Reviews of Vétiver Extraordinaire 
Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle (2002)

Average Rating:  98 User Reviews

Your ratings



Vétiver Extraordinaire by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Fragrance Overview Where to Buy Reviews Community Ownership

Add your review of Vétiver Extraordinaire

You need to be logged in to add a review.

Log in here, or register


Reviews of Vétiver Extraordinaire by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

There are 98 reviews of Vétiver Extraordinaire by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle.

This fragrance presents itself as a woodier and drier alternative to Chanel's Sycomore. While Sycomore has a more herbal and sweet character, VE is more two-dimensional in the drydown. The opening is a pleasant combination of citrus, vetiver, and cedar, but it falls short in the drydown, lacking the necessary amount of vetiver to satisfy my expectations. For the price, I would have expected the fragrance to showcase the vetiver note more prominently and carry it into the drydown for as long as possible. Unfortunately, vetiver feels like a middle note, competing with the cedar note for attention in the drydown.

The performance is moderate, but it could be better. I would recommend this fragrance for fall and spring, but it may not be strong enough to cut through the cold weather. Overall, I was slightly disappointed with this fragrance.

A citrusy, woody vetiver that's more clean than sweet but really doesn't 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 doesn't 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 for Vétiver Extraordinaire, he used a fractionated vetiver oil - from which the camphor has been removed by some chemical jiggery-pokery.
'It's a smoother, atypical vetiver where the ‘habitual costume has been abandoned [for something] a bit cold, metallic'.

And 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, musk.

It's a bit more conventional in the drydown, but - with its alien ambience of Feu d'Issey and the tangents of Roudnitska - this is still, quite an extraordinary work.
As Spock might have said, ‘'It's vetiver Jim, but not as we know it'.

Pre Lauder sample

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 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.

Thumbs down without an ounce of hesitation.

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.

Colder rainy days, 30+

Funny how reviewer's impressions are all over the map: from dark and earthy to light and lemony. I'm in the latter. For while it's 'soft', it last quite a while. Not quite as 'sparkling' as what I perceive Guerlain's reference vetiver to be, and I don't like this more than the Guerlain, but I do really like it. That said, I don't believe I would pay the FM asking price, this being a linear vetiver scent. Beautiful, but linear.

Fresh orange peel on a wooden chopping board - zesty but delicate. Ends up in no-mans land with cool clean vetiver pulling one way and warm woods the other. It doesn't quite have the ‘cold water sink-wash' feel of grey vetiver/original vetiver/muegler cologne; and doesn't have the full warm woods richness of Comme des Garçons or L'occitane's Cade. Plus I'm not the biggest fan of orange fragrances. Probably needs a particular type of day to make this work - when you need slightly warm, slightly fresh (or can't make up your mind).

What a let down.
Especially after the masterful French Lover and Femme Sous La Pluie (or words to that effect).
It has some of the solid back bone of French Lover without the soul instilling the uncomfortable feeling that it has been sucked out leaving you staring into an abyss and yours is about to follow. Almost like the cologne you'd expect a dementor to wear at a black tie (well black gown) event that being the last thing you remember as he turns to you to introduce himself.
It may be vetiver and woody notes and indeed there is a bit of promising fresh fizz right at the beginning which hurries away in fright leaving something stripped down and lifeless. Nothing inspiring or noteworthy apart from the price.
As a piece of Tate Gallery Art perhaps this has a place. As a credible masculine fragrance its a complete dissonance to its name.

Fragrance: 2.5/10
Projection: 4/10
Longevity: 6/10

Update February 2021:
I have noticed that with increasing experience comes a maturity of tolerance and appreciation. Not here. This stuff is terrible. In dry down it smells like cheap air freshener and is irritating especially as it lasts. Awful.

Dominique Ropion would become in time the most frequent contributor to Editions de Parfum Frédéric Malle, starting with Une Fleur de Cassie (2000) during the launch of the label, and returning to make solid, if not outstanding entries like Géranium pour Monsieur (2009) and Portrait of a Lady (2010) but here with Vétiver Extraordinaire (2002), I feel like the creative juices weren't quite on tap for the perfumer. Editions de Parfum Frédéric Malle already closely rivals houses like Creed and Xerjoff for the nouveau-riche dollar, gaslighting the affluent with either heady tales of past glory or "definitive" new takes on classic styles, but all this pretense and hufflepuff does little to save Vétiver Extraordinaire from it's own faults. The scent tries to be "The New Vetiver" as declared in it's very own listing on the Editions de Parfum Frédéric Malle website, and I can feel where what was then considered "new" merges with the basic concepts of a vetiver fragrance, but it just feels too much like a Dr. Moreau gene splice than a fragrance that does what it claims. At it's core, Vétiver Extraordinaire is actually an ozonic citrus and cedar scent, with just the faintest wisps of vetiver to be found. Supposedly this contains 25% vetiver, which is three times more than standard, yet smells like it barely has any. I give Domonique Ropion props for presaging and possibly inspiring the work of Harry Freemont on Tom Ford's Grey Vetiver (2009) a whole 7 years early, but the problem here is that Freemont's take on a citric vetiver scent works, while Ropion's doesn't, which when combined with poor performance on skin, and a price tag almost hitting $300, buying the stuff feels like a fool's errand even compared to other Malle scents.

