Suzanne's Perfume Journal

July 11, 2008:


Vetiver Dance will be available for purchase in October from and

Image: "Tango Argentina" by artist Misha Lenn is from, where it can be purchased. 

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Swiss perfumer Andy Tauer will be releasing a new fragrance, Vetiver Dance, in October, and recently he sent samples of the scent to 100 lucky readers of his blog.  (The free samples were doled out on a first-come-first-serve basis in celebration of Andy’s three-year anniversary of his perfume blog.)  I was among the fortunate readers to snag a sample of Vetiver Dance, a unisex fragrance delightfully true to its name, as it vibrates from masculine to feminine, embracing the yin-yang elements that form its wonderful duality.

At its start, the fragrance is virile and medicinally green and reminds me a little bit of the brisk opening of Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel (that iconic men’s classic), as its notes of grapefruit, black pepper and green clary sage have a bracing effect.  I am reminded of a television commercial from the 1970s for some type of men’s after-shave, where a good-looking man is rubbing his newly-shaved jawline when suddenly a gorgeous, honeyed blonde woman comes up to him and slaps both sides of his manly face.  That slap is like the opening of Vetiver Dance—a delightfully teasing sting which starts the dance, this tango between the scent’s macho side and its comely partner. Soon afterwards, the dark vetiver emerges and the scent becomes as green and leathery as a pair of genuine cordovan shoes.  Oh, I love this stage of the fragrance—I want those shoes and the man in them—but the dance goes on, and it gets even better; juxtaposed against the vetiver is a soft and lilting lily of the valley note.  It is as if the honeyed blonde from the commercial has returned; only, this time, not to administer the slaps but to kiss away the sting of them.  And while gently nibbling away the hard edges of the man’s face, she slips into his skin—and into his soul—making him forget himself, making him laugh.  This stage of the scent seems incredibly joyous to me: a merging of the masculine and feminine—not so much in a sexual way, but in a way that seems uplifting and, dare I say, transcendent?  At its climax, this is the scent of rebirth: of something so tenderly green, fresh and vibrant as to seem almost impervious to the ravages of age, of friction, of life’s wears and tears.

Many years ago, at a fledgling Thai restaurant in the town where I live, I remember eating my first bowl of Tom Yum soup—a soup fragrant with lemongrass, so aromatically clear, green and sparkling that I thought if I made a steady diet of it, I might be able to coax my body and spirit into a Zen-like posture.  I pictured my future life billowing out before me like a series of clean white sheets on a clothesline, snapping on the breeze and getting bleached by the sun.  Of course, life didn’t turn out that way for me; you could say my resolve lacked both force and focus.  But I can still recall the amazing clarity that I felt in that moment—and that, too, is what Vetiver Dance reminds me of: the purity of those intentions, the dance of those sheets on the breeze.

The drydown of this vetiver fragrance is graced by cedar, which warms the scent, taking a bit of wind out of the sails of this soaring dance and helping to bring it back down to earth, where it retains its greenness but becomes softer—like clothesline-dried sheets that still carry a bit of breeze on them but that have been made cozy by the sun.  Like dancers in the moment after the song has ended, suspended in a quiet embrace.