Vetiver Vapors

Vetiver is the official scent of adventure. This perfume energizes pulse points beating to the curatorial rhythm of a new season of sartorial treasures. The chilled autumnal scent of moist forest floors and faded florals has captured countless imaginations for millennia. Ancient perfumers of Kanauji in Uttar Pradesh, renowned niche perfumer Serge Lutens, Hindi poet Bihārī aura unakī Satasaī, and Paul McCartney, have been seduced by the fragrance of rich transition.

The golden amber ‘oil of tranquility’ provides stress relief. In Shirodhara, an Ayurvedic treatment, mercurial energy dissipates as warm sesame and Vetiver essential oil flows over the third eye. The uplifting, regenerative tonic creates a harmonious equilibrium between the mind and body. The scent of Vetiver calms nerves, stimulates circulation, and nurtures emotional balance. This oil is used to moisturize and condition the skin, as well.

Similar to other aromatic grasses like citronella and lemongrass, the wild flowering type of this perennial green only grows in the foothills of northern India, along the Himalaya Mountains. Khus (meaning ‘dug up root’ in Sanskrit) seeps into the heat of ceremonial pyres along the Ganges River. A natural coolant, dried Vetiver roots are woven into traditional blinds and mats, bringing relief from the equatorial heat to South Asian homes, palaces, and temples. The handcrafted ‘khushicks’ are often immersed in water, releasing a refreshingly simple fragrance into the tropical winds.

Northern India is the main source for the extraction of the Vetiver wild root, although the grass is cultivated and consumed in Southern climes such as the Indonesian archipelago and Haiti. The origin of the Vetiver essential oils distinguished by its distinctive aroma, oscillating from deep brooding emerald earthiness, precious woods and moss, smoky incense, savory saffron, balsamic sweetness to ethereal florals. The porous roots absorb the idiosyncratic essence of the local ecology, unveiling an exotic palette of discovery. The profound aura of more than 150 aromatic compounds has yet to be duplicated by scientists. It’s widely used as an anchoring note in the fragrance industry. Le Labo’s Vetiver 46 is a unisex favorite. The legendary rhizome, bottled -but not captured- by Aesop and In Fiore, evolves with age and transcends trends, lingering in a space long after one has moved on.

 

Published on Nomad-Chic.com

September 2012