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Red Vetyver is the newest fragrance launched this year by Montale. A spicy woody fragrance combining the notes of vetiver from Haiti, Moroccan cedarwood, patchouli, grapefruit, elemi, black pepper from Madagascar.
Red Vetyver opens with “wet” Vetiver notes reminding me of a fresh cut root or asparagus. Balsamic freshness of black pepper and bitter sweetness (Grapefruit-like) are joining shortly. The heart notes are spicy, wet and warm. I definitely smell a kind of anise note reminding me of “pickles” or star anise bringing some wetness to this perfume contrasting with the warmth of spices. The base consists of woody notes forming a precious wood accord and non-vanilla sweetness probably coming from resins.
The whole impression of this perfume is an image of sunset somewhere far in the jungle wood after the rain where the air is warm and humid and saturated with strange spicy smells. The orange light of the sunset falls on the red brown hairy tree trunks making them look like they glow from inside. It’s a Fire element born from the Earth and won from Water. Not a devastating recklessness of a conflagration. But a wise power of a ritual fire.
Red Vetyver bears resemblance with Terre d’Hermes, but has more character and power. According to other reviews this fragrance has similar notes with Red Aoud. I do like the spicy and fiery character of Red Vetyver as much as its base of the precious wood and non-vanilla sweetness. But the wet “anise” note is difficult to become used to. Personally I would not classify this fragrance as Vetiver, because its Vetiver note is less obvious than in Vetiver by Guerlain, Encre Noire and even Sycomore. It makes an accord with other woods and species and is not a leading note.