Neutral Reviews of Vetiver by Guerlain

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    Way Off Scenter's avatar

    United States United States

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    Genre: Woods

    June 2008:
    Guerlain’s classic Vetiver introduces itself with a very wet, round citrus accord. It takes some time before the citrus is underpinned by a relatively mellow vetiver note. Later in the course of its development it also reveals a touch of smoke and some crisp green notes that extend the life of the opening citrus accord.

    The fragrance cruises along in vetiver-citrus mode for a long time, and I find its uncomplicated structure brisk and refreshing. Guierlain Vetiver is a classical fragrance in the true sense of the word. Like an ionic temple or a Mozart concerto, it exhibits perfect balance, with no extraneous elements to distract from its essential form. If you’re looking for the aggressively earthy, stark, potent vetiver of Route du Vétiver, Vétiver Extraordinaire, or Etro’s Vetiver, you won’t find it here. But if you want a comfortable, civilized approach to the vetiver root, this is it.

    August 2009:
    I have an odd relationship with Guerlain's Vetiver. I keep thinking that I ought to like it much, much more than I do. With tobacco, nutmeg, coriander and neroli gracing its star note, this stuff should be catnip for me. An yet - it never strikes as much more than "OK."

    Why is that? Could it be that I've become accustomed to bolder, more aggressive vetivers, like Encre Noire or Route du Vétiver? No, that can't be it, since I find the more polite and civilized Sycomore and Givenchy Vetyver far more compelling than the Guerlain. Whatever keeps me from loving Guerlain Vetiver dearly lies with the scent itself. As I wear it and study it, I notice a few things:

    First, it's very linear on me once the vetiver and cedar emerge.

    Second, it's very, very shy on my skin. After fifteen minutes of wear I always have to search for it with my nose to make sure it's still there.

    Third, and most disappointing, is that the vetiver and cedar heart smells oddly hollow and emaciated to me, as if the flesh on the accord has been whittled away by some erosive force, and only the skeleton remains.

    I still want to like it, but I can't actually find all that much in it to like.

    07th July, 2014

    ClarkScent's avatar

    United States United States

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    Happy Easter

    I will wear this every Easter...but not a day between them. It just really smells like Easter to me for some reason..also smells like as if someone poured a bucket of dish detergent on the front lawn.

    Pros: I have it in my collection
    Cons: I bought the big bottle"

    09th October, 2013

    Helveticum's avatar



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    Good for devoted vetiver lovers

    Smells of a fresh grave, very Gothic. Consistent within its design, it seems.

    11th July, 2013

    vinramani09's avatar

    United States United States

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    Its ok

    The 125 ml formulation is slightly better, it has decent longevity. There is a note, in this fragrance, I cannot pinpoint but conjures up an activities hall at senior's retirement home. Also a part of this fragrance smells like noxema skin creme. Encre Noir and Sycomore are better options.

    23rd June, 2013

    Gary F's avatar

    United States United States

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    Olfactory Abuse

    Yuck! Guerlain is usually so refined and delicious, but not Vetiver. I can detect no other notes because the vetiver is so overpowering. I have idea about longevity because I had to wash it off since the top notes were so offensive. I really tried, but oh my this is bad. This must be why so many people dislike vetiver as a note.

    Pros: None
    Cons: Vetiver Overload

    20th June, 2013

    southerngardens's avatar

    United States United States

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    After the disappointing experience with the Vol De Nuit EDC, I did not have high expectations for the Vintage Vetiver EDC.
    Even though Guerlain was not the first to introduce a Vetiver Fragrance(1961), Guerlain should be the touch stone for all Vetiver fragrances.
    Though vintage Vetiver EDC is mainly a linear fragrance, it does contain notes of lemon,tobacco, vetiver, nutmeg and pepper. Vetiver EDC opens with a strong blast of aldehydes or smelled more of hairspray and a light scent of lemon.
    After about 10 minutes in, I start to get the vetiver coming forward with the lemon and a faint smell of tobacco. 30 minutes since applying the vetiver is coming on strong with the faint smell of lemon. I never get a smell of nutmeg or pepper. Now is when the sillage is at it's highest, though Vintage Vetiver EDC is not a sillage monster. One hour in, the frag has become a skin scent, but the vetiver is still hanging in there. After about 2.5 hours, the EDC's longevity has given up and is gone.
    The vintage Vetiver EDC has been a lot more of a pleasure to wear. Perhaps a little because I like the scent of vetiver, but unlike the Vol De Nuit EDC, the wearing pleasure lasted a lot longer. If you have normal skin and can wear EDC's, this would be a perfect spring and summer fragrance. Actually the coolness would seem to ruin the effect of vetiver. This could pass as a unisex frag due to it's airiness and if a lady likes vetiver obviously.

