Vetiver oil is obtained by steam distillation of dried roots of vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides).
Vetiver can grow up to 1.5 metres high and wide. The stems are tall and the leaves are long, thin, and rather rigid; the flowers are brownish-purple. Somewhat uniquely, vetiver has deep and well-matted roots which can grow anything up 4 metres in depth.
Originating in India, vetiver is widely cultivated in the tropical regions of the world. The world's major producers include Haiti, India, Java (Indonesia), and Réunion.
Cultivated for the fragrant essential oil distilled from its roots, vetiver is deeply integrated into the western perfumery industry.
Worldwide production is estimated at about 250 tons per annum of which Indonesia contributes between 25 and 30 metric tons.
Vetiver has excellent fixative properties, making it a good woody base in perfumes, in particular men’s fragrances.
Some notable examples include Dior's Eau Sauvage, Guerlain Vetiver, Mr. Vetiver by Une Nuit a Bali, Zizan by Ormonde Jayne and Vetiver by L'Occitane.
The prices of this oil have seen a gradual decline; it is assumed to be attributed to an oversupply of vetiver oil from Java in the past month or so. Farmers and distillers are feeling the brunt of it. Demand continues to remain firm. On the brighter side, it is important to note that Haiti’s increasing strength in vetiver oil has allowed for a balance in the pricing of this product. Otherwise pricing has been on an upward trend for the past few years. Van Aroma is now producing vetiver CO2 extract; a product that is far more exciting given the superior olfactory profile.
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