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British Family Perfumers Since 1730

Know Your Notes: Vetiver

August 13, 2015


Discover the unique scent of Vetiver, an aromatic grass root native to India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Vetiver falls into the olfactive family of woody and moss and is often used by perfumers for its distinctive dark, earthy green notes. Perfumers value the ingredient for its tenacity, which is apparent at every level of fragrance construction, adding citrusy green to the top notes, earthiness at the heart and leathery amber in the drydown. Vetiver has a transforming effect on basenotes such as oakmoss, vanilla, sandalwood, patchouli and rose making it the perfect choice for niche perfumes. It is commonly used to add mossy and woody tones and, depending on the combination of ingredients, can generate an aroma that is often described as smokey, grassy, earthy or even reminiscent of bitter chocolate.

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The precise odour depends very much on the extraction process. The oil is mainly produced in Java, Haiti and Reunion by steam distillation of Vetiver roots. This produces the driest and lightest oil but a much richer and darker ingredient can be produced using a solvent process and this gives the oil a much heavier and, often smokey scent of earth and moss. Some more modern methods of extracting the oil result in a crisp and zesty ingredient.

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Besides perfume, Vetiver is used in many different ways around the world. In the countries where it grows, the long thin roots are dried and woven into baskets, mats and other goods. Vetiver blinds are a popular way of dividing rooms and release a revitalising cooling scent when sprinkled with water. In Northern Indian Vetiver is even used to make a refreshing drink. There are many scents in the Floris collection which include this fascinating ingredient.

Our Jermyn Street Eau de Parfum is characterised by the abiding masculine theme of vetiver which runs through the fragrance from its introduction in the base to the heart where it is balanced with vibrant citrus notes of bergamot and mandarin.

You can also detect nuances in Santal, No. 89, Elite and Night Scented Jasmine.

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