Monday, February 11, 2019

Which Vetiver?

 A guest blog from our friend Charlie Banks, who has the best gift for describing our oils that I know. 

A Guide to Nature’s Gift Vetiver Oils

I remember the first time I smelled Marge’s Indian & Haitian Vetiver. I was only a couple of years into my aromatherapy journey and had only experienced one other Vetiver oil that to my nose smelled pretty bad. It was like wet camp fire ashes. I now know that one was distilled improperly. Vetiver typically smells woodsy, grassy, resinous, slightly sweet and sometimes slightly smoky if distilled the right way.  I asked for samples of both of them even though I knew from the description I would connect better with the Indian variety. Even though this was true, the Haitian still serves a purpose for me. As do the Ruh Khus and the newly imported Indonesian. When Marge and her team bring in multiples of one species it can be overwhelming. These four may all be Vetiver, but when you experience them beyond the bottle, and let them tell you their story you’ll find the one that connects with your intention perfectly. Get samples of them all. You might be surprised at what speaks to you!

The Vetiver from Haiti is the perfect single note fragrance.
Vetiver Roots
Right out of the bottle it has somewhat of a sweet, astringent, grassy punch. It’s much lighter and sweeter than the other vetiver oils. While experimenting with this one I’ve found that is much better experienced on the skin. Diluted (always take safety and your personal dilution limits into consideration when making a personal perfume!) in fractionated coconut oil it smells like a very dimensional perfume all on its own. As it dries down on the skin it remains light, but deeper woody notes become present. It will also take on different characteristics depending on your own body chemistry. On me it tends to be more woodsy, resinous, and balsamic. Very clean smelling.  On one of my friends it smells much sweeter and almost powdery. As Marge suggests, I prefer not to blend with this one. It uses more in a blend, and its uniqueness of being light and sweet is lost among the other oils in a blend. Emotionally it’s very uplifting, and not too sedating to use during the day. I find it brings balance and peace.

Indian Vetiver
The Indian Vetiver is what really made me gain great respect for this oil. Not because of it’s scent (which is amazing of course), but because of its versatility. This is the Vetiver you want to blend with. Deep, rich, woodsy, and resinous. A little bit goes a long way, and it ages beautifully. Over time it acquires a sweeter powdery dry down while still rich and earthy.  My favorite way to use it is with citrus oils, florals, conifers, and really any fleeting top notes. It keeps them around longer in blends and compliments them well. Alone it’s a wonderful vetiver, but I find it’s much more useful as a base note for blends. It won’t dominate a blend if used in small amounts. Most of the time I only need one drop maybe two if I’m blending with other strong oils. It also cuts the edge on some of the harder more intense smelling oils such as Eucalyptus globulus. For a real treat blend it with other oils that come from the same region. Kashmir Lavender, Tamil Sandalwood (Santalum album), Frankincense (Boswellia serrata), Indian Patchouli (Pogostemon patchouli),  Golden Champa(Michelia champaca), Rhododendron anthopogon, and Palma Rosa(Cymbopogon martini) are some of my favorites. The energy that develops and comes with working with oils from the same region of the world can really add something beautiful to your blend.

Ruh Khus, green vetiver, or wild vetiver as it is known is a
Green Ruh Khus
special one for sure. Grassy, green, woodsy, and slightly sweet! Not as light as the Haitian, but not as deep as the Indian. It blends well with most things without dominating and is wonderful on its own as well. As it dries down it becomes more green and herbaceous with hints of wood and rose.  This vetiver really shines emotionally out of all of them. Its polite intensity is just enough and not too much to really relax and calm my over active, worry wart brain. If I’m in the mood to meditate with vetiver alone this is my go-to. Energetically, it speaks to me just a bit more than the Indian or the Haitian.  When meditating with any vetiver it tends to balance all my chakras, and with the help of a smoky quartz crystal it pulls wisdom and guidance down to my root chakra from my crown. The beautiful green color and energy of Ruh Khus put a unique focus on my heart chakra. I found it really helpful when meditating on forgiveness (self and others) alone or blended with things like Frankincense, rose, bergamot, geranium, or spikenard.

The new Indonesian Vetiver has topped the Indian as my personal favorite. The deepest, richest, and most luxurious of them all. It almost smells more like Patchouli than vetiver. The
Indonesian Vetiver
light green notes do not exist in this one. Deep woods, earth, minerals, and sweet smoky resin are words that come to mind when I smell this. Until smelling this one I’ve never understood people experiencing vetiver as an aphrodisiac. This vetiver is seductive, mysterious, tranquil, and nourishing to the soul. It makes me happy just to be around it. This is the vetiver I’ll pull when I want to relax in a warm bath after a long stressful day. This one is proving to be the most anti-inflammatory out of the bunch for me.  It’s more than enjoyable on its own, and great blended with other oils. It makes an incredible base for the more intense florals such as Jasmine, rose or YlangYlang. This one is for a true vetiver fan. It’s unmistakeable and won’t be hidden in blends.

With all of that being said, any of these vetiver oils would be a great choice to receive the many benefits vetiver has to offer, but each one has is own unique specialty and scent profile. Get samples of them before you choose. Experience them. Get them on your skin (safely diluted of course) and see which one feels and smells right for YOU. I really fell in love with vetiver a couple years ago after moving out of state for a new job. I had asked Marge what she would suggest for helping through this new beginning. She and Christi suggested vetiver, among other things, and ever since it has been a staple in my life for many different reasons. It grounds me, lightens my heart, and helps me release negativity and what no longer serves a purpose in my life. If you’ve had limited and possibly bad experiences with vetiver or you’re someone who feels they just don’t like it, I urge you to give it one more chance. Order samples of these four. It will surprise you when you least expect it to. 

While writing and editing this article I’ve been diffusing a blend that really captures some of Vetiver’s beauty and power. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do, and will find the Vetiver that speaks to your soul.

1 or 2 Vetiver (depending on personal taste)
1 Lemon
1 Bergamot.

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