I used to wear this a lot about 12 years ago when it came out. Often alternately between it and French Lover. I haven't worn in it many years, but a couple of days ago I tried it again. There's some persistent aromachemical that I can't now unsmell (cashmeran, synthetic sandalwood?). It is both compelling and slightly repulsive, almost to the extent of making my stomach turn over. I've become a lot more sensitive to some of the aromachemicals over the years, and have largely moved towards either wholly natural formulas or vintage perfumes that aren't laden with the likes of cashmeran, dihydomyrcenal, ambroxan etc. It was strange how noticeable it was. Yes, there's vetiver, but it's been slightly hollowed out to give one note rather than a chord, overall seems to lack a lot of the beauty that you get in something like Givenchy's Vetyver. Early on there's rather too much of the orange note as well. Sadly I don't think I'd recommend it, unless you sample it properly and can live with it. It's going up for sale tomorrow...
A citrusy, woody vetiver thats more clean than sweet but really doesnt feel too dated. Just feels classy and masculine. Combines a soapiness with a woody musk that actually comes off a bit like cumin up close, kinda rubbery or like peppery body odor. It doesnt stink though, the musk just provides a spicy sharpness.
Lasts about 7-8 hours with soft projection. Only those close to you will be able to detect.
In Aphorismes d'un parfumeur, Dominique Ropion says that he and Frederic Malle based this on a fractionated vetiver oil from which the camphor had been removed by some arcane jiggery-pokery. Its a smoother, atypical vetiver where its habitual costume has been abandoned [for something] a bit cold, metallic.
Instead of the usual earthy, grassy and liquorice themes, it starts off pebble-like and exotic fruity, and then develops a whole litany of accents: red leather, sweet powder, pink pepper; mushroom, sous bois, sour milk; green, demerara, woody, mossy and musk.
It does become a bit more conventional in the drydown, but with its alien ambience of Feu dIssey and the thrawn tangents of Roudnitska, this is still, quite an extraordinary work. As Spock might rightly have said, its vetiver Jim, but not as we know it.
The SA left me in no doubt about the quality (and quantity) of the raw ingredients used - proof then that high quality ingredients may be necessary for a great fragrance but are far from sufficient.
Some vetivers are spring (CDG Vetiverru) - fresh, bright green, invigorating. Some are Autumn (Encre Noire), rooty and smokey. Some are Summer (Mugler/Prada) : soapy and clean. This is unfortunately Winter: cold, grey, dreary.
Dark green and rooty, slightly mentholated. Vetiver teamed with Cedar almost reading as a bitter lime. A little cold and impersonal. Perhaps a good board-room scent.
Performance is hard to gauge as I seem relatively anosmic to it. If you want something in this genre perhaps also try TF GV EDP or TDH intense vetiver. I simply would never be excited or thrilled to wear this one.
This is a textbook example of trying to be too creative and just driving the train right off of the rails.
It's a very harsh opening, with only the slightest whiff of vetiver. The bergamot and bitter (and I mean BITTER) orange are accompanied by a disturbingly ozonic note. Most vetiver fragrances that I enjoy have that soapy/clean vibe you typically expect with a vetiver opening. But this ozonic component gives an almost ammonia-like presentation of the citrus, woods, and vetiver, which reminds me of once-wet, rotting vegetation. Similar to a used tea bag that has been sitting out for a few days. Some others have mentioned an iodine note, and I can certainly understand that component. This has a very bitter and medicinal tinge to it.
The bitterness subsumes after some time, leaving a dusty, dry, woody base coupled with a melange of what seem to be random herbs. And then it just eventually fades away. This barely classifies as a "vetiver" fragrance, as the vetiver is about as prominent as the sesame seeds are on a Big Mac. It doesn't evolve, it doesn't get better...it just burns out in a sad fashion. I will say this: it does project well, and it has good longevity. More than most fragrances that I actually enjoy, sadly.
What really flummoxes me about this scent is that at some point, Dominique Ropion took a whiff after hours and hours of work, leaned back and then felt satisfied to turn this Frankenstein's monster loose on the general public. I don't get the point of this. I really don't. This is something I would believe to be the failed experiments of an amateur perfumer. The irony of this is that it's this bad and so expensive. I wish I could say I like any part of this fragrance, but I just don't.
I share the opinion of other reviewers, that this one is not a convincing vetiver fragrance.
The drydown is very similar to Givenchy Vetyver's drydown, but imo Givenchy does it better for a fraction of the price.
Neutral opinion on this one, but factoring in the niche price point and a dollar store fragrance-like performance, it will be a thumbs down and a hard pass for me.