Vetiver in perfumery

Vetiver in perfumery

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The root of vetiver and the consecration of its sweet smoky wood scents

Vetiver is a plant that comes from India but grows in many tropical regions. It strongly resembles our famous grasses from the gardens of the 70s Pampas grasses, its slender stems can reach up to 2 meters in height. To create the famous fragrance of vetiver, it is the dried root of the grass which is used to be then distilled, the fine leaves being used to feed the cattle

Until the beginning of the 20th century the olfactory properties of vetiver were hardly known and world production barely reached one ton. In 1970, thanks to its massive use in perfumery as well as in aromatherapy, the record figure of 250 tons was reached! The four types of vetivers used in perfumery are: Bourbon vetiver (from Reunion Island), Indian vetiver, Haitian vetiver and Java vetiver. The favorite of perfumers remains Bourbon vetiver, whose fine and earthy scent offers a rosy note, it has nevertheless become very rare.

Woody scents and vetiver

Vetiver, finally its roots, were used for decades as a fixer of top notes in perfumery. Until the day when the famous Carven house decided to honor the notes of vetiver by making it master of a perfume bearing its name: Vetiver. Released in 1957, the perfume was a huge success which finally made vetiver known for its olfactory qualities and, what is more, launched the fashion for woody perfumes.

Vetiver seduces with its powerful and slightly smoky scents, it evokes earth and plants. The men of the 60s love it! So much so that the vibrant woody notes made from vetiver will be for decades a classic in perfumery which will be distributed in particular shortly after by the houses of Guerlain and Givenchy. However, vetiver will also be popular with women who will discover it in the Chanel N ° 5 or Calèche by Hermès to adopt it definitively afterwards

Obviously, the powerful and smoky fragrance of vetiver has been the very signature of many men's fragrances for several decades. In general, woody scents are particularly masculine. And yet Some daring perfumers have dared to use feminine woods and even vetivers for women! In 1992 the first real woody feminine fragrance was released by Shiseido Féminité du Bois, it will remain for a long time the only one in its range. Then a few years later, with the return to favor of plant-based fragrances, new perfumers embarked on the vetiver adventure with Le Baiser du Dragon by Cartier or even Vétiver pour Elle by Guerlain.

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