, Givenchy) boosted vetiver from a fixative and a basenote material to the center of the discussion.
The Maculine Vetiver became safe harbor in the 1960s-1970s when the underpinnings of masculinity were up for discussion. More vetiver fragrances than you can shake a stick at followed. Some kept close to the scent of the vetiver root itself (eg. Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Route du Vetiver, Etro Vetiver, Lalique Encre Noire) while others strayed a bit further, riffing on a particular quality of the root (Annick Goutal Vetiver’s salty iodine, Serge Lutens’s chocolate Vetiver Oriental, ELDO Fat Electrician’s plastic and vinyl.)
Vetiver Extraordinaire falls into the conservative camp of Vetiver perfumes and The Big Three are its specific predecessors. All four are sweeping, classical perfumes that balance broad splashes and nuanced choices. Malle and Ropion are too well-versed in composition and history not to have understood the importance of the Big Three, but they chose to rival them rather than to imitate them. Malle also takes advantage of the of the fetishism surrounding the material, and fumies dutifully cite the 25% of vetiver oil used in the composition.
Ropion’s approach is to take vetiver to finishing school. After the dazzling citrus punch of the first sniff, he employs a swirling floral topnote to accentuate vetiver’s inherent thumping bass range. The liveliness of the topenotes have hints of lipstick and makeup and Vetiver Extraordinaire barely skirts the scandalous 'Old Lady Perfume' territory. The topnotes are ‘perfumey’ and remind me that Ropion known for his over-the-top perfumey feminine florals (Givenchy Amarige and Ysatis, Malle’s own Carnal Flower). Vetiver Extraordinaire eventually settles into a more traditionally masculine woody range, albeit with a dandy flourish.
Vetiver Extraordinaire captures the sensibility of the Frédéric Malle line perfectly. It is a superlative contemporary spin on a traditional form. Though not nearly as ubiquitous, Vetiver Extraordinaire rivals Guerlain Vetiver as the standard-bearer of the genre among vetiver enthusiasts.
I find Vetiver Extraordinaire to be good, but nothing extraordinary. It opens up on the skin as a bright fresh fragrance; but not too fresh such as Creed or Tom Ford. The vetiver note in question is clean and bright; not smoky or earthy. The pink pepper accentuates the fresh quality with a shimmering effect; it is almost glowing. The fragrance projects moderately and dries down to a soft base of woods with hints of musk and resin.
My biggest disappointment was in the fact that this just seemed to sit on the skin and was very soft. The performance was sorely lacking. I don't know if it's the fragrance- I'm assuming it is my own skin chemistry.
I'd recommend people to try this one out, and watch out for the performance. I'm sticking with Creed and Tom Ford.
Extraordinarily disappointed with this vetiver. Many of the Malle's I've tried seem to possess these unpalatable melange of notes, with one (or two, or three, or four...) notes always "off" and this one is no exception.
No need to really describe transitions as others have already done so, and it's mostly vetiver, but I find either the pink pepper (which I usually like), cloves, or musk in complete disharmony with its eponymous note. It comes across as anything but refreshing, almost rancidly sour, in fact, like smelling something that's turned...
Every time I wear this one I hope to find something I missed or to have it open up differently, but each time I'm left with the same reaction.
01st April, 2015 (last edited: 02nd April, 2015)
The refreshing opening is realistic orange with vetiver. Very nice. As the pepper and cloves enter into the picture the overall effect makes the fragrance greener. The sandalwood, cedar, oakmoss, incense and musk seem to apportion themselves without taking over completely making the wood more tangy than heavy. This is easily one of the best vetivers. For the price Guerlain vetiver is a better overall deal but if you can afford it then I recommend this vetiver.
Every time I read reviews, no matter how many are negative or ambivalent, I order samples hoping to experience the positive.
Not this time.
I get a vicious blast of clove, so much so my throat goes numb. This takes an hour to disappear, finally allowing the neutral green vetiver to come through. This smells quite similar to Guerlain's Vetiver, but slightly less soapy. No bitter green herbal goodness here. This fades to become a sad, dumpy musk over the next few hours. I can still smell the musk after 12 hours but only when I bring my wrist up to my nose.
Unless I am hot, the sillage is minimal, i.e. right next to the skin.
If I had paid even a quarter of the 50ml price, I would be annoyed at this timid, one dimensional bottle of chicanery.
Ropion's not pulling any punches here! Vétiver Extraordinaire arrives all wickedly harsh and green, like a big, herbaceous uppercut to the jaw. Then, just as it starts looking too aggressively bitter to wear, the fragrance begins to transform. A bit of incense starts to peek through, along with some woods and a very subtle sweet note that I can't quite pin down. It's arresting and raw, and you have to LOVE vetiver to wear it, but Vétiver Extraordinaire is a very serious, remarkably deep, and beautifully composed fragrance. This s tands with Maître Parfumeur et Gantier's Route du Vétiver, Chanel’s Sycomore, and Givenchy Vetyver as one of the finest vetiver scents I know.