In my testing round of Sammarco samples, I had put Vitrum off until last, because I despise vetiver as a note and most vetiver soliflores (soliroots? Solidirax?) end up smelling like runners sweat to me. But I eat my vetiver-hating hat. It shows off the great skill of Giovanni Sammarco, I believe, that he is able to present all of the nice aspects of vetiver (the smoke, the woodiness, the greenness) without slipping in any of the nasty aspects (most notably that dank, sour folded-away-when-wet-gym-clothes funk).
This is pure woodsmoke to me a sort of lank green-black tendril of smoke from an open fire, simultaneously airy and solid. Dry as a bone, this would work brilliantly for anyone who hates the saltmarshy, sweaty, rooty side of vetiver (like me), for anyone who loves the sooty smoke notes in Comme des Garcons Black and Amouage Memoir Man. To my surprise and delight, two big thumbs up for this utterly wearable vetiver.
To understand art we need to investigate artists, their geniality and what is their dominant instinct. One is reminded of Camus: When one has no character, one must have a method.
Telling about Giovanni Sammarco, I tell first of all about a friend. He was an exceptional blogger (fragrancescout), he supported positions contrary to the vulgar marketing of perfumery, and he has inspired other Italian bloggers. He was also one of the first fans of O'driù, and this has been my privilege. Giovanni loves women with red hair, and once, during a lunch together, asked me to make a perfume particularly suited for red women's skin. Then I realized Xvert (pervert) in a limited edition, giving the first one to Giovanni. One day he asked me how to become a perfumer, I told him that the only way was to make perfumes, always considering yourself as an amateurs who is learning.
So, he takes his time (and his money too) to fulfill his dream. Such a person deserves respect, because, compared to many improvised perfumers, he has his definite idea. I tell you now that I dont love his creative approach, but I also say that we need perfumers as Giovanni...
Commonly the perfumer still points at some external bullseye for our compassion, but more and more often it is the perfumer himself who is the one in need (either for his wretched past, or for his wretched attempts at perfumery). We do not need to cry for some dispossessed or wretched third party; we can weep our puddle of tears directly onto the perfumer. Giovanni isnt a pathetic person! And this is a plus. He believes that the scent corresponds exclusively to the quality of the raw materials, and this cant be an artistic approach.
His perfumes are good and well made, but nothing more! I think ultimately that Vitrum is a great scent, it is a transparency otherworldly, an old-new vision to be a perfumer. However this fragrance has no soul, and it seems only a onanistic path. The luxury of a perfume is the luxury of wearing an idea of art and not only good or bad smells! Only a non-artist would need to fluff up art with non-art.
But to get noticed now, you dont need an artistic perfume, you need a relevance. You need a hook for a critic to hang a hat on. Even in "realistic perfumery", it is better to have a hook with a blogger than something to tell!
Giovanni! You need a blogger as you was!
So, although I do not like this kind of perfumery with only aesthetic values, I strongly hope that the phenomena as Sammarco grow and develop, because they would represent a different choice and a personal vision of perfumery.
Vitrum reached me during a personal phase in which I thought I was seriously getting bored by vetiver-centered fragrances and it proved me wrong. It made me realize I was probably bored by average quality vetiver essential oils diluted in alcohol and sold as *compositions*.
Yes, Vitrium is still quite a simple fragrance but the outstanding quality of the ingredients sets it apart from most other similar offerings available on the market. It's basically all about a tremendously multi-faceted vetiver note that ranges from smoky to fresh, via salty, earthy, woody and even mossy. The opening is quite straight forward but the fragrance unveils soon an incredibly elegant and sophisticated essence when the rooty note is paired to a never overdone rose which enhances both the dark and the fresh sides of the main player providing quite some movement. There's something really special about Vitrum, something simple and yet so striking which I guess is that certain *je ne sais quoi* that makes the difference between something good and something really exceptional.
