Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Vetiver by Guerlain

Total Reviews: 348
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is a different path from top to bottom, with the oldest incarnations before 1988 actually being lighter since they were originally made at eau de cologne strength.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
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

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)
I disliked this scent so much at first I was convinced that my bottle was fake. After some diligence, I determined that it's legit and it's the latest version.

There is something antiseptic about this scent at first. I honestly thought about a recently cleaned public bathroom when I smelled it. For me the lemon and the vetiver were the strongest notes and the two of them together smelled like some fancy grassy lemon urinal cake.

The vetiver is strong and nice, however. It's what I'm inclined to smell as the truest vetiver note, grassy and green.

If you aren't a big fan of vetiver, stay away. It's not like creed's original vetiver whose vetiver note is very subtle. Guerlain's version is huge on vetiver in comparison.

The drydown is admirable. It doesn't change a ton but for me the scent improves after about an hour of wearing.

I can't rate this poorly because it's a vetiver scent and the vetiver is present and well done IMO.

Certainly not my favorite, but worthy of a spot in the collection and also very cheaply purchased online.


7/10







30th April, 2017
I didn't like this when I first applied it, but it quickly grew on me. I got compliments on it during the day and I could still smell it at the end of the day, so I have a feeling I'll be picking up a bottle soon.
08th March, 2017
What an amazing opening this fragrance has. It is as fresh and feels as gentlemanly as anything I've tried. There is a big citrus burst, but it is surrounded by class. I pick up ginger, which mixed with the citrus reminds me just a touch of West Indian Lime by Crabtree & Evelyn. But, this Guerlain Vetiver is a timeless smelling fragrance and has other spice notes, as well as the vetiver which give it a white shirt and tie vibe that is just classy. I find myself smelling my wrist every few minutes so I can re-remember the notes. This is a joy to wear. I've heard some people say that it smells like what an old guy would wear. Well, if that's the case, then bring it on! I love the smell of this fragrance and will wear it proudly as an old guy. :-)

Well done, Guerlain! Two thumbs way up!
19th February, 2017
Current version review

The lemon dominated citrus opening fades over considerable time to its smooth and pleasant vetiver heart. Far toward the background a cedar, tobacco and I think even an undefined spicy note is detectable. All of the ingredients seem to be of noteworthy high quality and there is little synthetic blast to fend off. With this one the quality lemon application blast is quite bracingly stiff. I presume that heavy hit was needed to allow the citrus to be well detected after several hours, which it is. Good potency, projection and longevity.

An outstanding vetiver frag., IMO. A big thumbs up.
13th February, 2017 (last edited: 14th February, 2017)
Fragrance family: Mossy woods, floral, floral oriental

Surprised at the experience of dusting off and trying my bottle of Vetiver after over ten years sitting around.

Starts out with an intense herbal, green rush; mellows out to a classic vetiver emphasizing floral, aromatic fresh elements; citrus in the opening makes way to a slightly grassy, shimmering heart touched by lemon peel; a touch of sweet and spicy elements (Tonka bean) brightens the profile a bit; whiff of smoke amidst grassiness; includes a pleasantly clean, soapy element (somewhat reminiscent of Clean and Gendarme fragrances); has a classic, old school quality that’s unmistakably Guerlain through and through.

Suited for: older wearers, formal occasions

Similar to: Gendarme V (toned-down and more floral)


22nd January, 2017
This new reformulation is a sin. It lacks the vetiver intensity of the original and the cedar is also weak. Just what did they do to probably the BEST vetiver ever formulated? I have been wearing this for over 35 years, it is almost my daily scent. It is different. Try Malle Vetiver Extraordinaire or even Tom Fords Grey Vetiver, it has a very slight rose component. Secondly just what have they done with the bottle? The original bottle with those frosted bands was incredibly distinctive, you knew you had Gurelain Vetiver. And you were also letting people know you had the BEST avaliable, a badge of distinction. In fact all the new bottles are an abomination, cheap and ordinary. Drugstore caliber. Very disappointed in this new formulation.
13th December, 2016
I never tried the vintage but I'm glad to at least have finally tried the newer formulation of Guerlain Vetiver, a seemingly timeless fresh expression of vetiver that transcends gender or season, though on the latter, I generally see this as shining brightest in the warmer months, though it's not as weak as, say, Guerlain Imperial Cologne.

The composition is fresh vetiver, blended seamlessly with citrus/neroli opening, a bit of pepper (reminding me of Lalique White), and a woody dry down, which seems like cedar to my nose.

Performance is roughly on par with what I would expect with a warm weather-leaning EDT from designers, but the refinement here is at a higher level than, say, the CK Summers.

At only $35 for 100ml on the secondary market (FragranceNet), it's hard to imagine I won't have this in my collection at some point in the next year simply to round out my freshies with a vetiver-dominant entry.

