Vetiver, a dry, woody fragrance
Vetiver, or Chrysopogon zizanioides to give it its official name, is a perennial bunchgrass of the family poaceae.
The flowering plant Sorghum is its closest relation, although it shares many similarities with other fragrant grasses including Lemongrass, Citronella and Palmarosa.
Vetiver grows to around 5 feet high with clumps as wide, it has tall stems and long, thin rigid leaves. It features purple/brown flowers and is harvested for its oil when it is eighteen months old.
The History of the scent
This perennial grass is native to India and during the reign of the Indian Emperor of Harshavardhan became the largest aromatic trade centre where vetiver tax was introduced for the first time. In 1957 a well known fashion designer claimed to have produced the world’s first vetvier scent, however it was a fragrance produced two years later by a different designer which launched the ingredient into the public eye and is still well known today.
Vetiver is a common scent found in many fragranced candles as well as mens and womens fragrances. Although it is known as a more masculine fragrance because of its classic properties it is present in around 40% of women’s perfumes and fragrances.
Whilst it is a commonly used fragrance and lots of people have most likely worn it without realising, not many people know what it smells like. This is quite unsurprising as the scent is made up of over 100 components. As a synthetic alternative is yet to be found, this is a completely natural oil.
What does it smell like?
When you inhale the scent of Vetiver you will immediately capture earthy, woody fragrances with elements of smoky and leathery essences entwined.
Many luxury perfumeries and Fashion Houses who produce their particular brand of fragrance use it in their perfumes as it is a proven, effective fixative. A fixative is used to balance the vapor pressures of the raw materials in a perfume oil. It also increases the length of time the fragrance lasts.
As this fragrance can not be replicated and also needs to be harvested, it does carry a hefty price tag. A large amount of roots are required to make even a small about of the popular essence.