Heeley’s latest launch, Vetiver Veritas, is the first in a collection of entirely botanical fragrances. I am not normally a proponent of natural fragrances – I tend to find them unremarkable and flat, but the fact that Heeley has decided to move in this direction following his wonderful Extraits had me very intrigued.

Vetiver Veritas

James Heeley’s fragrance collection consists of well considered and expertly constructed and designed fragrances. Iris de Nuit, for example, examines every facet of Iris as a raw material and stretches them in every direction. Cardinal smells exactly like a Church filled with light and starched clean robes. Esprit du Tigre translates Tiger Balm into a wearable medium.

Vetiver Veritas opens entirely smoky and dark, celebrating all of the earthen, rooty and dirty aspects of vetiver: somewhat like the shells of monkey nuts. Grapefruit shares part of its odour profile with vetiver and as such tempers the smoky focus of the fragrance with a reflective quality, adding brightness and translucency. A faint peppermint note plays in the background, amping up the slightly grassy and green facet of vetiver.

What’s surprising is that smokiness would normally lurk underneath all of the brightness and green notes, but in this instance James has crafted some bizarre trick – turning the fragrance more translucent and bright over time. And the translucency is even more surprising given that the fragrance is all natural.

Comparative fragrances: Vetiver by Lorenzo Villoresi, Route du Vetiver by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier, Timbuktu by L’Artisan Parfumeur, Wonderoud by Comme des Garcons, Encre Noire by Lalique, Fat Electrician by Etat Libre d’Orange.

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