7 out of 10
08th November, 2016
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

I disliked this the first time I tried it, but a second attempt reveals more of the appeal. On first application close sniffs bring a disconcerting amount of Playdoh, but once it's settled the wafts of scent reveal (famously) the vetiver with a helping of tobacco and a hint of sweetness. In my view, ramping up both the tobacco and the sweetness just a notch would result in a better outcome. However, it's green, fresh, uplifting, and although certainly no longer the best vetiver on the market, still relevant, still wearable, and fairly good value.
29th October, 2016
Tried Vetiver at home for the first time. Put some on my wrists and could only smell a little fragrance. Took it to work today and it worked a little better. Would definately call Vetiver a daytime fragrance. It is light and mild. Smells fresh and clean. Reminds me of a higher quality cologne. It is different and by that I mean it is not the run of the mill cologne with something in common with other colognes. Vetiver is unique in it's own way. It reminds me of a fresh mown lawn with a touch of sweetness in the fragrance. Projection is extremely mild.
13th September, 2016 (last edited: 27th September, 2016)
I am sampling vintage Guerlain Vetiver. I smell vetiver, tobacco, and tonka, and it is nice.
02nd June, 2016
Supercilious minty vetiver that feels more like a status symbol than an expression of pleasure. One of Guerlain's Ancien Régime perfumes that hasn't adapted well to modern life, despite the facelift.

***
09th May, 2016
Starts out with a light citrus vibe. This is for folks who don't like the heavier earthy vetiver fragrances. Turns into a wood and light tobacco gem. Time to pick up a bottle.
02nd April, 2016
A hot shower, a woollen scarf, thick and slightly itchy and out for a walk in an icy, crisp morning. Ever since having rediscovered this fragrance- I guess someone in my family used it back in the seventies, probably in form of aftershave or soap- I can't avoid this association with cold air on warm, clean skin and a gentle tickling.
Coriander seeds pair gracefully with citruses in the opening, leading to a heart of vetiver that's not too dark, nor bitter, not liquorice-y (a facet I don't care much about in vetiver), but remains fresh and grassy in a rich, complex way. The drydown is softly woody, with traces of resins and musks.
Having never had the chance to try the "pour elle" version, on which mamy swear- Luca Turin, for one- I find the fragrance perfectly unisex, being graceful without being pretty, assertive without being rude,spare without being rough.

21st March, 2016
Vetiver by Guerlain I never got to smell the vintage stuff only the current formula.But when I smell the lemon/bergamot/white soap finish of Vetiver?I see where Jovan Musk for Men got it's influence.Switch the lemon with orange,turn down the bergamot to let the soap cut through and bingo...Jovan Musk has been 'created'.I only get light hints of wood and smoky/grassy vetiver in this.Take 4 to 5 sprays to be able to smell this on me...goes on light and feels transparent/weak until enough is applied.Over time it adjusted to my skin chemistry where 3 sprays seemed enough and got 6-8 hours from it.But still I'd call it a low to moderate projection scent...it's no powerhouse.

As odd as this sounds the bergamot and something else merged together gives off an odd women's satin panties note.I guess some men might say if reminds them of a sexual encounter with a woman wearing satin thongs.Another might say it reminds them of getting something from their grandmother's dresser.They opened the drawer and a big waft from satin slips and undergarments bombards the nose.Aside from skin chemistry and formulation disputes...this note probably puts people on the fence the most in my opinion.



31st January, 2016 (last edited: 18th February, 2017)
As genuine as vetiver gets.

I am intoxicated by this one. I had, on a glorious spring day, vetiver and habit rouge, applied on separate wrists. Pleasure was granted whole heatedly throughout the 8+hours of projection.

To me, vetiver smells as if one had recently weeded out a vetiver root. I smell the dirt and crushed vetiver stems as the top note. Fresh tobacco is second for me with a moist accord. This EDT preserves a freshness unparalleled. The pepper is my third note of choice I pick up on. Possibly a beginner's nose, Vetiver is one of those scents so well blended it'll keep me guessing. Thank you for doing so.

9/10
08th October, 2015
Suitable in an office or the wilderness. Much softer than it once was but still feels balanced enough to spray on every morning. Too good to wear when doing grocery shopping, mind.
To me it's more classic than old fashioned and never will be mistaken for a woman's fragrance.
02nd September, 2015
Just a short note on this one. I've tried the reformulated modern version EDT. and several vintage 1990s EDT bottles, and for me there's a world of difference. The vintage version is much more nuanced, and I can really imagine that infamous gardener toiling away in the morning sun. The reformulated version is much more medicinal.
31st August, 2015 (last edited: 14th September, 2015)
Revised review.
For many, this is a benchmark vetiver. I prefer Givenchy, but this is quite satisfactory.
A very lemony-citrus opening, followed by a rather green herbal note (the coriander leaf).
The vetiver has an iodine quality throughout, rather astringent but still pleasant. Not the comforting, cushiony and earthy vetiver we find in Givenchy Vetyver.
Some spices emerge as the scent develops, and a hint of wood.
Completely dry. Refreshing, understated, masculine in style.
02nd August, 2015 (last edited: 23rd November, 2015)
Guerlain's Vetiver is clearly a popular classic fragrance that no doubt has some good qualities for many people, but is not beyond criticism. I look at the top- and basenotes listed and quite wonder where they are hiding because from the first application to well into the middle this is a sharp, somewhat astringent concoction heavily dominated by the vetiver and cedar. This gives it a bitter and almost metallic aroma, like a school metalwork room or a metal drilling workshop.

