Marine scents are synonymous to light, lighthearted, sporty compositions, high on synthetics and very easy to please. They try to evoke happy, sunny, carefree moments by the sea. Can there be a marine scent that is all the opposites of what we know? I assure you, there is. And it comes from a house that is not notorious for unconventional fragrances: Annick Goutal. In fact it is so unorthodox that it is another odd one out, the right fragrance in the wrong line.
Where “earthy” is the most common adjective to describe vetiver, Annick Goutal Vetiver opens with the most unexpected note: iodine. I cannot smell this perfume and not think of seaweed washed out on the beach after a winter tempest. Grey ribbons piling up on the sand, exuding a concentrated smell of sea. The opening is so shocking that I have to check again the name on the bottle. However this is true vetiver. Dry as a bone. Vetiver is of the smoky variety but there is no hint of earthiness. Just herbal vetiver, smoke and ocean spray. Literally. Not the calone interpretation but the real thing. Seaweed and iodine with hints of dry woods. It is almost like smelling a shipwreck washed out on the beach after it has stayed for years in the sea. It is dry, white, covered in salt and little bits of seaweed. And then someone makes a fire with these woods and warms the evening, winter beach.
Of all the vetiver scents I have tried this is the most avant garde but wearable at the same time. It feels like a CBIHatePerfume ambiance perfume. More like a place than a perfume but smells all natural, deep and longlasting. And scary opening aside, it dries to a beautiful pure, smoky vetiver with a dash of ocean and a spark of lightning. It was launched in 1985 which makes it stand out even more. Almost 30 years later it is still unique as a vetiver scent ans also as a dark marine scent.
Notes from Annick Goutal: Java vetiver, rare woods, Birman spices, hint of iodine
Notes from my nose: iodine, seaweed, driftwood, vetiver, salt, beach fire