l’Artisan Parfumeur Coeur de Vetiver Sacré, 2010

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Perfumer Karin Vichon

Coeur de Vetiver Sacre is a Vetiver fragrance the way an avocado is a fruit: technically, but not so much characteristically.

I’ve seen comparisons of Vetiver Sacre to other vetivers, from Maitre Parfumeur’s Route du Vetiver to Chanel’s Sycomore. If replication of a pure vetiver note is your standard, Vetiver Sacre bombs. But so would Guerlain Vetiver, the standard bearer of the genre. Let’s open the windows a bit and air out our vetiver criteria.

By creating a varnished fruit tone, Vetiver Sacre imagines a middle ground between musky sweetness and a fictional dry wood. The fruit is neither sweet nor tart, or better still, is equally sweet and tart and suggests the crispness of a green apple at the same time that it calls to mind a sweet honeydew melon. A black pepper notes acts just as it would in a fruit dish you would eat. It adds a snap and separates the woody and sweet notes that might otherwise form a monotonous tone.

Smart move. This is the sort a linear fragrance that has a deliberate but diaphanous harmony that surrounds you. If the composition lacks a dynamic to offset the encompassing harmony, your sensory filters would eventually isolate it and turn it off like background noise. This trick keeps Coeur de Vetiver Sacré from falling into the hypnotic fugue perfume producers love to call radiance. Perfumer Karin Vichon Spehner appears to have tamed the woody amber.

An avocado doesn’t spring readily to mind when I think “fruit”. But you can’t make guacamole with raspberries. Not only does Vetiver Sacre ‘pass’ for a Vetiver fragrance, it has its own particular place on my Vetiver shelf.


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