Monday Question – What Is Your Favorite Vetiver Perfume?

Today it is time for another Favorite Note question. Let’s hear your vetiver recommendations!

Is vetiver among your favorite notes or do you tend to avoid it?

Which perfume that prominently features vetiver is the best in your opinion?

Do you like vetiver in a starring role or more in the background?

Is your favorite vetiver smoky and dry or green and plush?

Do you think vetiver is a more masculine leaning note or is it perfectly gender neutral?

What is your most-worn vetiver scent?


My Answer:

I like vetiver. That was not always the case, it was more of a cautious friendship turning into love kind of thing between us.

My preferred vetiver is fresh and not too smoky. I like Chanel Sycomore for its dependability and the strength it seems to infuse me with. Hermès Vetiver Tonka is my absolute favorite, because I love the way it dances with hazelnut and mixes coolness and warmth in that way.

Guerlain’s Vétiver our Elle is a beauty that is sadly discontinued, so I treasure the small vial I still have. A recent vetiver newcomer I use often is Olfactive Studio Flash Back, where a bracing vetiver note is surrounded by grapefruit and rhubarb to make a unique and interesting fragrance that makes me alert and feels invigorating.

The husband loves Jean-Claude Ellena’s reconstruction of a classic, Hermès Bel Ami Vétiver and no vetiver list would be complete without the wonderful Serge Lutens Vetiver Oriental.

What are your favorites?



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78 Responses to Monday Question – What Is Your Favorite Vetiver Perfume?

  1. Tatiana says:

    I like quite a few vetivers. It is hard for me to choose a favorite. It just depends on my mood. I have a small vial of Guerlain Vetiver Pour Elle and wish it hadn’t been discontinued. Some other vetiver loves are Chanel Sycamore, Frederic Malle Vetiver Extraordinaire, Serge Lutens Vetiver Oriental, Lalique Encre Noir, The Different Company Sel de Vetiver and L’Artisan Coeur de Vetiver Sacre.
    I think I need to get samples of Hermes Vetiver Tonka and Olfactive Studio Flash Back. When it’s sprayed on paper, all I smell in Flashback are the fruity notes, it never seems to get to the vetiver for me.

    • Olfactoria says:

      On skin the vetiver comes a lot earlier than on paper, so I think Flashback might be a positive surprise for you.
      Can you believe I never tried Sel de Vetiver? A shame, I should rectify that soon.

  2. Lynley says:

    I love every incarnation of vetiver I’ve tried, and there are plenty more that are just too elusive to get hold of that I’m sure I’d love if I did try.
    I think they are slightly masculine, but in a way I think smells quite sexy and unexpected on a woman.
    Because our summers are so hot and vetiver is so cooling, I tend to prefer my vetivers hard up- Guerlain, Encre Noire, Sel de Vetiver. Or maybe it’s just because I have fb’s of these and use them more liberally than my smaller amounts of v. extraordinare, MdO Vetiver, AbdesSalaamAttar Persona (in list to be fb one day…)

  3. Undina says:

    Vetiver isn’t a note I seek in perfumes but I do not mind it at all. Hermes Vetiver Tonka and Serge Lutens Vetiver Oriental are two favorite perfumes with the prominent vetiver note, everywhere alse it’s in a support role.

  4. Ines says:

    I love vetiver, it’s one of my favorite notes. 🙂 I would call it unisex but then I do lean toward the “masculine” side. 😉
    My favorites: MdO Vetyver, Guerlain Vetiver (the masculine one) and like Tatiana, Sel de Vetiver (i generally like everything by TDC).

    • Olfactoria says:

      Ines, you are a vetiver expert, let me ask you: Do you wear the current formulation of Guerlain’s Vetiver? Did you ever compare it to vintage formulae? What do you think of the current one?

      • Ines says:

        I haven’t had the chance to try the vintage one so I can’t say how it compares to it. The modern one suits me just fine. It was also my first vetiver perfume – great first choice of vetiver to try I must add. 🙂

        • Olfactoria says:

          That is actually what I hoped to hear. I don’t want to go looking for vintage, if the current one is good enough for you, it’s good enough for me. 🙂

          • No no no: the original is so much DEEPER, more mysterious….I adored it. I cannot
            wear my current version.

          • Olfactoria says:

            Aaaargh! You know I didn’t want to hear that!!! 😦

          • I could go on…..I fell deeply in love with a bottle of the original. I used to go to this shopping mall at Cambridge, where there was this one bottle I used to go and smell. It was so different from anything I had experienced at that point, so murky and alluring, like a folk tale cardigan embedded in a wise old oak tree. In short (we are talking 1990 or so, but I don’t know how old that bottle was), it was kind of weird, and talismanic.

