There is something savage, fierce, and raw about Vent Vert, recalling the first lines of T.S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land: "April is the cruellest month, breeding/Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing/Memory and desire, stirring/Dull roots with spring rain." Hope, desire, rebirth, renewal — these are primal feelings and the perfume respects that with its scent of freshly picked flowers with bent stems and crushed herbs mixed in for spiciness.
Its rawness is, in fact, due to its clever rather than simple composition: According to Luca Turin, perfumaniac extraordinaire and co-author of Perfumes: The Guide, the original formula was analyzed and found to have 1100 components (compared to the 1991 reformulation, which only has 31). Vent Vert's clarity and upfrontness gives you the illusion that it merely a collection of essences from natural materials rather than a carefully constructed work of art.
Others have written beautifully about this masterpiece:
"It started with a sensationally bitter green-galbanum accord, which lasted long enough for the set piece behind it to be moved into place ready for smelling. As the green faded, the most beautiful, golden rose-jasmine accord took over and lasted for days, fading to a fresh powdery drydown that no modern perfume can even dream of." Luca Turin, Perfumes: The Guide
"From top to bottom, Vent Vert is green. Yet, it is anything but linear...Citrus and the snapped pea tinge of galbanum lace themselves in and out of a bouquet of spring flowers. The marigold oil and galbanum remind us that the roses and jasmine come from a garden rather than a florist’s shop. The artifice of this “nature” is triumphant, since lily of the valley is usually a perfumer’s trick rather than a natural essence. Yet, lily of the valley has such rustic associations; it is the flower gathered in the woods on May First...Here, the marigold and the piquant aspects of the hyacinth and the galbanum complement the basil and the bergamot in the opening. These more prominent notes do not prevent the sunlight of the jasmine, ylang ylang and rose from shining through, which warms the composition. Its base is strong but invisible...I do not know, but I imagine that the iris in the base is the iris root, which supports the perfume much as a root does, by extending itself subrosa in the soil beneath the flower...Legerdenez's blog
Top notes: Galbanum, citrus oils, gardenia,leafy green, peach
Heart notes: Rose, lily of the valley, hyacinth, orris, jasmine
Basenotes: oakmoss, vetiver, styrax, musk