Reviews of Vetiver by Guerlain

    Find out more about Vetiver by Guerlain in the Basenotes Fragrance Directory


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    LiveJazz's avatar

    United States United States

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    [Edit 10-2011: All is forgiven. My nose has apparently evolved. This scent is beautiful. Just bought a big bottle of it. It's a true pleasure to wear, and a great example of a fresh scent done right.]

    I've had my decant of it for close to a year now. Every time I select it as my SotD, I'm a little excited because I think that THIS will be the day that Guerlain Vetiver (new formulation) finally clicks for me. Alas, it has never happened. Which is odd because I like vetiver, and I like citrus.

    The dealbreakers for me are the nutmeg note and the strong tobacco note. I already knew that I didn't like these notes when I decided to give this scent a try, but I thought that since they're basically supporting notes in the generally terrific cast, I could deal with it. But no, the suffocating tobacco and noxious nutmeg hijack the accords and ruin the whole thing for me. It's like watching an amazing movie in a theater and knowing that it's an amsolute masterwork, but the sound is slightly off and there projector is making a big blotch in the corner of the screen. You just can't appreciate it anymore.

    If you like vetiver but are not fond of the heavier notes that Vetiver makes use of, I suggest something like CdG's Vettiveru, Malle's Vetiver Extraordinaire, or Creed's Original Vetiver. These are "brighter" rentitions of this theme, and work much better on me.

    All that said, I can't give this a thumbs down. The evolution is too perfect, the balance of the notes too impressive, the sillage just right. No, I don't like it for myself, but it is certainly a noteworthy blend.

    28th June, 2007 (Last Edited: 28th October, 2011)

    docradio's avatar

    United States United States

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    Emperor. Clothes. Not wearing any.
    Now that we have that settled, let's talk about Vetiver: a fragrance exuding high notes reminiscent of Raid. I'm sorry, folks--I spent quite a bit on this bottle of juice, alas, the liquid is destined to become the most expensive fire-ant killer in history. Or someone will offer to take it off my hands. Please. Granted, it may just be allergies. Or it may truly be as hideous an odor as I've ever encountered.

    14th June, 2007

    Niles's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    This is such an amazing fragrance. I am a late-comer to this classic, but I'm so glad I tried it. Vetiver is a note that I had to take some time to learn to appreciate. This stuff is so sophisticated and able to go anywhere you want. Great stuff!

    03rd June, 2007

    GeorgeBernard's avatar

    Netherlands Netherlands

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    Tried this the other day...what a disappointment that was! Top notes are very unpleasant, IMHO of course. Almost sickening. Om the drydown, it smells exactly like a bar of Sunlight soap. Quite pleasant actually, but nothing to get excited about! Be careful, try this before you buy: the beautiful bottle, the Guerlain reputation, and loads of positive reviews can be too much of a temptation...

    24th May, 2007

    RichmondR's avatar

    United States United States

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    A genuine classic which definitely still has a place in any guy's wardrobe. Fresh, invigorating and citrusy turning to a peppery, very masculine, base. If you are tired of smelling the latest slightly sweet, fruity, powdery, etc., etc. designer fragrence, return to this classic scent from one of the worlds great houses. To paraphrase another poster, be a man -- get a bottle!

    30th April, 2007

    tonton's avatar

    Lebanon Lebanon

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    THE BEST GUERLAIN SCENT IN MY OPINION.
    PERFECT FOR A HOT SUNNY DAY.LONG LASTING.LOVELY COMBINATION BETWEEN THE VETIVER NOTE AND THE TOBACCO ONE WICH IS BETTER REVEALED WHEN THE TEMPERATURE IS HIGH.

    22nd April, 2007

    F_Frez's avatar



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    Some years ago, when buying a fragrance, I got a lot of fragrance samples. Among these samples were 2 Vetiver sprays. I had tried it once and didn't like it, it smelled rather old. When a friend of my wife needed some fragrance for the week, because he broke his bottle, I gave him the Vetiver ones as I didn't like it. Maybe it was a matter of skin or image, as he worked in a bank, wearing classical grey suits, white shirts and stripped ties, but the Vetiver worked fine on him.

