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Taking Note: Fragrance Focus on Vetiver

By October 6, 2015 2 Comments

Perhaps it’s the barbershop quality or the old-school flair, but there’s just something about Vetiver that’s intrinsically so manly and classy that I cannot quite get enough of the stuff! My obsession with Vetiver occurred early this year with the accidental purchase of Tom Ford’s Grey Vetiver – my first conscious vetiver-centric perfume—and boy was I drawn into a world of suave lavishness that just would not stop! Gyaaaah!

Glorious vetiver!!! T_T huhu (Why you so gooood?)

Glorious vetiver!!! T_T huhu (Why you so gooood?)

Vetiver is a South-Indian native grass that is used in majority of fragrances worldwide due to its naturally fixative properties which help bind other volatile oils and fragrances together. The natural essential oils taken from vetiver come from its roots – emitting a semi-sweet, slightly citric, smoky, earthy (dirty) finish.  While majority of Vetiver essential oils come from the roots, there are some perfumes (and perfumeries) that uses the leaf component as well. This, of course, gives off a fresh-cut-grass scent.

Also known as chrysopogon zizanioides...but don't ask me to pronounce it. :D

Also known as chrysopogon zizanioides…but don’t ask me to pronounce it. 😀


The best Vetivers are sourced in Reunion Island (also known as Bourbon Vetiver) but most of the Vetivers used on the market come from Haiti and Java with both having varying degrees of scent profile (from sharp zesty citrus to earthy or ‘dirty’ creaminess).



So why go the single-note route? Well, aside from the class it exudes, vetiver-centric fragrances are easy to wear and easy to appreciate especially in our climate. Its cooling effect and how it works absolutely well with citrus oils give vetiver an aromatic feel that isn’t just marine (Davidoff Cool Water, Bvlgari Aqva) or citrus (CK One, Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger). The compound binds to your usual fragrance notes and adds a warm depth –grounding it and giving it more substance (and some would say even “history”).


My lovelies. :D

Lovely 😀

If you’ve ever wanted to ‘up’ your fragrance game and graduate from your high school designer fragrance options then vetiver-centric fragrances is a step in the right direction. It definitely adds a level of maturity to your collection without thrusting you to grandpa-old levels.


Here are 6 easy-to-wear vetiver fragrances for you to start with:


1. Comme Des Garcon Cologne Series 4: Vettiveru


Vettiveru 125ml Cologne retails for Php 2950 at Comme Des Garcon boutique in One Rockwell or in Greenbelt 5’s Adora

Vettiveru 125ml Cologne retails for Php 2950 at Comme Des Garcon boutique in One Rockwell or in Greenbelt 5’s Adora

Light, airy and casually playful, Comme Des Garcon’s Vettiveru is a joy to splash or spray on a fine summer day. The citrus overdose from Bergamot and Neroli definitely helps in taking away the otherwise seriousness that vetiver usually brings.


2. Lalique Encre Noire


Encre Noire 100ml EDT retails for Php3950 at Art of Scent or selected SM Stores

Encre Noire 100ml EDT retails for Php 3950 at Art of Scent or selected SM Stores

Deep, dark and smokey, this one is all business but business in the 21st century. Switching an iPad for a briefcase, Lalique Encre Noire is a young professional’s rightful arsenal in the business world. The vetiver is a bit dirty (earthy) and the smoke creates a sense of mystery, but it’s still an easy wear nonetheless.


3. L’Occitane Eau de Vetyver


L’Occitane Eau de Vetyver EDT retails for Php2950 at any L’Occitane boutiques

L’Occitane Eau de Vetyver EDT retails for Php 2950 at any L’Occitane boutiques


Shifting to the realm of a more traditional masculine scent, L’Occitane’s Vetyver opens very dirty / earthy and stays that way for some time before drying down to a more rounded, more aromatic citrus-leather feel (it sounds weird, but trust me it’s pleasant). This one needs some time to develop to be fully appreciated but if you’re looking for something more classic, Vetyver is a great scent to pick up. It’s also quite affordable.



