Scent of the Season: Vetiver


From smoky hints of the bonfire to fresh-baked apple pie, fall is filled with a rich bouquet of evocative scents. This year, our favorite fragrance for the season is vetiver-- a sweet and woodsy aroma with earthy notes of amber and balsam. Derived from the roots of Chrysopogon zizanioides, vetiver oil is a classic ingredient in perfumery, appearing in 90% of fragrance blends. Native to India, where it is commonly known as khus, vetiver is a tall perennial grass that grows in clumps of narrow leaves with brownish-purple flowers. The grass itself is also used for erosion control due to an unusually deep root structure, and can now be found in tropical regions around the globe thanks to an ever-expanding demand for its essential oil.

Vetiver became an important component of western perfumes in the 19th century, when European colonists in tropical climates found that a drop of oil kept moths and pests away from expensive silk garments. In the early 20th century, it emerged as a popular element of men's colognes, most notably as the signature scent of John F. Kennedy. As time passed, top fashion houses from Givenchy to Guerlain began incorporating vetiver into their fragrances and the scent became a classic for men and women alike. Today, we're enjoying its deep, complex properties in candles, sachets, and more to welcome the cozy, cooler season.

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