This almost drove me mad. I sprayed a bit of it on at night before bed, and then promptly forgot about it. Then the next morning, I smelled something really good on my arm – like a cross between the soapy sandalwood from the far drydown of Slumberhouse’s Vikt and the horsey, slightly sweaty leather from Chanel’s Cuir de Russie. I spent half of the next day rummaging through my decants and samples drawer furiously trying to remember which sample it was that smelled so damned good. When I finally figured out what it was, I have to admit I was amazed. Because the heart of this particular fragrance was so off-putting to me I could not believe that something so good had come out of it.
It got me to thinking that some fragrances are ripe for reverse engineering – you know, perfumes you wish you could swap out the middle or the end for other bits of other perfumes? Given the choice, I would go Frankenstein on Mazzolari’s Vetyver. The opening smells amazing – bright, bristling with citrus and aromatics. It strikes me as juicy, sweet, and green, but without any of the attendant bitterness I associate with vetiver root. The far drydown is a beautiful, soapy sandalwood that goes on forever and smells deeply comforting.
The heart, though, evolves into this strong, dank, fetid vetiver that I find difficult to enjoy. It has the whiff of damp underthings in a Ron Burgundy’s gym bag, faint BO, wet towels and all, left to fester over a period of a few weeks. Vetiver, when done like this, always reminds of me cheap men’s aftershaves you used to see at the drugstore – Brut, and the like. Somewhere deep within the DNA of vetiver (the material), there is a pong of rotting saltmarshes and roots that live half in and half out of stagnant water. It smells like the seventies all over again, and fills me with a creeping dread.
But, in all fairness, I think my reaction has something to do with my feelings about vetiver in general. It’s proving to be a bit of a bête noire for me.
Mazzolari Vetyver’s opening salvo caught me so completely off guard that I first had to check the vial to confirm I’d applied the right scent, then reapply a couple of times to make sure I could follow it. My first thought: “Wow, that’s really sweet!” My second: “Where’s the vetiver?”
In my experience most modern vetiver scents reveal their hand pretty quickly, without much more than some crisp citrus as prelude to the title ingredient. Not Mazzolari Vetyver. This launches instead on a sweet bergamot and animalic patchouli accord that bears passing family resemblance to Mazzolari’s own Lui and Patchouli, though admittedly cleaner, lighter, and less aromatic than either.
Only after a half an hour does vetiver fully assert itself as the lynchpin of the composition, and even then it supports a much sweeter and well-padded structure than I’ve come to expect from something calling itself “Vetyver.” In addition to the mild patchouli and sweet citrus, Mazzolari surrounds its mellow, nutty, and slightly anise-flavored vetiver with soft amber, leather, and tobacco. When a vanillic note emerges in the drydown I even sense faint echoes of Molinard’s great Habanita, though with none of that scent’s floral components.
Stylistically this scent is as far removed from the sharp, rooty vetivers like Vétiver Extraordinaire and Etro Vetiver as it is from the dry smoky interpretations such as Encre Noire and Sycomore. It is also far more sweet and lush than Givenchy’s Vetyver and Guerlain Vetiver, and hence stands alone among contemporary vetiver fragrances. Well, almost alone: there is a conceptual parallel with Serge Lutens’s Vétiver Oriental, but the Mazzolari is a much more coherent and convincing structure, with its various components better balanced and more fully integrated. Sillage and projection are well-judged to create a presence without offending, and the scent lasts for several hours on the skin. A superb vetiver, and one that would wear just as well on a woman as on a man!
Floral, grassy sandalwood. Has a soapy warm, golden appeal. Chypre-like. Unisex. So fresh and Spring-friendly. It makes you think of Spring or feel like you are sitting out on the patio. Lasts a long time and mellows nicely, too.
Clean, citrus, vetiver, sandalwood, a hint of herbs and spice, barbershop, warm weather, yada yada...
That's the basic idea I needed to get off of my chest. Now, with that out of the way, I can get to, what I feel, is a more important point. This stuff has raw, brutal potency, despite it being a clean scent (Lui and Patchouly share this ferocity, but smell nothing like Vetyver). It's like a volume knob being turned up too much causing the sound to distort. The drydown becomes beautiful but it takes about 5 hours IF you're using clothing sprays like I often do. Skin bleeds the brutality off much more quickly, and Vetyver seems particularly suited to my skin as my skin usually absorbs most of the scent out of a fragrance in two hours or less. It would probably take my a few wearings to really fine tune my ratio of clothing to skin sprays, but for most people I would recommend skin only as clothing really holds the full brutality of the opening for a long time.
"These go to eleven."
A woody vetiver, touched with citrus and nutmeg. I think tobacco plays an important role in this one and for a tobacco-vetiver blend, this is smoother than Guerlain’s offering. Well-blended. A decent scent, but not my first choice for vetiver.
Upon first wearing Mazolari Vetyver I passed it off as a traditional mens fragrance blend so common from some mens fragrance brands. The opening smells mostly of sandlawood and citrus. I was disappointed because it does not smell like a vetiver fragrance at all at first. But vetiver does emerge along with a soft nutmeg note that gives the sandalwood / vetiver a silvery soft quality that is very appealing especially after the citrus disappears. Might be a touch of patchouli hidden in their with the nutmeg and sandalwood. The opening of this scent is not very special, but the drydown is much more subtle and very pleasing. Mazzolari Vetiver wears more like a blended fragrance that happens to have vetiver in it than a vetiver scent, so I really don't compare it to other vetiver fragrances much. It reminds me of Monsieur Carven, Mark Birley for Men, or even the Austrian eau de cologne from Von Sierstorpf - all mens fragrances that use subtle blends of sandalwood, patchouli and vetiver with soft spice to achieve an effect of distinguished cleanliness. It has taken multiple tries at Mazzolari Vetyver, but I think I like it as a mens aromatic light wood cologne, but it is not a favorite as a vetiver scent - it really is more than just vetiver. As a vetiver fragrance I would give this a neutral review, but as a mens cologne I earns a thumbs up.