Tell us what you know: Javanese vetiver

  1. Trebor
    Trebor
    This is the place where you can discuss everything about Javanese vetiver impressions, best sources and suppliers, general tips, etc.
  2. Trebor
    Trebor
    Javanese vetiver essential oil, Aqua Oleum

    Starting out harsh and earthy, it possesses a smoky tar or yeast-like aroma (think Marmite). It smells extremely rugged and masculine. Eventually, the leathery smokiness lowers its volume as the already present creamy green nuttiness comes more to the fore.

    One where perseverance is richly rewarded.

    UPDATE (September 2017)

    Aqua Oleum’s current batch of Javanese vetiver essential oil is completely different from the old batch reviewed above.

    With the current batch, there's no birch tar smokiness. Instead, it opens with an off vegetal aroma. Later on, smoky facets are detectable but they are very subtle. For the rest of its duration, it exudes the typical woody-green evolution, but is cleaner and higher pitched (in a tangy sort of way).

    But what’s most disturbing is the fact that the current batch isn’t as rich or potent as the old batch. On the skin, it’s very demure and has less than half of the presence of the pungent old batch. Going by its consistency, which is less viscous than a typical vetiver essential oil, adulteration immediately springs to mind.

    In summary, these two batches are like night and day. So, if you’re seeking something along the lines of the old batch, you’ll now need to look elsewhere.

    Very disappointing news.
  3. Trebor
    Trebor
    Javanese vetiver essential oil, Olfactik

    Very much like Aqua Oleum's but a little more reserved. Its evolution is similar but slightly faster and a tad less harsh, with any loudness turned down a notch. Slotting in-between Aqua Oleum's Javanese offering and a bona fide Sri Lankan vetiver oil, it acts as a good compromise for those seeking it.
  4. margefromTN
    margefromTN
    I have not had a sample of Javanese Vetiver that I would bring in. All that I have experienced is past smoky..it is BURNT. The primitive stills used to produce it need careful watching, and it is easy for the water used to evaporate, leaving a burnt botanical. The bext vetivers can have a mysterious smokey core, but should never smell flat out burned, as do most I've seen from Java. (my experienc only, your mileage may vary.)
  5. Trebor
    Trebor
    Thanks, margefromTN.

    Aqua Oleum sells a really good Javanese vetiver oil, which develops very nicely. Unfortunately, they've recently doubled their prices...
  6. Trebor
    Trebor
    Javanese vetiver essential oil, Absolute Aromas

    There's nothing really to report here, apart from that fact that it's a bog standard Javanese specimen. Although cheaper than Aqua Oleum's offering, whether or not it's bottle-worthy really depends on budget restrictions (if any) and personal tastes.
  7. Trebor
    Trebor
    Javanese vetiver essential oil, Mystic Moments

    Probably the worst Javanese vetiver specimen ever encountered.

    It opens with pungent notes of fenugreek and liquorice, as a yeasty and birch tar aura quickly emerges. Initially, it doesn't even smell like vetiver essential oil at all.

    Dark, smoky and undeniably harsh, its overall aroma is closer in spirit to the lower-quality Indonesian variety. It takes a considerable amount of time for it to even remotely resemble what's stated on the label - so much that what's left in the bottle has already been mentally reserved for the trash bin.
  8. Trebor
    Trebor
    Javanese vetiver essential oil, Buff & Butter

    This specimen has a prominent burnt yeast aroma in the opening. After a while, it does settle down to something more palatable. As always, a creamy woody-green aspect gradually emerges.

    While it's not the best one encountered, it's still a decent essential oil. However, it's considerably lacking in the longevity department.
  9. Trebor
    Trebor
    I’ve recently been in touch with Julia Lawless about the batch variation of Aqua Oleum’s Javanese vetiver essential oil. She maintains that the company is still using the same supply chain, but issued a full-refund after returning bottles from the current batch (including return postage).

    More details can be found beneath the original review of the old batch, at the top of this page.
  10. Trebor
    Trebor
    Javanese vetiver essential oil, Denise Brown

    Yet another vetiver essential oil, whose stated country of origin is somewhat suspicious...

    It opens with a pungent yeastiness and very little smokiness, after which it quickly makes its way towards a mellow and creamy flint-like greenness. Longevity-wise, it lingers for an exceptionally long time, while its presence on the skin is soft yet deceptively diffusive.

    Smelling more like a molecular or CO2 distillation, its overall demeanour is relatively light and clean, but nowhere as dark or dense as originally anticipated. While it’s reasonable for what it is, I’m not completely convinced that it’s exactly what it claims to be.

    Chances are, the raw material used is indeed Javanese but was distilled in France (hence the absence of any smokiness). With quality vetiver essential oil obtained from roots at least 18 months old, I would also guess that the roots used were younger than 18 months (hence the oil’s lack of richness and depth). These are the only possible explanations I can think of for the unusual characteristics of this particular specimen.
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