This blog is for anyone, anywhere on their fragrance journey.

Guerlain Vetiver Review: A Sexy Standard

Table of Contents

Guerlain Vetiver is, at its heart, a perfect representation of vetiver from all angles. Vetiver is one of those fragrance notes that, while you might think you know what it smells like, you don’t. Guerlain’s Vetiver is here to remind you that nothing is certain. If you’re looking for a more wearable scent like Terre D’Hermes, keep on reading (or go ahead and buy this immediately).

Created in 1959, Vetiver has withstood the test of time to become a shining pillar in the world of green scents for gents, and is one of the most important men’s fragrances ever created. 

At times green-grass, at others warm-soapy, Vetiver is also green-tinged smoke and spring sunsets.

This is a fragrance that anyone remotely a fan of vetiver, soapy scents, or the color green has to smell at least once in their lifetime, and anyone who values perfume will marvel at the composition here. In this Guerlain Vetiver review, I’ll break down everything you need to know about this masterful creation.

Click For The Best Price!

Personal Impressions

As I’ve written in prior posts, I’m not the largest fan of clean or soapy scents. I like my perfumes to have depth, maybe be a bit mysterious; I never want to smell like boring. 

I was a little concerned when I first tried this one out: the note breakdown, combined with the fact that I felt compelled to like this one, had me already putting a phantom bottle of the stuff on the no-no shelf. 

All this goes to say that a cologne’s reputation and scent profile is like the cover of a book — you shouldn’t judge by it. 

Because I liked this scent a lot. 

Guerlain’s Vetiver is considered a baseline to which all other men’s perfumes containing vetiver are measured against, and I think I finally understand why. With this cologne, there is no part of vetiver left unturned

I was expecting something much more linear, when in reality Guerlain Vetiver is one of the most dynamic scents that I’ve smelled. Starting off bright and soapy, the mids bring in some green-ness, along with a subtle earthiness, and the drydown becomes smoky vetiver, which I didn’t even fully comprehend existed.

I found that this scent smells good on the skin, better in the air, and will bring in a fair few compliments, though not on every wear. 

Let’s take a look at the note breakdown and the actual scent.


Guerlain Vetiver is stuffed to the gills with notes. You wouldn’t expect it from the name, but this cologne is complex and extremely multifaceted. Here are the notes that make up Guerlain Vetiver:

Top Notes:

  • Bergamot
  • Tobacco
  • Leather
  • Nutmeg
  • Neroli 
  • Coriander
  • Mandarin Orange

Middle Notes:

  • Vetiver
  • Pepper
  • Carnation
  • Orris
  • Sage
  • Sandalwood

Base Notes:

  • Vetiver
  • Oakmoss
  • Leather
  • Civet
  • Myrrh
  • Tonka bean
  • Amber

That’s a lot; and if you’ve smelled a fragrance like Terre D’Hermes, you might think you have vetiver pretty well on lock down. We’re here to tell you that, in fact, you do not. Guerlain’s Vetiver is a much more dynamic take on vetiver, with extreme realism offering a much more shifty olfactory experience.

The fragrance is blended so well that it’s relatively hard to pick out individual notes, save the vetiver. You won’t walk past a crowd and hear them musing to themselves about that strange man smelling of carnations. All of these notes serve to really augment the vetiver, which is the absolute star of this show.

For more info on vetiver and men’s colognes with this note, check out our article on what vetiver smells like.

In the opening, you get a hearty dose of citrus, combined with tobacco, leather, and spices. The citrus lends it some brightness and energy, while the tobacco adds in a hint of smoky sweetness. The leather and spices add depth and a certain dynamism. They tie it together and keep you on edge. It’s a warm-soap sort of opening, like a long bath on a Sunday afternoon.

In the middle, the vetiver starts to step forward. This is all green-grass-soaking-up-sunlight vetiver, and smells as green as can be. The orris adds a dryness and sophistication, while the carnation bolsters the vetiver with red florals. Finally, the pepper and sandalwood add in some spice and smoothness. This sandalwood is quite creamy, and very grounding.

