The Different Company is a bit of a secret amongst perfume buffs. They aren’t as visible when compared with other niche brands but the range should not be overlooked and contains some real perfume gems. The company was created in 2000 by one of my perfume heroes, Jean Claude Ellena and art director Thierry de Baschmakoff. Ellena created the perfumes and Baschmakoff designed the glass that housed them. In 2005 Ellena’s daughter Celine took over the company’s direction after her father signed an exclusivity agreement with Hermes becoming their in house perfumer. Sel De Vetiver (2006) is Celine’s second creation for The Different Company. I first smelt this scent when I was living in the tropics of far north Australia. Living by the beach in a high humidity climate worked so well for this scent. Celine was inspired by the idea of skin which had bathed in the ocean, the salt crystals that form on our bodies as the sun dissolves the salty water. While the composition is quite simple the presence of vetiver (and what a vetiver it is!) gives this perfume many facets to explore. Special mention should be given to the packaging. Often a great perfume is let down by poor cost cutting bottle design. For the range Thierry de Baschmakoff used thick reburned glass and solid metal caps reflecting the brand’s value of quality materials.
Celine used two different extracts of vetiver for this formula. She wanted to exclude the earthy tones normally associated with this grass extract. Instead she created a vetiver that is light and transparent. Ylang ylang gives the fragrance sweetness; iris and geranium create a sophisticated floral background. Cardamom and liveche (parsley) create an herbal theme reminiscent of Detol disinfectant, an aspect I quite like! Celine says the liveche extract assisted her with creating the illusion of salt. Patchouli is used to support the vetiver, which is certainly the main event. Overall it is a linear fragrance. Once the grapefruit topnote has evaporated the fragrance does not evolve much further. I am a big vetiver fan and Sel De Vetiver is certainly one of my favourite examples of this chameleon like ingredient.
Sel De Vetiver is a unisex scent. On a younger wearer I would suggest it as a summer holiday scent. As a colour it is white and beige and suits natural fibers such as cotton and linen. For a mature wearer it suits a finely tailored businessman. Not an extrovert and is better suited to someone that is quietly confident instead of someone who prefers being the center of attention.
Perfumer: Celine Ellena (Charabot)
Bottle designer: Thierry de Baschmakoff
Release date: 2006
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Dry Woods