Sunday, February 10, 2013

Review - Berdoues 1902 Eau de Cologne Premium Collection "Vetiver Herbacea"

As I mentioned the other week I had a little splurge recently and bought some new fragrances for the new year. Three of them were blind buys, and a couple of the choices I made were based on the fact that they sounded like ideal summer scents. And summer it has been! Sydney has been sweltering with record temperatures this summer, and so something light and fresh seems very much what's required.

I've become quite a big fan of Vetiver, with its complex herbal aroma that has a jute or hessian note. So when I spotted  Berdoues 1902 Eau de Cologne Premium Collection "Vetiver Herbacea" online I decided to give it a try and see if it might fit the bill for a summer scent. Berdoues is an old house, founded in 1902 in Toulouse when Guillaume Berdoues created his perfumery. Since then four generations of perfumers have continued the brand.

Berdoues 1902 Eau de Cologne Premium Collection "Vetiver Herbacea"

5 Minutes
Vetiver Herbacea opens with a pleasant fresh, surprisingly aldehydic floral and powdery musk beginning, with a lightly citrus and herbal feel. If you are looking for the earthy green jute and hessian notes of natural vetiver you will be disappointed. No rasp here. This is a posh drawing room and fine china notion of vetiver.

And I say "notion of vetiver" because, surprisingly, I don't think it actually contains any. Um, nope. This is despite the fact that it says "Refreshing and Revitalising Essential Oils" all over the box front, and then bangs on about the virtues of Vetiver essential oil in combination with Mandarine (sic) essential oil.

When I was unwrapping the box I noticed that there was a comprehensive list of ingredients, and amongst the Benzophenone-1 and 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde I could not find vetiver, or mandarin. Citral (from lemongrass), yes, Oakmoss extract, sure, and a whole lot of aroma chemicals, definitely. I have no problem with aroma molecules and non-natural perfume ingredients, but c'mon guys, let's not pretend it's choc full of the virtues of natural vetiver.

30 Minutes
30 minutes in and the initial aldehydic floral and powdery notes have eased off and let the herbal, clean musk and light woodsy notes take a bit more of a starring role. This is definitely an Eau de Cologne in terms of longevity and sillage, and after a half hour it is a very pleasant, light skin scent. Wear this to the office in warm weather and nobody will be rummaging in their drawers for their gas mask. Elevator friendly. (And as a bonus everyone will think you smell perfectly summery and fresh.)

2 Hours
After 2 hours this has become a barely there skin scent, with a light herbal and laundry musk feel. The nature of the fragrance hasn't changed a great deal since the head notes exited the scene, just lighter. If anyone gets close enough to be up close and personal with you, clean and fresh would be their verdict. Nice. Well mannered. Perhaps a little dull, if like me you had something a little more well Vetiver-y in mind.