It takes a while before that calms down and anything resembling the cut grass or 'new-mown hay' comes through. When it does it mingles with the bergamot and coriander. In-between all of this are bursts of residue from empty coffee cups, the nutmeg, the pepper and a quinine-like undertone. Any earthiness is more disused wasteland than summer meadow

It's somewhat of a relief when it dies down because my nose tired of this after a while.

Sillage and longevity are quite strong, which may be good or bad depending on how much you like it. My opinion would be to save yourself some money and try Chopard Vetiver, which is a fraction of the price and in my opinion has a better blend of aromas alongside its vetiver.
27th June, 2015 (last edited: 28th June, 2015)
Tested with a 3ml sample over 3 days. Masculine, clean, fresh and pleasant. An initial blast of citrus for me, which wears off quite quickly (good - not massively keen on citrus) and then gorgeous vetiver for hours after. As I heard from someone else, I agree it has a freshly-cut-hay like scent. I think it's a good day-time scent for the office, especially in warmer weather. It's on my "to buy" list.

I also read somewhere that it was based on a "gardener working in the early morning". Love this image; I think it's a really good way of describing the scent, except I'd probably say "smart, classy gardener working in the early morning".
25th June, 2015
hmhoek Show all reviews
United States
I always liked this a lot, but never could square how it related to real vetiver. Today I wore some vetiver essential oil and after 4.5 hours it was right there: Guerlain Vetiver is like vetiver oil at the midday mark.
19th June, 2015
Salutation.

When you are in a Crowded Room with Different Smells One Factor can break you,A Great smell That The people around tell You what a Wonderfull smell and VETIVER is one of those Great Smells. It is without a doubt one of The Best Vetiver scents on The market. Versatile,Masculine,Classic, Captivating,Gorgeous,Woody,Elaborate and Unforgettable.

A whisper of Citrus in the first blast but it fades out quickly for making a Harmonious and Elegant middle notes of Vetiver,Pepper and Sandalwood Then reveal themselves over the Warm base composed of the Most Sophisticated Masculine and Classic ingredients as It smells Fresh yet Warm and Alluring without being too Strong.

It has Something different each time You wear it which makes it Lovely and Cute and Gives You feel better about Yourself. VETIVER is Suitable for Any Occasion and Any Season Especially in the Warm weather and Formal Occasion. Totally It is distinct from a lot of other Male colognes as You will always have it in Your collection.

Sillage?Remarkable.

Longevity?Great Like GUERLAIN.

8/10
13th June, 2015
I have only sample of this. First I used this I was disappointed . I had read so much good reviews . First impression was old grandmother flowery soap . Scent is fresh and feminine like washed clean laundry . It is very soft like scent of wax crayon. I get some memories from childhood : maybe my mother has had a vetiver scent. This is unique scent and very different than any other I have tried this far. But I'm not quite sure do I like this . Maybe this is too feminine for me. Longevity is weak only 2 hours. 8 /10 .
--
I finally bought this and it was quite different experience comparing to sample : at first it was very strong oily,smoky ,petrol like scent. Maybe it is tobacco ? I was little bit shocked but it drydowns much softer and even little sweet wood like scent.
I like this : this interesting and colorful scent.
This is quite manly scent in a very sophisticated way.
20th May, 2015 (last edited: 10th June, 2015)
The first GREAT vetiver and still up there at the top of the pedestal, sharing the honor with Givenchy's VETYVER.

Who needs yet another rave review about this iconic scent? I must chime in, having been enamored of vetiver early in my scent history. This was the best of those derived from the vetiver leaf - some like the pungent and acrid - superlatively so- Etro, were derived from the root.

Givenchy's VETYVER was a personal scent, not shared with the public until recently. It is a more balanced, more sophisticated take on the leaf, whereas the Guerlain is bold, sensual, passionate and extremely sexy.

I sampled 43 vetivers over a year's time and in my maturity, place the Guerlain and the Givenchy at the top of the pyramid, the Chanel Sycomore, a blatant copy of the Givenchy, sharing third place.

One of the greatest experiences a man can have in the world of scent.
20th May, 2015