Dior's Sauvage Is Tanking. Is This Any Reason To Act Like Savages?

Film Still, "Le Sauvage" (1975)

Reviews for this one are not exactly glowing. François Demachy, the nose behind such classics as Ungaro Pour Homme and Fahrenheit Absolute (he is Dior's wingman), has once again struck out. Here's a few snippets from the sounding boards, to give you an impression of just how nonplussed the peanut gallery is with Dior's Sauvage:
"The scent is rather ordinary... Too ordinary to be exact, which is a shame for a brand like Dior." - Scent2Bed

"I was pretty excited at first, but I just don't see myself dropping $100 on something relatively pedestrian like this." - DerangedGoose

"It's an overall shame for Dior. Really really bad fragrance." - Albin

"Forgettable department store clone. Designed to compete for the Bleu de Chanel demographic. Beautiful, chunky bottle, but the juice was too high-octane, corporate-designed masculinity for me. Lacks subtlety. Too straightforwardly, unimaginatively 'modern male consumer.'" - michael j.

"How on earth did Dior approve of this garbage? It wreaks of 'mall scent,' cheap mall scent to be exact." - starassist

"I have no praises to offer. The tropical top accord has been overused, and certainly the synthetic sandalwood has been used to death, especially when compounded with an abundance of aromatics and a hint of salty sea spray. There is no, and I mean absolutely no originality present. The end result is of clean laundered dress shirts with a hint of yesterday's scent - something very spicy and a hint of fruit." - Liam Sardea

"'Sauvage' in French means 'savage' or 'wild.' I don't understand how or why these notions relate with this clean and safe scent." - aliks

I haven't smelled Sauvage, but I'm getting that familiar "it's 2010, Bleu de Chanel-was-just-released" feeling:

"No, Chanel, no! I was waiting for everything, but not for this." - antonpan

"What a complete letdown!" - ravjan

"Hugely mediocre and a simply forgetable perfume." - querelle

"Bland and generic - what's happening to the perfumes from this house?" - calyx93

"I can't believe that something so ordinary came from Chanel, the same house that gave the world such classics as No.5, Cuir de Russie, Sycomore, and for the men Pour Monsieur. A big disappointment. Shame on you Chanel." - michael

Yes, shame on you, Chanel. Shame on you for releasing one of the most successful fragrances of the decade, five years old and still selling like hotcakes, with a new parfum flanker to boot. And now, after all these months of hand wringing and finger wagging, we have Fragranticans and basenoters opining on Bleu's positive qualities, comparing vintages, and creating threads about Bleu's clones. It turns out that Jacques Polge's parting shot was a triumphant success, and is now considered very, very good, if not great. I personally think it's just "good," and I'll leave it at that.

My point though is that people act like every fragrance release needs to knock their fucken socks off. It's as if it never occurs to these reviewers that they might not be the demographic Dior is targeting. With this scent, as with most mainstream mall scents these days, the aim seems to be for teenagers and very young twenty-somethings with part-time jobs, full-time school, and scads of disposable cash to spend on whatever's "cool" in the moment, which Dior is hoping will be Sauvage, for at least six months or so. This shit isn't meant to appeal to perfume enthusiasts. It's not meant to be critically analyzed by people who stockpile vintage bottles of Eau Sauvage and Fahrenheit. Its spokesman is Johnny Depp, for Christ's sakes. This is for the insufferable Saturday night posers who want to appear "edgy" without actually having to assume the inherently awkward mantle of those who genuinely embody that trait. Posers like Depp.

I imagine Sauvage smells very contemporary and synthetic, nothing at all like a refined French perfume, but at least serviceable if nothing else is on hand (hard to imagine that circumstance even existing, but you get my drift). If I were to comment on a board about it, that's pretty much all I'd have to say, having never sniffed the stuff.