In the heart, the vetiver shifts, becoming superbly smoky (somewhat like birch, except more green). This is where the fragrance gains momentum, in that it deepens and envelopes you. The leather blends perfectly with the musk to create a manly skin sort of smell, while the amber and tonka bean add warmth criss-crossing over the green smoke.  

The overall vibe of this scent is very at-easy, with a sort of spring charm to it. This isn’t a look-at-me-I’m-so-sexy-you-want-me scent, it’s one with a story to tell. A quintessential fragrance, it has a sort of all-time feel to it, a self-assured sense that everything is going to be just fine, as long as you keep walking your walk and charming their pants off. 

If you want a very versatile scent that will make you smell beautiful, Guerlain Vetiver is the key to unlocking that door.

Click For The Best Price!


I found that this fragrance lasts around 9-10 hours per wear on the skin, and will last on clothing even longer (depending on the material of the clothing). 

It won’t project heavily for the whole time, but it will remain noticeable in the air around you, and you’ll have a pretty nice scent trail following you around (and we make no claims as to who, or what, else is following you). 

Sillage is good too. You get a good amount of projection for the first couple of hours, after which the scent settles in a little bit. Not to worry, you will still be smelled. It will just become more subtle and laid-back.

Overall, performance is quite good, and you can spray this on (just two or three sprays) without worrying about having to reapply throughout the day (because who wants that? Ew).

Who Is This Scent Good For?

This cologne is good for anyone who wants to experience classic French perfumery, and experience a true take on vetiver, both in terms of realism and as a form of olfactory expression.  

If you’re the kind of person who likes to open their window on a summer morning, just to let some of the outside in, this could be the fragrance for you. If you like spring nights, if you’re a man who smells flowers and appreciates elegance, this is for you. If you appreciate sculpture gardens and a proper picnic, give Guerlain Vetiver a try.

I would also say that this scent is for someone conscious of themselves and their surroundings, and who wants to bring a little bit of spring with them, to evoke a sense of newness and change in those they meet.

When To Wear It

Well, the better question is when not to wear it?

I’ll actually tell you: Guerlain Vetiver is versatile, but isn’t the best in the winter or on colder fall nights. The green-grass accord can be somewhat confusing in a snow-storm. 

Other than that, though, you’re pretty much covered. There isn’t really one occasion or another that Vetiver shines in. Conversely, I can’t think of any situation where you wouldn’t want to wear this

However, Guerlain Vetiver shines on spring and summer days, spring and summer evenings, picnics, pleasure strolls, and things of that nature. You could wear this to brunch at your mother’s place in the middle of April and be perfectly correct in doing so. 

Similar Fragrances

If you’re looking for a scent similar to Guerlain Vetiver, we have a few options for you to choose from. 

  • Terre D’Hermes is another classic vetiver scent, except done in a much more straightforward. It’s also less warm, more citrusy, and quite a bit more elegant. Read our full review here
  • Tom Ford’s Grey Vetiver is a similar scent, but profiles a bit cleaner. Also excellently versatile, Grey Vetiver is a bit more thoughtful and sophisticated. Read our full review of Grey Vetiver for the full deal.
  • Versace’s The Dreamer is a similarly unusual scent, evocative of swirling star-filled skies and spring nights. 
  • Dior’s Homme is a similarly elegant scent, though perhaps more professional with an uncanny penchant for garnering compliments. 

For more vetiver colognes, check here.

If This Was A Color…

It would be a light green slowly shifting into a darker green with tendrils of emerald smoke. 

Where To Buy

Click For The Best Price!


Overall, we highly recommend Guerlain Vetiver as an all-time scent that has earned its place as a quintessential men’s vetiver fragrance. Multi-faceted, surprisingly deep, and very charming, this scent is sure to delight.

We hope you enjoyed this review of Guerlain Vetiver. Happy sniffing!


Isaac Marks

Isaac Marks

Isaac is a fragrance expert from Chicago, Illinois, specializing in smelling good at all times. When he isn't sniffing things, Isaac likes to read, write, run, bake, and play the guitar.

Related Articles

Jack Harbor

Full Time Fragranista

Jack Harbor is an expert in all things scent – from wearing, to mixing, to making perfumes, his expertise is varied and robust. He loves to smell good, and loves helping other’s smell good – for the good of us all!

Jack Harbor

Featured Articles