Monday, June 9, 2008

Vétiver Véritable

Vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanioides) is a material of aristocratic mien but humble means. Used to stanch water erosion in the tropics, vetiver traditionally has been utilized in everything from window shades to grass mats. The dried roots resemble a tangle of vermicelli and possess a intoxicating sweet-smoky-woody-earthy aroma touched with a nose-tingling bitterness and a bit of licorice. Vetiver has been the subject of many a post on Vetivresse, and understandably so. The market seems to have reached vetiver saturation, with more than a handful of very pleasant renditions available. The venerable house of Chanel has recently entered the fray with Sycomore, a Sheldrake-Polge collaboration, which, if I were to give vetiver advice to a fragrance neophyte, would fall high on my short list of benchmark vetivers. While it bears little resemblance to its forebear, Chanel’s 1930 version, it is dark and smoky and sophisticated: a welcome anodyne to the present surfeit of bland men’s colognes. Sycomore is a dashing sports car of scents, tuxedo black with touches of glinting eighteen-karat gold and a little splash of mud on the fender. It possesses better-than-average sillage and tenacity, and, in its behemoth atomizer, is vetiver enough to sustain you for a couple of years.

Image: courtesy of Chanel


Blogger carmencanada /Grain de Musc said...

Oddly, they told me at Chanel that this hadn't been conceived particularly for men: it's meant to be a feminine for women who don't like feminines, wearable by men. I doused myself in this on Sunday: less simple than appears at first sniff, quite a good tenacity as you say, and deliciously thirst-quenching. Definitely one of the best vetivers out there.

June 9, 2008 at 10:22 PM  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Nice to feel the love here, you two-
Especially regarding Sycomore, which was 'love at first sniff' for me; a sort of " Route-de-Vetiver and Lonestar Memories have a love child" beauty...

I brought it home [ I made a sample that Master Class day we first met, CV !] initially for my 17 year old sophisticate, who popped the top and swooned.
[Wonder who that boy's mother is, hmmmm?]

What a lovely, earthy trio we'd be:
An Aries sandwich, with Leo filling.

June 10, 2008 at 4:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there room for a side of Pisces, CR?

I need to give this a proper sniff, I suppose. Now that its warmer, perhaps I'll have a different experience with it...


June 10, 2008 at 8:22 AM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

Yes, I'd put this alongside Ropion's Vetiver Extraordinaire, Encre Noir and RdV.

Oh, Chaya, your image is so illustrative of these elective affinities of ours. Your 17-year-old has a very bon goût, indeed.

Vetiver in the heat, hmmm. I need to think about that one. Personally, it warms me on a woodsmoke autumn day.

June 10, 2008 at 8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Sycomore. I got a decant and am wearing it today. Delicious.
I still have not made up my mind whether to get Sycomore or Bel Respiro, maybe both if it is a good $ year!!

June 14, 2008 at 8:45 PM  

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