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Group: Woody Aromatic
My partner and I are both fans of vetiver, this tropical, aromatic grass responsible for many great fragrances in history. Neglected for almost two decades, vetiver is having a comeback in recent years with releases from houses such as Tom Ford, Jo Malone and other niche brands. Our favourite vetiver fragrance is Guerlain's iconic Vetiver my boyfriend wears and loves but never to refuse a freebie, I offered a sample of Grey Vetiver for him to try.
In line with the rest of the perfume editions, the fragrance is housed in a simple, elegant and stylish bottle with a ribbed pattern all over. After the transparent Tom Ford Men, black Black Orchid and white White Patchouli, the monochrome theme continues. Yes, you've guessed it, Grey Vetiver comes in a semi-transparent greyish-white flacon and a silver plate attached to the front.
Top notes: citruses, orange blossom
On my boyfriend's skin, Grey Vetiver opens with a bright, fresh, lemony aroma that feels natural and also sweetens up in the next few minutes. It's immediately joined by a less sweet, aromatic and green-earthy tone that of the vetiver. Altogether, the effect is quite light, fresh and aquatic with only a bit of depth that's appropriate for the fresh and light cologne but complex enough for a high-end one.
Heart notes: vetiver, nutmeg, sage
About 15 minutes later, I start getting a deeper, smokier vetiver current and a surprisingly warm and spicy tone of dry and slightly dusty nutmeg, that's so realistic and well-blended that it's easy to pick out. The dryness of the spice naturally offsets the otherwise slightly sharp vetiver and stops it from becoming overly soapy and masculine as opposed to Guerlain's Vetiver.
The vetiver in Grey Vetiver is none the less masculine but it's a lot lighter and airy while still being moderately aromatic and a not diluted and watery shadow of itself as in Bvlgari Man. On the skin the fragrance is especially warm and balanced, which was a nice surprise as men's colognes often smell too sharp which tends to annoy me.
About an hour later vetiver showed its more earthy aspect that reminded me of wet soil, though this earthiness was the clean and polite type that's become a standard in modern perfumery where often the aromatic molecules are dissected and the dirtier aspects cut out to comply with the demands of our over-sanitized society.
The herby, grassy and slightly earthy vetiver together with the dry, nose-tingling, powdery undertone resulted in a lovely, two-faceted and slightly soapy but warm and spicy accord that stayed on the skin for about 5 - 6 hours.
Base notes: musk, amber woods, oakmoss
With the aromatic vetiver and spice gone, Grey Vetiver didn't have a lot going for it from the drydown onwards. The woods mentioned were mere a structure to bind to although they did remind me of cedarwood which is not listed here. What was immediately obvious is the light, skin-hugging musk and a light residue of vetiver that actually reminded me of my staple summer unisex cologne, Hermes' Un Jardin sur le Nil, that comes with a base of woods, musk and a light, aromatic dose of vetiver.
We were both disappointed with the base notes not having enough oomph and character and overall being entirely synthetic, weak and uninteresting. Intended for men but coming in an Eau de Parfum concentration as is the niche trend, I definitely expected more oomph and staying power. My boyfriend actually said that it actually dries down to something very common, like every other men's cologne. He actually meant the soft, clean musk that was lingering on for another 3 hours or so and as it's used practically in every single perfume in the world as a fixative so no wonder he did get that impression.
Needless to say, any vetiver-based or named flanker that hits the market today will inevitably be compared to the classic and timeless Guerlain's Vetiver,'the' vetiver cologne of the entire fragrance history that Jean-Paul Guerlain created when he was only 19 in 1961. Although it lacks the dominant soapy-smoky depth, the complex base notes the excellent staying power and projection and fantastic innovation that made Vetiver famous in the first place, I don't think Grey Vetiver would ever need to or should be regarded as inferior.
It has its merits on its own right and being a clean and modern interpretation of vetiver for men who want to break away from the myriads of citrusy or aquatic mass-market scents and would like to try something different is already a good start. Grey Vetiver isn't grey, it's light and lemony with an aromatic twist. It comes from a brand that's known for using quality raw materials and perfumers who are willing to experiment and put lots of creative effort in, although never really pushing the envelope and somewhat playing safe.
The result is a well-made, well-behaved, balanced and entirely pleasant, wearable, good-quality and interesting, modern, clean vetiver that appears simple and straightforward because it is by no means complex and worked on. And if this impression comes across right from the first sniff, you know you're onto a winner.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
Available at department stores and drugstores, normally retailing at £50 for 50ml Eau de Parfum.
Thanks for reading.
©powered by lillybee also posted on ciao.co.uk
Tom Ford's newest fragrance, Grey Vetiver was created for the man who is debonair, charismatic, and provocative. It is elegant, with a refined heart of natural vetiver, superbly blended with sun-drenched citrus, refined spices and prized woods.Notes of sage, warm wood, orange flower, grapefruit, orris, nutmeg, vetiver, amberwood, and oak moss comprise this fragrance.