    Top notes are citric, not in a lemon style, just like an old style cologne. There's a note of coriander I couldn't smell as an individual one, just as a green note that avoids the top notes becoming a so much citric blend. Next middle notes are green, mainly vetiver notes arises, while citric top notes tones down. The base notes are bitter, with something spicy like pepper, maybe also nutmeg, and a note like leather (or tobacco).

    Works fine as a office fragrance, also for daytime, but don't know if it should work for evening events. Suitable for all seasons, but for classical style men, over 30 years old.

    11th April, 2007

    benb's avatar



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    I have just bought this one. It is a very naturell smelling scent. The bottle is one of the most beautiful ones that I have seen. I really appriciate this one. Especially the wonderful tobacco drydown. As always I do think it could be a little stronger. I recommend it anyway. It is a good scent.
    benb

    02nd April, 2007

    Ronald's avatar



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    I see why people like it; it's sort of an archetype fragrance -- classic, old school fresh and green, what people who aren't into fragrances might think of when trying to imagine a "classic". Alas, my opinion is biased as I compare it to other vetivers (MPG's Route de Vetiver is my favorite, Creed's new one is next) that I tried before really giving Guerlain's classic version a serious go. In comparison, this one is very light and stays extremely close to the skin on me. It's green and somewhat organic, but not as good as I had expected. 3 out of 5 stars.

    21st March, 2007

    germanomio's avatar

    France France

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    the formula was obviously modified
    but what made this fragrance so unique is still perceptible in an attenuated way...even with this change Vetiver remains IMO the greatest masculine fragrance I've ever smelled; a rough unsweet fragrance, perfect in any situation, complex and rich...the fragrance that I'll wear all life long

    14th March, 2007

    oolong's avatar

    United States United States

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    A classic and timeless fragrance which is just not for everyone and I'm one of the ones it is not for. I gave it a try, used it for three full days and REALLY wanted to like it but just could not. I expect it is worth a try but as with any fragrance with a strong personality, you really need to try before you buy.

    10th March, 2007

    Dave_D's avatar



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    Another classic scent, a go to for the summer. I didnt much care for VG at first and gave a vintage bottle away. Sometime later I gave it another shot and it clicked. The new version smells lighter and tamer to me, less longevity as well, still nice. My preference runs to the classic version which is full bodied but still warm weather wear.

    21st February, 2007

    CJ's avatar

    United States United States

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    This is one of the first men's fragrances I ever encountered, although the name of the elderly relative who wore it seems to escape me now. I started visiting Basenotes the same year this first won "Best Fragrance" and I bought a bottle. The 2000 version is not as good imho as the original, and smells more like a cross between chewing tobacco and a citronella candle; not my style. That said, it did inspire some very good vetiver-based fragrances, such as Frederic Malle's Vetiver Extraordinaire and Creed's Original Vetiver. For me, this is very much a summer fragrance, and was one of the few scents I took with me to serve overseas in a hot climate (the others were GIT and D&G pour homme); Guerlain makes great stuff, but this one is very much an acquired taste.

    17th February, 2007

    fernloth's avatar

    United States United States

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    This was a blind buy for me, and an unfortunate one. While I can certainly detect many of the classic elements which have made this such a popular selection, this fragrance was overwhelmingly strong and smelled too much of soap to my tastes. A couple of my office workers commented that I smelled "old". This certainly isn't for everyone, though I understand where the attraction would lie for the properly inclined.

    12th February, 2007

    ironpusher's avatar

    United States United States

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    One of my favorites. Classic scent.

    13th January, 2007 (Last Edited: 09th June, 2008)

    's avatar



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    I let Vetitvers by Guerlin, Creed & Jo Malone dry down on my skin and bake in the sun and dry in salt sweat. If I'm outside all day then it's reasonable. Only Guerlin's captivated me. There wasn't anything pretty in there, maybe even dirty? Not interested in getting compliments, but I do feel that confidence that was alluded to below. It's a standard for me now.

