VETIVER EDT (1959) • GUERLAIN🔺, Nose Fragrances



Jean-Paul Guerlain

tonka bean


Guerlain’s Vetiver is a modern classic and arguably the most popular ‘reference’ vetiver as far as I’m aware. It’s one that I’d tried before from current formulations, but until this review I hadn’t smelled an older batch. This review is for a vintage (in this bottle style).

With vetivers like this, I never have too much to comment on. I don’t get much of the surrounding notes or facets, just different ways of vetiver that are very centric.

And in that vetiver-world, I’d say Guerlain’s is smack-dab in the middle of the styles of vetiver that I’m familiar with. From the very soapy, to the grassy green. From the lighter ones to the thicker, heavier ones. Guerlain Vetiver feels like a good middle point and therefore works well as a reference as well.

I get a couple of minutes of a more mossy, Mitsouko-esque tinge from this vintage bottle, but within 5 minutes the vetiver is front and center. It’s a bit more spicy and oakmossy than the modern Guerlain Vetiver from my memory. The vetiver itself has that clean, soapy element, but also a more earthy, almost nutty side. I know a lot of people get some tobacco in here (and it’s in the listed notes), but I tried looking for it in this wear and can’t say that it reminds me of a tobacco scent at any point.

In my own journey, Tom Ford Grey Vetiver is probably the key vetiver centric fragrance that I base my opinions on. Grey Vetiver is quite similar, but more citrussy and less earthy. The same goes for Roja’s Vetiver. The more earthy mossy styling of the Guerlain makes it a bit more dated in my opinion (which it is, so that’s not a knock on it).

I get more of a mossy than a grassy green vibe here, with a spiciness, yet it feels clean because of the soapiness and surprisingly ‘sterile’, maybe not compared to something like Grey Vetiver, but compared to most of the other fragrances that I’ve tried from this era. A lot of the vintages that I’ve tried feel dense, with a lot going on, whereas this Vetiver is very focused.

That’s about as much as I’m able to expand on it. I’m not sure of that’s just me, but I have this with vetiver and some other notes (saffron for example), where for me it becomes the whole composition and there’s not too much to say about it.

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