Have you ever worn Frédéric Malle Vétiver Extraordinaire? It's exactly as Luca Turin describes it in Perfumes: The Guide: vetiver with a cedar/pencil accord and a touch of lemon.
It's fuller and more sentimental than The Different Company Sel de Vétiver, which I still like but which rarely begs me to wear it. It simply sits on the shelf and gloats at how good it is. Sel de Vétiver doesn't need me, KP, not like Vétiver Extraordinaire does.
Speaking of Vétiver Extraordinaire needing you, it's interesting how, for a relationship to be successful, both parties need to feel needed by the other. And if one of them needs it too much, they become unattractively needy, which is a huge turnoff and guarantees they don't get the very thing they so desire.
I've had that problem in past relationships -- the bloke needing to be needed. Who then becomes very controlling. Which might be an alternate version of needing to be needed.
Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters, his warmest film by far, concerns the need to be needed and how having a partner who needs nothing is as problematic as one who needs too much. I've experienced both, and I can never seem to get the balance right.
But, yes, the need to be needed is an anxious response and always relates to issues of control: when someone completely relies upon you, you automatically get to call all the shots. I'm sure this sort of thing can work with partners who are screwed up in opposite ways, but if you fall somewhere in the middle, the extremes will drive you batty.
The longer I wear Vétiver Extraordinaire, the less it needs me. It never quite fuses with my skin and now, several hours after application, it feels like it's circling an inch above my wrist. It's not quite my temperature, it's colder. It's like a cold dry ice mist wafting just above me. I can almost see it. Which, yes, means I can't see it at all, but I can feel it and I know it's there. What's happened is the lemon and the cedar have faded and I'm left with only vetiver. Cold, stern vetiver. And I think it's saying I'm not dignified enough for it, or sufficiently self-assured, or that I'm too casual, too irreverent, more boy than man. I don't know, KP, I can't speak vetiver! I just know Vétiver Extraordinaire doesn't like me. Do I sound needy? Speaking of vetivers, now I have my eye on Chanel Sycomore, which will probably be the next Chanel to move in with me. Dan
Dan, Funny you should bring up Sycomore. I'm about to take another stab at that one, because I've been getting a lot of YouTube requests to review it. I remember trying it when it first came out in 2008, and finding it just too "Gag on my vetiver smog, motherfuckers!" for me. Katie
Katie, Well, now I'm worried about Sycomore. I've only sampled it twice in the Chanel boutique and I found it more wearable than most vetivers. And, yes, I make that assertion as someone who has never worn it. You've tasted root beer, right? Everyone has. And it always tastes the same, like root beer. And yet there are these guys (they always seem to be guys) who obsess over the stuff, they create websites and rate their favorites, they yearn for some small brew from the 1930s that was only available in northern Vermont. And even though you and I and everyone else realizes it probably tastes just like every other root beer, these guys know better, they can parse out brands with wintergreen from those with anise, they know when there's too much sugar or when the sassafras is artificial. They're freaks. Along those lines, I wore Christian Dior Vétiver yesterday and would it surprise you if I told you it smelled exactly like every other vetiver? It's a subject of great fascination among the guys on the perfume boards (probably because vetiver falls squarely within the male domain and thus it's dignified as perfume topics go) and they'll argue all day about their favorites. And after years of smelling the stuff, I'll admit I notice some fine differences in earthiness or smokiness, but never quite enough to muster the strength to say anything. Vetiver smells like vetiver and Christian Dior Vétiver does, too. It's just another bottle of root beer. DanFor more bitching about vetiver, please click here Dad's Root Beer via