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Route du Vétiver – It’s about the journey…. – October 27, 2014 New Fragrance Listing

Image - Wikipedia - Réunion, Plain des Palmistes by JoKerozen

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawn to a fragrance that had a vetiver note in it. Dark, aromatic, verdant, musty, dry, woody, rooty, earthy, citrusy with bitter chocolate, smoke, and leathery-amber facets, vetiver shows up in the middle notes and base notes of many of my fave frags. Fact is, vetiver has such excellent fixative properties that it’s contained in 90% of all western perfumes, so it’s likely in your fave fragrances too – even if you don’t like vetiver.

Still, the first time I smelled a true, full-on fragrance built around vetiver was a true revelation. That first deep lungful swam around my brain, coursed through my heart and snaked through my soul. Vetiver moved into my psyche and took the top bunk.

My vetiver chakra had been awakened, and like any dedicated seeker I was ready to transform. I needed to advance, to go deeper, to experience more vetiver fragrances and since most niche perfume houses have a vetiver fragrance in their line, I was on my own fantastically fragrant route du vetiver – Vétiver and Vétiver pour Elle by Guerlian, Vétiver by Annick Goutal, Vétiver Oriental by Serge Lutens, Coeur de Vétiver Sacré by L’Artisan, Vétiver Extraordinaire by Frédéric Malle , Vetiver Dance by Andy Tauer and my latest stop along the road, Route du Vétiver by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier.

Chrysopogon zizanioides, commonly known by its street name, vetiver, is a perennial grass native to India that is cultivated in the tropical regions of the world, like Haiti, India, Java, and Réunion. Réunion produces the highest quality vetiver oil called "bourbon vetiver" and is the focus of Route du Vétiver.

Part of the “Les Parfums du Levant” series, the Maître Parfumeur et Gantier website says that Route du Vétiver is “a magnificent stroll in the hills of the Réunion Island, amid the inflorescences of vetiver!  With the vetiver roots, Maître Parfumeur et Gantier has created the fragrance of the island.”

Route du Vétiver opens with blackcurrant - tart, tangy and smelling like cat piss - along with a note of green leaf that sets the stage: we are in nature. There’s no citrus at the top, just a lemony fattiness from aldehydes. It doesn’t take long for the bourbon vetiver - heavy, woody, earthy and slightly sweet – it smells of roots and wet soil to bloom. There’s also a rich backnote of precious woods – I smell camphorous cedar, smoky guaiac wood and soft rosy, rosewood. Jasmine adds an indolic, animalic floral note to the rooty, woody heart. At the base sandalwood extends the woodiness of the heart, and along with musk, mellows it out.

Route du Vétiver is all vetiver: green, woody, earthy and dirty, with a medical/camphourous note that runs through it. It’s potent and heady and all the things I love about vetiver.

If Route du Vétiver is the smell of vetiver in the hills of the Réunion Island, then I was born a long way from where I need to be. Lucky for me, I know a short cut….

Route du Vétiver is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $4.00.