Vetiver is an unusual plant that can be used in various ways. It grows very fast and lasts for several years, mostly in tropical parts of the world. It originated from India but Chrysopogon Zizanioides now grows in Polynesia, Haiti, the Philippines, Angola, Brasil, Argentina, Jamaica, and Reunion islands. Javans call vetiver akar wang which means scented root. It is not used only for the production of a fantastic essential oil that can be found in many perfume creations, no. Vetiver is a salvation for India – it stops the erosion of land, fights weed and pests, it is used to feed the animal, make ropes and it found its place in Ayurveda medicine too.
The essential oil is produced by steaming the root of the pant. The oil is a brownish hue that varies from amber to olive tones. The scent of vetiver is sweet, heavy, lush, earthy and reminiscent of damp earth and leaves in the forest. Two main ingredients of vetiver essential oil are vetiverol that has a mild, lasting sweet and woody scent and vetiveron that has a strong, a bit bitter earthy tone.
In perfume industry, vetiver is used as a fixative because it fix other scents together and it lasts long on the skin. It is also used as an essential perfume element of chypre, fougere and modern aldehyde-woody compositions. It can be often found in oriental basis and in basis that has oakmoss, rose, wood and opoponax. It goes well with ionones, patchouli, sandalwood, lavender, sage and mimosa.
People often confuse it with lemongrass, citronella and palmarosa. Those herbs have a green, citrus, refreshing scent while vetiver is heavy, intoxicating, very masculine and earthy. Because of its peculiar scent, perfumers often use it in their creations although not everyone like is because of its peculiar scent. The last thing you can say about perfumes with vetiver is they lack in character because that is not true. Just remember Lalique Encre Noir.
Perfumes with dominant vetiver note are: Guerlain Vet., male and female (both are a textbook example of a phenomenal vet., you have to try them), Tom Ford Grey Vet., Frederic Malle Vet. Extraordinaire, Creed Vet., Chanel Sycomore, The Different Company Sal de Vet., Annick Goutal Vet. and many other.
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