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Vetiverissimo – mellow and easy-going and elegant

Vetiver is a favourite fragrance note here in the niche. The number of blogs devoted to fragrances centred around vetiver, makes it safe to say that Kay and I have a weak spot for chrysopogon zizanioides, the fast-growing perennial bunchgrass A/K/A vetiver, which belongs to the family Poaceae. Though it originated in India, it is now grown in tropical regions everywhere, with Haiti, China and Indonesia among the top producers.

The long, grassy leaves of this tall fragrant plant aren't important here – it's the essential oil from the long web-like roots that gives vetiver value.

Long ago, in India, vetiver essential oil was a common ingredient in incense powders, while in the west, it was used as a fixative in fragrances. Nowadays, vetiver is more than just a fixative – it's become a classic scent on its own. It's complex dry, earthy, woody, balsamy, leathery, smoky, and even green aspects give perfumers so much to work with, so much to explore, and so much room to create something original. It's why so many top niche houses like Guerlain, Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, Dior, Annick Goutal, Serge Lutens, Heeley and Nicolai Parfumeur Createur, have a vetiver-based fragrance in their stable. And today, I'm going to add FZOTIC, the umbrella brand for fragrances, art, and home goods from American self-taught perfumer Bruno Fazzolari. His Vetiverissimo EdP is my current vetiver crush.

At this point, I usually talk about the perfume, the inspiration for it, the story behind and the notes. Let's see what Fazzolari gives us.

On the FZOTIC website, Fazzolari says: 'This is a vetiver that I created for myself out of my love for this beautiful and complex material. I set about highlighting a specific facet of vetiver that doesn't get emphasized so often: a bit of sparkle, spice, resin, woods. I also wanted something versatile. This vetiver is casual and dressed up, appropriate for staying home, going out for the night or going to work.'

As for the notes, well, Fazzolari says there are no top notes and only lists spice, vetiver, cedar, resins, woods. Let me tell you – it's enough.

On me, the opening is fresh and green and sparkling, with just a whiff of vetiver smokiness and dustiness. In time, it gets earthy - not dirty, but clean and light - it's subtly warmed by spices that if I'm being honest with myself, and you, I couldn't name. The warmth surrounds the woods: a balsamy note of cedar and milky, green-tinged sandalwood that lingers for hours.

Vetiverissimo is, in fact, a soliflore – what you smell at the start is pretty much what it stays like, and that's what I like about it. In a way, it's simple, but that simplicity leaves room for pleasure.

Don't get me wrong, I still love the pungent complexity of vetiver – it's dirtiness, its darkness, its deepness, its raw earthiness, but Vetiverissimo is showing us a different vetiver. Vetiverissimo ticks all the vetiver boxes, but Fazzolari's elegant approach results in a mellow, easy-going, casual vetiver without any big drama right to the drydown. And that, dear reader, is what makes it irresistible.


Vetiverissimo is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $7.00 for 1 ml.

Image - Vetiver grass - Wikipedia