    19th December, 2006

    Lynn Faust's avatar

    United States United States

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    I have read many posts on basenotes and vetiver was a reoccoring theme. i went out to try it. i drove an hour and a half to a bloomingdales and tried it out.
    i first sprayed the card. I kept smelling the card nad after a while thought this one is wrist worthy. At first, it is citrusy. I was looking for soapy. I didn;t really get that, but vetiver quickly lost the citrus smell and i could smell the vetiver (faintly) and spices. Maybe the coriander, perhaps the nutmeg.
    in the end it leaves a spicy-clean smell on my skin. i don't have any fragrances that do that. I bought a bottle online ( much cheaper that bloomingdales) and i have worn it for about a week. i haven't received any compliments yet, but i like the originaliy of the smell and i think it will do just fine in my fragrance rotation.
    unfortunately, it doe not last long on my skin (to me), but if i wash my hands, or rewet the fragrance in some way, it pops back to life.

    02nd December, 2006

    bonzo's avatar

    Germany Germany

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    It may be a very classical scent but Vetiver of guerlain is too much vetiver-too green, too intense,too strong-and within the time it becomes worse, and on some people it stinks like an old soap-be careful and take a sample home and test it-you may feel comfortable with it but try it first in very small doses-Vetiver of guerlain is very harsh and too spicy.The opening still may be nice but the drydown is somehow hard, nerving and you want to get rid immediately of this scent.
    To my opinion a perfume, a good perfume should be around you like a wind breeze-you feel the scent,you smell the scent -well balanced ingredients, nicely put togehter and composed and the perfume should accompany you but silently-Vetiver is loud and nerving and always infront of you and never around you....if you love vetiver try carven( see above)or annick goutal-definitely better balanced and finer....

    11th November, 2006

    rentboy's avatar

    United States United States

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    Can't believe this one gets so many bad reviews. While it's a very different sort of smelling fragrance from what I grew up thinking a "cologne" was, the clean and soothing vetiver is carried on nice cool green notes of citrus, lime in particular (to my nose). I don't get much cedar out of this - but the drydown of tobacco and spicy peppers is probably my favorite thing about it. No surprise that it's another classic from Guerlain - along with Heritage and Habit Rouge have what I consider the "holy trinity" of fragrance. What does surprise me is how many compliments I get wearing this fragrance.

    09th November, 2006

    Zachary's avatar

    United States United States

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    I bought what must have been a tester of the original Guerlain Vetiver EDT about 10 years ago. The bottle has the rectangular green sticker on the front, and clear stickers on the sides detailing the fragrance: Vetiver, Spices, Woody. This is the first good fragrance I bought, and I've loved it, so this note is more of a sentimental one than objectively critical. It seems to be a very simple, well made fragrance - it's definitely got a huge vetiver aroma, but it's made juicy with lime and spicy with cedar. It's a warm scent, without a lot of unnecessary things to get in the way of the high quality ingredients. It has good sillage and longevity on my skin, usually lasting 6-8 hours. The interesting part about this is the drydown - a lesser fragrance would feel the need to have all sorts of powdery/sweet notes on the bottom of this, but not Vetiver - it remains spicy and green, with the lime topnote going away over half an hour to reveal beautiful vetiver and cedar. It's a great manly fragrance, one that inspires confidence whenever I wear it.

    26th October, 2006

    RugbyPete's avatar



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    After all the hype, the reviews, the talks on the forum, I finally had my whiff of the legendary Vetiver at the duty free in Birmingham airport. “OH MY GOD what the hell is this!?” It smells like a mix between rotting corpses and settles down to a very strong ‘rubber’ smell, the sort that makes you go dizzy when you open up an inflatable lilo for the first time, or anything else made of rubber you would inflate (toys etc.). I kept smelling it on my arm all the way to my Turkey hotel, trying to put my finger on the last time I had smelt something this bad, was it in the kitchen or the pool, but I realised when I got out my new lilo
    UGH! Can’t believe it and I’m one whos abandoned the modern Eternity style fragrances for more macho alternatives. Avoid, its toxic.

    17th October, 2006

    baris99's avatar

    Turkey Turkey

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    it's a nice office wear scent,imo OV is much better.

