When we discover Guerlain's Vetiver, or L’Artisan's Vetiver, or Mazzolari Vetiver, etc., to take but a few examples, our first thought is “Ah ha! The potentially perfect vetiver fragrance”, and then, of course, most of the time we’re disappointed because it doesn’t smell exactly like the pure vetiver we imagine it should or like the vetiver note we particularly like in one particular vetiver fragrance over another. If all of these houses wanted their vetiver fragrances to smell like pure vetiver oil, they could easily achieve this effect. They would simply find a supplier, standardize the vetiver oil product, very easy to do in the case of vetiver, and then rename their product Guerlain’s Pure and True Vetiver Oil, or L’Artisan’s Pure and True Vetiver Oil, or Mazzolari’s Pure and True Vetiver Oil, but even then, not all these vetivers would all smell the same, because it would depend on how the vetiver was standardized and what elements of its scent profile a company chose to emphasize over the other, telluric over fresh, grassy over rooty, vegetal/medical over dry/woody, etc. But they don’t all smell the same because fragrance houses are not in the business of producing and bottling essential oils. They’re fragrance houses, and as such vetiver, frequently functions as a idea, a concept, a possibility, a starting point for the art of creating perfumes/colognes, which are after all blends and, because, again, as we know, perfumery is not simply the distillation, mixing, and bottling of essential oils. If one doesn’t grasp this concept, one will be perennially disappointed at the next release of yet another vetiver fragrance because none of them will smell like its imagined ideal essential oil namesake or even like your favorite vetiver fragrance. Some vetiver namesake releases will have a more tangential relationship to the essential oil, which is the inspiration or the base behind the fragrance, and some will have a more direct relationship, but, all in all, they will not be carbon copies of natural essential oils or of the one particular vetiver blend you’re used to in some other fragrance house's vetiver invention.
And so we arrive at the defensible concept behind Lanvin Vetyver. Certainly it is a fragrance one has to apply liberally. I know there are many people who feel they shouldn't have to do such a thing, but that's just the nature of the juice. It’s a simple formula made up of only 14 different ingredients, 10 of which are raw and even the alcohol is natural. In some ways, I would imagine its constitution is very close to niche fragrances, and I dare say that if it were released by say L’Artisan Parfumeur more people would be willing to give it a fairer hearing/wearing than it gets. In the case of Lanvin Vetyver, I think the perfumer has chosen, in this instance, I think purposefully, to make it an understated scent with ingredients that don't project much. Yes, that’s a legitimate concept behind fragrance creation. If one doesn't have a preference for such fragrances, that doesn’t automatically disqualify them for others. Heavy spraying will bring out the reticent vetiver note significantly but only in the basenote accord, but I don't consider this a negative because I have always accepted that with this one the vetiver will always be in the background and integrated with the other elements of the fragrance. It’s absurd to claim there’s no vetiver in this one; it’s there all right, but it is very purposefully blended with the other elements so as not to be prominent. It not supposed to be prominent, despite it’s name. It is important to remember that vetiver is considered an almost universal blender when it comes to fragrances. Even in Vétiver Extraordinaire, which has one of the highest proportions of vetiver found in any fragrance, I believe, vetiver still only forms 25% of the perfume formula. If one stays attuned to the reticent quality of the vetiver in Lanvin Vetyver and one carries the fragrance around with one all day, a benefit of liberal application, at certain times one will catch intimations of the vetiver note that are very satisfying and really quite beautiful, but of course, in a very understated and blended way. This is the notion, as I see it, of the vetiver in Lanvin Vetyver. For me, it's a valid notion, and it's worth the liberal spraying and the price of a bottle, which is very reasonable.
There are some of us who prefer the substantial flavors of say Indian cuisine, the flavors of a rich vindaloo curry say, for example, and there are some people who prefer the subtlety of Japanese food, which hardly ever strays away from the ethos that understatement is the basis of much intensity, if one, of course, is predisposed to finer and finer discriminations as the Japanese certainly are. Then there are some of us who prefer the middle way of Asian flavors, say as developed in Vietnamese cuisine or certain dishes in Thai cuisine or ever in authentic Chinese cuisine. Then there are some of us that like all variations, subtle and not so subtle. I would urge a little caution when someone is denigrating other vetivers because of one’s preference for one modulation of a vetiver fragrance over another. One might just be showing their particular preference, which is fine but that does mean the world of enjoyment stops there. Oh, BTW, Lanvin Vetyver makes for a great office scent or for when you're sitting in close proximity to other people and don't what to overwhelm them with your fragrance. It's one of my "committee meeting" fragrances. This is a practical justification of why fragrances like Lanvin Vetyver exist, but I like to think not the only one.