Perfume Directory

Vetyver Lanvin (original) (1964)
by Lanvin


Vetyver Lanvin (original) information

Year of Launch1964
Average Rating
(based on 12 votes)

People and companies

Parent CompanyInter Parfums
Parent Company at launchLanvin-Charles of the Ritz

About Vetyver Lanvin (original)

Discontinued in 1990, but relaunched and reinterpreted in 1993

Reviews of Vetyver Lanvin (original)

The original Vetyver Lanvin (1964) has a tumultuous history, beginning life as one of 3 alternate flankers to Monsieur Lanvin (1964), all released simultaneously as a launch for an exclusive men's line, since the 1960's saw a boom of interest in fragrances marketed exclusively to men. Like all the others of the line, this was initially labelled "Monsieur Lanvin Vetyver", but after just two short years, was giving packaging with the name it would keep for the bulk of its life in the market. Some say there are minor differences to "Monsieur Lanvin Vetyver" and Vetyver Lanvin, while others call them completely different fragrances, not to mention Lanvin as a house was notorious for renaming and repackaging its perfumes for different markets, and even made mixes of them (called "Eau Mixte"), so I did a lot of scouring before reaching the conclusion that they were at least effectively the same. This is especially likely since nobody makes mention anywhere else that the other scents which started life in 1964 as Monsieur Lanvin flankers (like Figaro Lanvin or Lavande Lanvin) became different scents once the "Monsieur Lanvin" preface was dropped. This stuff for the longest time had a cult following much like the original Vetiver Carven (1957) that only intensified in zealotry as it became scarce, but as the years went on and the stuff became too rare for people who didn't already have it to really bother with it, buzz on the original Vetyver Lanvin died. Ironically, people pay big bucks for stuff just like this coming from artisanal perfumers that give the middle finger to IFRA regulations regarding natural materials.

The opening of Vetyver Lanvin is pretty sour and bracing, with lemon and lime mixing with rosemary and aldehydes, a smidgen of the Monsieur Lanvin civet and floral skank showing its face. The heart of Monsieur Lanvin and Vetyver Lanvin are much the same, as they were all part of the same happy family at first, with carnation, rose, jasmine, and cinnamon. From here, Vetyver Lanvin quickly seeks to establish itself as a vetiver fragrance first, and the star note comes into the equation after only a few minutes on skin. Over the next 20 minutes or so, most of the Monsieur Lanvin vibes are crossfaded out as the Vetyver Lanvin vibes are crossfaded in, meaning the former moves to the background as a woody vetiver chypre base with a focus on oakmoss and a cedar/sandal mixture becomes the dominant facet. Dry patchouli and pine are also here, but the moss is extremely dominant alongside the vetiver, making Vetyver Lanvin smell like a moss-covered tree that's just been felled and cracked open during a lightning storm, clouds of musty verdant emanations wafting into the air. Civet and labdanum bring in a "Russian leather" note but they are not on the same level as they were in Monsieur Lanvin, and Vetyver Lanvin stays firmly rooted in the mirkwood. There is little of the grassy vibe people are used to with modern vetivers, and Vetyver Lanvin goes straight for the smoky dank aspects of the plant, but not mixing tobacco accords into it like other classic vetivers. Wear time is average but good for something sold at eau de cologne strength, and projection is a bang for 30 minutes then reduced to tight but punchy sillage thereafter. The smell of the original Vetyver Lanvin is very much a walk in an old forest once you get past that pissy opening and dandy floral dalliance that once tied it in with Monsieur Lanvin upon launch.

