Inspired by old school Hollywood glamour from the Golden Age of cinema, Hiram Green’s new release showcases a vetiver overdose and explores the different facets of this incredible ingredient.
Citrus, ginger, vetiver, cedarwood, ambrette seed.
Vetiver by Hiram Green opens with a lovely whoosh of citrus and right from the opening notes of this scent we get that uplifting sense of high energy and vibrancy. There’s a layered density to the ingredients too which make this a full bodied and robust composition. The citrus is lemony, tart and delicious and it leads us quickly through into the dense, earthy, warming ginger. The freshly peeled ginger note follows on perfectly from the citrus as it too has that feeling of sourness, although it is a little woodier than the citrus facets, the two marry perfectly. The aromatic warmth of the ginger then leads us even deeper into the composition where the vetiver really starts to shine.
The vetiver in the composition is the star ingredient by far, and it is in the heart of this fragrance that it comes into the spotlight. Two different types of vetiver have been used (Haitian and Javanese). The effect is that initially the vetiver feels sprightly, young, with hints of greenery. It is still characterful and robust, but with distinct grassy tones colouring it. At times it feels a little like a very intense hay meadow drying in sunlight, perhaps with areas where the earth has been turned over and is now itself baking in the sun. The keywords here is dry, though, and at times it feels almost astringently so.
Despite these warm, sweet, grassy and earthy facets there is also a sharp lustre to the scent which slices through those gentler elements and feels not unlike something citrusy or even metallic at times. Most noticeable on an inhale, this sharpness feels like a pleasing echo of the citrus sharpness that the fragrance opened with. At this stage of the fragrance there is something “clean” about the vetiver, perhaps it is simply the association we have of it with masculine grooming products of the past, or perhaps it is that lavender-like aromatic quality that makes us think of freshly scrubbed skin. Either way the effect is invigorating and full of an elegant vitality.
As the scent opens further, the vetiver grows spicier and a lovely warmth diffuses through it. Dry, dense, intense it has a similar piquancy to the ginger at the start although perhaps now we find the ginger as a dried version rather than a fresh one. The layering of the different types of vetiver allow a languid, generous heart to slowly move from one facet of vetiver to another, lingering pleasantly on each so we are allowed to appreciate the freshness, the aromatic piquancy, the sweetness, the earthiness and even the smokiness that this ubiquitous ingredient can possess.
A smoky, lingering vetiver trail leads us into the final phase of the fragrance which isn’t, in fact, all that different to the heart of the scent really. The vetiver spiciness continues, with the edges of it mellowing and smoothing down as the cedar and ambrette come into play, although neither were very discernible in the composition in their own right.
The highly energetic fizz of the vetiver itself slows and calms a little until it purrs away in the background of your day, just thrumming along pleasantly to itself. It softens slowly, gradually and gently but not entirely, and not at the expense of those lashings of vetiver we found in the heart. At this point the composition leans a little more towards the woody, soothing side which feels like a fitting end to the wear of this scent.
Vetiver is definitely a fragrance for vetiver aficionados, lovers, and those who appreciate the high, energetic buzz of aromatic ingredients.
The other stuff
Like many of Hiram’s compositions, if you don’t like the hero ingredient then you may not enjoy the fragrance as a whole, and as Vetiver is a study of this aromatic grass, it is perhaps best approached if you find yourself already positively inclined towards this ingredient.
The fragrance doesn’t project as energetically as you may imagine, especially given its robustness, but it goes to a level which felt perfectly acceptable – around or just under handshake distance or so.
The longevity of the fragrance is also perfectly fine, lasting six to eight hours minimum following application.
One thing that doesn’t entirely convince is the link to old school Hollywood glamour that Vetiver takes inspiration from. It doesn’t feel particularly like an old-timey fragrance, nor does it feel particularly out-dated. The elegance in the composition comes from that groomed sense of cleanliness and freshness that we observe in the first half, but it didn’t particularly evoke old Hollywood, robust and pleasant though the scent itself is. Judge for yourself though, you may indeed find yourself feeling like Cary Grant when you wear this. Like all of Hiram’s compositions though, Vetiver is marketed as a unisex fragrance, so feel free to spritz away whoever you are.
Hiram Green is Canadian born, but now lives in The Netherlands, and it is from there that he produces his range of all natural fragrances. His aim is to counteract that impression that natural perfumery is less exciting and effective than traditional fragrances (which tends to combine both natural and safe synthetic molecules).
The Hiram Green range has grown over the last few years to now encompass seven fragrances. Notable amongst the line are Vivacious (a violet scent), the famous Slowdive (which is a tobacco-themed scent with a delectable honey note) and the hedonistic Moon Bloom (a study of the life of tuberose).
All Hiram Green’s perfumes are entirely natural, vegan (with the exception of beeswax in Slowdive) and cruelty free. Find out more about the brand on their about us page.
Vetiver is available from the Hiram Green web boutique where it is priced at €155 (about £135 at the time of writing) for 50ml EdP. At the moment, Hiram is also offering free worldwide shipping on orders over €40.
Hiram Green very kindly gifted us a sample of this fragrance with no strings attached.