Modern perfumery is full of classic pairings. They can be the core of something groundbreaking. Or they can just be a version executed well. I think of it as every chef knows how to make an omelet. Every perfumer knows the best pairs of ingredients. What makes the exercise rise above the normal is when a perfumer can make that well-known harmony sing in a different key. Still the same song but not the same. Molton Brown Vetiver & Grapefruit Eau de Parfum finds that.
If there is a mystery I would dearly love to know, it is who has been creatively directing the fragrance side of Molton Brown the last few years. I have been extremely impressed with the perfumes. There is someone behind these recent releases I just can’t find out who. They deserve some credit for creating an aesthetic which allows for enough leeway to make these simple constructs radiate with clever ingredient choices.
For Vetiver & Grapefruit Eau de Parfum perfumer Julie Pluchet follows up last years Eau de Toilette version. That lighter version was just the two ingredients on the bottle plus cedar. Super simple without any new nuance added. This Eau de Parfum version is more fleshed out with much more texture.
That comes through in the top accord as black pepper is the main partner for the grapefruit. This is a piquant citrus given some depth on the fruit side with mandarin and cardamom modulating the grapefruit. I like this rougher version of grapefruit as it has a greener cast to it. That is picked up by geranium and lavender in a floral heart that did not exist in the Eau de Toilette. This key change takes advantage of the herbal quality of lavender and the green rose nature of geranium. The grassier side of vetiver finds that green of the florals and the citrus forming a triad of sorts. The woodier base of vetiver finds cedar in the base for a finish given some warmth through amber and patchouli.
Vetiver & Grapefruit Eau de Parfum has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
This is almost an entirely different perfume from the Eau de Toilette because there is so much more to it than just the title ingredients. The subtleties and warmth make this a great summer evening choice. Sometimes a different key is all it takes.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Molton Brown.
I feel like I’m spending these first few weeks of 2020 catching up to perfume brands I covered before and subsequently lost touch with. At Sniffapalooza, in 2013, I met Barb Stegemann who was starting her new perfume brand; The 7 Virtues. Ms. Stegemann wanted to create a perfume brand using free trade materials from the developing world. In those early days she was focused on Afghanistan and Haiti. The perfumes she featured back then were Orange Blossom and Rose from the former and Vetiver from the latter. Working with perfumer Angela Stavrevska they were nicely constructed soliflores featuring the ethically sourced ingredient on the bottle. I liked them. I admired the ethos of Ms. Stegemann. I forgot about them until the end of last year. That was when I got a sample set called The 7 Virtues Peace Blend Box. Inside I found an evolution of the brand over the five years as these were now fuller constructs then the linear soliflores of the beginning. Within that set the one which captured my attention was Vanilla Woods. Ms. Stegemann collaborating with perfumer Julie Pluchet created a nice fruity floral gourmand. It had sat in my “to be reviewed box” for months. To start 2020 the same team decided to try a different version of fruity floral gourmand. This time The 7 Virtues Blackberry Lily got put on the review schedule.
The sustainable ingredient in the case of Blackberry Lily is the vetiver from Haiti. Instead of using the classic vanilla gourmand ingredient the creative team pairs vetiver and caramel in a surprisingly tasty accord. Before we get there, we go through a thick jammy accord of blackberry supported by a rose exuding the same quality. This is a familiar fruity floral accord done well. It recedes just enough for the green tinted floral of lily to find space. I like the choice here to allow lily to carry the floral piece instead of just expanding the rose into it. The lily wraps the berry in clean floral lines deepened with cedar. Then we get this grassy green vetiver which arises from the lily. Just as those two begin to find a harmony caramel oozes over it all. This is when the woody part of vetiver comes forward. Patchouli adds a chocolate-like complement to the caramel accord. When this all comes together in jam, lily, and caramel it is very nice.
Blackberry Lily has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
Ms. Stegemann is a brand owner of uncommon drive. I am not sure what made her re-think the types of perfume she wanted to make. It has resulted in something which is evolving to something I am much more interested in like Blackberry Lily.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Sephora.