    16th October, 2006

    misspring's avatar

    United States United States

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    Vetiver and I go back a long way. I enjoy wearing it in cold weather, as it is a very warm, peppery scent that is refreshing at the same time. I began buying it for my man, and of course, I steal his whenever I am wool-shirt casual. It smells SO good on him, it is manly, sensual, sexy, (refined and rugged at the same time) Nice sillage... it floats off the skin.
    Try it in weather when you are craving warmth. If you try this on a sweltering summer night, you may not care for it at all.
    The coriander and tobacco notes work some kind of magic together ... very manly, ( but I like it too. )

    13th October, 2006

    Cumbriadave's avatar

    England England

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    Think I must be missing something! Bought this frag on the back of great reviews and a love of Habit Rouge...but it just doesn't do it for me! The citrus is too harsh and 'spiky' somehow. Ah well, can't win 'em all.

    04th October, 2006

    wjacobson's avatar

    United States United States

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    The American Heritage® Dictionary definition of "silage" is: "Fodder prepared by storing and fermenting green forage plants in a silo." Too much of this note for me in this edgy version, having a sharp or biting quality. Carven Vetiver is smoother and lighter, Royall Lyme's Royall Vetiver is far nicer and more rounded, albeit not as multi-dimensional. Can't see this as a summer fragrance, IMO -- it's too hot. I do wear it in winter, however.

    29th September, 2006

    gkinsky's avatar

    United States United States

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    I agree with a previous reviewer's comment that this is not a "modern" fragrance and should be judged in that context. This is an extremely masculine fragrance that has a strong, spicy, and earthy base that remains potent for hours and hours. It's such a unique scent, that I save it for special evenings out on the town. One thing to keep in mind, I've had my bottle for a few years, and the juice seems to "sour" after a few years.

    13th September, 2006

    the white marmoset's avatar

    United States United States

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    The smell of rummaging around granny's underwear drawer - I did it, so I know. Now, I like a skanky scent as much as the next guy (ummm...probably more) but this one simply doesn't cut it for me: a fox wearing too much stage make-up or the scent wafting up from the casket of the monkey Nora Desmond's burying in Sunset Boulevard. ewww.

    28th August, 2006

    randumbsmellyguy's avatar

    United States United States

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    An ideal summer fragrance, can't wait to try it in the winter too.

    As others have said, particularly great on really hot, humid days. The citrus fades fast (not exactly news), but the vetiver/tobacco/cedar accord soldiers on and on and onward still in fine fashion.

    A very natural smell with great sillage whose greatest asset apart from its actual smell is its aggression - the vetiver possesses a real edge particularly within the first hour or so in combo w/the citrus. Sharper than a sushi chef's knife, this stuff can cut through a fog of synthetic freshness unlike anything I've yet tried. Synthetic freshness has its place as well, but with this in the same room on the right person there is no competition:-)

    Never had the pleasure of trying the original, but somehow I'm not too depressed as there are so many other vetivers I hope to try soon. Starting with such a classic may have boosted my expectations a bit though - rest assured I will find out.

    A new essential edition to my wardrobe. May it remain in production for all time.

    27th August, 2006

    hirch_duckfinder's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    This is a phenomonal composition. The balance is perfect. It is not a modern perfume though, and this needs to be remembered when assessing it.

    I have taken a long time to make my assessment on this though, as there are some notes in here which smell quite synthetic to me.

    However, I just wore it for a week solid while on holiday and observed that when worn outside, it smells really natural; the silage reminds me of summer vegetation.

    So my conclusion is this: from close up and indoors it smells good but there is a synthetic edge to it which puts me off slightly. Outdoors and from a distance it smells utterly natural and amazing. The "fresh" note especially seems to take on a natural character, it reminds me of the herb lemon balm.

    The vetiver is earthy and masculine and the tobacco rich drydown is very good.

    My only other reservation is that it endures too well. It seems shower proof to the extent that I can't change my fragrance on a day when I wear this and sometimes it persists after a night and a morning shower.

    Overall it is a classic and i recommend it as a purchase.

    07th August, 2006

    Joe_Frances's avatar

    United States United States

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    Vetiver, nutmeg and tobacco-- a beautiful melody of earthy smells that in this composition are fresh and subtly masculine. A classic beauty.

    05th August, 2006

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