Thursday 30 July 2020

RACINE DE VETIVER by Jessica Buchanan

When we think about the scent of certain ingredients our minds often unconsciously latch onto the smell of a fragrance that shares its name. How many times have you seen companies launch perfumes with gardenia, sandalwood, even oud proudly displayed on the front of the bottle? These are all blends of ingredients that give a scented experience that may, or may not, mirror the smell of the original. One perfumer who has excelled at harnessing, amplifying, and exploding an ingredient is Jessica Buchanan with her latest fragrance called Racine de Vetiver. Forget your preconceptions because you’re in for a real treat.

The most famous example of a vetiver fragrance has to be the one created by Jean-Paul Guerlain in 1959. Originally a cologne, the Eau de Toilette that the world fell in love with didn’t actually arrive until 1988. The following for this fragrance was so great that it is solely responsible for the misconception that the vetiver ingredient is citrusy rather than earthy. Such was Jean-Paul’s masterful blending that it would take almost twenty years to even dent the public’s perception of what it actually smelled like, and many companies stuck to the Guerlain style, but Jessica Buchanan was up for a challenge.

Jessica originally trained as a clinical aromatherapist in her native Canada but very quickly realised that she wanted to move beyond the realm of wellness and into the more complex world of fragrance. This saw her relocate to France and she trained at the Grasse Institute of Perfumery. Internships at Robertet and Mane followed before she finally opened her own company in the centre of Grasse called 1000 Flowers. Her original range of four scents was joined by the Blue Collection in 2016, which was inspired by wild and cultivated Mediterranean plants, but there was a new series on the horizon.

1000 Flowers
had released a limited edition cologne called Fleur de Lavande, which proved very popular. So, the decision was taken to extend the range and, this time, focus on vetiver. Whilst the lavender fragrance had been a single essential oil in organic alcohol, Racine de Vetiver was going to be composed in the same way as a perfume but still released in cologne strength. The fragrance celebrates the various facets of the vetiver root and, even though it’s a cologne, has the perfect longevity for summertime spritzing. A ray of hope just when we need it, let me introduce you to Racine de Vetiver.

The fragrance opens with a rush of the earthy star ingredient before the various facets literally explode outwards. On the one hand there is the traditional citrus blend of grapefruit and mandarin but, by contrast, there’s a cedarwood dryness that is wonderfully crisp and elegant. Jessica has also included a touch of rosewater within the fragrance, in a similar way to her Blue Collection, and this gives you that delicate floral hint. The development of the scent reveals an amber accord reminiscent of patchouli and labdanum, which gives a touch of smoky warmth, before a final note of distant lavender completes the perfect vetiver cologne.

Racine de Vetiver is available from the 1000 Flowers website at or in person from the Grasse boutique priced at €30 for 50ml. [Sample provided by Jessica Buchanan]


  1. Good morning Stephan. Well, you have done it again, and made me crave yet another perfume. I always love the background information that you provide too, I guess that's what puts you streets ahead of a lot of perfume reviewers,

    I think I once mentioned to you previously, that vetiver is a strange component on my skin. Sometimes, it smells absolutely amazing, and I can't get enough of it. Other times, it turns into swamp grass, and I can't abide it. It all depends on the skills of the perfumer.

    1. Hello Barry, Thank you for your kind comments. I think that it's definitely worth trying this one. Best, Stephan