Vetiver oil is so important to botanical perfume making and aromatherapy and it deserves its rightful place in the apothecary. In many countries it is a commonly grown grass yet when I went to several garden centers in my city to buy the plant so I could include it in the essential oil photo shoot but I could not find it here. Vetiver is from the grass family and is one of the best remedies for soil erosion. I had planned to grow it in our apothecary and use the roots to make a tonic drink.
Vetiver, being a grass, is a little bit of a world traveler. It grows works over and is known by several names: Khus-Khus (Europe and India), Faek (Thailand), Kusu kusu (Malaysia), Vetiver (France)Larasetu (Java), Akar wangi (Indonesia) and of course Vetiver (Haiti). If ever there was an importance on terroir to which can affect an oil crop’s phenotype, Vetiver oil would be that embodiment. The oil is dependent on soil, quality of distillation and time of harvesting. I’ve worked with Javanese, Indonesia, Indian and Haitian oils. Haitian Vetiver is hands down our favorite for both scent, aromatherapeutic use and in light of all the struggles Haiti has faced, offers a means to economic growth. The oil from the region is dark amber, smoky and earthy. It’s important to note that the sweet wood profile comes from root and not tree. The scent does not confront the nose as typical base oil might, quite the opposite in fact. There is something so comforting about good Vetiver that it feels completely restorative to the endocrine system. I use both Vetiver and Patchouli regularly and no matter what other blend I might chose to wear on a given day, my arm is redolent of Vetiver. I’m a fan of aging certain oils, Patchouli being one, but I learned a curious thing about aging Vetiver: when starting with the best Vetiver, other than thickening a little, age doesn’t improve what is already a superb essential oil. We have 2007, 2016 and 2019 aged Vetiver oil. I detect little difference because we’ve started out with a very good distillation to begin with. As we do.
Suggested uses: Blends with Angelica Root, Myrrh, Cedarwood, and fraternal twin, Patchouli. Scotch Pine and Geranium are also recommended additions to a blend.