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Vetiver Tonka - a divine union of opposites

Vetiver grass  - wikipedia.com

Fall is coming. The light has changed in the past couple of weeks...days are shorter, nights are cooler. But summer is still here with hot HOT days and high humidity. The last days of August trigger my craving for deeper more intriguing fragrances than the airy summer scents I've been wearing for weeks, but while this relentless heat persists I need the COOL factor of green and citrus notes found in colognes and EdTs. What to wear?

Vetiver Tonka. This eau de toilette is from the Hermès Hermessence Collection created by Jean-Claude Ellena, the acknowledged master of subtle scents, and I just happen to have a small bottle in my collection. Vetiver has been one of the top notes on the perfumer playlists this year, and it's always been one of our favourites too. We list many fabulous vetivers, and this vetiver totally satisfies my cravings for deeper richer warmer, but cool.

What do we know about vetiver grass? it smells earthy, woody. green. The Haitian variety is clean and ethereal, the Javanese is smoky and dusty.

And tonka bean? Distilled from the fruit of a tropical tree, the absolute contains coumarin, which has a distinct sweet tobacco almond scent with hints of caramel. 

Hermès says: Vétiver Tonka: powerful vetiver, smoothed out by velvety hazelnut. A hint of praline is mixed with the sweetness of Tonka beans to soften the earthy, rough effect of the roots. 

Jean-Claude Ellena says:

“The unrefined, rough, earthy scent of vetiver appealed to me. I felt a need to appropriate and reinvent it. I wanted a tender, enveloping, warm vetiver. What it needed was tonka bean! With its caramel, praline and blonde tobacco notes, tonka bean draped vetiver in softness and gave its woody notes a mellow roundness." hermes.com

The fresh citrusy top notes of bergamot and neroli are sweetened with tender lily of the valley and notes of dried dark fruits and toasted cereal, creating a delicate gourmand accord which floats through Vetiver Tonka as it dries down. The heart is tonka bean, mellow almond and roasted hazelnut nuttiness, vanilla caramel sweetness with hints of spice and anise, wrapped in the warmth of ambery tobacco, which joins with vetiver at the top of the base, aromatic, green, woody, pungent with the smell of roots just pulled from damp earth. Vetiver Tonka  transforms into Jean-Claude Ellena's vision -  a tender, enveloping, warm vetiver, it's woody notes softened and rounded.

With the addition of sandalwood in the base, the vetiver and tonka accord becomes creamy and lush, with a buttery musky undertone lightly splashed with caramel sweetness, but still with a bit of a chill from the vetiver green. It's divine!

This is a Jean-Claude Ellena scent and his brilliant style is on display from top to bottom in Vetiver Tonka. The scent is seamlessly blended, balanced and unfussy, light and radiant, refined, intriguing, charming, and perfectly unisex. With a quiet sillage and decent EdT longevity, Vetiver Tonka is also a bit of a tease, revealing different facets according to the temperature and the humidity. Which delicious note or accord will I be offered today?

Vetiver Tonka is truly a divine union of opposites, a genius interpretation of vetiver. In this crazy weather, choosing what to wear just got a whole lot easier.

Vetiver Tonka is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.