Grey Vetiver (Tom Ford)

Tom Ford for Men: Nice, but I'd rather gift it, not own it myself. Violet Blonde: Also nice, but way too feminine for me. Black Orchid: I'll let you know what I think later, but let me just say it's a weird one, and that's an understatement. White Patchouli: Excellent stuff, and I see a bottle in my future.

Then there's Grey Vetiver, Ford's token masculine vetiver fragrance. Prior to wearing it, my expectations were as stark as the scent profile itself - this was going to be well made, but humorless, soulless juice. The sort of stuff unimaginative bankers wear while injecting loan interest rates with Botox. I'd like it for two or three minutes, and then dislike it for the rest of the day. Who needs a fragrance with "grey" in its name?

Whelp, lemme see here . . . yeeaaah. I was wrong.

While no vetiver scent will ever really excite me, Tom Ford's Grey Vetiver comes pretty darn close. The scent opens with an extremely dry and sugar-free lemon, bergamot, and grapefruit mixture, which grows even drier and starker as the seconds pass. Eventually a papery wood note, fueled stridently by black pepper, kicks through the bony fog of the top and presents the star note in its unadulterated glory. The vetiver is clear, beautifully rendered, and very clean.

As it dries further, Grey Vetiver grows soapier, and eschews the tobacco elements of classics like Guerlain's Vetiver in favor of a purer presentation. Its name fits it well; Grey Vetiver evokes images of cold grass on a misty embankment in the colorless hours of early morning. Well done, André Firmenich, and well done, Mr. Ford. This is the vetiver scent I'll turn to in the future, especially when I'm looking to impress. It's also the vetiver more guys in their 30s should turn to, lest they forget that sometimes it pays to smell like a blue morning, wrapped in the greyest strands of fist and bone.

Lyrics conceived of and hand written by Adam Duritz.