    18th March, 2013

    shlalaw's avatar



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    A slight disappointment given the hype. Not a very heavy vetiver scent to me. If that's what you want, go with Encre Noire. Still, a pleasant alternative given the mood.

    26th June, 2012

    clipper's avatar



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    Lovely. The pine and grasses, wood and citrus. It's not subtle by any means, but upfront even with 2 sprays. It lasted a solid 6 hours with my minimal usage.

    I could've worn this for a very long time, maybe the rest of my life.

    Thing is, my wife hates it. Wife Acceptance Factor (WAF) is a pretty big one, so when she said, "ugh, that makes me want to puke," I moved on to other possibilities.

    Lesson learned: never buy alone, unless you're alone.

    03rd May, 2012

    drseid's avatar

    United States United States

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    Not impressive. I own a vintage ribbed bottle of this one and have so tried to like it, but alas I just cannot warm to it. It is fresh and very wearable, but I just keep hoping for something that is more raw and distinctive. I recently sampled Tom Ford's Grey Vetiver (which many consider a modern take on this one) and while I agree about the "modern take on GV" part, I was unimpressed with that one for the same reason. Both of these are just too refined and fresh for my personal vetiver tastes. Longevity and projection are both relatively weak. The bottom line is Guerlain Vetiver will always be a classic, but not one I can recommend when there are so many more distinctive vetivers out there, IMO. 2.5 stars out of 5.

    03rd March, 2012 (Last Edited: 21st December, 2012)

    Manteuse's avatar

    United States United States

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    I wanted to like this fragrance so much. It seemed a classic and I fancied it being a mainstay, but the smell was just so disagreeable with me. It was a nausea inducing pine smell that I couldn't even endure getting close to in order to break it down.

    Perhaps I'll give it another try but this was unbearable and had to be washed off. This to me seals the trinity of 'Love' or 'Hate' offenders.

    Kouros, Angel Men, and Guerlains Vetiver.

    29th October, 2011 (Last Edited: 01st December, 2011)

    slvrbckgorilla's avatar

    United States United States

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    I can not, in good conscience, give this fragrance a negative review. For me it is wholly un-wearable, hauntingly medicinal, and strangely unpleasant. I can not imagine smelling of this and would not want to. That being said, this fragrance is a powerhouse. It is a major player in the history of perfumery, and, highly regarded as a top scent. Being that it is such an incredibly important fragrance and that I am so adverse to it, I have to split the difference and give it a neutral. A winner for many, but, undeniably not for me.

    31st March, 2011

    Darvant's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Once, while spending my holidays in Amsterdam, i met a french boy fond about fragrances. He told me about his Dad's maniacal passion for a great exotic classic, Vetiver by Guerlain and about a sort of unparalleled fresh, clean, "trans-oceanic" aura elicited by this fragrance, a polite masculine feel due to its tobacco note. Few times later i watched a wonderful advertising printed on a magazine (the sail- boat floating on a green sea- better a see made of about trees, bushes, grass and greens) and i decided to give it a try. Few scents i admit exude a pair sense of freshness and cleanliness and it's true this fragrance is still exotic and classy even if the new formulation understates its greatness. Many are complaining with the new formulation and i agree in part with them. The current formulation is too linear and weak in my opinion, taking away that touch of boldness and crisp luxurious initial temperament that the old formula kept on and that is necessary in my opinion in this kind of gently mild, green fragrances. Guerlain Vetiver is a mild, slightly airy, gentle vetiver, so far from the untamed rough ones like Route du Vetiver and my lovely Etro one. You hardly can perceive the earthy temperament here and after the initial citrus spicy blast the fragrance slides soon in to a sort of smooth, slightly resinous, mellow, musky/tobacco/balmy smell, may be too pale and gentle. Perhaps today i prefer the earthy vetivers even if i love the airy Sel de Vetiver, surely not rude and a lot airy and salty, indeed. Anyway this scent remains a great one and the key of scent is represented a by link between neroli, vetiver, tobacco and a touch of myrrh. Tonka bean
    provides a nutty, watery feel to the dry down and the spices engage to push up (together with the tobacco) the exotic masculine feel.
    Unfortunately longevity and sillage are weak. Always a pleasure to take a shower by foam bath all over
    shampoo Guerlain and to copiously spray this fragrance on yourself at morning.

