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I can't believe the lack of enthusiasm for this fragrance, which in my opinion is fantastic. It's a Guerlain and it's a new chapter in the Vetiver story, so I'm kind of surprised at how little attention this has received.
The first thing that impressed me about it is that it shares a bit of a unusual "rubbery" quality with Frederic Malle's Vetiver Extraordinaire. The smell of hot rubber snorkels lying in the grass of a backyard, baking in the late afternoon sun of summer, near a pool. Vetiver Extraordinaire almost takes this facet too far, while Vetiver Extreme backs off it a little, balancing it with other things-- notably soft greens and spices.
I think what may underwhelm people about Vetiver Extreme is that its sillage has a kind of "surface tension" quality about it. You either smell it or you don't. And when you smell it, you've hit a tipping point in which you smell all of it. You have to break a certain bubble of space to smell it, because the top notes don't continually break away and flare off like sunspots. The whole thing is so cohesive that it isn't given away by the screech of renegade top notes. So in a way, people might be upset because it doesn't bleed continuous sillage everywhere.
I think it's a beautiful, sturdy variation on Guerlain's Vetiver. Earthy, green and sophisticated. The "Extreme" denotes a kind of "weight" rather than "intensity." In some ways the original Vetiver probably announces its presence with more volume. Vetiver Extreme is more of a deeper, somber, resonant lower register kind of affair.
I have to wonder if once this stuff becomes hard to find, it won't garner more praise.
19 August, 2008