            They have kept the essential character quite well I think. But honestly, trust me, if you get your hands on a well-aged sample of the old version, you will immediately know the difference. There is no wisdom in the current incarnation.

          • I mean I have come to agree with you about Shalimar vintage extrait in a way. I prefer it, for sure, but it is not that different.

            But Vol De Nuit, for example. I know you treasure your parfum: I LOVE it. I can’t even quite write about it, the way it dries down on the skin…..I think Vetiver is a bit like that.

          • Olfactoria says:

            Thank you, Neil. We only live once and if there is beauty to be smelled one should do it, even if it is possible only for a short time. Will go looking for a vintage sample.

          • It will depend on the year, and luck, of course, I think you will see immediately what I mean. I hope so, anyway!

    • rickyrebarco says:

      Oh, I like the Guerlain Vetiver, too, how could I forget about that one? It has such a beautiful development on my skin.

  5. Alice says:

    I’ve only recently got interested in vetiver, after trying two that I thought excellent: Armani Prive vetiver babylone and Atelier Cologne vetiver fatal. They didn’t seem masculine to me, but like Ines I prefer unisex anyway. I’ll read the post with interest, as I’d like to add a vetiver to my collection.

  6. fruwinther says:

    I think I’m gonna have to say….tataaaa: Onda extrait. It has such a huge hold on me. And today,on a Cold ,rainy spring day, it definitely Works magically. No.2 is Vetiver Oriental, my very first Lutens love.Something clicked (in a good way) the first time I smelled it, so elegant, comfy, bookish and grown up- just like me on my best days. 😀

  7. asali says:

    I wear vetiver a lot less than I used to, but onda is a favourite, and I do love my decant of vetiver pour elle. But at the moment my absolute vetiver fave is a washing up liquid from rituals 🙂 silly, I know, but the fact is I loathe washing up, but using Bamboo treasure, a combo of jasmine and vetiver, does make it so much nicer. It has a beautiful throw, like a perfume.

  8. Figuier says:

    My favourite vetiver is Sycomore, which is perfectly poised between feminine and masculine, light and dark, spring and winter. And of course it’s Chanel, & so automatically wonderful 🙂

    Since I own one of the massive 200ml bottles I haven’t been that curious to try out other vetivers. I found Guerlain’s Vetiver too cologney when I first tested it, but I think I’m changing my mind about that. My dream perfume though is a balance of airy jasmine and sparkling yet musky vetiver, so I would have loved to haved tried Vetiver pour Elle before it was discontinued…maybe Ritual’s Bamboo treasure is available as a perfume 😉 On a more negative note, I found Atelier’s Vetiver Fatale really disappointing – after a lovely bright opening it turned into a cloying mess that managed to be both sugary sweet and sourly grubby at the same time. Atelier’s drydowns are always problematic for me, though, so it could just be my particular skin/perception.

  9. lucasai says:

    I definitely avoid vetiver as it mostly turns into pickle on my skin.
    My fave perfume with vetiver is Carner Barcelona D600. It’s much more of an rios for me but it’some of the few vetiver

  10. Anka says:

    Vetivers I crave a lot are Vétiver Tonka (autumn and winter) and Vétiver Fatal (summer).
    Not so long ago I bought a small bottle of Sycomore after admiring it for a whole year, I really desperately wanted it – but know, I am rarely in the mood to smell it. I pick it or Lalique’s Encre Noire pour homme when I want to feel tough and respectable but not to indulge in them.

  11. That’s a good question, and vetiver is such a love it or hate it note. Guerlain’s Vetiver is always in the closet for July and for fall I like de Nicolai’s Vetyver. I suppose Terre d’Hermes doesn’t count? 😉

  12. Jackie b says:

    Vetiver to me leans more masculine, but something about it lets in the fresh air. I remember reading that screens made of wet vetiver leaves were used to cool houses in the tropics.
    I use L’Erbolario Vetiver to mist sheets before storing.
    Perfumes I like are Sycomore and Encre Noire but have not tried many. Yet!

  13. Sarah K says:

    SAs are always suggesting that I try vetiver fragrances, so obviously I look like someone who should love the note, but I don’t tend to find them very wearable. I do love the smell of Sycomore, but more in a ‘this is oddly fascinating’ way, rather than an ‘I must spray it all over me now’ way. My wearable vetivers are Onda, 28 La Pausa and Vetiver Pour Elle, all of which have quite a lot of other stuff going on besides the vetiver.

  14. Suzanne says:

    My favorite vetiver is still SL Vetiver Oriental, but I love the note in so many perfumes, and the vetiver that Abdes Salaam (La Via del Profumo) uses in some of his perfumes is incredibly uplifting and elegant.

