Following my recent bog on vetiver, I thought I would follow it up with a review of Sel de Vetiver, by the Different Company, one of my favourite, yet eclectic vetiver fragrances. The listed notes are grapefruit, cardamom, geranium, lovage, Haitian vetiver, patchouli, iris and ylang-ylang. This note list is quite unusual, at least to me. I haven't seen lovage, geranium, iris and ylang-ylang listed together before and on paper it doesn't sound particularly appealing, but Sel de Vetiver is both an unusual and beautiful fragrance. It opens quite sweet, with a bit of grapefruit and a somewhat mineral accord. The vetiver is noticeable immediately and strikes me as more rooty than grassy, but it is fairly sheer and fresh. It does conjure up the feel of being near the ocean, like driving along a shoreline with a salt-laden breeze in your face. Or perhaps I'm just being fanciful. Sel de Vetiver was created by Celine Elena, the daughter of Jean-Claude, and it shows, using a similar sheer/minimalist style, with the use of grapefruit and vetiver in particular. Although released at almost the same time as Terre de Hermes, Sel de Vetiver is quite different in many ways and I actually prefer it, despite owning a bottle of Terre. Although fairly sheer, Sel de Vetiver is by no means a light scent and it lasts well on the skin.
The heart is particularly beautiful to me - it shimmers almost, the salty vetiver and citrus tang combining beautifully with a clean cedar and patchouli accord. It strikes me as incredibly refreshing and original, without slipping into that dreaded ozone-marine territory. In fact, smelling this, I wish that Sel de Vetiver could have been released a decade earlier to set the benchmark for what a marine fragrance should smell like. The vetiver is tempered by a floral sweetness which I thought smelled quite rosy, but I'm guessing its actually the ylang, geramium and iris in combination. Whatever it is, it combines so well with the vetiver that I find I am compelled to sniff my wrist almost constantly, which can appear a little weird, I'm sure, to my office colleagues! The dry down maintains that juxtaposition of salty/sweet, vetiver root/mineral that is fascinating. I find it quite hard to describe exactly how this smells on the skin. To me it feels almost literally how a cooling ocean breeze would smell at dusk, as the heat of the day dissipates, the air thick with ozone and the promise of a fragrant night to come. Yes, I know that might read as a bit over-the-top, but that is how Sel de Vetiver makes me feel, which surely is a good thing.
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