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Vetiver Extraordinaire – The Real Deal – May 24, 2013 New Fragrance Listing

Photo - - Vetiver grass

I’m just starting a new book called “Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now” by Douglas Rushkoff. It’s about how digital technologies are profoundly affecting us as individuals, and as a culture. We’re always connected, always “on”, information overload is affecting our ability to process information, to make judgments and choices beyond managing the present situation. We no longer have control over our own experiences since we are constantly distracted, time and context become telescoped, with the result that we tend to not focus on what really matters. Ohhh, this doesn’t sound good, but I know exactly what he’s talking about, and you probably do, too, if  you have a cell-phone, iPad, computer, and you work for a living....

Reading the first chapter has made me think about why I love this perfume habit obsession. Unlike my eyes that I can close, or my ears that I can cover, breathing through my nose, and hence smelling, is not an option. My nose can’t NOT smell, so sniffing delicious notes in my perfumes demands my attention, takes me away from present stresses, hooks me up with memories, starts my mind wandering, and lets me focus on the kinds of feelings and thoughts that truly matter to me. Love of family, nature, art, literature, music - real and beautiful things in my life, or that I want to add to my life.

Right now I’m sniffing vetiver, which I think is one of the truly beautiful notes in perfumery. Some people think of vetiver as a masculine, I think its unique character transcends the whole male/female discussion, and should simply be called sublime. This version under my nose is Vetiver Extraordinaire by Dominique Ropion* for Frédéric Malle, a fragrance I’ve loved for years and finally added to my collection. Vetiver Extraordinaire is vetiver undecorated, unadorned, unadulterated, “a new essence of vetiver, stripped of its bitter edge, which [Ropion] matches with five woody notes to play up the scent's various facets. The result is something surprisingly fresh and crisp.” FM website

Vetiver Extraordinaire definitely opens fresh and crisp with bergamot and bitter orange, a big smack of sunny citrus which is mixed with the unmistakable vegetal magic of Haitian vetiver, the roots, the leaves, the whole nine yards, musty, mossy, earthy, green and dry – a wake-up call to the brain. It feels like a perfect morning in the great outdoors! Then there’s a mysterious tweak of peppery spice, a fleeting minty vibe which fades quickly, and gives way to the array of heart and base notes which transform Vetiver Extraordinaire into a piece of art. 

Wood notes – sandalwood and cedar, oakmoss and cashmeran – predominate from the heart through the long drydown, strong, refined, aromatic, softened by myrhh and musks in the base, but layered under the beautiful faceted vetiver note which the fragrance wears like a weightless veil. It smells so real, exactly like I imagine the scent of vetiver must be where it grows in the heat and humidity  - a deep aromatic earthy green scent that’s been wafting for millennia, a primeval scent.

There are many great vetiver fragrances, but they all tell a different more decorative story – Guerlain Vetiver-citrus soap, Vetiver Oriental-amber rose, Encre Noire - bourbon cypress, Coeur de Vétiver Sacré–saffron tea, Sycamore–smoky violet. Vetiver Extraordinaire has no distractions, it’s clean and airy, dry and green, and feels very natural, understated and grounded. The composition is pure (25% concentration of vetiver) and perfectly balanced which is, I think, the reason it works so well on male and female skins, and is so wearable morning or night, all year round.

The opening is so delicious, and the drydown so perfect, I get a shiver when I pick up the bottle for a spritz, knowing I’m going to inhale that mossy goodness, and breathe the beauty of Vetiver Extraordinaire for the rest of the day. I have no problem focusing on things that matter when I can smell them.

Vetiver Extraordinaire is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $8.00 for 1ml.

*Dominique Ropion is a star in the perfume world, the creator of big, fascinatingly complex fragrances with unique accords, often built around extreme opposites. He is the nose behind best-sellers such as Alien by Thierry Mugler, Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb, Acqua di Gioia, and many less-mainstream, niche fragrances - some of which we have in our Decant Store. Click on these links:

Carnal Flower

Géranium pour Monsieur

Kenzo Jungle L’Éléphant

Lalique Le Parfum

Portrait of a Lady

Une Fleur de Cassie