Vétiver Extraordinaire opens with brutal bergamot and orange coupled with an ozone note, followed by a very grassy take on vetiver that is fresh but sadly pretty synthetic and fleeting. Out the front door, this vetiver charges into the fray but less than 30 minutes is almost completely gone, supplanted by bitter citrus and the middle of pink pepper, which beats the supposedly large quantity of vetiver down into a jail cell of cloves guarded by scratchy wood to create almost a minty ghost note. This is just before the dawn of norlimbanol, so I'm not sure what wood smell-alike chemicals are here, but most likely Iso E Super and some dry version of hedione similar to the "paradisone" used now. This transition irriates with the citrus and cloves until it all calms down under a synthetic sandalwood note and cedar, with musk being the only rounding agent present. Lest we not forget, there is some myrrh here as well, which adds even more dryness to a scent not needing it. I love dry citric chypres, but when you marry ozone and bitter greens into them without something sweet to balance them, you're basically letting the harshness run wild. The saving grace here is none of the top notes are really all that long-lasting, which is a slap in the face even to some dedicated Malle fans considering the price. What's left behind after a wear of Vétiver Extraordinaire is an itchy dry woods and incense afterglow with wisps of ozonic citrus, which kind of moots the point of this being called a vetiver scent. I guess "The New Vetiver" is meant to smell as much like vetiver as "New Coke" was meant to taste like Coca-Cola. Sigh.

I'm not one to ever tell anybody to stay away from a fragrance no matter how much I dislike it, because I feel like it's not the reviewers job to make the purchase decision for the reader, but rather just to inform it one way or the other, although I have considered making an exception here. If you really like vetiver, this is not a scent for you. If you have never really tried vetiver, this is also not a scent for you. If you are a collector of Editions de Parfum Frédéric Malle, this is only a scent for you after you've collected all the really noteworthy ones first, and if you like the idea of a 2000's ozonic masculine married to a mid-century vetiver scent framework, but with the vetiver dialed down to almost ironic levels in regards to the name, this might also give you some semblance of pleasure. I don't really see an audience for this besides the aforementioned nouveau-riche type who will buy anything just because they can brag about how much it cost, because even wealthy people with a bit of experience around perfume and a taste for vetiver wouldn't chose this, as even Creed has a whole host of vetiver scents that are much more widely-regarded than this mess. Domonique Ropion is allowed a misfire now and then like all perfumers, but this is such a ridiculously expensive and high-profile misfire, that the only reason Malle probably stands behinds this is there are suckers born every minute that will fleece themselves for a bottle, without knowing the difference between a good vetiver, and a patch of crab grass. I'm sorry, but I'm just not sorry. Vétiver Extraordinaire is more like Vapidity Extraordinaire, and I got no more to say.

If you like ozonic, airy scents with synthetic backbones, you like vetiver, and you want both of those qualities in one scent, Vetiver Extraordinaire is made for you. Be warned: this is not a natural-smelling vetiver, and the marketing claim of high natural vetiver oil concentation is questionable.

Personally, whatever aromachemical is responsible for that "ozone" effect doesn't work for me. It comes across as metallic, thin, a bit sour, and robotic, and frankly, I just prefer a raw, rooty, natural take on vetiver. If we're modifying the note, give me something less chilly and remote.

I don't think Vetiver Extraordinaire is a *bad* scent. It is a unique and memorable take on vetiver, and unquestionably fulfills an artistic vision. The goal here is to highlight the green and inky aspects of vetiver, and to paint that picture on a modern, angular, minimalist canvas. This is a sleek, atmospheric vetiver with more in common with Geranium Pour Monsieur than most other vetivers on the market. If that's the tone you want, to me, Geranium Pour Monsieur is the better option. But if those qualities sound good in a vetiver context, definitely check out Vetiver Extraordinaire.

