Ingredient Focus: Vetiver

Posted on July 29 2020

Ingredient Focus: Vetiver

Native to India, vetiver is now also cultivated in Java, Haiti, Indonesia, China and the Reunion island. Vetiveria Zizanoides is a tall grass that grows up to two meters high and has roots up to three meters in depth; it is often grown to prevent soil erosion. In India, it has been used to make blinds to keep out the heat. The blinds were sprinkled with water which diffused the vetiver scent. In Java, the root was traditionally used to weave mats and thatch huts.

Vetiver oil is obtained by steam distillation of the roots of the grass. The process produces a thick essential oil with a unique woody aroma. Deep and green, its scent is reminiscent of damp earth with grassy overtones and grapefruit notes. Depending on the distillation process and its origin, vetiver can develop a smoky aspect as well.

Grounding and relaxing, vetiver is prized in aromatherapy for its cooling and calming properties.

Loved by perfumers for its complexity, vetiver is traditionally often used in men’s fragrances but is also used as an accent in women’s fragrances. The note is used as a drydown accent or it can be treated as a main theme like in our own Artillery No 4 fragrance.

Depending on the dosage and on which facets are highlighted, fragrances featuring vetiver range from fresh citrussy scents (as in Hesperides) to deep warmer blends (as in Precious One).

Used in scents since ancient times, the nuanced beauty of vetiver continues to inspire perfumers to this day.

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