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  1. #1

    Default What does vetiver smell like?

    I just learned from The Guide that one of my favorite frags is "vetiver vanilla". It's Habanita. I have no idea what vetiver smells like! I can detect the vanilla, and what I think is tobacco. Please help me pick out the vetiver! Maybe I'm a secret vetiver lover and don't know it!
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  2. #2

    Default Re: What does vetiver smell like?

    Vetiver is earthy like patchouli, but has a murky "underwater" quality and is definitely a green note. Not freshly-cut grass green, but a darker variety, with a bitterish edge.

    Do you like Mitsouko? That one has a pronounced vetiver note, especially in the drydown.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: What does vetiver smell like?

    If you've got a little pocket change, you could order some actual vetiver from Hové. They sell it in grass form, in soap form, in powder and in perfume. To quote from their site:

    VETIVERT—The woody, dry notes of this ancient Indian root is what endeared it to the Creoles who valued the freshness it gave to belongings stored in humid climes.

    Sometimes it's spelled with the "T" on the end, sometimes it's spelled vetyver.

    I've been showering with their vetivert soap for the past week or so, and it's charmingly different from anything else.
    Last edited by Quarry; 21st May 2008 at 02:18 PM.
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    Default Re: What does vetiver smell like?

    The nearest, similar thing I can think of is lemon grass.

    Vetiver, to my nose, is a green, slightly sharp note with hints of earthiness to it. It's reminds me of a grassy field on a dry, warm day. It's not a "mown lawn" smell. Or even grassy like lawn grass.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: What does vetiver smell like?

    It smells earthy. Like clean, moist dirt, but there is a fresh quality that is hard to describe.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: What does vetiver smell like?

    What about Sel de Vetiver? Is the main focus of that one actually vetiver, or is that fragrance one of those cases where the name is deceptive? I get the main note very strongly from beginning to end, and I assumed that it was, in fact, vetiver. But I'm not familiar with vetiver, in any variety, so I wouldn't know if it was actually that or something else.

    The web site for the frag is: http://www.thedifferentcompany.com/i...hp?cPath=38_63

    Thanks in advance for anything that anybody can offer on this.

    -Red
    Last edited by Redneck Perfumisto; 23rd May 2008 at 01:30 AM. Reason: baaad spelling!!!

  7. #7

    Default Re: What does vetiver smell like?

    Vetiver is a bit of a catch-all term as the truth is different vetivers can smell remarkably different. They all do share a common green earthiness, the scent of dried field grass in a clump of dirt, perhaps. But their differences are what make them particularly interesting.

    Haitian vetiver is more floral and less smokey compared to the others, not as deep but just as interesting as the others. The indonesian sits in the middle in regards to its qualities, and the indian vetiver is the deepest, darkest, smokiest I've yet smelled. It seems that most vetivers I've encountered in frags (Route du Vetiver withstanding) are of the lighter, cleaner variety. On my skin there is a noticeable vetiver note in the later stages of Terre D'Hermes drydown.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: What does vetiver smell like?

    I have smelled Sel de Vetiver, and it is definitely a great fragrance. It is similar to Terre d'Hermes, but a bit softer with less wood. If I were to choose between the two, I would take SdV because to my nose it is a more balanced composition.

    I have a bottle of pure Vetiver essential oil (I do not know its origin). In its undiluted form, it is quite heavy, and I agree with the comparison to patchouli but a bit more "green". It is definitely an earthy scent, and I would not say it is particularly "fresh". However, I can see how it could be used as a base note in a "fresh" or "green" composition since it smells a little bit herbal when it is diluted.

  9. #9

    Default Re: What does vetiver smell like?

    It smells like one of those woven-grass mats, or hats, or baskets that you buy from import stores.
    You know the stuff that dries, brown, like palm fronds?
    That.
    Grassy.
    Now many perfumes have derivitavies of vetiver, synthetics made of components of vetiver, and many have natural vetiver. There is a difference. The natural has lots of complexity. And boy, is it strong.

    Join me for the Note Identification Project, coming up in June.

  10. #10

    Default Re: What does vetiver smell like?

    So when I think I smell a tobacco note in Habanita, then actually it's vetiver?
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  11. #11

    Default Re: What does vetiver smell like?

    Chloefpuff, there is a sort of "decaying" or "cured" scent to natural vetiver oil, at least to my nose. I would certainly not be surprised if some people smell tobacco, or even a black tea scent.

    In general, I think that some synthetic vetivers probably try to replicate the scent of the plant while it is still living, and that is really an entirely different scent than an essential oil will give.

  12. #12

    Default Re: What does vetiver smell like?

    Brut - yes, the ubiquitous 70s aftershave - smells like almost neat vetiver to me.
    I have some essential oil, L'Occitaine's Vetiver edt and my hubby's lonely bottle of Guerlain Vetiver to compare and Brut is my best commonly-known reference for this ingredient.
    And yes - before the shouting starts, I know Brut also had a huge dose of patchouli in it to butch it up, but vetiver.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: What does vetiver smell like?

    Can vetiver be smoky as well? Is there actually one single vetiver smell, or does the smell of vetiver differ depending on where the vetiver is grown, climate, soil, time of year, etc., like fruit and tea and coffee and flowers? Just wondering.

  14. #14

    Default Re: What does vetiver smell like?

    See my earlier post. It definitely can be smoky! I'm interested in smelling a C02 extraction of vetiver. Has anyone experienced this alongside a regular distilled vetiver oil, that can compare and contrast the two (or more )?
    Last edited by SculptureOfSoul; 23rd May 2008 at 07:26 PM.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: What does vetiver smell like?

    Quote Originally Posted by seattlelight View Post
    Can vetiver be smoky as well? Is there actually one single vetiver smell, or does the smell of vetiver differ depending on where the vetiver is grown, climate, soil, time of year, etc., like fruit and tea and coffee and flowers? Just wondering.
    Well it certainly depends on variety and on extraction method. And it can have a very pronounced scorched earth note. And Sel de Vetiver seems to me more a great parlor trick done with vetiver than a straight rendition of the grass. I lovelove SdV.
    To me, vetiver smells something like freshly cut, dry late-summer grass, growing in a shapely and casually maintained armpit. An armpit left largely to its own devices.

  16. #16

    Default Re: What does vetiver smell like?

    Quote Originally Posted by SculptureOfSoul View Post
    See my earlier post. It definitely can be smoky! I'm interested in smelling a C02 extraction of vetiver. Has anyone experienced this alongside a regular distilled vetiver oil, that can compare and contrast the two (or more )?
    (slapping forehead)

    Yup, that's what I wanted to know. Sorry for the redundancy.

  17. #17

    Default Re: What does vetiver smell like?

    To me, vetiver smells earthy, dry and clean. Perhaps the fragrance I own that smells more true is lalique's Encre Noir: it's got different types of vetiver. I just love it, and there is no bitter or rubbery edge to it.

  18. #18

    Default Re: What does vetiver smell like?

    Quote Originally Posted by seattlelight View Post
    Is there actually one single vetiver smell, or does the smell of vetiver differ depending on where the vetiver is grown, climate, soil, time of year, etc., like fruit and tea and coffee and flowers? Just wondering.
    From what I gathered reading the guide, it depends what the source of the vetiver is, so there is variation in its scent.
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