Vetiver is interesting. I have come from total mistrust to finding several perfumes to like (and one to die for), but generally it falls into the “interesting and fascinating” rather than the “swoon and faint” category. Vetiver is more intellect than emotion for me.
This wonderful review by the very sophisticated Suzanne, finally inspired me to get my behind in gear and test Vetiver Oriental, a sample of which was generously sent to me by Christos of Memory of Scent ( Thank you again and sorry, it has taken me so long to write about it!)
Vetiver Oriental was created in 2004 by Christopher Sheldrake and includes notes of herbal green juices, iris, woodsy notes of branches, vetiver root, Guaiac wood, chocolate, musk, amber, sandalwood and labdanum.
So what makes this vetiver different?
It is the Guerlain among vetivers, a cool green, grassy scent laid over a gourmand base of chocolate-y amber and musky woods that is making me swoon alright.
Christos calls it vetiver over La Guerlinade and is reminded of Habit Rouge, Suzanne waxes poetically (and yes, swoons) over Vetiver Oriental’s gender-bending Rock-Star ambiguity.
For me Vetiver Oriental is pure poetry. Languid, elegant, mysterious, dangerous, powerful, and heartbreakingly beautiful, Vetiver Oriental has also a sadness that is not easy to describe. It has an aura of dejected strength that brings to mind one of the most beautiful and heart wrenching poems I know.
Im Jardin des Plantes, Paris
Sein Blick ist vom Vorübergehn der Stäbe
so müd geworden, dass er nichts mehr hält.
Ihm ist, als ob es tausend Stäbe gäbe
und hinter tausend Stäben keine Welt.
Der weiche Gang geschmeidig starker Schritte,
der sich im allerkleinsten Kreise dreht,
ist wie ein Tanz von Kraft um eine Mitte,
in der betäubt ein großer Wille steht.
Nur manchmal schiebt der Vorhang der Pupille
sich lautlos auf -. Dann geht ein Bild hinein,
geht durch der Glieder angespannte Stille -
und hört im Herzen auf zu sein.
Jardin des Plantes, Paris
His gaze has been so worn by the procession
Of bars that it no longer makes a bond.
Around, a thousand bars seem to be flashin
And in their flashing show no world beyond.
The lissom steps which round out and re-enter
That tightest circuit of their turning drill
Are like a dance of strength about a center
Wherein there stands benumbed a mighty will.
Only from time to time the pupil’s shutter
Will draw apart: an image enters then,
To travel through the tautened body’s utter
Stillness — and in the heart to end.
I’m the first to advocate English as a wonderful language, the one I prefer to write in actually, but then I read a poem or a book by one of the truly greats and I realize how much German has to offer as well. So I posted both versions, Rilke’s original and the best translation I could find (uncredited translator, found on the Dartmouth College website). Some things can’t survive translation, but the best ones create something new.
Vetiver Oriental has that broken spirit, caught in its bottle it longs to be free, to breathe and move. It is eternally grateful of you let it out and wear it. It thanks you by bestowing on you its seductive powers and sinuous elegance, at least for one day.