Vetyver by Jo Malone starts citrus and clean; orange is listed, but it’s so alive, fresh, stinging and full of sourness, to be actually closer to lemon. Also from the start, the citrus is accompanied by green and herbal notes, which stand out not only because they’re also quite strong (it’s the opening, baby), but also for the hyperactivity of the citrus, which pushes them aside. A better blending however (between the citrus and the green), occurs after about one hour, when the fragrance starts to tone down.
While all this activity takes place on the surface, a thin and warm-ish base marks its presence in the background. It’s probably a mix of nutmeg with vetiver, the latter however will come out more towards the dry down. This type of wood is supposed to be lemon-scented, and it’s actually true, as citrus notes can still be felt lingering around, although no longer explosive like at the start. The overall result has a woody warmth in it, but it’s understated, nothing like the cuddly sweetness of other woody trails of other fragrances (I’m thinking of Bvlgari Man for example).
Although Vetyver cologne feels like a two-dimensional fragrance at times, with no particular depth (opening aside), hence running the risk of being a bit boring after a while, gotta love its freshness and transparency. As Chandler Burr said in The Perfect Scent, Jo Malone’s perfumes have the quality of “light,” meant as a noun.