But as if all the whining isn't bad enough (none of it conveys what the perfume smells like), we have to get the token "rationalizer," who wishes to break down the folly of Dior's ways with armchair analysis, forming conclusions that make no sense:

"Beep beep, boop boop - I am the robot that created this scent and I am offended by many of the comments here!" - Bigsly

"There certainly may be some 'niche snobs' saying bad things about this scent, but I think that there are a larger percentage of us, me included, who don't see the reason why we should bother with an $80 bottle of this one when we really enjoy our $4 bottle of a Playboy scent, for example, more! If they can't create a scent that is much better than my best Playboy 'cheapo' (assuming it is better), then why should I consider buying it at that much higher price level? Are you going to call me a 'cheapo snob?' Can there be such a thing? LOL." - Bigsly, again.

"As I said before, if I can get a 'nice' $4 bottle (100 ml) of a Playboy scent, for example, why in the world would I pay $80 for the same size bottle of a 'nice' Dior (and why would I 'need' it, since I already have the bottle of the Playboy scent)? I think the best thing to do would be to conduct a totally 'blind' test of Sauvage against a bunch of 'cheapos' that are similar. Only then can someone say that this Dior is worth the extra money (IMO), if that person is seeking compliments from others and if Sauvage does indeed come out head and shoulders above inexpensive ones of this genre." - Bigsly, a third time.

Why drag good old Bigsly back into the fray? Partially because it's fun, and partially because I've seen this sort of argument from him and others of his ilk before, and it never ceases to confound me. Even though these are clearly (as written) Bigsly's opinion alone, and have no bearing on how other people should think, he still subjects us to the tedium of parsing past his shit by peppering the review board with non reviews that make no sense, even by his own subjective standard.

The argument is basically this: "Why should I buy this eighty dollar perfume, when I can wear this random, completely different and unrelated perfume, which smells just as 'nice,' and is seventy-five dollars cheaper?"

Well shit, I don't know. Why should anyone wear any eighty dollar perfume, when there are hundreds of four dollar fragrances out there that smell just as "nice?"

Logic check: he believes that because both scents fall into the completely arbitrary and subjective category of "nice," there is no point in buying the more expensive of the two, even if they're completely different, and buyers could have completely different reasons for wanting to wear the Dior over the, ahem, Playboy scent. Unless someone conducts a scientific double blind sniff test of Sauvage against four dollar Playboy scents, and participants unanimously choose Sauvage over the cheap stuff, there's no convincing way to claim to Bigsly that it's worth buying, owning, and wearing Sauvage. The publisher of such a study can be you (points into the crowd), or you (finger swerves randomly, and lands on someone else), as long as it's not Bigsly himself.

I'll just let that stupidity sink in, and hope someone out there can invent a Stupid Idea Crusher (with an internet app) that can recycle these inanities into suggestions that actually make sense. Better yet, recycle them into actual informed reviews with informed comparisons. Find a way to get the Bigslys of the world to actually try the very things they're criticizing, BEFORE they criticize them. This way readers don't have to wish for their five minutes back after stumbling over the senselessness of these words in an already contextually challenged universe of crap.

Why do certain perfumes bring out the worst in people, when they're really just meant to bring out the kids? Enough already. I'm tired of going on review boards and reading knee-jerk reactions to scents, when I should be reading carefully considered perceptions and articulate impressions. And I'm just as tired of reading pontifications on the subjective worthiness of perfumes by people who haven't even smelled them! Sauvage may be another Bleu de Chanel on the horizon, or it may be an incredibly mediocre and forgettable money pit. These days I can't help but wonder if the primary negative factor for the perfume industry is really its figurative lack of imagination, or all the boring complaining and bad-mouthing these perfumes and their creators endure.

Note: I'm still super pissed off about Cool Water. I'll be in a better mood when I return. I promise.


Cool Water Has Officially Been Destroyed

Well, they finally did it. It took nearly three decades and at least four reformulations, but the manufacturers of Davidoff's iconic fresh fougère have officially ruined the fragrance. This is a devastating development for me, as this fragrance was one of my absolute favorites. Let me explain what happened.

