One of my favorite genres of perfumes are those that bring to mind the sea. Many of us that lived through the 90’s have an aversion to the perfumes labeled “aquatics” that were usually in some blue bottle fronted by some topless ripped guy covered in water droplets. Those perfumes typically smelled like something that would kill salmonella on a kitchen countertop. And after a decade of these, I understand why people may fear anything with ocean/sea marketing. However, you shouldn’t. The modern sea-inspired scents aren’t scared to get dirty. These aren’t the squeaky clean perfumes of the 90’s. These neo-aquatics may come across as clean but underneath there’s some sweat and maybe some hints of shellfish.
One of my favorite vetivers and one of my favorite sea scents, is The Different Company Sel de Vetiver. I’m one of those people that like salt and a mineral-like notes, especially in florals and with vetivers.
Sel de Vetiver opens like grapefruit pith and cool, green evegreen needles. It’s a bitter citrus but balsamic, like evergreen sap. There’s a gauze-like veil of cool, green cardamom draped over the ginger-y evergreens and a dry citrus. I like to pretend that I’m immune to falling for top notes¹ but I’m not. The top is what has made me love Sel de Vetiver. It’s cool, green, spicy, gingery and oddly, brings to mind an evergreen forest by the sea. In my mind, this gives it a Mediterranean feel. But, unlike many top heavy perfumes, there’s more to Sel de Vetiver. The heart is a dark cocoa-like patchouli with a heady, spiced white florals However, these notes are never heavy. This heart is misty, like a saltwater breeze. The dry-down of Sel de Vetiver is almost sticky, like a honeyed sap of a vetiver. It’s always reminded me of one of those shades of green that’s so dark that it’s borderline black. This dry-down really does remind me of sea salt on warm, bare skin. It’s the perfect clean/dirty scent.
There’s a reason why Sel de Vetiver is a favorite vetiver in the PerfumeWorld. That reason is because it’s great. For me, it’s funny, because I see Sel de Vetiver as more of a briny floral made even better with high-quality vetivers and patchouli. The ginger and ylang have always been very prominent on my skin while on dear friends, it’s more like a deep, dark vetiver and patchouli. Either way, it’s an excellent perfume and one of those that I’ve worn reliably since its launch a decade ago.
Notes listed include grapefruit, patchouli, cardamom, geranium, Haitian vetiver, iris and ylang-ylang. Launched in 2006. PERFUMER – Celine Ellena
Give Sel de Vetiver if you like your vetivers more briny or if you like green citrus scents. Or if you like perfumes like Annick Goutal Vetiver, Hermès Terre d’Hermès, Atelier Mistral Patchouli and/or HEELEY Sel Marin.
Projection and longevity are above average.
The 1.7 oz bottle retails for $165 at Beautyhabit.Samples are also available for purchase.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – Salty shoreline. This is one of my favorite vetivers and it’s also one of my favorite perfumes that brings to mind the sea.
¹It’s believed that it’s a common practice for many designer perfumes (department store perfumes) to invest in top notes as a way to “hook” you. This means that they hope you’ll buy based on the initial 5-15 minutes and not the rest of the fragrance.
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