I had a brazen woody on one hand – Wazamba (Parfums d’Empire), and Spiced Citrus Vetiver on the other. And passing from the simplistic ebonic rudeness of the former, to the latter, far superior perfume, it seemed as if I were suddenly staring right down through my own hand, down through to the glassy surface of a forest pool, a three-dimensionality and sylvan aliveness that was quite startling in comparison.












A shimmering vista, like curtains opening on a intricate, pastoral scene at the opera, the eye taking in a thousand details at once as the prelude of the orchestra starts up; each ingredient shifting into its place with a well-grounded twinkle in its eye.





Soon, there blooms a big, beautiful orange, surprising us when we might have expected more tart citruses such as lemon, or lime – the usual suspects in vetiver/citrus blends – but this vivid, delicious blood orange immediately casts a warm, solar glow over the proceedings; an interlude for viola and orchestra in a definitively major key, as soft, floral absolutes of osmanthus and jasmine sambac emerge and shield us from all harshness.





The cited ingredients of clove, ginger and cinnamon are only subtly perceptible to my nose, adding complexity and a certain nose-tingling aspect perhaps (particularly in that delectable opening), but nothing in this blend can detract from the key players of the perfume, who, when Orange gracefully leaves the stage, sing their contrabasso mellowness in balanced unison for hours: a measured duet of Sri Lanka vetiver and Mysore sandalwood (believe it: I can smell it), while a sly touch of vanilla absolute adds an extra suffusion of delicate heat.




The simplicity of this final stage of the perfume may disappoint some who are more enamoured with the elaborateness of the opening, but the overall effect of the scent is so optimistic and uplifting, with such a sense of inner equilibrium that, as with the studio’s Cocoa Sandalwood, you can feel your shoulders unstiffening, loosening; a scent perfect for a day alone at home when you feel that you need to compose and regain yourself.




For those looking for an exciting, virile, off-kilter vetiver, you might want to try a more earthy take on the note such as Route Du Vetiver, or a stricter interpretation such as Artillery No 4. This perfume is a more rounded, feminine take on a overly-trodden path, and the perfumer, Laurie Erickson, has, with this creation, cannily filled a vetiver void in the market – this could be the one that converts the vetiver haters.




Gone are the soil-sodden, earthen smokiness; the resinous, lingering, almost astringent aspects of the root (all of which incidentally I love about such vetivers and the reason I wear them…) Instead, in their place we find a scent of balance, solidity and natural well-being; an elixir of grasses, woods, spices, flowers and citrus fruits that for many, I imagine, will become a dependable, well-loved balm for the soul.





Filed under Perfume Reviews, Vetiver


  1. brie

    “This could be the one that converts the vetiver haters”….you wouldn’t be referring to me, now would you? (and it is absolutely hilarious to me that your nose picked up the mysore!)
    Indeed, this is by far the best vetiver themed perfume I have smelled- EVER! And I am patiently waiting for the full size bottle…. this one MUST be in my rotation!
    I love your analogy to an orchestra…funny, but in my mind I thought of a ballet with vetiver as the prima ballerina, sandalwood and blood orange as the soloists and the corpses de ballet all of those wonderful spices including the vanilla.
    bravo, Neil…loved reading this!

    • ginzaintherain

      Well if you had a stage thing going on then there definitely must be something in it!

      (incidentally, I do think ultimately that this is possibly more about sandalwood….and this is where we have our vetiver/santal nuptials…)

      • brie

        “vetiver/santal nuptials”….ha! So true! We have found common ground (although I must say overall our tastes are somewhat compatible).
        Yes, this fragrance did indeed conjure up my former life as a ballet dancer! Wonder why that is….

      • ginzaintherain

        Well, literally, this morning I woke up, tried it for the third time over coffee, and this review just came out in ten minutes, practically verbatim. I thought I was going to write about the whole woodland pool thing, which was my first impulse, but before I knew it everything was about the stage, and forest backdrops, and that made perfect sense. Perhaps I just intuited your ballet thing telepathically: that is happening more and more to me these days. Both Duncan and I immediately felt that there was something quite female, and very rounded about the scent (even when realizing that it could very easily be worn by anybody): I am not surprised you liked it so much. I would happily wear it myself.

  2. brie

    Love that telepathy and intuition…this is what springs forth from sensitive souls….

  3. I am enjoying this conversation as much as I enjoyed the review. Lovely.

  4. Dear Ginza
    Your description is a delight, but I feel I am probably more suited to the “virility” of Artillery 4 or even the sharpness of Guerlain’s insane lime opening on Boisee.
    Thank you as always for this splendid review.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • ginzaintherain

      I am more the Artillery type as well: this is all very rounded and full of heart: perhaps it even lacks an edge, so to speak. But it is definitely very lovely.

      I shall have to try Boisee properly. What is it like?

      • Dear Ginza

        I am a fan of the Boisee.

        The opening is a quite extraordinarily vivid burst of lime, that persists quite a way into the perfumes development. I feel that this actually puts some people off.

        In the heart the fragrance is not dissimilar to Guerlain’s reference vetiver, but to my nose there is something richer about it, if not exactly smokey then definitely more spicey and I find that the rum note is very clear.

        The dry down though feint is lovely, very woody with a little musk.

        Definitely worth a try though whether it’s to everyone’s liking is a different matter.

        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

      • ginzaintherain

        Will look into it further!

  5. Pingback: Spiced Citrus Vetiver review and update | Perfume in Progress

    • ginzaintherain

      I really like it – it is a spirit-enhancing blend, and I love the sandalwood/vetiver base it is founded on..

  6. I has taken me a while to learn to love the vetiver, but now vetiver and me get along quite well. Can’t wait to smell this very, very soon!

  7. I find Spiced Citrus Vetiver to be a lovely perfume. Enough complex to me, with a good longevity for a natural perfume.

  8. Dearest Ginza
    Nice to see this review again… a scent like an opera set.
    Wonderful metaphor. Concrete and abstract at once.
    I tried this and thought it slick but without enough kick.
    Nice though, in a well-mannered home counties way.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  9. MrsDalloway

    Sonoma Scent Studios is one of those tantalizing US indies which seem unobtainable here. I enjoyed your review of Cocoa Sandalwood too (and love sandalwood). But it’s probably good to have some obstacles in the way of buying All The Perfume.

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