4. Guerlain Vetiver


Guerlain Vetiver 50ml EDT retails for Php 4300 at Rustan’s Beaty Section

Guerlain Vetiver 50ml EDT retails for Php 4300 at Rustan’s Beauty Section

The ultimate reference vetiver scent. Guerlain is really where most perfumers draw inspiration from. Dirty, Aromatic, Citrus, Soapy, all of this you can find in Guerlain’s classic Vetiver scent. Aside from heavy vetivers, Guerlain also included tobacco, peppers and spices adding a bit of a kick to the juice. Guerlain Vetiver reminds me of days of old where everyone would wear suits to work and people carry briefcases. If you want something that can transport you back in time for some classic 1950’s Americana, Guerlain Vetiver could be the thing for you. J


5. Tom Ford Grey Vetiver EDT


Tom Ford Grey Vetiver 100mlEDT retails for about Php 6000 at selected Art of Scent

Tom Ford Grey Vetiver 100mlEDT retails for about Php 6000 at selected Art of Scent Boutiques

Easy, suave, and classically modern, revered fashion designer Tom Ford has successfully crafted a timeless vetiver scent for the modern gent. This one borrows something familiar and gives it a refined twist. Tom Ford describes Grey Vetiver to be the Navy Blue suit of the perfume world –something that’s staple, classy, rooted in tradition without being dated.


6. Monotheme Vetiver Bourbon


Monotheme Vetiver Bourbon 100ml EDT retails for Php 1250 at Rustan’s Beauty Section

Monotheme Vetiver Bourbon 100ml EDT retails for Php 1250 at Rustan’s Beauty Section

This gets special mention as being a decent ‘first’ vetiver-centric scent that you can warm up to before venturing into various ‘more mature’ vetiver fragrances out there. Easy to wear, freshly green, sugary sweet and crowd-pleasing, Monotheme’s Vetiver is versatile as it is amazingly affordable. The cheapest Vetiver in my collection, Monotheme cost Php 1,250 for 100ml bottle. Yup! So…given the price, this one’s a no-brainer.


And there you have it! This is part of a series we’ll be doing moving forward. Let us know in the comment section if you agree on our selection or if you wish to add any in here. Cheers, and happy sniffing! 🙂


Colin Chan

Colin Chan

All-around geek, Colin stretches his passion for fashion and fragrances (really, he's an addict). A once regular contributor for Unbox, he's jumped from site to site and juggles Ungeek.ph as well as Unpacked.ph. In his off time he scours through mounds of websites, youtube reviews and ads that talk about perfume (that's when he's not busy gobbling up TV series, movies and videos games left and right).


  • Carly says:

    I fully commiserate. 😀 A girl here, and I chanced upon your blog while reading up about niche scents available in the Philippines.

    I only recently ended my rose phase in niche perfumes, and was appalled at how much it set me back in so short a time. I’m on a self-imposed mini moratorium now; and while there are still a fair few scents I wish to add to my rose collection, it’s been good to discover, rediscover and play with what I have. ( I like to tell myself these things!! Maybe, I’ll convince myself at some point, hahaha.)

    I like vetiver well enough, but it turns murky on my skin. And I really haven’t encountered a girly vetiver that I absolutely had to have. Have you tried Le Labo, btw? Le Labo’s Vetiver 46 is a good vetiver frag (or illusion thereof, since the note comes and goes) for cool weather and Hermes Hermessance Vetiver Tonka is just fab for warmer days. I only had samples though, so I’m not certain either is full bottle worthy.

    • Colin Chan says:

      Hi Carly,

      Thanks for dropping by! Yup tried both Le Labo’s Vetiver 46 and I have a bottle of Vetiver Tonka (albeit a traveler’s bottle) :p. Vetiver 46 is interesting but for the price it commands, I’m having a hard time committing to it. Vetiver Tonka on the other hand is just lovely. Gourmand-level Vetivers but a bit on the pricey side as well (considering that this falls under Herme’s Private label). A full bottle of Vetiver Tonka costs Php 12,000.00 here at the only Hermes boutique in Greenbelt 3. 🙂

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