Annick Goutal Vetiver: the Neptunian Vetiver

Oceanic power

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


About Christos

Scientifically minded but obsessed with the subjective aspect of things. Photos copyright of MemoryOfScent, with special thanks to Pantelis Makkas You are welcome to link to my blog but you are definitely not allowed to copy text or use the photos without my permission. All text and main photos are originals and property of MemoryOfScent All perfumes are from my collection unless stated otherwise.


  1. bloodyfrida

    Sounds wonderful – have you tried Sel de Vetiver yet (The Different Co).

    • Me and The Different Co releases are enemies. The problems begun when I tried Bois d’Iris. I liked it for the 15 minutes it lasted on my skin. I have never felt so frustrated in my life…
      I have tried Sel de Vetiver and it was nice. It captures the smell of salt but Heeley did this so much better with Sel Marin. AG Vetiver is thousands of times louder than both and smells a lot more threatening. This is not cool Mediterranean breeze. This is the sigh of the Ocean

      • bloodyfrida

        I’ll definitely have to try the AG then – I do love some of her line That Sel de Vetiver though – wow – makes me cry. But then again, I have a difficult or should I say emotional time with vetiver (ex boyfriend memories)

  2. Sounds gorgeous! The three vetivers in my collection are Guerlain Vetiver, Encre Noire by Lalique and Chanel’s Sycomore. Is the Annick Goutal like any of these three?


    • No, in fact it is rather unique. Very dry, moderately smoky and the only fragrance, let alone vetiver, with a distinct iodine note. If you have ever drank a single malt isle whiskey then you know what I am talking about. Avery unusual approach to vetiver.

  3. This I got to try! Will do the next time I’m near the Annick Goutal counter. Thanks!

  4. The one you have mentioned. I would like to try it but don’t know when it will be. By your description it sounds interesting and tempting and I’m curious if it could be compared to any other!


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  6. Apicius

    This is indeed one of the best Vetivers. It’s not easily available. It has been partly discontinued which means that you can get it directly from Annick Goutal, but it can no longer be found in the shops.

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