    19th January, 2011 (Last Edited: 06th January, 2014)

    MOONB's avatar

    United States United States

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    Vetiver by Guerlain is the definition of a classic traditional vetiver for men. Lemon, vetiver, touches of tobacco and woods in the base. Not very complicated, not easy to dislike. Something about the chemical composition of this fragrance bothers my sinuses a bit, but not enough to prevent me from wearing it. I don't think any vetiver will ever blow me away, and this one certainly doesn't (I prefer the more contemporary-smelling Original Vetiver by Creed), but it's pleasant enough, and just the thing for a hot summer day. Beware of those who get a "bugspray" vibe from this, however - they may be on to something there.

    02nd July, 2010 (Last Edited: 20th December, 2010)

    Purveyor of fine scents's avatar



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    Smells like most retirement homes. Maybe I'll like it in 20 years.

    02nd June, 2010

    Turko's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    Barber shop fragrance that is very common on most men's after shave. Refined scent on men over 40 years of age but this might not appeal to today's generation since the smell is quite dated.

    24th May, 2010

    credence's avatar



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    I was amazed with the opening notes of this fragrance but 15 minutes later this soapy accord comes into play and lasts for hours. If you like the smell of traditional white soap accompanied by citrus notes , here you go: Guerlain Vetiver.

    27th March, 2010

    cheekyhamsta's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    I had the older EDT incarnation of this – deep golden liquid in a simple elegant bottle with a gold lid and a square green label. Although it has undoubted appeal, reminding me much of a fragrantly smoky/earthy Middle Eastern perfume with a strong note of nutmeg, I also think it’s overrated by many on this website. It smells a bit old fashioned to me but also I concede quite sophisticated – and might match a country squire or even Sherlock Holmes in a tweed attire. Not bad but certainly not an essential buy IMO. Upper echelons of neutral at best from me.

    01st March, 2010 (Last Edited: 27th October, 2012)

    WavingWheat's avatar

    United States United States

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    I am not sure how to take this scent. It is a quality French fragrance, yet it is not long lasting. It is a semi-sweet, grassy, slightly citrus, slightly woody, and peppery. Dries down into a somewhat sophisticated, mature scent. It is more than a barber shop tonic. Regardless of however classic it is, there are more modern version of this genre out there.

    23rd November, 2009

    manicboy's avatar

    United States United States

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    This review is for the current EdT formulation.

    GV gets credit for being the first Vetiver-based scent. For a number of years, it was the only game in town if Vetiver was your calling. I can't vouch for older formulations or the EdC, but the current version smells of harsh chemicals. First time I wore this, I got a headache. 2nd time, no headache but nothing in this juice appealed to me. It came across as a miasma of green soapy tobacco leaves.

    Now that Vetiver-based scents have filled the market strata to great success (see Encre Noire, Malle Vetiver Ext, & Etro Vetiver for some better executed takes on this stinky root), I'm afraid GV doesn't cut it anymore. The students are now the teachers. I'm afraid GV has become redundant. Somewhere, Monsieur Guerlain is rolling in his grave. Neutral rating due to it's originality and creation.

    18th August, 2009

    jenson's avatar

    India India

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    a pretty dynamic, harsh/gritty vetiver n tobacco combo presented in a very true form... for reference, Lubins Le Vetiver smells a lot like this one. however, this is not my type of scent...maybe itll grow on me in time...but for now, ill pass.

    14th August, 2009 (Last Edited: 18th August, 2009)

    Speed00kills's avatar

    United States United States

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    decillisjl I see what you mean. I have a spray sample of this I got from the perfumedcourt and was very excited to try it because of all the wear it gets around here. When I put it on my skin it smelled like a citronella candle. I don't know I guess it's just my skin chemistry that doesn't agree with it making it rather pungent and not very pleasant. Not bad just not for me obviously.

