Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tom Ford Grey Vetiver: fragrance review

~by Mike Perez

Has it really been 18 months since the last Tom Ford masculine scent (Tom Ford Extreme) was released? In the rapid-fire release schedule for fragrances, it seems like Mr. Ford took his time releasing a new masculine (unlike the 4 unisex Private Blends he launched in less than a year and his new feminine, White Patchouli).

Our patience has been rewarded: his newest masculine, Grey Vetiver, is slated for a fall 2009 release and Perfume Shrine was able to obtain an exclusive pre-release sample.

It is easy to love the fougère-oriented top notes – reminiscent of violet leaf, angelica and something slightly watery and pungent. Imagine holding your breath in an outdoor pool, under the surface, and then once reaching the surface to fill your lungs the air smells of grasses, plants and leaves…mixing with the scent of dripping water. Not an aquatic fragrance (thank goodness, the men’s fragrance counter has more than its share of this kind of scent), yet the smell of wet and thriving plant life clearly define the beginning notes of Grey Vetiver.

The vetiver note seems as if it has been genetically spliced – all of the dirty and soiled bits have been removed leaving a shiny, metallic and distinct vetiver accord that increasingly gets richer, smoother and softer as it dries on skin. Grey Vetiver belongs to the clean vetiver family, of which Encre Noire by Lalique and Series 3: Cologne Vettiveru by Comme des Garcons belong – yet it also leans a bit towards the theme that Frédéric Malle and Dominique Ropion strove for in Vetiver Extraordinaire (loads of vetiver, crisp, no sweetness). Ever so often, I got a whiff of acidic lemon.
My first thought, after I enjoyed wearing this scent was: do I need another new vetiver scent? The answer is, no! Yet, there’s something entirely unique about this one.

It’s barbershop-oriented top notes will make it easy for men to love this on first sniff (my hunch is, this will be a big hit for Tom Ford Beauty), but the modern salty vetiver and spiced woods should appeal to those who like to mix it up a bit (think KenzoAir, minus the anise-headspace radiance). Even though Ford is releasing this as a masculine fragrance, it has a delightful fresh-as-a-summer-breeze manner which defies being categorized as only for men.

The only official notes we were able to get from Tom Ford Beauty are: vetiver blended w/ sun drenched citrus, refined spices and rich woods. The 1.7 oz bottle (a frosted glass version of the iconic TF men’s fluted bottle) will be $85.00 and is set to be released September 2009.

Tom Ford will be in person, at Selfridges (Oxford Street) UK department store on Wednesday, June 10th 2009 from 5:30pm to 6:30pm to sign bottles from his Private Blend collection and to introduce the newest in the line up, Bois Marocain. {click for review}

Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Tom Ford scents, Vetiver Series

Pic of a bunch of vetiver roots that are reinforcing a wall in Australia, from Vetiver World Wide. Pic of Tom Ford found by Mike Perez


  1. Is it really going to be a Private Blend if it's only $85.00 a bottle?

  2. It's a mainstream release, it seems. Therefore the $85.00 a bottle price point seems consistent. Mike pointed it out to me.

  3. But the Private Blends aren't mainstream releases??

  4. Misunderstanding on my part....this one is not a Private Blend.(just so as to be accurate for anyone reading this)

  5. Mike Perez17:20

    Thanks the change in the title Helg - NOT a Private Blend...but still worth slinking over to the mens counter for a sniff Kristy! :)

  6. anything with vetiver pricks my interest and Mr Ford does do most of what he does with panache. I rather loved the Tom Ford for men extreme, I guess it wasn't ground breaking but it smelt just perfectly of what I imagine men in nicely cut suits to smell of- or would hope they smell of.

    I am going to try and go to Selfridges later although the tube strike may mean I miss Mr Ford- but there are lots of new things to sniff even if I don't get to meet him.

  7. I was thinking about going, too - but yeah, tube strike. Selfridges is quite a walk from my office, even though it's only four stops away on the Jubilee line! Pity, it would have been nice to ogle Mr Ford, even if I can't afford his perfumes...

  8. Mike Perez17:38

    If anyone does go to see him, ask him what scent he's wearing!


  9. I didn't leave work until 6.15pm so I was never going to make a date with Tom. If anyone went I want to know what he was wearing too!

  10. K,

    I was just going to say I am curious to what would be said and presented too, but I see you didn't make it.....sorry about that.

  11. T,

    I think some of his mainstream line is reasonably prices. Those PB ones, well, that's what splits were created for! ;-)

  12. M,

    would you think he'd admit to anything else than his latest??
    (he's a marketeer after all...)

  13. It sounds really delicios. I wait to see if this vetiver will "seduce" my love for this kind of notes. Does it share some notes with Sycomore? Or is it another type of airy vetiver?

  14. Dear Octavian,

    I hope Mike sees this and replies directly.
    I can only say that Sycomore has set a golden standard for me for a very wearable and elegant vetiver, it's a thing of beauty.

  15. Mike Perez22:37

    Octavian -

    Grey Vetiver's vetiver note is much more stripped down than the one in Sycomore. Airy? Yes. But in a watery/citrus way.

    In addition, GV is not smoky at all - and overall it is 'simpler' than the complex and sumptuous Sycomore. Which can be a good thing or a bad - depending on your tastes, gender or mood.

    Thanks for stopping by Octavian - I read and enjoy your blog regularly.


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