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By Danielle DesRosiers
Vetiver: From Coco Chanel and Geoffrey Beene to Jo Malone and Tom Ford, leading trendsetters of the 20th and early 21st century have embraced this grass’s earthy green essence.
The fast-growing native-to-India perennial has a long and rich history; in the mid-nineteenth century villagers crafted it into blind and window coverings. They braided its long stalks into panels to shield the scorching sun. The scent was discovered by this use as, when the blinds became wet, they emitted a cool mist rich with the earthy scent of vetiver.
The distilled roots of vetiver produce an amber-colored oil; extracting oil from roots that have aged a minimum of 18 months results in the most pure and fragrant oil. Similar to many fine wines, the best vetiver only gets better with the passage of time.
In East Indian history, essential oil made from vetiver was once referred to as “the oil of tranquility” because of its calming properties. Legend has it that the roots of vetiver were placed on funeral pyres to honor and relax the deceased: Vetiver’s deep and balsamy-woody scent was thought to influence the body and mind even in to the afterlife.
If vetiver sounds perfectly aligned with your fragrance tastes, here are a few of our favorite vetiver-laced scents:
Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, Christian Dior Vetiver, Chanel Chance, Creed Vetiver, Lancôme Hypnôse, Covet by Sarah Jessica Parker, Burberry The Beat; Jo Malone Vetyver Cologne, Guerlain Vetiver Extreme, Tom Ford Grey Vetiver, Diptyque Vetyverio, Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene.