Red Vetyver by Montale

Year: 2008

Notes: grapefruit, elemi, Madagascan black pepper, Haitian vetiver, patchouli, Atlas cedar
It has been repeatedly cited that Red Vetyver is very much a blatant copy of Hermès' Terre d'Hermes. In some respects, this could be considered true but there are, however, some significant differences between the two – mainly with regards to the type of citrus employed and the degree of synthetic blending involved.

Terre d'Hermes contains orange and is laden with a synthetic mineral note (courtesy of the aroma chemical Iso E Super). With Red Vetyver, it employs grapefruit instead, replaces the mineral aspect with a spicy undertone, and smells richer and more natural. Personally, one sees Red Vetyver more as an actual hybrid of two Hermès creations: Terre d'Hermes and the gourmand sweetness of Hermèssence Vétiver Tonka.

Red Vetyver features a tart and long-lasting grapefruit accord, as well as a very discreet cedar base. The overall composition is both creamy and warm, suggesting that either some vanilla or tonka bean could have possibly been added by sleight of hand. However, while all the listed (and unlisted) notes are discernible, the vetiver isn't as prominent as expected and remains subdued throughout its linear development.

As for sillage, it's quite adequate for the first hour or so but it quickly dies down and softly radiates close to the skin. As for longevity, it's rather disappointing by Montale's standards and can hardly be detected after three or four hours. Coupled with the lack of vetiver, the end result feels somewhat lacking. It's certainly more satisfying than Terre d'Hermes but, for all its richness, it still leaves one wanting more.

Although it's superior to Terre d'Hermes, and considerably cheaper than Hermèssence Vetiver Tonka, its flaws still deem it as far from perfect.