    03rd May, 2009

    decillisjl's avatar

    United States United States

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    oh how excited i was when a fellow bner shipped this to me... oh how disappointed i was after wearing it to a full day at work... i really love the vetiver out of the bottle, but there's something "off" with this on my skin... no i mean like off the bug repellant... wow rereading the scent profile just made me figure out why i don't love this... CORIANDER... i ran a mexican restaurant for five years and one of the best parts of the day was making salsa... the pungent yet fresh aroma of crushed cilantro always left a smile on my face, but cilantro on my skin is absolutely wretched... this is the reason that i was never able to really enjoy live jazz... it's so sad that something i love smelling so much in its natural form makes me so nauseated in its perfume form... oh well this will be another bottle up for swap... neutral rating because it is a very well made fragrance and i can see how it is so popular, but i will never be able to wear it

    17th March, 2009

    citic's avatar

    France France

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    Great looking botttle , feels good in ther hand , spraying citrus and then a nice dry down but i found it too light and after a few hours hard to smell , I sprayed twice on my arm and twice on my neck and kept sniffing my arm and just didnt get that wow factor that I have from other frags. Must be my skin type just doesnt shine for me, I am sure with the right skin type its great but sadly not for me

    14th February, 2009

    Corrado Finardi's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Once you have experienced the distinctive "Guerlinade", the in-house olfactive signmark of Guerlain, you really want to feel it again and again. A lost world come into mind, the myth-of-the-man in the XX century at its very sunrise. We have to precise that Guerlain perfumes apart of more recent ones, are very conservative, well suited for the cultural French Emperor of last decades. They are out of the fragrances you usually find in a boutique, so at the beginning you are literally astonished, then you can love it. Guerlain Vetiver gives the subtle impression to leave you alone: it's vey, very cold, adn it responds to nordic, clean tastes, so fdifferent from the italian ones, more fashion orientedand in general, warmer. I wouldn't be surprised discovering Vetiver of Guerlain is mostly sold in continental, north Europe. It's uppermostly clean. The idea of perfume behind is terrible or marvellous. Coming now to the vetiver vibrations, since I like more dirty, mouldy and resonant vetivers, I prefer the vetiver from Guccy Envy. Probably at Guerlain were aimed to purify vetiver from earthy sentors, leaving only the smoky-ones. If the Guerlinade base has something of burlesque, excessive, between caricatural or extremely classy (not an easy, first sight love perfume), the vetiver stands -for me- too much delayed over other scents.

    26th January, 2009 (Last Edited: 27th January, 2009)

    Heslipsa's avatar

    Brazil Brazil

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    Interesting fragrance, so calm, so fluid. Remembers an afternoon with warm breeze, chess and apple tea. Yes, I found it, it remembers my grandmother. Sincerely, it feels like something my grandma could use. Not bad, but nothing manly.

    01st December, 2008

    mikey_p's avatar



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    Why are Guerlain such liars? When I saw the new bottle perched on the shelf in the store I asked the Guerlain lady if the formula had changed. She said it hadn't, consistent with the official line from the big boys at the top. Whatever. This is Vetiver after a Jenny Jones makeover, clipped, tidied up and stripped of any appreciable character. On face value, its still rather good, but when compared to what it used to be I cant help feel as though this reformulation has been an awful mistake.

    14th October, 2008 (Last Edited: 09th February, 2011)

    MFJ's avatar



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    I have probably worn this too often and grown a little bored of it. A great inoffensive workhorse scent. I believe this was my first vetiver scent, and getting to know it, allowed me to appreciate other less mainstream offerings like the briny Sel de Vetiver and the dry and dark Encre Noire. Still worthy of a place in my wardrobe.

    30th September, 2008 (Last Edited: 17th September, 2009)

    centerpin's avatar

    Germany Germany

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    I am still trying to like it, but the longer I use it the less I am fascinated with that smell. The opening is amazing, the first five minutes I think: thats it!...but the vetiver scent turns pretty fast into a soapy, slightly greasy smell -still mixed with the fresh vetiver main note, but by far not as pleasant as the start off. It is too sharp and,in my opinion lacks a harmonius composition.
    It is a perfume which impresses when you walk by it, but the longer you have to do with it the more it starts to annoy me( and my family). I had high expectations due to the high ranking of the Guerlain Vetiver-and I admit it is still better than most of the perfumes out there, but I didn´t fall in love with that one.

    26th June, 2008

    daysgoneby's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Initially invigorating very fresh top notes, but for me the tobbacco note on the drydown is just a bit too remeniscent of full ashtrays. Monsieur Rochas is far more subtle when i need an air of dignified maturity that better suits my increasing years.

    14th June, 2008

    jathanas's avatar

    Australia Australia

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    Initially I thought "insect repellent". Then it occurred to me that I'm not being fair so on subsequent application I tried to understand the fragrance. The opening is fresh but not sweet or aquatic (good). The dry-down ... "insect repellent".

    03rd April, 2008

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