Top Review 12
Vetiver at the turning point
Goutal's Vetiver marks one of the turning points for vetiver in the 80s - before and after, the category was a different one: Paris, 6th arrondissement, Place Saint-Sulpice. Tens of years ago, on assembly in the city and I was able to test Goutal's vetiver at this very place, only to quickly shelve it under: 'classic vetiver, slightly reduced construction' - perhaps it was also due to the exhaust fumes and street traffic outside the Goutal store like other facets of city life that once out of the store, my attention was limited. Years later, back in Paris, Rue du Renard, deeper into my vetiver investigations, equipped with a brand new bottle of Goutal's Eau de Toilette, I had more focus. This not very fashionable stretch of street, back of Pompidou, scattered, slightly brutalist diamonds from the 70's, traffic and morning bustle are certainly not what I perceive in this perfume, it's a lot more western: Atlantic, rough weather, cloudy. Old West. The coup in Goutal's Vetiver is an impressive, iodine-heavy marine accord that was certainly a lot more whimsical at the time of its release than it is now. 1985. Three years before New West. Goutal's Vetiver also doesn't use Calone, which wouldn't be let loose unreservedly until a few years later; Isabelle Doyen, the author of this particular vetiver (her first work for Goutal) relied on Synarome's Algénone to approximate Goutal's idea of the beaches of the Île de Ré (the same one that would later be used for Eau du Fier). This iodine aspect (worlds cooler, because so unapologetic, and more convincing than, say, nice narratives like Hypotheses a la Épice Marine or studenty-looking theses like Sel Marine), along with spices - nutmeg, not unlike that of Cacharel's first men's fragrance, a bit of tobacco, and a very dry vetiver is already what I detect. The vetiver/tobacco constellation is quite remotely reminiscent of Guerlain's Vetiver Eau de Cologne, yet the Goutal is a vetiver at a turning point. What preceded it (perhaps with the exception of (presumably) Jean Laporte's first vetiver for Artisan ?) was more classic as declined by Givenchy and Guerlain. Goutal's vetiver, along with Route du Vétiver and also Etro's Vetiver Cologne, were 80s experiments in bringing vetiver back to prominence - in name and as an ingredient - and here played with surprisingly single-minded modulations. The myriad of monothematic vetivers that have appeared since 2000 can be read through this lens. The perfume starts rough and vehement, but - rapid weather change at the sea - quickly becomes calm including a quiet finish. Goutal's island duefte (Vetiver, Sables, Fier) are all special, the Goutal's of the 80's a bit more jumbled and polyphonic than the image the company has chosen over the years. Too bad that there is no longer this, it would have in the plethora of some really great Vetivers that are currently on the market, still something to say.