Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Route du Vetiver ~ fragrance review

Route du Vetiver by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier

The vetiver root, a plant originating from the Bourbon Islands, surprises with its raw strength and its warm, wooded scent.

Maître Parfumeur et Gantier unveils it in its most authentic state.

Hyperbole is generally a given in fragrance ad copy — no matter how dull the juice, we'll be told a perfume sparkles with dazzling radiance, that it is exquisite, daring, sensual, luxurious, sublime and intoxicating. Maître Parfumeur et Gantier's description of Route du Vetiver, quoted above, is that rare example of the opposite approach, "raw strength" being in this case something of an understatement.

I am a big fan of vetiver, but I'm not a purist about it. Almost any variation will please me, from the genial and summery (Paul Smith Story) to the buried-in-roots-and-damp-earth (Frederic Malle Vetiver Extraordinaire). I'll even take my vetiver toasted with a little vanilla sugar (Hermes Vetiver Tonka). Maître Parfumeur et Gantier Route du Vetiver (notes of Bourbon vetiver, black currant, green leaves, precious woods, jasmine, sandalwood and musk) is the wild beast of vetiver fragrances, and I haven't quite come to terms with it.

The opening is all lighter fluid and medicated bandages, and it is far more palatable dabbed from a vial than sprayed on liberally, especially on a hot humid day in July. It calms into a rather deceptively light blend of blackcurrant and bitter greenery, and for a few moments, you might imagine that it will be easy going from here on in. Not so. The vetiver comes in strong, with its peppery earthiness laid over deep, dark woods, almost smoky-dry. There is the faintest tinge of mildew and dust, and it takes its own good time in mellowing into something that you could describe as merely earthy. I tend to think of Frederic Malle's Vetiver Extraordinaire as representing the hardy, outdoors type, but next to Route du Vetiver, it smells like tea and crumpets in the parlour.

Route du Vetiver does mellow, eventually, and when it does it is lovely, a vetiver-lover's vetiver, if you will, a vetiver with cojones. It is warm and slightly sweet, and far from timid, but if it would get to its final stage in less than 3 hours, I'd find it a lot easier to wear. As it is, I have the highest respect for Route du Vetiver and like to take it for a spin once in awhile, but it isn't something I can imagine running through a whole bottle of.

I have mixed feelings about the packaging for Maître Parfumeur et Gantier's masculine line. I love the red-orange bottle and the simple label, and the glass has a nice heft. But the huge plastic ruby in the cap is a bit much for my tastes, and seems particularly inappropriate for Route du Vetiver. A hunk of granite might be a better fit.

Maître Parfumeur et Gantier Route du Vetiver is available in 90 ml Eau de Toilette or 500 ml refill. For buying information, see the listing for Maître Parfumeur et Gantier under Perfume Houses.

More vetiver: Guerlain Vetiver, Parfums de Nicolaï Vetyver, Le Labo Vetiver 46 & il Profumo Vetiver de Java.

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Parfums Raffy


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  1. Anonymous says:

    It's definitely a wild beast! And LOL at “tea and crumpets”.

  2. Anonymous says:

    M, but where is your “what we smelled in NY” post? Hope it is coming soon!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great review Robin.

    RdV absolutely BLEW ME AWAY a couple months ago when I first tested it – I never had such a strong reaction to a vetiver fragrance. I like Vetiver Tonka and I admire the Guerlain…but Rdv is pure love).

    I get absolutely NO medicine/bandage at the top – only a very strong note that resembles fresh beets (straight from the ground, with dirt clumped all around them). I also enjoy the journey it takes through its mid to dry down – and even though I wouldn't classify it as 'decomposition' (as in Black Orchid) it is perhaps the smell of wet rotted wood that you've found on the forest floor and pulled off to inhale.

    It's tenacity is almost perfect (even here in the Miami humidity).

    I will most likely keep RdV in my wardrobe for many years to come.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Oddly, I had an MPG moment this morning, and reached for my sample of Ambre Precieux. I like this and Or des indes, but there's something in the base of all the MPGs I've sniffed that's strangely dusty and tobacco-ey. The RdV sounds intriguing, though.

  5. Anonymous says:

    And thanks for sharing!

    Fresh beets is interesting, will have to try it again and see if I can catch that. I wouldn't say I don't enjoy the journey, just that it is a bit much for me. I feel like RdV is wearing me rather than the other way around, maybe? Someone said in a MUA review that there is a “private vetiver club with a secret handshake for people who can wear this scent”, and I always loved that line.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The only MPG I was ever moved to purchase was Eau Pour Le Jeune Homme (well, was moved to purchase Bahiana but ran out of funds). So it isn't my favorite line, but at least it isn't dull! Everybody should try RdV, I think, even if very few would probably wear it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    R I bought a bottle…and spray away! This is my favorite vetiver of all I think. I do like Mike's comment about BEETS in the opening…I can definitely smell that association. The currant note is very strong on me and I like it. I agree on the bottles…an upgrade, or should I say, DOWNGRADE, is needed…too frou-frou for my tastes. K

  8. Anonymous says:

    Ok, now I'll definitely have to look for the beets, but have to say it really smells like lighter fluid to me. Beets sounds much nicer.

    I don't mind a frou frou bottle myself, but that ruby just looks very PLASTIC.

  9. Anonymous says:

    So DITCH the ruby, baby !

    I adore this.

    I get the beets, too, but I don't care.

    Gimme rooty-tooty, yahoo !

  10. Anonymous says:

    We scheduled it for tomorrow :-)

  11. Anonymous says:

    Good, I need a vicarious shopping trip to NY!

  12. Anonymous says:

    LOL — I suppose I could gouge it off the top and put something else in its place :-)

  13. Anonymous says:

    The beets is totally accurate – and I'd never thought of that before!
    I can't wear this. I'll take tea and proper English crumpets any day of the week. Don't go easy on the butter…

  14. Anonymous says:

    And I do find those bottles too much – the lid being the worst element of a very maximalist design aesthetic.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Can't blame you. It is a very cool scent, but I wouldn't call it “wearable”. Can't bring myself to wear it 2 days in a row, so will have to smell for the beets some other time :-)

  16. Anonymous says:

    I told Kevin in a post once that this gave me such an instant headache that I handed it off to my boss. For some reason I forgot which one that had been and got another sample so I figured the gods must want me to have it. I tried it again last night (double dab from the vial) and liked it much better this time. It is intense and definitely not an everyday juice, and I doubt I will ever buy more than a sample or decant but I'm glad I gave it another try. I was happy to have a vetiver that is not also citrus, which is fine but seems predominant. I'll have to try the Vetiver Tonka. I'll also have to sniff for the beets!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Yep, it's the sort of scent where 15 ml might last me my entire life, LOL…

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