Fantastic. Surely a must have for anyone into vetiver but also highly recommended to people more simply interested in great quality fragrances. Reference type of stuff in my book.
Vitrum opens slightly boozy, quickly adding in a culinary herbal, olive-like natural accord with a heavy infusion of extremely high quality smoky vetiver. As the composition moves to its early heart, the smoky vetiver infused culinary herbal accord grows in intensity with just the faintest hint of dull rose to counter early, adding in relatively strong radiant incense late. During the late dry-down the herbs dissipate revealing a fine black pepper and just detectable oakmoss joining the remnants of the smoky vetiver and incense through the finish. Projection is below average to average, but longevity is outstanding at nearly 24 hours on skin.
On first application, Vitrum, with its mixture of vetiver, coupled with culinary herbs and an olive-like undertone conjures up some key similarities with the best of the superbly innovative O'driu releases, most notably compositions from its Vetyver Experience line, Supercilium in particular. The vetiver used in the composition is super-high quality, showing off its raw, untamed smoky facets not unlike the kind used in the great Turtle Vetiver series by LesNez. This is not vetiver for those that just like the ingredient or tolerate it in compositions when paired with others, but rather Vitrum was obviously created with hardcore vetiver fans in mind, the ones that long to live and breathe vetiver, loving every minute of it. The composition based on prior comments and reviews has proved quite polarizing due to its untamed aggressive vetiver nature, but make no mistake; Vitrum is absolutely incredible smelling and the stuff of dreams for vetiver enthusiasts like me. The bottom line is the $145 per 30ml Vitrum is a remarkable work that showcases the high skill of perfumer Giovanni Sammarco impressively matched by the extreme quality of its ingredients, earning it an "outstanding" rating of 4.5 stars out of 5. If you are a hardcore vetiver lover that enjoys compositions like Supercilium and the Turtle Vetiver Series, Vitrum absolutely is a mandatory composition to sniff.
"Vitrum" is a Vetiver-perfume that does everything right. For me Vetiver can be a tricky note because there are some aspects of Vetiver that I like and some not. I dont like the grassy and overbearingly pungent Vetivers, some even smell like some kind of vegetable. I like my Vetiver smoky, dark and earthy. Thats what you get with "Vitrum". The Vetiver is pitch-black and streamlined, smoky and earthy, at times slightly metallic and even slightly rubbery, and very sophisticated (By the way, that's a quality that all Sammarco-perfumes have in common, they are able to showcase the raw power of the natural ingredients but at the same time they remain very elegant). Some Oakmoss highlights all the good aspects of the Vetiver even further. A good dose of pepper gives additional spiciness to the blend making it even more powerful. In "Vitrum" the Rose plays only a supporting role in the background providing some smoothness to the rather austere blend. Its development is quite linear, only the notes themselves (like the Vetiver) develop a bit, but not so much the perfume as a whole. It becomes quieter and maybe a bit mossier with tiny hints of Frankincense. A little bit criticism: In the late drydown it reminds me of "Terre dHermes", a perfume that I rather dislike. Longevity again is not the best and again the performance on fabric is better. The quality of the ingredients is outstanding. This perfume was originally created as a bespoke creation for a female person, but it's easily unisex, even leaning more towards the masculine side in my opinion. It is dandy-like and refined, I could see a person like Pep Guardiola from Bayern München wearing this fragrance! Overall "Vitrum" is a very compelling perfume and one of the best Vetivers I have ever smelled! I think it's also my favourite perfume from Sammarco.
What I like about the brand in general is that there are no fancy stories behind the perfumes. The perfumes and their quality speak for themselves and create their own stories together with the wearer. In the case of "Vitrum" one of the first things that popped up in my head was (not a joke) K.I.T.T., the car from Knight Rider! It must be the pitch-black and streamlined Vetiver that reminds of the body of the car and the Rose adding a blittle bit of redness reminds of the red light thingy in the front of the car. Indeed a very evocative perfume!