Contrary to what you usually read about reformulations (from morons who opine about diminished ingredient quality and dramatic packaging changes), the changes here were insular, streamlined, and sneaky. I've had a theory for a while now that Coty Prestige is beginning to lose faith in this brand. The constant annual cycle of summer flankers and special editions belie the financial hard times this perfume has, in my estimation, fallen on. The truth is that Cool Water isn't embraced by youngsters anymore. People in their teens and early twenties aren't really wearing it. I haven't met a single young person in the last six years who claimed to wear Cool Water, and I've met a few people recently who have actually never even heard of it, which is hard to fathom.

Compounding the issue is the recent rise of the richer-smelling Green Irish Tweed. As of eight years ago, Creed's woodier, muskier take on this genre was still an obscure niche scent with little to no commercial visibility. A handful of eighties fougère connoisseurs knew about it, but it didn't have the notoriety that it currently enjoys. Then the buzz started. Threads began to fill the boards at basenotes, Fragrantica, Badger & Blade, and guys rendered their collective verdict to the world: GIT is better than Cool Water. This cut into Davidoff's cache. Where it once was the popular choice for people who wanted a semi-sweet, semi-green freshie, now it was being derisively labeled "cheap," "chemical," and "inferior." That GIT is just as cheap to manufacture, almost as chemical-smelling, and in no way more effective at what it does than Cool Water did not register. People simply equated "richer" with "better," and that was that.

My guess is that declining sales over the years have spurred Coty to reevaluate the formula. They're in it to save money at this point. I'm intimately familiar with all forms of this scent, including the deodorant spray, and I believe that they used the deodorant formula in the new EDT. Which wouldn't be a big deal, except the deodorant was always simpler and flatter smelling than the EDT. Instead of crisp, long-lasting lavender and green apple notes, the deodorant opens with a muted lavender, only lightly brushed with apple, that swiftly segues to a muted tobacco/musk accord. It's the stale, wet cement note that used to crop up in older versions of CW. It has incredible power and presence, and still fills a room. I imagine it's not immensely cheaper than what was in the EDT, but it's definitely a few cents less.

The result is a fragrance that simply lacks dynamism and contrast. It also lacks its sparkle and appeal. I don't want a dull tobacco powder on my skin for eight hours. I don't want something that far removed from the neroli-shimmer of the 2013 formula. Having done a code search, I can tell you that my new bottle was manufactured in December of last year. And oddly enough, Coty's people decided to enlarge the Cool Water logo on the bottle by a few millimeters, which I'm guessing cost them next to nothing (no dramatic color, design, or packaging change), but lets them identify the different formulas by simply glancing at the bottles. I know that enlarging a logo by a few millimeters can be done in InDesign within ten seconds, and would add nothing, or next to nothing, to the printer's bill. But just eye-balling the new bottle next to the old one reveals the difference, and cleverly makes identifying which bottle is which very easy.

This would be a true disaster if Green Irish Tweed and Grey Flannel didn't exist. Frankly, I like Cool Water better than GIT. But not anymore. This new version doesn't smell very good. It smells much less fresh and appealing than the version before it, and I'd rather save my money and buy GIT. So sad, and very rare for this to happen. It is literally the first reformulation in my collection that has made me feel this way.


Classic Match "Drakkar Noir" (Parfums Belcam)

True beauty is usually copied.

Drakkar Noir is cheap enough to make spending anything on a knock-off seem silly. It's not like we're looking for an affordable alternative to Creed here. But the fun in spending five bucks or so on a faux Drakkar comes with finding an olfactory alternative that puts a twist on the original, while maintaining the same general profile.

