The Vetiver Allure

By Gabrielle Delgado

  Walking through a forest amid the autumn season, it is quiet enough to hear the branches of the Cypress and Evergreen trees grazing one another, dancing in a kind of rhythmic trance. Pine and Cedar envelop the senses. The sun is at its evening peak, the sky burning gold as a chill begins to set in. Stepping farther into the woods, a bonfire crackles wild and bright, the tendrils of smoke swirling like incense into the fading light. Find out more here in The Vetiver Allure.

The bountiful and wafting aroma is the perfect autumnal moment, paired well with a chunky sweater and sturdy boots to keep warm through the brisk air of the season.

This is how it feels to wear not just seasonally-warming clothes but the best autumnal scent, which is none other than Chanel’s Les Exclusifs Sycomore. It is as unified to autumn’s mercurial song as one can get; woody, seductive, and “nearly frenetic”… this fragrance leaves a trail of earthly promise in its wake.

Significant for its strong notes of Vetiver, this fragrance is for a deep soul, but not for the faint of heart. Originally from India, Vetiver essential oil was an ingredient of ancient perfumes, known as both the ‘oil of tranquility and ‘the fragrance of the soil’.

Although it is often seen as a particularly masculine quality of scent when mixed with softer notes, a fluid experience comes alive within such a perfume; Sycomore does just this by blending Vanilla and Cedar within the scent.

The West Indies are best known for their Vetiver, especially Haiti. This grassy scent has been used for medicinal and healing benefits since ancient times. Because of Vetiver’s synthetic elasticity, it works soundly as a base for fragrances.

Vetiver adds a damp, smoky breath to this perfume. This smell derives not from wood, as one might assume, but a Khus grass (Vetiver) that grows wildly in the depths of riverbanks and marshy crevices in places often drenched in rainfall.

One of nature’s best coolants, this aromatic grass has been used for many purposes for thousands of years. To draw out the signature smell, the plant’s oil is extracted through steam distillation to birth Vetiver, which has become the perfectly spicy foundation for Sycamore.


This exclusive creation was composed by CHANEL In-House Jacques Polge. His son Olivier Podge, now head of perfume at CHANEL collaborated with Maisons D’Art, the designer of the coffret set that encases Sycamore.

The perfume is presented in a Baccarat crystal bottle and sealed with a fine baudruche to preserve its scent. Maison Lesage artisans (Chanel Embroiderer) have embroidered the container.

This Woody Chypre fragrance perfume is signified by its notes of Vetiver, Cedar, and Vanilla and is further embraced with subtle additions of softest Iris and accents of Leather. Sycamore is an incarnate of its history, not only in the familial connections of its composers but the story its ingredients tell the roots of such a scent that are planted around the world.

So if you are looking to connect back to all that is woody, earthy, and green, to feel the graces of nature blend with your own personal air, look no further than Sycamore.

It is fascinating to take a whiff of a scent that harbors such dynamic, worldly history; each inhale connects us to the grounding roots of Vetiver’s origin, then uplifts with its modern touches of Vanilla and Cedar.

Its scent will whisk you back into the forest, igniting the inherent connection to Mother Earth. Light rays fall onto sweet soil, a breeze pulls wisps of hair back, and you will be enchanted all over again by Vetiver’s tempting touch as it whistles between the trees.

Sycamore’s smooth, powerful fragrance recalls our alignment with the earth from which we are born. This scent is a mnemonic tale of our integral union with the soil below us and the endless blues above.

Sycomore by Chanel is available here.

If you enjoyed this then check out Scenting Through History.

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