Of course the vetiver is there right from the start; is makes, after all, what maybe 70% of this creation is all about. This is a bright, open and straightforward vetiver.

It has slightly hesperidic undertones, and with times develops a tangy and slightly steely characteristic that grows stronger with time, but the vetiver accord remains dominant on me throughout.

One thing that I am not getting in this vetiver is earthiness or any darker shades. Woodsy impressions, at times with whiffs of gentle spiciness, hover in the background, but always remain in an accompanying function until the end.

I get moderate sillage, adequate projection and eight hours of longevity on my skin.

This is a pleasant spring vetiver. Comparing with other major vetiver scents it lacks Molinard's power, depth and earthiness, it lacks the original Guerlain's complexity, the cleanness of Creed's Vetiver, the depth of Annick Goutal's and the somber rawness of Roja Dove's version. Still, although it might be too linear at times, as a bright and comparatively straight-out vetiver it is nice and agreeable. 3.25/5.

A good clean, crisp blend of vetiver mixed with sandalwood, orange, and musk, it's a perfect match for rainy days. The blend is professional and spot on and fans of vetiver will love this. Does it warrant such a high price tag though, especially when vetiver grass is such a low cost?

Of all the important niche vetiver perfumes, Vétiver Extraordinaire is probably my least favorite.

I do love the smell of vetiver in general - the combination of grassy green, bright lemon, nutmeggy spice, inky undertones, and subtle iodine for depth makes for delicious sniffing. From what I understand, almost all vetiver perfumes use vetiveryl acetate, a derivative of vetiver oil that has all these qualities. Just to be different, Frederick Malle and Dominique Ropion decided to create their own chemical instead, derived from meticulously cleaned vetiver grass, in order to create the "purest" possible vetiver smell. And while I love their audacity and their gamechanging chemistry, I'm afraid I just don't like how it smells.

Somehow, the iodine facet is greatly exaggerated, so there's a very clear metallic twang, like licking a battery or the taste of blood. I find it kind of stomach-churning, actually. The whole thing is searingly sharp, almost surgical. For depth, there's a licorice/geramium element in there, as well as something that smells kind of like toasted bread.

I think this is probably required sniffing if you really want to KNOW vetiver, but I don't really like wearing it. In all, I can't give something this deeply thought out and interesting a full-on thumbs down, even if it makes me kind of sick, so I'll vote neutral.

Memories: A pocket of Tasmania, perhaps the botanical gardens there. Energetic and active.

Who should wear this: Andre Agassi. A college sports coach.

Bottom line: Stick with Creed's Original Vetiver instead.

Stardate 20170210:

This is a vetiver mixed with cumin, mint and woods. Maybe some other spices.
The vetiver is earthy but the spices throw it off and mint makes it a bit weird.
A little bit unconventional vetiver and not bad if it lasted but not worth more than $40 for what it is


I'm not a huge fan of vetiver, and this one sometimes smells sour and synthetic to me.

Super clean and bright vetiver. I get touches of bitter orange peel mingling with the vetiver, hints of pepper and light application of dry cedar in the base peeks through after about an hour. Nothing too sweet, which is nice. Smells very refined and I could see wearing this in casual and formal settings

I only wish the bitter orange were a little bolder. That said, I still love this fragrance and it's one of my new favorites for Spring & Summer.

Longevity-I get 6 hours

Should be renamed Vetiver Absolute. I smell nothing but Vetiver from beginning to end. Granted, Vetiver is a very complex essential oil that hits many notes but Malle did himself a modern perfume by bottling vetiver oil (high-end quality too) and calling it a fragrance.


Malle's Vetiver Extraordinaire is fresh, green vetiver root, earthy, airy and slightly sweet. A hint of clove underneath and a faint wood tone round this off, but natural earthy vetiver root is the main theme.

I like VE, except that for this price, I'll go buy Vetiver Tonka or Sycamore, which perform far better and are probably nicer scents in the long run. For a quality vetiver at half the cost you can check out Phaedon's Black Vetiver or Diptyque's Vetiveryo. And for the budget minded, I feel like Encre Noir shares enough similarities for far less money.

I'll give it a Thumbs Up because it is a very nice scent, albeit a bit weak.

The "Real" Vetiver...

Let me start off first of all by saying that I am a huge fan of vetiver in all forms, and a huge fan of vetiver based fragrances. I find this one very authentic and extremely well made.

The fragrance starts out with a hit of smoky, earthy vetiver and some citrus. I get the cloves and some dark spices (including black pepper) and it really brings out the "dark" aspects of the vetiver root. It is said that perfumer Dominique Ropion, who has done amazing stuff for the Frederic Malle line, used about 25% vetiver absolute when composing this. This makes it the highest concentration of vetiver in a perfume currently available on the market. As a fan of vetiver, this alone made me want to try it.