For example, Buxton extended the sweetness of Drakkar's mint and the warmth of its amber, creating Taxi, a different scent that was nevertheless an unabashed Laroche clone. Francesco Smalto Pour Homme diffuses the focused lavender/pine attack of Drakkar into a heady melange of smoky notes, which winds up smelling rather like Drakkar covered in sun-baked grass clippings. Lomani Pour Homme aggravates the dihydromyrcenol and linalool "fresh" effect, becoming at once soapier and more transparent than its congener. Diamond Collection's Dakar scent is closer to Taxi than Drakkar, but it's certainly close enough to Wargnye's idea to pass muster with Drakkar fans. As I mentioned last month, it's arguably useful to dispense with the term "clone," and replace it with the word "idea," because each scent is its own unique experience, and each is very different, but they do play off the same idea.

Enter Parfum Belcam's Classic Match version of Drakkar Noir, which oddly enough doesn't have its own name (the bottle simply says "classic match"). We're given to assume that it's a close copy of Drakkar, because its creators didn't feel the need to bestow upon it an original moniker of any sort, leaving the unambiguous associations of its bottle's shape and color to speak for itself. This makes Belcam's scent an outlier among clones; companies generally attempt to fob off the inherent crappiness of cloning by having fun with letters and rhyming their formula's name with the original's - Belcam chose not to. I already own Drakkar and Taxi, so I figured I'd pay the price of three rolls of toilet paper and pick up a small bottle of Belcam's clone. I've read about this one, and apparently it's very close to the original version of DN from 1982, to the point where scientists conducted a gas chromatography comparison between the formulas. Interestingly, the results show that the two chemical compositions are almost identical.

The differences are, however, quite clear in the wearing. Drakkar is a smooth, soapy, bitter, and smoky fragrance. Its opening salvo of spike lavender, tart citrus, and pine is one of the finest accords in the history of masculine perfumery. Classic Match's top accord is, in my estimation, about 97% the same as Drakkar's, but that three percent is noticeable. There's much more patchouli in Belcam's version, with more than a light touch of woodsy skank, an oilier pine note that hovers between synthetic freshness and earthy intrigue. Most significant of all is a distinct basil note, which doesn't exist in Drakkar. As the minutes pass, it becomes clear that this non-gourmand basil element is Belcam's replacement for spike lavender, and the effect is predictably more herbal. The patchouli tempers it, though. Put simply, it smells paradoxically brighter and dirtier than Drakkar.

The drydown, which arrives in fifteen minutes, reveals a tenuously balanced base of patchouli, synthetic oakmoss, cade oil (that juniper-derived smokiness I've come to love), lavender, and peppermint. It's not very complex, despite how it sounds. It's basically just another Drakkar-like soapy effect, this time from a headshop. What I like about it is that its "clean" elements are gently offset by accents of vaguely filthy wood, which makes Belcam's scent memorable enough to warrant owning. It also smells somewhat natural, although here I'm sure the perfumer would rather I use restraint in this analysis, as the blending isn't so great, and the balance between natural oils and synthetics is somewhat crude. Still, not bad.

Will this replace Drakkar Noir? Is it as glamorous as those eighties power scents that guys like me love? I think it's almost as good as Drakkar, but not quite. Honestly, I think it would make a very good aftershave. It does possess a sort of sexy shimmer of its own, rather like seeing a beauty from a bygone era through a speckled, colorless lens. I don't regret the purchase. If you're in it for next to nothing, why not try Belcam's Classic Match? At least they got the "classic" part right.


Jōvan Ginseng NRG (Coty)

I'll be blunt - this scent smells like a woman's floral-perfumed skin after a dip in a heavily chlorinated swimming pool. It's basically muguet soap and musk oil diluted in pool water. Ginseng NRG was released in the late nineties, around the time I graduated from high school, and at that time it was something I seriously considered wearing. I considered it, and passed. Why, you ask? Hard to say. For one thing, it's not particularly exciting, or groundbreaking. It smells "fresh," and "clean," and "soapy." Typical nineties fare, especially with its hint of sweetness, thanks to all that musk. I guess I liked its perkiness, that hit of natural ginseng blended in with bitter citrus and soft amber. It's nice.

