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What is Vetiver? Here’s everything you need to know

What is Vetiver? Here’s everything you need to know

If you’re a perfume connoisseur you’ll have definitely heard of vetiver. High-end brands love it for its unique smell and the way it combines with a variety of notes to create one-of-a-kind scents. Even just hearing “notes of vetiver” is enough to intrigue any fragrance lover, and those who know about its enticing smell will instantly know that what they’re about to smell is going to be incredible.

But if you’re not up to speed on vetiver, fear not - we’ve created this guide all about this magical ingredient and some of our designer-inspired scents it features in! 

What does vetiver smell like?

Vetiver has been described in a number of ways, and it’s one of those oils that’s a bit of a chameleon - it smells slightly different depending on what it’s blended with. 

A lot of people have described it as having a grassy, herby scent, like the smell of grass on a warm day. It also has a sharp, almost soapy scent, and it’s been said that it’s like lemongrass, but with the earthiness of patchouli. Its resinous notes can be overpowering, but in perfume, it’s typically blended with other oils that make it more floral and earthy.  It has a certain masculine quality to it that makes it perfect for aftershave and cologne. Still, it’s also a stunning ingredient in more feminine perfumes, adding a herbal muskiness to the scents it features in. 

Like many more unique oils, vetiver is a multifaceted marvel that’s always top of the class when it comes to giving fragrances an air of mystique. It’s definitely an ingredient to look out for if you’re after a perfume with a sophisticated yet earthy feeling, and it’ll never fail to impress anyone who smells it. 

What are the benefits of vetiver?

The word “vetiver” is derived from a Tamil term, “vettiveru”, which means “hatcheted up”, thanks to the way it’s pulled out of the ground to be harvested. It’s also called vetiveria zizanioides in botany. It’s native to India, but the main producers these days are Indonesia and Haiti. It’s also been spotted in Brazil, China, Guatemala, and Madagascar. Its oil is produced through steam distillation or hydro-distillation of the plant’s roots, and it takes a whopping 1000 kg to make just 10 kg of essential oil!

Vetiver has been used for centuries in aromatherapy and herbal medicine. People have used the oil for stomach and circulation problems, insomnia, and even in skincare as a carrier oil and to treat stings and burns. On top of all that, its scent is said to be a wonderful stress reliever, which might be why it’s so popular in perfumery! 

With a rich history like that, it’s no wonder vetiver is such a coveted ingredient in fragrance production. Between its mystical scent and its versatility, vetiver is an often-overlooked fragrance oil that’ll bring undeniable magic to the perfumes it features in. And, luckily for you, we’ve got plenty! Read on for our top vetiver picks that’ll make you smell great and keep your wallet happy, too.

Which perfumes have vetiver in them?

Oud Wood - inspired by Oud Wood

The seductive warmth of Oud Wood, which was inspired by a designer cologne of the same name, will seduce anyone who smells it. The top notes are made up of oud and rosewood, which are floral and smokey at the same time for a sensual, incense-like scent. It also contains cardamom for a fresh, herby top note that perfectly evokes the Middle Eastern spices of the original, paired with sensual oud wood and rich sandalwood for a finish that rounds out this fragrance with all the depth and elegance of the original.

In this scent, vetiver oil features in the base notes, giving this already enchanting scent an even more rich dimension. It stars alongside vanilla and sandalwood for a sweet yet woody base that rounds out this fragrance with a beguiling depth. The other notes in this perfume really bring out the woodier side of vetiver, allowing it to act as a background note that brings intrigue and allure to this scent.

The perfect nighttime fragrance, Oud Wood smells exactly like the original, and at a fraction of the price. Its deep base notes also mean it’ll last all day, and you’ll leave a trail of forest-like magic wherever you go.


Grey - inspired by Grey Vetiver

A solid icon in the men's fragrance world, Grey Vetiver is one of the most popular scents for men as it exudes both sophistication and freshness. For a cheaper version, check out Grey - it features all the same notes, including the infamous vetiver. 

Deliciously herbal, Grey’s top notes feature zesty grapefruit, sweet orange blossom water, and smoky sage for a crisp hit of freshness. This is followed by nutmeg, orris root, and pimento, spicy notes that give an edge to the citrus, and an irresistible tinge of heat to this sharp and energising fragrance. The deep base notes then come into play - cedar, amber, and vetiver give a warm and alluring base to this scent, the vetiver’s evocative grassiness adding an irresistible green note to this perfume’s foundation. It’s a gorgeous scent that’s simultaneously fresh, smoky, and sensual, and we love it for its unique blend of oils that magically create this magnetic perfume. 

For a modern and masculine scent that evokes an understated confidence, Grey is a fantastic choice for an all-day-long sense of suave. Its versatility and enviable lasting power mean it can take you seamlessly from day to night, and it’s elegance in a bottle. 

VK - inspired by Viking

Just like the original scent it was inspired by, VK is an irresistibly fresh perfume that’s as appealing as it is iconic. It’s known for its rugged and adventurous vibes, and vetiver only helps to conjure images of mountains on a fresh spring morning. 

Lemon, bergamot, and pink pepper create a tangy top note combination that’s an instant energy boost to anyone that smells it, the mixture of citrus and spice intertwining for a gorgeously fresh scent. Vetiver features in VK alongside clove and cedar in the heart and base notes, allowing its herby green tones to come through, only emphasising the sunny crispness of this scent with its grass-like smell. It’s a wonderful all-year-round choice for anyone who relishes in the outdoors, and even if you don’t VK is so beguilingly alluring that even the indoorsy types will be enchanted by this scent’s sense of adventure. 

VK just goes to show how uplifting vetiver can be when combined with zesty citrus, and it’s a great scent for a zap of sunny stamina in the morning. And since it lasts all day, you can take that bright energy into the evening without worrying about topping up your perfume!

DS - inspired by Sauvage

Sauvage is often heralded as THE fragrance for men, but don’t worry if the price tag is a little too “sauvage” for your bank account - DS captures all the same masculine and intense notes as the original at a far more reasonable price.

Vetiver features in the base notes of DS, alongside cedarwood, creating a rich and musky aroma that plays a large part in why this fragrance is so irresistible. Heart notes of pink pepper and lavender allow the floral hints in vetiver to come through, combined with lavender’s heady herbaceousness and pink pepper’s deep, berry-like scent. It makes this perfume addictive from the very first sniff, and it adds an enticing allure to this fragrance. This combination of florals and woody notes only accentuates the crisp top note of bergamot, its juicy zest taking on a more musky tone with the help of the vetiver.

DS leaves a lasting impression wherever you wear it, regardless of season, time of day, or occasion. So, if you want some of that rugged seductiveness in your fragrance collection, you can’t go wrong with DS. 

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