Should be renamed Vetiver Absolute. I smell nothing but Vetiver from beginning to end. Granted, Vetiver is a very complex essential oil that hits many notes but Malle did himself a modern perfume by bottling vetiver oil (high-end quality too) and calling it a fragrance.
Malle's Vetiver Extraordinaire is fresh, green vetiver root, earthy, salty and slightly sweet. A hint of clove underneath and a faint wood tone round this off, but natural green vetiver root is the main theme.
VE would appeal to any vetiver lover, whether they be fans of the dark dirty style or the bright grass style, VE has aspects of both. Could be worn anywhere for any occasion, in all but the coldest of days. Average sillage and longevity on a 75 degree and dry day, but I expect it would really shine in higher temperatures.
Maybe the best modern vetiver available. When I finish my decant, I am definitely going to purchase a bottle. Thumbs Up.
16th February, 2016 (last edited: 21st February, 2016)
The "Real" Vetiver...
Let me start off first of all by saying that I am a huge fan of vetiver in all forms, and a huge fan of vetiver based fragrances. I find this one very authentic and extremely well made.
The fragrance starts out with a hit of smoky, earthy vetiver and some citrus. I get the cloves and some dark spices (including black pepper) and it really brings out the "dark" aspects of the vetiver root. It is said that perfumer Dominique Ropion, who has done amazing stuff for the Frederic Malle line, used about 25% vetiver absolute when composing this. This makes it the highest concentration of vetiver in a perfume currently available on the market. As a fan of vetiver, this alone made me want to try it.
I am also a huge fan of Guerlain Vetiver, but this one is slightly different. Where that one was a balance between vetiver and citrus (ie lemon), this one is a very dark, earthy, rooty type. It showcases the whole root of the plant, almost as it the earth is still clinging to it. I also compare this one to Lalique Encre Noir, but there are noticable differences. Although they are similar in "feeling" or "tone", the Lalique is sweeter, and less natural. This one is greener and earthier all the way.
Vetiver Extraordinaire hits you with a strong blast of vetiver root and says "here, deal with it". You have no choice but to accept this in-your-face type of vetiver.
As for me, I would consider purchasing, but only because I am a die hard vetiver fan. This one I think is a vetiver fan's vetiver, there is no compromise. But I must admit that if you are concerned about cost and versatility then there are other options, the Guerlain, Tom Ford version and the Lalique are all great choices, so don't feel under pressure to get this. But if you want it done right, then try this out. My only drawback is that it doesn't last the whole length of my day, even though the concentration is high. Still for now, I would only buy this if I had the money to spend on it. Otherwise I can still stick with what I already know.
A fragrance that I associate with smell of fresh cut grass. A little spicy in the beginning (cloves and pepper) under a bed of green and grassy vetiver. I am getting some nuances of bitter orange after the initial blast. At this point it smells a little minty and very fresh. After about 30 minutes, the blend settles to a green and bitter, slightly mentholated vetiver. The fragrance is slow to transform and in the dry down, VE meets a slight warmer woodier side.
I was expecting to be blown away, to have a new vetiver reference, but it wasn't the case. Actually I have grown to like it quite a bit since my first wearing , but it's not extraordinary. The reason might be that I prefer the rootier and heavier vetivers. This one is too green, grassy, clean and subtle, but with an undeniable blend quality. I am being overly critic, but it's a very solid scent.
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.