Grey Vetiver Via Tom Ford

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These are grey days. They call for grey tweed and flannel, wool and down-lined coats. The sky blends its dull shades into the mournful hues of the earth, and all of it bleeds together in one dismal monochromatic pile of wretchedness. Into this lackluster landscape, an interjection of something slightly sharp is needed, a jolt to wake up the senses, an inhalation to prime the points of inspiration. I thought I’d find it in Black Saffron by Byredo, but that burns almost too hotly and too sweetly for this time of the year. Better to save that for a winter party, where a smoldering bit of pungent fruitiness is more suited to accent an outfit of red. For the average office day of suits and wingtips, I turn to Tom Ford and his ‘Grey Vetiver’ masterpiece.

Like his recent ‘Patchouli Absolu’ Private Blend, Ford takes a classic (read: overdone) and imprints his pristine style and trademark elegance on it. In this instance, the age-old tried and true of elders – vetiver – gets a fresh make-over that refines it for the modern man. (While many of Ford fragrances are deliciously unisex, this one is on the traditionally-masculine side, so entrenched is vetiver in the history of grandfatherly cologne.)

The latter is the reason for my hesitance in coming around to ‘Grey Vetiver’ – it always reminded of older gentlemen and their safe but uneventful olfactory adornments. Ford invests his version with a few updated accents. The sharpness comes in the form of citrus – tart and fresh and bright, like the sliver of sunlight caught in an icicle. Beneath this quick note is the heart of the matter – a creamy vetiver – and it carries for a few hefty hours with vetiver’s traditional potency.  A few woody notes lend a wisp of warmth to the cooly elegant proceedings, rounding out the journey wondrously. More pin stripes than herringbone, more cashmere than cotton, ‘Grey Vetiver’ is a modern-day classic, and no one does that better than Tom Ford.

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