The vetiver plant is native to India, where its practical purpose was to prevent erosion.
The making of perfumes is an art that lasts throughout history. Most of the world’s fragrances rely on essential oils extracted from the leaves, roots or fruits of plants. Vetiveria zizanioides is a grassy plant that has a fragrant essential oil in its roots. Vetiver perfumes blend this oil with additional scents to create a longer lasting fragrance.
Vetiver perfumes that include the name of the plant in the brand are often among the leading and most expensive brands in the world.
The vetiver plant is native to India and the Bengal region, where its practical purpose was to prevent erosion. The fast-growing grass traveled to the Caribbean and other semitropical regions of the Americas, including the state of Louisiana. The French, known for making perfumes, also encouraged the cultivation of vetiver in Haiti, La Reunion and Java. These countries are among the largest producers of vetiver plants in the world in 2011.
The vetiver plant has large rhizomes that make up its root system. This is the only part of the plant that contains the essential oils used to make vetiver perfumes. Vetiver’s natural scent is similar to citronella oil commonly used in insect repellent products. It also has woody, earthy undertones and a sweet undertone reminiscent of legendary myrrh.
In India, people used the extracted oil to perfume clothes and linens. In their oldest forms, vetiver perfumes created in India featured a single note or aroma of the plant’s essential oil. Modern perfumery techniques combine aromatic oils to produce fragrances. Perfume perfume has three parts: the top note, the middle note and the base note. Vetiver perfumes often employ vetiver oil as a base note or as a fixative, which helps the multiple notes of a fragrance last longer.
Some fragrance companies have used vetiver oil as their prominent mid-note, marketing these vetiver scents as masculine scents. A popular vetiver scent for men has lemon as its top note and combines tobacco and vetiver in its heart note. Women’s vetiver perfumes that have vetiver oil as a prominent note can have top notes of hazelnut, musk or citrus to soften the vetiver scent.
Vetiver perfumes that include the name of the plant in the brand are often among the leading and most expensive brands in the world. The demand for vetiver oil also keeps the price high, because most perfumes in the world contain this oil. Perfume producing countries import vetiver oil from producing countries to make vetiver perfumes. Importing the oil makes the market price higher than that of essential oils extracted from plants that have a larger area of cultivation.