Vetiver by Hiram Green

Notes: Citrus, Ginger, Vetiver, Cedarwood and Ambrette Seed

I tend to approach vetiver fragrances with some trepidation. While I admire a few, a little vetiver goes a long way for me. I have always appreciated the depth and earthiness it can bring to a perfume but when that swampy facet is amplified, it’s a hard no from me. However, I do have confidence in Hiram Green as a perfumer. He approaches natural materials in a unique way, always bringing something new to the fore – and so it proved with his latest release, Vetiver.

I spray Vetiver for the first time and smile instantly. Instead of being swampy, it is the exact opposite: a buoyant blend that makes me feel alert and uplifted. The ginger is pitched just right, adding an aromatic, zesty brightness as opposed to a curried spiciness. The overall effect is joyously luminous.

Vetiver is known for its smokiness and here it is toned down and acts more as a kind of musty grey backwash with its presence being a constant throughout. It is used in such a way that it acts to complement and highlight the other notes in the composition. The citrus seems fresher, the ginger extra zingy and the base notes more sophisticated.

When I read that Vetiver was inspired by the heartthrobs of Hollywood’s Golden Age I thought it might lean heavily masculine with a kind of rugged, square-jawed feel. However, I see it as less Clark Gable/Burt Lancaster and more Gene Kelly/Marlene Dietrich. It possesses confidence and charm but also nuance and ambiguity.

When it comes to the base, the vetiver is prominent along with softly sweet resins and bone-dry woods. The ambrette lends a subtle vegetal, musky quality. Up close, it has a very pleasant balsamic stickiness. Vetiver perfumes tend to go towards clean or murky and while Vetiver leans more towards the former, it strikes a good balance being more sparkling than clean and having a base with darker, warmer depths that retains its smoothness.

I experienced very good longevity and moderate throw.

I admire Hiram Green’s deft touch with the eponymous material. He has managed to illuminate a perfume ingredient that in some hands, can make my stomach churn.

Vetiver has shedloads of light and shade. It has the feel of morning sunlight filtering through the curtains into a gloomy room, waking you up to the possibilities for the day ahead.

How do you feel about vetiver fragrances? Do you think you might get on with this version by Hiram Green?

NB. Perfume sample received from Hiram Green.



Filed under Perfume Reviews

17 responses to “Vetiver by Hiram Green

  1. bonkersvanessa

    I could use some joyous luminosity right now, and love ginger, so I would set aside my own swamp grass phobia to try Vetiver. From your dreamy review it might turn out to be my HG Vetiver in every sense of the acronym!


    • I sniffed it from every angle V and there was no trace of swamp grass.
      The fresh grated ginger is really cheerful.

      I think this could be a vetiver perfume that works for you.


  2. Well, I am a huge vetiver fan and I don’t think I ever tried any I didn’t like. 😀 I just realized the same happens with ambers.
    So this is a no brainer for me. 😉


  3. matty1649

    The only vetiver I’ve got is Guerlain vetiver. I really like it


  4. Lady Jane Grey

    Now you made it sound sooo delicious, dear T. I was ogling this one already : utterly curious how Hiram Green handled one of my favourite notes, the vetiver (although I know exactly what you mean with swampy, meh…). On the other hand, the ginger… – while I love it food and drink it turned out to be my enemy in parfum so far…
    But apparently, no swampiness and no curriness was detected in this juice – so I‘m off to find an EU retailer !
    Thank you and sending love !


    • It’s a really fresh, raw ginger so if that sounds okay you’ll be fine. It’s a terrific sparkling vetiver fragrance.

      Miss you M and sending love back!


  5. Tara C

    It sounds promising, even though I am wary of vetiver as a note. It tends to overwhelm everything else in the composition. Will give it a sniff when I get the chance.


  6. If you were to ask me to name my favorite notes, vetiver wouldn’t have made the top 10 (or maybe even 20). But it wouldn’t have been named among my perfume note nemeses either. I liked several perfumes with prominent vetiver, and even own a travel bottle of Hermessense Vetiver Tonka (don’t wear it too often though because I get tired of it after a couple of hours).

    I will try this perfume eventually but rather out of respect to the perfumer than expecting to love it: natural perfumes are not my thing usually. Your beautiful review gives me a little hope. After all, I love Arbole and quite like Vivacious.


  7. Hey Tara!
    I missed this one coming online.
    Vetiver and I are quite friendly. I have a few and kick myself constantly for not buying Turtle Vetiver Front & Back. Guerlain is the one I reach for most. It’s so easy to wear.
    This sounds very nice. I like HGs stuff. We even have a retailer in Oz that has him. I may even spring for a sample.
    Portia xx


  8. I’d love to try this – I love almost all types of vetiver, so another version is always welcome to my collection. Today I’m wearing Givenchy’s classic Vetyver, which is dry and clean.


    • Good to hear from another person who loves Vetiver. You’re sure to like thus version if non vetiver lovers are fans.
      I like Terre d’Hermes but not sure that is classed as a vetiver fragrance.


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