It's also a "sporty" frag (hence the "NRG"), the sort of thing that lasts three hours max, maybe a little longer after a rigorous, sweaty workout. At that time, I wasn't a "sporty" guy. I'm actually a hell of a lot sportier now, in my thirties, than I was in my late teens, and given my penchant for couch-potatoing with popcorn and movies, that's saying a lot. But no, in the late nineties I was not a "sporty" dude. I was naturally stick thin and led a fairly (moderately) active lifestyle, just doing day-to-day chores, so working out and then dousing myself in transparent, citrusy colognes wasn't on the schedule.

This is a youthful scent, and as Tania Sanchez says, it smells very soapy, and perhaps a little generic (she made a good GNR joke in The Guide), but it's altogether a solid offering from Jōvan that I'll continue sampling every time I pass it at Walmart - nobody buys this stuff. If you intend on buying it, get it while supplies last - rumor has it Coty discontinued NRG, and I expect to see inane price increases in the near future.


Stetson Sierra (Coty)

The subtlest victories of masculine perfumery come as nods to femininity. The violet prettiness of Cool Water and Green Irish Tweed. The sugary toffee rush of A*Men. The candied yuzu of Caron's Third Man. Each masterpiece contains an element of bisexual appeal. Most American guys don't wear any fragrance at all, but those who do generally approach them with subliminal consciousness, choosing what "smells good," without realizing their choice may very well smell surprisingly close to a girly-girl's perfume. Those who recognize these contradictions wear such scents as code.

Stetson Sierra is a frag that I've passed a million times at Walgreens and Walmart, and the former always has a tester out, alongside the original Stetson and Stetson Black. Every time I spray Sierra, I recognize a classical twentieth century masculine structure, ubiquitous, unadventurous, yet brilliantly subtle in its message. Released in 1993, it was a departure from its namesake, which is an unglamorously feminine oriental (not so subtle, that one), the "outdoorsy" Stetson, at long last. Rugged men, pine needles, herbs, woods, mosses, musks. Five o'clock shadows, leather boots, blue jeans, pick-up trucks, Winchester repeaters, buxom girlfriends named Dawn who cashier at the supermarket. Real men don't wear cologne, so this one has to be a real cologne - light, transparent for most of its duration, and rather aftershavey, that hint of "clean" and "musky" that classier guys don't mind spending a few dollars on.

That's exactly what Sierra delivers, until you get to the base accord, the very thing that is supposed to cement its direct masculinity into the workday and be forgotten by lunch. It starts off very directly, and very much an early nineties scent, bright and fizzy bursts of fresh bergamot, pine needles, lavender, and near-odorless aldehydes, morning in a Maine forest. The piney hi-fidelity aftershave effect segues into a mélange of herbal notes, mainly wormwood, caraway, rosemary, juniper, black pepper, basil, and geranium. I'm reminded of the long discontinued Polo Crest, and for about ten minutes Sierra smells like a somewhat cheaper copy of Crest, a good thing, given that Crest is a beautiful scent. Then the manliness gets patchouli heavy, and an accord similar to Preferred Stock creeps in and hangs around for about five minutes, before introducing the main attraction.

That main attraction is jasmine. Hello, sweetheart. How'd you get here? I thought this was an inexpensive testosterone fest? But is it really that inexpensive? Twenty bucks for 1.5 ounces? Almost thirty for two ounces? This is pricier than the original Stetson, and frankly the quality of its craftsmanship is on par with the dollar increase. The far drydown yields an understated musky, piney jasmine note, delicate, sweet, sheer, still quite "fresh," but now interminably "floral." Incredibly, Sierra's jasmine note is of better quality than things more famously floral, like Tea Rose Jasmin, for instance, which has a very literal rendition of jasmine, (perhaps too literal), Tommy Girl, with an overly luminescent synthetic jasmine accord, or even Anaïs Anaïs by Cacharel, a sublimely dry white floral blend.

