Guerlain (1961)

Average Rating:  377 User Reviews

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Vetiver by Guerlain

Fragrance Overview Where to Buy Reviews Community Ownership

About Vetiver by Guerlain

People & Companies

Fragrance House
Robert Granai
Packaging / Bottle Design

This popular fragrance by Guerlain was relaunched in 2000 with new packaging, a new bottle (designed by Robert Granai) and new colour juice. According to Guerlain, the scent remains unchanged and is as good as it ever was.

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

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Reviews of Vetiver by Guerlain

There are 377 reviews of Vetiver by Guerlain.

(reviewing the vintage EDC formulation)

This is so good while it lasts, but the problem is that, like most EDCs, it really doesn't last. You get a bracing green citrus up front, that gets displaced by a really dry centre, like nutmeg, pepper and dried grass, with a touch of something herbal, then the vetiver arrives properly and it's the dry and austere variant of vetiver, and it's so, so good and then it's all... gone. This is literally in minutes, barely an hour anyway. I can really see why this was later reformulated as an EDT, whatever the complaints from some about the formulation. Such a great scent, shame it didn't last.

Too harsh and dated for me. It's incredibly spicy and in your face. There's a lot of pepper(s) and nutmeg in here and a sharp, resinous cedar.

Apart from that, the vetiver is also not to my liking. It's too grass like, plain grass not vetiver. It's also too 'dark green' if that makes sense. Almost as if there's things like gentian, pine needles and even some sort of salad leaves in here.

It's love or hate I guess.

To me, I pick up mainly the lemon and the vetiver when I wear this iconic cologne from 1961. It's a sophisticated scent that does read "older" when you wear it. Projection is not huge, and I wouldn't say it is attention grabbing. Notes include lemon, tobacco, neroli, orange, the titular vetiver, and leather. I got it at a super reasonable price, but seems to go up and down a bit at both Amazon and discounters. I would say look for it at $30-40, and it's a solid buy for days when you want to be a little subtle and sophisticated. Rumor has it Arnold Schwarzenegger is a fan, and this is signature scent. I certainly can see why.

I remember the first time I was made aware of Vetiver was a few years ago... some Esquire or GQ or other men's mag article mentioned that the Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger used Vetiver as his signature scent.

The was pre-scandal Arnold who was acting governor of California at the time so it was a compliment paid to Vetiver. And while I didn't rush out and buy a bottle, I made a mental note.

A few years later, after tiring of dumb grab fragrances I decided to build out a more sophisticated collection. The memory of Vetiver bubbled to the surface and I decided to find it and figure out what it was about. I had expected a fairly expensive bottle, after all my intel was on a guy who rocked Patek Phillipe and Audemars Piguet watches so I expected his fragrance to be Creed, Penhaligon territory I was pleasantly surprised by the modest price tag and snatched up a bottle of the modern formulation.

I wasn't very excited on first exposure. I got a bug spray vibe from it the first time I tried it and after a couple of attempts was going to write it off.

But 3rd time was the charm... After I hopped out of the shower, with the air still steamy I put a couple blasts on my arms and a couple blasts on my collar bones and started getting a better picture... There is this synthetic compound in Vetiver that can sometimes spoils the opening for me, like I said, kinda like bug spray but I don't always get that. .

It has a green grassy, citrus opening that almost immediately disappears, after which there is this savory herb note for a moment before the spice takes over. The spice is unusual in that it doesn't have any sweetness to it. It has the spice of something like cinnamon without the sweetness you normally encounter. It implies sweetness it just never manifests and there is this almost black pepper note that I think may be like the peppery part of a tobacco.

And that is pretty much where it stays.... Essentially it is a spicey, peppery tobacco wood (that is the best I can do using words to recreate a scent).

It doesn't really project and isn't a compliment monster. I also found that if you reapply a couple 2 or 3 times throughout the day, by the end, the dry down becomes less pleasant, almost like pickle brine... for lack of a better word, so it's best to apply once, maybe refresh a few hours later and call it good.

Certainly not an everyday thing for me.... I do wear it at work sometimes and I think it is a good warm weather scent that I enjoy after a shower on the weekend but it's more of a specialist than an every day generalist fragrance.

Guerlain Vetiver is a masculine aromatic fragrance and a timeless classic. It opens with beautifully blended citrus and tobacco notes. As it settles on the skin there is a mild spiciness as the nutmeg and pepper notes begin to play. The fragrance dries down to a lovely fresh woody vetiver, the tobacco seems to persist although more in the background compared to the opening. So much has already been written about this masterpiece of men's perfumery. What I can say is that 60 years after it's release Guelain Vetiver is still both masculine and refined. I find this fragrance very comforting to wear. This is a mature man's scent, that is not to say a younger man cannot pull it off, but this is not the fragrance for a younger man going partying, clubbing or on a date. But for a man aged above 35, professional, in a suit or the older man at home or out and about this fragrance is stellar. Guerlain Vetiver has strong projection and I find two sprays on a warm day to be sufficient. The fragrance lasts a good 6 or 7 hours on my skin. One of the best in my collection and, for the price you can pick it up for, it's one of the better value quality men's perfumes.

Review for the vintage Eau de Cologne (green cylindric plastic bottle with round 'window' in the middle from the early 80's, according to the seller):

In the top, I get a blast of citrus, that will swapped shortly after for a mix of aromatics (probably petitgrain, basil and tarragon, but possibly also artemisia and/or rosemary) and spices (mostly a dry nutmeg, but also coriander and black pepper). Only in the base will the vetiver go a bit more in the front, supported by moss and labdanum, that will give an overall impression of tobacco - with the aromatics still clearly present.

I was expecting a 'dated' version of the current juice, but what I got here is a citrus/aromatic chypre, that stand way closer to L'Homme de Gres, than to current Guerlain Vetiver EDT. In the vintage EDC, vetiver is not the star, but a noticeable note of a perfect blend. Only in the drydown will it start showing similarities with the current EDT. If anything, this one stands as the grandfather of Vetiver Extreme, more than Vetiver.

Guerlain never disappoints. This one is no exception. Unfortunately the price resulting from its scarcity prevents me from buying a full bottle, but alternatives navigating the same waters are gladly still available for decent prices.

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