9/5/15

Sauvage (Dior)



Surprisingly, after all the chatter about Sauvage on the interwebs, I have little to say about it myself, having now worn it. I have a sample on paper also, which I think smells remarkably better than the skin tests.

On paper, Sauvage opens with an aggressive salvo of fresh, "gummy" fruit notes, a veritable cavalcade of bergamot, red apple, pineapple, and something very dry, perhaps lime. This accord is so synthetic that I wonder if I couldn't get the same effect from one of Old Spice's recent animal-themed colognes. Wolfthorn is in the same league, for seventy dollars less. There you go.

Except that roughly thirty minutes in, the "gummy" notes fade, leaving a crisp, bright, realistic bergamot, which drones on for a while, and smells very good. On skin, the bergamot remains far more restrained, but seems to accompany an equally fresh musky amber, presumably the slug of Ambroxan that many report as a primary element in the formula. Sixty or seventy minutes into the drydown, this aspect dominates with its vague hints of black pepper and creamy suede. Anytime suede is a note, it bodes ill for the overall wearing experience in my book, and it doesn't take long for the reality to set in: Sauvage is a fresh leather scent. That's unfortunate, because as anyone who has worn Calvin Klein's recent masculines can attest to, there's nothing more trite and synthetic than a "suede" cologne.

The best notes here are the bergamot and the Ambroxan, and I appreciate the tiny butyric dab of sweetened red apple on the fringes, which lends the fruitiness some depth and character, but unfortunately there isn't much else to do with Sauvage. Longevity is good, but that's not saying much. Two hours in, the fruitiness has faded to a bland sweetness with no distinct qualities, and five hours later I'm left with just a clean muskiness, with perhaps the softest touch of pepper, that incredibly mild woody accent, which Dior had to include. I'm a bit disappointed that the composition is so simple and clean, little more than a well-made soap smell.

I'm also annoyed that the comparisons on fragrance forums have been so far off. Some have said it smells similar to Creed's Aventus. There's absolutely no similarity to Aventus here. Others mention Bleu de Chanel. I've mentioned that scent in the context of Dior's commercial strategy, but here I'll compare the two by saying that Bleu is a much nicer and more distinguished fragrance. Acqua di Gio, Mont Blanc Individuel, B*Men, and a dozen other fragrances were also mentioned elsewhere. There is zero similarity to the Armani, only the faintest hint of a connection with Individuel (mainly in how the sweetness is handled), and perhaps a passing similarity to B*Men in the loosest way possible. I can't say I had an "Aha!" moment when I initially smelled Sauvage, as no other popular scent came to mind.

In some ways, this makes Sauvage rather special - I can't say I've ever smelled a fragrance quite like it. Its combination of notes creates an accord that is very unique, and whether it smells good or not is as subjective as can be. There are no comparatives online that reliably classify this scent.

But maybe that's also the problem with it. Bleu at least resembles old-school aftershave, and the other scents have their niche in the high wall of famous masculines, but nothing in particular connects Sauvage to its progenitors. It's as if the facelessly bland freshness of its structure exists in a sad vacuum, pleasant enough to wear on the weekend, but entirely alone in its banality. A shame.


4 comments:

  1. I tried this today at Macy's (Valley River Center, Portland. OR).
    As you said, it seemed much nicer on paper than on skin.
    On paper the various fruit notes were rich, pleasant and distinct, and the dry-down was pleasantly warm with a bit of spice.
    On skin the fruit notes were fainter, muddy, and jumbled, and the dry-down had a cold unpleasant oily/gritty quality.
    While the scent on paper was not unpleasant, on my skin it was certainly a dud.
    Talk soon,
    Sam

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    Replies
    1. It's a challenging "boring" scent, a bit of a paradox imo.

      Further on down the road from trying it, I've realized that Sauvage is more polarizing than Bleu ever was, and that it is quite a worthy product for any teenager to have in his or her arsenal. This one is good, but trends younger.

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  2. It seems unfortunate that they "spent" the name Sauvage on this fragrance when it has so little connexion with Eau Sauvage.
    I wonder if it will connected with a younger market? While, in theory, today's youth have the chance to experience far more, and self-educate far more than did previous generations of fragrance customers, I'm not sure what, if any, effect this will have on the market.
    You are right, I imagine. Sauvage seems likely to remain more divisive tha Blu de Chanel.
    Talk soon,

    Sam

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    Replies
    1. There's no "counter-culture" in the fragrance world, at least not anymore. No need to impress, or jade; there's no need to argue from a perfumer's perspective, or a buyer's. What fume heads have forgotten is that the era of innovation ended with the advent of a major commercial market that some have falsely dubbed "niche," which is itself antithetical to the notion of any creative olfactory adventure - if only a select (and wealthy) few can be bothered with something, the constraining factor overwhelms freedom, newness, and the surprises such qualities can elicit in all of us. I imagine then a fragrance like Sauvage simply exists without any one clear artistic reason, having been brought into this desolate postmodern forum to do but one thing: sell.

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