For most of the eight hour plus wear, you'll be head straight up a decaying treestump full of moss, green things, and must. This is the kind of "smell of nature" that would really appeal to something like the late Steve Erwin or anyone fond of The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams. In a modern perfume market, something this lucid and photo-realistic in tone would make a great niche perfume if moved upmarket, but the tumultuous production history of the original Vetyver Lanvin and indeed house Lanvin itself kept people out of the loop on this during its time on the market, meaning when Lanvin was resurrected by L'Oréal, the idea to re-orchestrate this into something more mass-appeal for the 2003 relaunch made more sense than reformulating the original composition to meet IFRA regulations. In short, the Vetyver Lanvin everyone talks smack about being hot garbage on a cracked plate is not this, and that early ambroxan-fueled mass-appeal experiment with only the slightest trace of vetiver is also discontinued, at it rightfully should be. The few die-hards out there clutching their stashed bottles of original Vetyver Lanvin are justified in their madness, and a taste for this kind of raw-smelling perfume is here again for big spenders in the niche arena, if only IFRA would allow them to be made and sold with warning label. Pure wood, moss, and vetiver with little else to get in the way, the sadly near-extinct original Vetyver Lanvin does not mince words beyond an old world opening with its sophisticated but succinct interpretation of the subject. Thumbs up.
06th September, 2020
Heartbreakingly beautiful. . Opens hesperedic with a LOT of civet that takes no prisoners. Give it 5 mn and let the symphony begin ( just as Rbaker below describes better than I could once again, a fine nose) or rather the Orchestre de Chambre's Suite, since there is no bombast. A citrus chypre like scent of the highest quality, where vetiver takes center stage.
03rd August, 2018 (last edited: 08th August, 2018)
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
The opening blast is a hesperidic notes with a gorgeous bright vetiver; at times with a nigh-salty lemon tinge. Soon the vetiver takes over. It is not an elegant Guerlainesque vetiver, not a restrained-refined like Dior's; there is a bit of earthiness in it with harsher edges, but also some green playfulness. As a matter of fact, the green component grows grassier and stronger in the drydown, at times evoking memories of Bowling Green, but the vetiver always bounces back. After about six hours it becomes smoother and softer. Jasmine, cinnamon, orris and wood notes are further facets in the development, before a whiff of oakmoss with tonka note adds restrained sweetness in the base. And extraordinarily blend of outstanding quality. Projection is very good and silage is good, but whilst not a silage monster it is on my skin a longevity monster, lasting over thirteen hours. One of my all-time vetiver greats.
22nd January, 2014
As for vetiver-based scents, there are many types of them: the complex ones, a la Guerlain, or straightforward ones like Carvin. Or soft, ones, like R&G. Or rooty ones, like Encre Noire. Or the new kind of, like Adolfo Dominguez' and Thierry Mugler's. Or the complex, rooty and genlte ones, like Chanel's Sycomore.

Lanvin's belongs to the first ones, however, without much complexity: citrics with vetiver in the base note, as simple as that. In that sense, it resembles many of the decade: I have in mind Dior's Eau Sauvage, Givenchy's Monsieur de Givenchy or Myrurgia's Alcurnia - they all open with strong hesperidic notes morphing into animalc undertones, which, by the way, were not that notorious. Of course, nuances play a role in these blends, like Hedione in Dior's and oakmoss in Monsieru de Givenchy but in all these cases their proposal have in common a family air with traditional Eaux, which is quite logical of the times when they were released and the role of masculinity at that time.

Somoene with a deep knolewdge the history of scents can shed some light on this, but Aramis and Givenchy's Gentleman seem to be radical proposal at the time they were launched.

12th November, 2013
vadim Show all reviews
Russian Federation
No surprises here – Lanvin Vetyver is the fuzzy, boozey, heavy and aromatic Lanvin Monsieur, only a bit (but just a bit) more dynamic and less calm owing to a vetiver note that starts off cheerfully but soon takes a somewhat (but only somewhat) darker, deeper turn, vaguely reminiscent of the vintage Guerlain Vetiver. Alas, little happens besides that as the scent progresses, or rather, hangs there like a thick cloud.
14th May, 2007
Unique,unrivaled and unforgettable are it's impact of a citric-green-aldehydic complex followed by sheaves of flowery notes like clove, jasmine, orris, ylang, melt into one another,continued by an impressive, heart-moving,warm complex of bay and cinnamon, gliding into the depth of dry-warm woody and powdery layers of vetyver,cedar,mossy and resinous notes,exceptionally rounded with tonka, leather and vanilla, ending smooth, lasting for hours, spending breezes of a greenish, spicy warmth. The original Lanvin Vetyver has personality, it's not simply a refreshing vetyver-eau-de-cologne like the ultra-refined Guerlain Vetyver is. The original Lanvin Vetyver gives us the "living" proof, that no unbridgebable opposite exists between the colour "green" on the one and eroticism on the other hand. The idea of the original Lanvin Vetyver was born long time before Lauder launched Aramais Devin as a country style perfume. The difference is: Lanvin has "chic". My last flacon is around 17 years old and the fragrance is like on the first day I opened it. While I'am writing my review, the fragrance is on the skin of my hand ...
05th March, 2007

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