What Does Vetiver Smell Like [Woody or Earthy?]

From everything related to candles to perfumes, vetiver is a very common ingredient. However, only a few people know about the vetiver smell, which is not as popular as other fragrances such as leather or vanilla. So are you among those who are curious to know what vetiver smells like

Vetiver’s long history and unique fragrance make it one of the most interesting natural ingredients that are available. Its other name is Chrysopogon zizanioides in Latin or vetyver and is a popular note, especially in male fragrances.


Also known as Khus-Khus, it is a perennial grass of the Poaceae family and contains oil in its roots that is used in perfumes. This plant belongs to tropical Asia and has helped in creating perfumes since ancient times. Vetiver sometimes works as a hedge, which is helpful in dryland restoration to reduce soil erosion. 


Vetiver grass grows up to 1.5 meters in height with thin, flexible, and long leaves. When the plant gets 18-24 months old, the roots get ready to harvest. These roots help in creating the fragrant vetiver essential oil for making soaps, fragrances, and creams. It also contains antibiotic and inflammatory properties which makes it good for topical skin applications. 

As there are no synthetic versions of vetiver, therefore, its roots are pricey for its oil. Its complex oil consists of over 100 known components. Nowadays, beauty industries use over 250 tons of vetiver roots per year. 

The major producers of the vetiver plant are Indonesia, India, and Haiti. However, Reunion is considered to produce the best high-quality vetiver oil, which is sometimes also known as “Bourbon vetiver”. 

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Vetiver fragrance is closely related to fragrant grass such as citronella and lemongrass. It has a complex woody and earthy scent, which has been very popular for its aroma since the ancient period. 


The scent of the vetiver is similar to the sharp fragrance of uncut grass on a warm/summer day. Vetiver smell is known to have a masculine fragrance and is commonly used in colognes, candles, and various other scented products. 

Vetiver is also known as “the fragrance of the soil” or “the oil of Tranquility” because it provides calming effects. This is why aromatherapy makes the use of vetiver to reduce anxiety, boost immunity, and to promote mental clarity. 


Vetiver has been in use for centuries across various parts of Asia including India. Its leaves are precious because of their strength and dexterity. In Indonesia and Java, these leaves help in creating blinds that shelter the traditional homesteads from extreme heat or temperature. You can often sprinkle these leaves in water to get the vetiver fragrance. 

Vetiver is a part of Indian folk magic, in which its roots burn as a part of traditional ceremonies. The smoke that is released from burning the vetiver roots helps in cleansing the body and the mind. It brings financial security as well as safety to the person who inhales its scent. 

There is one ritual that includes inhaling vetiver smoke while visualizing your body being protected and sealed from all the negativity that surrounds you. These traditional ceremonies are popular all across India. Vetiver smell can bring inner calm.



Vetiver oil widely helps in creating different scents and fragrances. It is the world’s most sought-after natural extracts that have various benefits as follows: 

  • Relieving anxiety and boosting confidence: Vetiver smell encourages tranquillity and stillness and helps in reducing nervousness and anxiety. Use it in your home to boost confidence and deal with irritability. 
  • Refreshes the air and removes stale odors: Vetiver acts as a natural deodorizer due to its fresh and grassy fragrance. This helps in masking bad smells and cleanses the air around you.
  • Excellent extract for perfumes: Vetiver has a low evaporation rate and retains the odor well. It is easily soluble in alcohol, which makes it very popular among personal perfumes and reed diffusers. 
  • Promotes healthy sleep cycles: The subtle and sedative effects of the vetiver help in aiding a healthy sleep cycle. You can place a vetiver-scented candle in your bedroom to get rid of your unhealthy sleep routine. 
  • Moisturizing: Applying vetiver oil on your skin, highly moisturizes your skin by treating dry skin conditions. 
  • Vetiver is an aphrodisiac: It is perfect for use in modern perfumery as its attractive fragrance makes it a natural aphrodisiac. 

To sum up

Before making up your mind to purchase Vetiver fragrance, learn what Vetiver smells like. You can also try making your vetiver perfume. You can learn this from one of our articles.

Read More: What Does Sandalwood Smell Like?


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