“Growing up, she would make me smell everything – newspapers, flowers, the earth and grass. It was a general training to make me aware of what was around me, rather than to learn specific notes.”
Just recently I wrote this post on scents and memory. I am deeply fascinated by the power of scents to create and recreate feelings, to enhance our perception and to guide us into the future as well as into the past. It is striking how many perfumers are children of perfumers, we should all learn from that. The awareness of scents and smells is something that we learn when we are children. The confidence to trust and cherish our senses is one of the most important things we can give a child. The encouragement to discover life and the world with all kinds of curiosity.
Yesterday I read Mandy Aftel’s story about her mother’s mink and Joy. Today I found this story from Camille Goutal, daughter of Annick Goutal.
Vetiver in a perfume signals a woody note, although it is not a wood type at all but grass. Vetiver grows in India, Thailand, China, Java, Haiti and the island of Réunion (a small island outside of Madagascar – the main things I remember from a trip there 15 years ago was that there was a lot vanilla everywhere, an active vulcano and amazing fruit). The oil is brown and thick and the odor is sweet, amberesque and balsamic but also woody, smoky and earthy. The oil distilled in Haiti and Réunion has a more floral quality and is considered of higher quality. Haitian vetiver is appreciated but after the earthquakes in 2010 supply has changed drastically (affecting prices). If you look at the information about the notes in a perfume with vetiver you should be able to see where the vetiver in it comes from. For example Creed’s vetiver is haitian.
Vetiver can smell in different ways, more or less sweet, earthy, smoky etc. From sweet moss to dry hay. This depends on where the grass grew but also on how the oil is processed. (The oil often goes through several chemical processes before parts of it are used in perfumes, among other things to soften the scent). You will often hear vetiver-fans discussing their particular favorite vetiver-kind. Which means – that if you are curious about vetiver and want to discover if it could be your thing – then try several ones. Try fragrances with a couple of different kinds of vetiver rather than finding one and letting it decide whether you ”like vetiver” or not. Vetiver is more common as a prominent note in perfumes for men, and often considered a classic male note. But readers of this blog know how I feel
about these things… If you want to go on a vetiver-safari here are some suggestions for destinations.
Also, I have to recommend this article
by Clayton of What Men Should Smell Like about the Guerlain Vetiver Pour Elle because it is so very beautifully written.
Good night, sleep well.