Vetiver by Jean-Paul Guerlain for Guerlain 1961/2000


Post by Liam


Do we love classics because we have to? Do I utter that Shalimar is the best oriental because of its luxuriously rich history? Do I really think Mitsouko is the greatest perfume ever? In my opinion, the answers don’t matter. I like to surf around ambivalence. I don’t think Vetiver is that great nowadays. Yes, I said it, but hear me out.

Vetiver by Jean-Paul Guerlain for Guerlain 1961/2000

Vetiver Guerlain FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, coriander, lemon, mandarin, neroli
Vetiver, cedar wood
Base: Tobacco, walnuts, pepper, tonka bean

My post today draws attention to reformulation, former glory, and in some respects – moving on. For example, I refrain from saying Mitsouko is the greatest chypre in existence, but rather, it was. I own a parfum of Mitsouko dating from 2013. It is marvellous – it is a symphonic fragrance with movements so clear and so obvious it sings from the skin at a tight languid timbre. But I know that once upon a time it was better, and probably more dramatic and poising.

Vetiver Guerlain  Biorremediacion vetiver canal_contaminado WikiCommonsPhoto Stolen WikiCommons

The same is true for Guerlain’s Vetiver. Vetiver is vetiver. It either smells smoky in the style of Chanel’s Sycomore, clean like Tom Ford’s Grey Vetiver or in between the two. This falls in the middle, contrasting between both labellings pleasantly with a blurry and crunchy angular-ness.

A revivified lemon opens, with a peppery tobacco note swirling around the predominant root note of vetiver. It begs the question, can dirt be clean? This smells of rich fertile soil dampened with crisp rainwater. Like rich green grass seen through a misty glaze, then eventually cut by warm crepuscular rays from the sun. Our opening accord is dispersive and wet, matured with a base of vetiver and spice. This is unfussy; lax unlike much of Guerlain’s uptight feminine works. It is a still, and somewhat tranquil piece of work as it is neither overly rough or overly smooth. It is merely balanced masterfully.

Vetiver Guerlain  Vetiveria_zizanoides WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

But here’s my problem. Balance is great, but shock and awe is better. Chanel’s Sycomore excites me with its wood varnish quality. Terre D’Hermes presents a mineral flintiness unlike anything else. Do I have to love it? No. Rather, I should appreciate this scent for its historical importance and its reference value. On a critical level this is a linear perfume, spiced slowly and worn in with a dry cedar. The unctuousness is made refined, somewhat mellow in its progression; and yet despite this, it feels eternally thin, lacking a few features that cause great desire. Novel then (1959), and nowadays a traditionalist masterpiece that deserves nothing more than reverence. Guerlain paved the way for greats that have crafted vetiver masterpieces like Ellena, Ropion, Sheldrake, and Polge.

Vetiver Guerlain Tradition stux PixabayPhoto Stolen Pixabay

Further reading: Bois de Jasmin and What Men Should Smell Like
FragranceNet has $43/100ml before coupon
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $3/ml

All in all, Vetiver by Guerlain is solid and dependable; for the man who is comfortable in the background. This has an eternally redolent quality, reminding me of my grandfather who would come home smelling of lawn clippings and the industrial smell of fuel. Wear it throughout the working day and it will last all day long without any risk of offence or dangerous projection, as it should be.

What do you think of the Guerlain Vetiver? Masterpiece or Museum piece?
Liam x

4 thoughts on “Vetiver by Jean-Paul Guerlain for Guerlain 1961/2000

  1. Hey Liam, I love Vetiver. The plant, its uses, its smell and the fragrances created with it.
    The Guerlain one is simple and affordable, great for respritzing to cool you down, physically & emotionally. Simple doesn’t always mean bad.
    Portia xx


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s