How to account for this? I couldn't tell you. Forget the fake male swagger. There's plenty of that in the first twenty minutes of this scent. Embrace the crystalline beauty of the simple jasmine accord that follows, and recognize why you like it, wear it, and observe. The men and women in your world will pass by en masse, but every so often, one will read your code, and remind you that the phrase "it's a man's world" has several subtextual connotations. From that power flows the beauty of this little scent from Coty.


Boss N° 6 (Hugo Boss)

Fancy package, working class contents.

It seems fitting that Ryan Reynolds is the recent face of Hugo Boss' sixth masculine release. The actor is a middle class success story, a man who made his way to the top without the help of wealthy parents and trust funds. Likewise, Boss N°6, also known as Boss Bottled, is a modest fragrance that has become a sleeper classic, something of an olfactory signature for the late nineties, and arguably the first in a short but prestigious line of sweet, semi-gourmand fougères of that time period.

But is it a fougère, really? It contains two simple accords, the first being spiced apple, and the second a vanillic woody amber. Bear the lineage in mind; Cool Water's main accord is crisp lavender and crab apple, followed by tobacco-tinged woody amber and musk. Ten years later, Boss N°6 arrives with an even bigger apple note, this time very red and edible, followed by a saccharine bouquet of muted florals and synthetic woods, punctuated by hints of cinnamon and vanilla. Perhaps one could say it's an oriental, but good ferns have a way of hiding lavender and coumarin in plain sight. In Moustache, the lime and green notes disguise the lavender, with oakmoss note serving as a bittering agent for the hefty slug of hay-like coumarin that follows.

In N°6, the lavender is mated to spiced apple, preventing it from smelling feminine, while the coumarinic effect of a true fern is evident in the drydown's powdery aura of almost-edible warmth. I think N°6 was the inspiration for Chanel's original Allure Homme, which came a year later. However, I don't find Annick Menardo's fragrance to be as compelling as Jacques Polge's. Allure presents a fascinatingly complex structure as a suave blend, with few notes outright discernible, yet all somehow very detectable. Fragrantica has recently lost credibility with me in the note pyramid department, as much of their pyramids have suddenly changed to exclude notes that are present in various compositions, and include notes that have nothing to do with them at all. Allure is a victim of this development, as its Fragrantica pyramid now lists silly things like coconut and peach (neither note exists in Chanel's scent).

However, once upon a time, Allure's pyramid accurately included rosewood, which is conspicuously absent from Boss N°6. Also missing is Allure's stunning synthetic labdanum, and the deep sandalwood impression I get about five hours into wearing it. Boss is all about soft, smooth notes, with a creamy take on woody amber, which is why I consider it a "warm" scent. It also plays a bit safe and bland. The word "innocuous" comes to mind. Many guys refer to apple pie in their reviews of N°6, and while I don't get that impression from it, I can certainly understand it, given the combination of gourmandish cinnamon and herbalized red apple.

If you're looking for a more convincing apple pie effect, I recommend trying Aubusson Pour Homme, or Witness by Jacques Bogart. With Boss N°6, you're better off expecting a very soft, sweet, cushy teddy bear of a fragrance, the sort of thing harmless American males used to wear, back when Bill Clinton was the President and Britney Spears still topped the charts.


