Reclaiming a Lost Scent: Guerlain Vetiver

So this week has been all about Jury Duty. Not that I’ve had to serve (yet) but I have been having to check in every night this week after 7 to see if I have to. So far I have not had to report but I do have one more day to check in to find out whether I have to before I am released. Clever folks that they are, the check-ins are monitored so if I miss one I have to do the whole process again. My job requires my actual presence most of the time and does not stop for things like Jury duty, so fingers crossed I will not be called up for Friday.

In any case, did you have a scent that you hesitated to wear because it’s so intrinsically tied to your memory of someone else? Perhaps not if you are like me and are a scent whore, who has bottles and samples all over the place. But one scent that I really love but never wear is Guerlain Vetiver.

Not that it is in any way a bad scent- it’s likely in the running as best vetiver ever. But a friend of mine wears it and wears it exclusively. Year in, year out, every day it’s Guerlain Vetiver, with no deviation even in brand. When we worked at the same place wearing it would seem like borrowing her shoes or something. Even up to now, after she had moved out of town and even out of the country, it still seemed intrinsically hers.

But the thing is that a couple of years ago when I was in a downtown discounter I found a tester bottle for sale for some ridiculously low price and bought it. This past Sunday when looking for something else I ran across it. It was another hot, humid day in LA and I gave myself a healthy spritz. Yes, I immediately thought of my friend, but I also reminded myself what a great, classic scent this is. It has a gorgeous citrus opening before the vetiver hits and moves into the faint tobacco and tonka. It’s a quiet, soft scent that must have been the bee’s knees when it was introduced in the early 60’s, Even reformulated (which I am sure it is) it’s a scent that sort of whispers “class” in that starched-white-shirt kind of way.

Of course it works on a woman as well as it does on a man: the vetiver is just sharp enough to be the olfactory equivalent of Katharine Hepburn’s cheekbones. which is why I think my friend was so devoted to it. After a solid week of wearing it I think I have reclaimed it for myself.

Guerlain Vetiver is available on the internets at various sources for shockingly low prices; I purchased mine at a store on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles (I believe) and I think I spent $25 for a large bottle. Image is of my bottle taken in my messy bathroom.

(EDIT) I just checked online and I have completed my Jury duty service without having to report. YAY!!!

So do you have a scent that you don’t wear because it seems to be too tied to someone else? Please share in the comments

  • Meg O says:

    My mom was a huge perfume person in my youth (sadly, not much of one now), and would go out to entertain customers with my dad in clouds of Emeraude or Sand & Sable. Sadly, neither perfume is what they used to be in the 80s, so unless I track down and purchase vintage, I’m not as risk of treading on my memories. I tried buying Emeraude once in the 2000s, before knowing about reformulation and…that bottle just sat there.

    One thing I’ve always been interested in trying, but that’s too much someone else is probably Old Spice. My dad wore it for years, every day, for work. I’ve already inherited his personality, brain, hair, and facial features, so I’m just worried we’d be identical if I took on his scent, too. ūüôā

  • HeidiC says:

    Oooh, love Guerlain Vetiver, though I prefer FM’s Vetiver Extraordinaire. Patou’s Joy reminds me of my aunt, who was not a very nice person. Fortunately, it’s not a scent I run across often.

  • maggiecat says:

    EL’s Pleasures is a lovely scent, but my sister and a friend wear it, and I just can’t!

  • I love vintage Emeraud- there is no other smell exactly like it. It was my grandmother’s signature scent- the only one she ever wore. So I wear it maybe once a year, in memory of her.

  • DinaC says:

    I love Guerlain Vetiver and gifted a large bottle, same as yours, to my husband. He wears it in our hot, humid Virginia summers. I wouldn’t mind wearing it myself. I love No. 19 which also has vetiver.

    I know what you mean about a scent being tied so specifically to one particular friend. For me, it would be the original Oscar de la Renta scent, gorgeous tuberose/gardenia scent from the late seventies. I know two senior ladies of my acquaintance who claim it as their signature scent. In my mind it is Rita’s and Ann’s scent. (They don’t know one another.)

    I’m glad you got out of serving jury duty. I had to serve on a two-day trial in my county once, many years ago. It was an interesting case. Fortunately, all of us jurors were unanimously in agreement about what the true story was, so we didn’t have to deliberate for very long. (It was a disagreement over a business contract, and a man who was trying to cheat a woman real estate broker out of her commission.)