Back To The (Vetiver) Roots!
“Separates the boys from the men” - this Baldessarini ad campaign slogan inevitably comes to my mind after comparing Carvens Vetiver and their Le Vetiver.
Being apparently first released in 1957, Carvens Vetiver was the first fragrance of that kind, although today, it stands in the shadow of its famous follow-up by Jean Paul Guerlain. Nevertheless, it has always been around, and Carven seems to have been adjusting it to the common taste all the time. Recently, I had the opportunity to test the predecessor of the current version, and it had the “powerhouse” aromatic fougère appeal of the last decades of the 2nd millennium.
Just as Guerlain modernized their Vetiver for the new millennium, so did Carven. The change was even more radical – all leftover macho style is gone. The new Carven Vetiver is urban, modern, detached, shaded and unemotional. It has some lavender, and some powdery notes – and almost no citruses. It is simply cool. In a way it lacks the earthiness of so many Vetivers. The distinct character of vetiverylacetate and the 1950's roots has led to the widespread opinion that Vetivers are only for the elderly gentleman. If you share this attitude, then the current Carven Vetiver is the only one recommendable for young men or even teenage boys!
A while ago Carven launched a variant they call “Le Vetiver”. The story behind it is that they re-issued the vintage Vetiver from the Fifties! So, all those vetiver lovers who think that Carven has gone too far with its reformulations might have reason to give it a try. Maybe, this is the real thing from the past – who knows?
The fragrance itself can be quickly described. Le Vetiver is Carven's Vetiver plus a decent spritz of Guerlain's Jicky or Mouchoir de Monsieur! Although not listed, the additional note in here smells like civet to me ! The addition of that animalic note, of course, considerably changes the character of the whole fragrance. It is not so much up to date on first sight. It points backwards to a time that is gone for good. Yet, it reflects the minor trend in perfumery to go away from the very light perfumes, back to some more distinction.
It is a courageous decision to give Le Vetiver such an animalic appeal. Many people abhor the strange smell of civet and the like, so it is not used that often. But it is a good blend here, although it may take a while to find out. With that animalic note, Le Vetiver is not a straightforward Vetiver in a way that i.e. the Guerlain vetiver is.
If Carvens Vetiver is for the boys, then the Le Vetiver is for men. It is unusal and not everybody's darling. I am a bit surprised about myself – I am going to like it!