Annick Goutal Vetiver, 1985

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(Perfumer Annick Goutal)

Annick Goutal’s Vetiver is the surf-and-turf of perfumery. I hear the words marine, aquatic and salty used often to describe fragrances and I always wonder what they mean. I understand marine when talking about Secretions Magnifiques. In that case it’s the scent of drying and decaying beach debris. I understand aquatic to be a marketing term to describe calone and related aromachemicals. Salty? You got me.

Annick Goutal’s Vetiver does give you that blast of iodine at the outset that suggests the scent of crashing surf thrown into the air. It’s very specific. It’s a scent that reminds me of the sea and not of iodine tincture. After the sea-air feel fades, though, Vetiver becomes an earthy scent. A coumarin note combines with the grassy aspect of the vetiver and gives a nice moist hay scent. It smells a bit like a peaty Scotch. All of these elemental notes might sound a bit grim, but there is something that keeps Vetiver buoyant. While the lovely muck never quite goes away, in the heart there is a brightnesss that doesn’t seem out of place, but does make you scratch your head and smile. I’m not sure how it’s done, but it’s a great effect.

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