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Vetiver Oriental – Heart of darkness (January 12, 2011 New Fragrance Listing)


The other day a girlfriend I was talking to on the phone asked: “What are you wearing?” “Silk pajamas. Why? What are you wearing?” She meant perfume of course, but I was so caught up in the previous topic of conversation that I didn’t register the change of gears.

My friend is very dear to me, yet I find the question about what scent I’m wearing right now, so cliché that it totally goes over my head. What makes it worse is that sometimes she even likes to try to guess what frag I’m wearing while we're talking on the phone, which is impossible to do, no matter how close I hold the phone to my scented wrist. Same goes for computers. Bet you can't guess what frag I'm wearing right now.

Here let’s try it now. Go on. Put your nose right up to the monitor. Now, breath in… breathe out. Gesundheit! (Note to self: make time to dust this year) Well, that was a waste of time…wait a minute – did you say Vetiver Oriental? How did you guess? Hey, you cheated! How did you do that?

I guess I shouldn’t be so taken aback, Vetiver Oriental is so amazing, you wouldn’t have to be a mind reader to know it’s a heavily-worn fave of mine.

Chrysopogon zizanioides, A/K/A vetiver is a grass from which fragrant oil is distilled and used in perfume, most often as a fixative. Depending on the provenance and age, vetiver can smell green, earthy, woody, dirty, deep, dark, smoky and bitter. So, what does Christopher Sheldrake do to vetiver to make it so FBW?

At the opening vetiver’s green rootiness is played up with iris, giving the top a lovely green brightness. As it moves to the heart it gets darker – resinous, spicy, and a little smoky – then a note of bitter chocolate appears that highlights the bitter aspect of vetiver and gives it a gorgeous richness. The base is sumptuous – musk, amber, warm sweet sandalwood - and is the perfect counterpoint to the bitterness of the chocolate and the vetiver.  

Vetiver is often paired with citrus or herbs, which, if done badly ends up being after-shave. But Vetiver Oriental is luxurious, exotic and opulent – like some royal Oriental court.

Hey, wait a minute…was it the silk pajamas that gave the frag away? What a clever vixen you are – linking silk with the Orient. Still, it’s not the silk jammies that’s the clue, I wear them every day! It’s their dark green colour that gives the game away, but you couldn’t see that – or could you?

Vetiver Oriental is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml.