Vetiver (1961) by Guerlain

“When all of the flower ladies want back what they have lent you
And the smell of their roses does not remain…
Won’t you come see me, Queen Jane?”

–Bob Dylan, “Queen Jane Approximately

I don’t care, take the flowers back. I’m not in flowery mood anyway. I am wearing Guerlain’s Vetiver today. No flowers here.

When I first heard it was a man’s perfume, I was slightly shocked, until I thought of a huntsman (or huntswoman, like in those period-piece French films) riding through the forest after a rain shower, the rich and warm smell of the earth and a moment’s pause by a stream for tobacco, the smoke curling through the mist. It smells like the freedom of luxury, and its sudden relief.