One of the great things about being able to travel is that it unlocks the possibility of making perfume discoveries in foreign city side streets. You may come across a brand that's specific to a country, perhaps one that's still in its infancy, or even a fragrance house that is determined to remain a hidden treasure. Whatever the reason, spending some time off the beaten track is guaranteed to uncover exciting surprises. A great example of this is the South of France’s Terres Dorees. Originally located in Villefranche-sur-Mer, but also found in Nice’s old town, it’s time to go back to basics with their exciting Vétiver.
Terres Dorees is a company that you probably won’t have heard of unless you’ve visited their original boutique in the shadow of the Citadelle de Villefranche-sur-Mer. They started life as a soap manufacturer in 1999, under the strict control of Mme Taïde Cardelli, and a solid reputation quickly followed. The soap industry is synonymous with France and, with so many companies to choose from, there is also no room for error in this ever-growing market. That’s why the original soaps are still manufactured in the same building, but now under the watchful eye of the grandchildren, and it truly is a family business.
When the company decided that they needed to expand their range it was natural to turn to fragrance. They had, after all, been surrounded with scent when they’d manufactured their soaps. So, the family set about releasing a collection of eau de toilettes that would appeal to both tourists and locals. These original scents are still available, and it’s one of these that I’m featuring, but the company have now expanded into more complex territory. With the youngest generation now acting as Creative Directors of the fragrances, Terres Dorees launched four excellent eau de parfums. However, back to Vetiver.
One of the problems with vetiver, in the same way as patchouli, is that many companies now offer “softer” interpretations of the ingredient. This is what a lot of high street customers want, and so that is what they have to be given. However, because they don’t need to follow trends so closely.
The original Terres Dorees fragrances still pack a welcome punch. Vetiver has so many facets that it’s definitely the beating heart of any fragrance that bears its name. If you’re sensible, in my opinion, the scent should accentuate rather than fight these, and that’s exactly what you get here. Buckle up, because you’re in for a real treat.
Vetiver opens with a burst of the star ingredient, with its wonderfully earthy dryness, before being quickly joined by an arrestingly green bergamot and lemon pairing. This then draws in a trace of lavender, to push the campherous quality, before the vetiver truly arrives front and centre. It’s bold, brash, and unashamedly brazen. There's a touch of rose in the background, just to soften everything slightly, before the tobacco aspect of vetiver pulls in the base notes. You are treated to a peppered cedarwood and moss, which accentuates the dryness, along with a sweetened musk that provides a final allowance to softness. Vetiver may seem a little loud to some, but it'll be an exciting adventure for others.
By Stephan Matthews (Professional perfume blogger)