I am also a huge fan of Guerlain Vetiver, but this one is slightly different. Where that one was a balance between vetiver and citrus (ie lemon), this one is a very dark, earthy, rooty type. It showcases the whole root of the plant, almost as it the earth is still clinging to it. I also compare this one to Lalique Encre Noir, but there are noticable differences. Although they are similar in "feeling" or "tone", the Lalique is sweeter, and less natural. This one is greener and earthier all the way.

Vetiver Extraordinaire hits you with a strong blast of vetiver root and says "here, deal with it". You have no choice but to accept this in-your-face type of vetiver.

As for me, I would consider purchasing, but only because I am a die hard vetiver fan. This one I think is a vetiver fan's vetiver, there is no compromise. But I must admit that if you are concerned about cost and versatility then there are other options, the Guerlain, Tom Ford version and the Lalique are all great choices, so don't feel under pressure to get this. But if you want it done right, then try this out. My only drawback is that it doesn't last the whole length of my day, even though the concentration is high. Still for now, I would only buy this if I had the money to spend on it. Otherwise I can still stick with what I already know.

A fragrance that I associate with smell of fresh cut grass. A little spicy in the beginning (cloves and pepper) under a bed of green and grassy vetiver. I am getting some nuances of bitter orange after the initial blast. At this point it smells a little minty and very fresh. After about 30 minutes, the blend settles to a green and bitter, slightly mentholated vetiver. The fragrance is slow to transform and in the dry down, VE meets a slight warmer woodier side.
I was expecting to be blown away, to have a new vetiver reference, but it wasn't the case. Actually I have grown to like it quite a bit since my first wearing , but it's not extraordinary. The reason might be that I prefer the rootier and heavier vetivers. This one is too green, grassy, clean and subtle, but with an undeniable blend quality. I am being overly critic, but it's a very solid scent.

Vetiver root has been used in perfumery since day one, but the eponymous masculine Vetivers fixate on it with a particular reverence. Vetiver isn't simply the masculine equivalent of the feminine white floral. It's become a ceremonial totem of male toiletry, ranking with the fougère as a masculine olfactory reference. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Big Three (Carven, Guerlain, Givenchy) boosted vetiver from a fixative and a basenote material to the center of the discussion.

The Maculine Vetiver became safe harbor in the 1960s-1970s when the underpinnings of masculinity were up for discussion. More vetiver fragrances than you can shake a stick at followed. Some kept close to the scent of the vetiver root itself (eg. Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Route du Vetiver, Etro Vetiver, Lalique Encre Noire) while others strayed a bit further, riffing on a particular quality of the root (Annick Goutal Vetiver's salty iodine, Serge Lutens's chocolate Vetiver Oriental, ELDO Fat Electrician's plastic and vinyl.)

Vetiver Extraordinaire falls into the conservative camp of Vetiver perfumes and The Big Three are its specific predecessors. All four are sweeping, classical perfumes that balance broad splashes and nuanced choices. Malle and Ropion are too well-versed in composition and history not to have understood the importance of the Big Three, but they chose to rival them rather than to imitate them. Malle also takes advantage of the of the fetishism surrounding the material, and fumies dutifully cite the 25% of vetiver oil used in the composition.

Ropion's approach is to take vetiver to finishing school. After the dazzling citrus punch of the first sniff, he employs a swirling floral topnote to accentuate vetiver's inherent thumping bass range. The liveliness of the topenotes have hints of lipstick and makeup and Vetiver Extraordinaire barely skirts the scandalous 'Old Lady Perfume' territory. The topnotes are ‘perfumey' and remind me that Ropion known for his over-the-top perfumey feminine florals (Givenchy Amarige and Ysatis, Malle's own Carnal Flower). Vetiver Extraordinaire eventually settles into a more traditionally masculine woody range, albeit with a dandy flourish.

Vetiver Extraordinaire captures the sensibility of the Frédéric Malle line perfectly. It is a superlative contemporary spin on a traditional form. Though not nearly as ubiquitous, Vetiver Extraordinaire rivals Guerlain Vetiver as the standard-bearer of the genre among vetiver enthusiasts.


Recently Viewed on this device

Whatever your taste in perfume, we've got you covered...

catalogue your collection, keep track of your perfume wish-list, log your daily fragrance wears, review your latest finds, seek out long-lost scented loves, keep track of the latest perfume news, find your new favourite fragrance, and discuss perfume with like-minded people from all over the world...