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Vétiver Overdrive : Behind the scenes X Amélie Bourgeois

Vétiver Overdrive wasn’t Amélie Bourgeois’s first creation for L’Orchestre Parfum. She had already designed Cuir Kora, Thé Darbouka and Encens Asakusa in 2018 for the launch of the brand.

A prolific dialogue.

Vétiver Overdrive is therefore their fourth collaboration. A fluid and stimulating exchange, “because Pierre has a great culture of perfume and music,” explains Amélie. “He’s a true artistic director: he knows where he’s going, he guides you every step of the way, his briefs are technical and precise. When we craft a perfume together, we experiment a lot, the understanding is rich and complementary,” she continues.

Thirty-five tries were necessary to create Vétiver Overdrive. “The first one was love at first sight, which we refined a lot. Always with this quest for vibration in mind. We then rounded things out and made some adjustments to achieve the right balance.”

Vetiver, common thread of the fragrance.

At the origin of this perfume, Pierre Guguen's desire to work with vetiver. “Pierre always has a guiding idea, around a raw material that he associates with a style of music” explains Amélie. “Here, it was a tribute to the cradle of delta blues.” A road trip by car in the Bayou, lulled by the air of the fields, the water filtering through the window and the sound of the blues broadcast on the radio.

Vetiver was obvious, because it is the root that is used in perfumery. This root which echoes that of the blues: Worksongs, a cultural heritage of slavery, whose sounds imbued with sadness, are found in the blues. This famous blue note that Amélie transcribed using ambroxan. “For me, the blue note is a rising, radiating sound effect. To chisel out this dazzling facet which illuminates a score – here olfactory – I played ambroxan. Its vertical nuances bring tension, a vibrant, electric dimension to the perfume.”

Put the Bayou in a bottle.

Vétiver Overdrive is based on a citrus/vetiver texture that Amélie has twisted with amber woods to modernize it. She also dressed it with lavender, geranium and dihydromyrcenol - a molecule with a clean and aromatic effect. “Pierre wanted to bring a fougère facet to the perfume. This barberish, virile side, evocative of the powerful nature of the Mississippi Delta. We therefore brought the woody accord towards a contemporary fougère”.

To complete the picture, Amélie slipped a few salty, iodized touches into the formula. As if to depict the aqueous smells that rocked Pierre's road trip. A way of sketching the image of this exuberant nature, aquatic and wild, greedy in water, charged with this stifling ozonic heat specific to the Bayou. A wet earth effect highlighted by vetiver. With its earthy notes, it suggests toil, the laborious work of the land where the blues was born. Without forgetting the depth of vetiver, which suits that of the blues so well.

Written by Sophie Normand for L'Orchestre Parfum.

Paris - May 2024.

Smell and listen to Vétiver Overdrive