    I wish I could say that I loved the iconic Guerlain Vetiver, but for some reason, I don’t (and I’m speaking of the vintage). I think that, for me, there are certain pairings of vetiver and cedar that get very astringent and sour on my skin, and that is one of them. I always feel guilty, though, in saying that I love vetiver when I hate the most classic vetiver scent of them all. 😀

  15. Sandra says:

    I actually do not own a Vetiver perfume. It is a note that I find challenging and have not tried many of the perfumes mentioned here today. When it gets hot I may go and seek some out to get acquainted.

  16. Vanessa says:

    I am not mad about vetiver, but like you, I can appreciate its prominence in Vetiver Tonka. Another recent vetiver-forward discovery was Vetiver Spice by Bella Bellissima – still making up my mind about Vetiver Oriental. I loved your description of it as conveying a ‘dejected spirit’, and the Rilke poem – the original was much much better imho. I was kept waiting at the doctor’s for over an hour when I wore it last, so could related to that vibe for sure. 😉

    • Olfactoria says:

      The perfume and the Panther are very much linked in my mind, so it is not a happy go lucky scent in any way, but sometimes the mood is just right for it. I hope your doctor’s office perfume the next time is something much happier!

  17. jdennard75 says:

    Ah, yes. Vetiver is my single favourite note in fragrances. I prefer mine green and plush. But I have tried many different interpretations of the note.

    The first one I tried was Frederic Malle’s Vetiver Extraordinaire. I remember that it wasn’t until the second time I sampled it that I understood what I was smelling. The next I tried was Guerlain’s. By this time I had a lot more experience with fragrances and specific notes. GV moved into my top five fragrance list immediately. I love the balance of the notes. These are easily my top two Vetivers.

    SL Vetiver Oriental, Mugler Cologne, and MdO Vetyver are others that come to mind that I love.

  18. rickyrebarco says:

    My favorite vetivers are Hermes Vetiver Tonka, Tauer’s Vetiver Dance (an underappreciated beauty IMHO) and Chantecaille’s Vetiver for women, a soft nice vetiver. Only problem is total lack on longevity on this one. I also like Keiko Mecheri’s Vetiver Velours. It’s a very pretty unisex one, a softer side of vetiver.

  19. cookie queen says:

    This question has freaked me out all day. I think the vetiver part of my brain is broken. I love Onda, I know it’s in there but I fail to recognise it. I have tried nothing listed. But I want to learn. I need to repair the malfunction. xxx

  20. Lady Jane Grey says:

    I really like Vetiver – sparkling or smokey, if they’re done well. It’s a note which rather addresses my masculine side, but hey – Yin & Yang, isn’t it ? It is done absolutely perfectly in Vetiver Oriental – so much so that now I’m sitting here, V.Oriental on one wrist and V. Tonka on the other. I only need to find that Flash Back…

  21. shellyw says:

    I have recently bought a dyptique vetiver. I like it, a 8 on a scale of 10. I have a indonesian vetiver (also grapefruit and jasmine) scented candle from thompson ferrier that I love. I think I have bought 5 small one now. I am looking forward to trying chanel’s sycamore from the comments above.

  22. Kandice says:

    While I like vetiver in home scents or essential oils, I find it too masculine a note in most fragrances. However, I keep hearing how wonderful Hermes Vetiver Tonka is so I may have to try that at some point in time 🙂

  23. Suzy Q says:

    I like vetiver! I’ve got a large collection of vetiver samples. It’s fun to compare them. My absolute favorite vetiver is Annick Goutal Vetiver of which I’ve got a decant. It’s briny, not spicy or floral. To me, it creates an atmosphere–the outdoors and salt water.

    • Olfactoria says:

      That sounds delightful, I will definitely try Goutal’s Vetiver, thank you!

      • Colognissimo says:

        If you do, try to get hold of not only the current version in Annick Goutal’s “Les Colognes”-line but also the now sadly discontinued EdT version. While the Cologne, on its own, is still quite good and even retains some of its brinyness, the sea it evokes is no longer that of, say the Outer Hebrides, but rather that of e. g. Sicily – which makes it much more wearable, but also a lot more predictable and much less unique.

  24. rosestrang says:

    I too love vetiver! I first began to appreciate it when I stayed in a cottage in the middle of an ancient forest and the owners burned a nigh quality vetiver incense. Since then I’ll occasionally buy a small absolute of it, and I find it one of the most relaxing and grounding aromas for stressed times. In absolute it’s very smoky yet astringent and I enjoy it in Arpege, Infusion d’Iris, especially in dry down, and as a subtle touch in Le Baiser du Dragon. Also Encre Noir for men (I didn’t like the elle version though, it seemed a bit too bright and clean for me).