Where There's Smoke, There's Fire - Part II

What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

Contrary to the belief held by some that perfumes cannot grow stronger with age, current opinions about Kouros suggest that things do change. In this thread, we see some supportive anecdotes about the thirty-five year-old masterpiece:
"I sprayed one spray, and there was just the tiniest hint of Kouros to my nose, and then minutes later I couldn't smell anything. I put on another [spray]. I got up to four sprays, and for a short time I would get the faintest nod of Kouros, but then a talc or body powder scent would dominate . . . I was very disappointed. Over the next couple wearings, the fragrance seemed to be stronger, and resemble [vintage] Kouros more. It also lasted longer. I have worn the fragrance four or five times now this summer, and this scent has done a 180. Yesterday I did yard work, and before I started, I sprayed one spray to the center of my chest from a couple inches away. My skin was clean, and I had not put any fragrance on. I mowed and edged the lawn, trimmed and pruned trees, and the scent was going strong the whole time while perspiring, over the smell of the mower and trimmer. Later, after showering, I could still smell the scent. I just wanted to let people know if they purchased the white bottle like myself, and feel let down by the smell, to give it some time. The top didn't change much, but the mid and base notes are Kouros."
For those who don't know, the "white bottle" that the author refers to is the latest formula, which is packaged in a bottle that lacks the chrome trim. This account mirrors my experience with YSL scents, which funnily enough was one of the brands I mentioned in Part I of this post. It's been happening a bit with Jazz (clear glass bottle version), and it has happened time and again with Kouros. There were two responses to the comment quoted above, with the more substantial reply quite interesting (it also compares Kouros to Terre d'Hermes):
"Tried and worn the first time, I recalled it being a Terre d'Hermes smell alike; nowadays the juice in the bottle I have smells different. The 'aged' one in my wardrobe improved significantly, the citric notes are more prominent, and the metallic / woody notes (synthetic feeling) became more subdued, almost imperceptible. It is a gentler TdH, far less complex, but more enjoyable. As to others, I noticed they acquire something in common with vintage scents, a character that could be described as dense. I wonder if, in their efforts to improve rotation, companies are not giving blends any time for settling."
It's possible. Also possible is that the synthetics and naturals are separating at a higher rate in current formulas. My theory has always been that when air gets into a bottle, the alcohol and some of the synthetics evaporate very slowly out, leaving behind a richer concentration of both quality synthetics and natural ingredients, in turn making the remaining liquid more potent. This is not "alchemy," it's just a simple theory based on what little I know about chemistry.

My theory was confirmed the other day by a commenter responding to Part I of this post:
"My 1st degree is in organic chemistry . . . Musks, resins (myrrh, frankincense, labdanum etc.), & most essential oils can deepen & intensify over time - which may or may not be good. If you have a leak in your bottle, the perfume will evaporate naturally & of course the scent (oils) will become more concentrated & thus 'potent' in smell."

And there it is, folks. An organic chemistry major confirms my suspicions. But why is this not enough for some people to accept? I suspect that any resistance to this idea is founded more on discrediting me than anything else (I have some enemies in the perfume world, unfortunately), but their contrarian stance does them little good, because logic and chemistry are not on their side here. Fragrances that are highly synthetic change very little. Ocean Rain is a good example of this. My bottle is at least twenty-five years old. It had been used two or three times prior to my purchasing it, because I could see it wasn't 100% full when I took it out of the box. The tiniest amount of air had gotten in there and was left to mix with the chemicals of Ocean Rain's formula for up to two and a half decades. Potentially a very long time.

Yet Ocean Rain smells fresh, well balanced, and complete. Its citric fruit notes are luminescent, its musky florals are coherent, and its beachy driftwood drydown is clear. Ocean Rain was a relatively cheap fragrance when it was released, and it is likely a very, very cheap formula. My guess is that there were little to no natural materials used in it. Therefore, the likelihood that natural oils could separate from the synthetics and become concentrated with time are virtually nonexistent. The result is a synthetic mix of low-volatility chemicals that smell the same today as they did when they were bottled.

Kouros is a perfume that makes good use of synthetics, but I've always detected a considerable degree of natural materials in its formula. There are some natural floral and wood oils that seem to react with oxygen. I'm not saying these are "high quality" naturals, as there are certainly no Grade-A sandalwood or rose oils in the mix. I'm simply saying that inexpensive naturals are used to bolster the effect of the synthetics, but these naturals react to air, and grow stronger, making the heart and base notes of the fragrance stronger with time.