  25. nemo says:

    Yay! I love vetiver. I find it very soothing and energizing, all at the same time. My top favorite is Vetiver Tonka (which I use sparingly!), but I also like Sel de Vetiver in the summer. Terre d’Hermes was quite lovely, but a bit on the masculine side (I clearly need to try it again!), and I have been itching to try Encre Noire pour Homme for the longest time. This post may have tipped me over the edge! 🙂

  26. Eva S says:

    My favorite vetivier so far is the Guerlain, I like to wear it on really warm summerdays, it feels very refreshing. I should dig out my sample of Vetivier pour Elle and try it again or maybe not if I should like it too much…

  27. Bee says:

    I’m a bit late for this, but I love vetiver in the summer! My vetiver pour elle is a then staple, but I also enjoy the fresh take of escentric 03 (you could also go for molecule 3, but this is a controversial topic), I’ve just sampled emotional rescue (mark buxton), I’ll retry it to check whether it is different enough to justify a bottle purchase. I won’t repeat other scents mentioned above, but just mention that réglisse noire has quite an intense vetiver element in the drydown. And last but not least, ultimate vetiver freaks should try out samples from the les nez turtle vetiver project, just for the heck of it!

  28. Missionista says:

    Love vetiver! In addition to some of the great ones named here, I vote for Diptyque’s Vetyverio. It doesn’t get a lot of love, but it’s really fantastic on (my) skin.

  29. Love vetiver! Infusion de Vetiver (Prada) is my ‘go to’ perfume for work most days – don’t have to think about it, it’s so fresh and light, and optimistic. (You can get it at on-line discounters very reasonably as I think it may be discontinued) Also love Bella Bellisima Vetiver Spice – stronger, but softened by a hint of vanilla and not too smoky. Czech & Speake/ Vetiver Vert is light and citrussy, though this is one I like more for men. Vetiver Orientale, Serge Lutens is one I choose for winter and a masterpiece – rather green and wonderful. Sycomore/Chanel smokier than all of the above, but when one is in the mood for it (mostly in winter I find), nothing nicer. Great sprayed into hair or on to a scarf, you get little wafts all day….mmmmm.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi dear Lila!
      Ah I completely forgot about the Prada, I’m sure it is lovely, I love Infusion d’Iris very much, so I will give this one a spin (if I can still find it here).

  30. Cotton Red says:

    Out of my very modest fragrance closet (a drawer, really), I only own two vetiver-based scents: Fleurs de Sel by Miller Harris and Sel de Vetiver. For whatever reasons, whenever I spray on either one, I can’t help but feel pensive. Whereas FdS makes me (or my eyes) misty in a sort of nostalgic/melancholy way, Sel de Vetiver induces more, relatively speaking, hopeful/joyful tears as it brings to mind life’s bittersweet moments (I think its slightly more sunny demeanor comes from the gorgeously rendered grapefruit note- and I don’t even necessarily care for grapefruit in general). Does anyone else feel this way (contemplative, reflective, etc) about vetiver scents?

    • Olfactoria says:

      Yes, I know what you mean. Vetiver’s gentle misty quality can surely evoke such feelings. I tend to go more for the solid vetivers (like Sycomore) that make me more effective and focused on the tasks ahead.

  31. Joe says:

    I also like Encre Noire, perfect for that minimal and smart feel and good for eating out as it does not interfere with the smell of food.

    Givenchy Vetyver is another good one, very crisp and refreshing.

    I find Vetiver quite a stimulating rather than relaxing note so I have to keep this in mind.

  32. Colognissimo says:

    I’m actually quite the vetiver guy. Nonetheless, I hadn’t even heard of Vetiver Oriental. Definitely have to seek that one out.

    Other than that, there are three more great vetivers, that haven’t been mentioned yet:

    Vettiveru by Comme des Garcons:
    In spite of it being an offering by CdG nothing avantgarde, but really well put together and extremely versatile. For me it’s just one of those scents that make you smell sophisticated, but still not offend by being too daring. Plus it’s so cheap you could actually bathe in the stuff – or at least lavishly reapply once it wears off.

    Vétiver from the Dior Privée line:
    As another “gourmand vetiver” somehow in a similar vein as Vetiver Tonka. Compared to VT, however, it’s got a much clearer vetiver note and the “foody” impression is due to coffee rather than tonka bean, which not only makes it less sweet and thus more slender and minimalist, but also gives the whole thing a kind of intellectual feel.

    Vetiver by Etro:
    If only the opening lasted longer! While after a while you just get a rather stark and slightly unpolished vetiver note, at the beginning the whole thing has a wonderful powdery note, making it the only scent I know, where you can actually still smell some dried earth clinging to the vetiver. I mean, it’s a root, after all!

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