Review: Christian Dior Sauvage — 1.5 points

Fragrances that set out to sell and appeal to their targets with trendy notes may smell similar. Their perfumers might have little say on how they should smell because such fragrances, more often than not, follow strict marketing directives. But these perfumes are not necessarily without merits, either.

First, having undergone market tests and with consumers’ thoughts in mind, these perfumes are at least wearable and pleasing to many. Moreover, although they are focused on the trendy elements, they can still have some of their personalities. One can look at perfumes that embrace the masculine trend of ambery-woody and aromatic fougères to find some good examples. Bleu de Chanel (2010), for instance, may already contain such notes, but it also incorporates a peppery incense-y note next to its citrus and woods to convey the association with fresh and spicy aftershaves. It strength lies in such effective embellishments. 1 Million (Paco Rabanne, 2008), on the other hand, challenges the classical fougère; it opts for the novel freshness of mint and mandarin, the opulence of rose, and the sweetness of cinnamon bark, instead of bergamot, geranium, clove, and nutmeg.  The flamboyant defiance of 1 Million has even spawned a new masculine trend. These perfumes have proved that, despite riding on the same bandwagon of popular elements, they can still be creative.

Similarly, the aromatic woody-ambery fougère does not make Sauvage (Dior, 2015) by perfumer François Demachy any less worthy of purchase. If anything, they make for a wearable and familiar genre. But its problem lies in the lack of personality.


From the top, Sauvage follows the prescription. Its freshness comes from a lot of sour bergamot and the sharp, citrusy, lavender-like dihydromyrcenol. It becomes a tad aromatic. Sauvage smells very generic, but I am prepared to forgive the top in hope of finding some interesting accords that would follow. Yet, the distinct marine Calone 1951 soon discourages me. Worse still, the advertised ‘Sichuan pepper’ note is so feeble that to describe it as ‘spicy’ would be an exaggeration. And, there is a kind of sharp freshness that is intrusive right through to the fond.

As I tried hard to find something in Sauvage that might appeal to me, I caught a faint suggestion of violet leaf and leather and, for a moment, thought of Fahrenheit (Dior, 1988). But I am afraid that beyond this fleeting suggestion, there is nothing that remotely suggests a signature for Sauvage.

The warmth of ambergris note based on Ambroxan® and a large dose Iso E Super contribute to the remaining part. In contrast to the peppery brightness, it presents just about the only redeeming quality. Then, the disappointment goes deep in the musk fond that smells rather soapy. I find it inadmissible considering the price tag.

Sauvage is essentially a likeable contrast between citrusy freshness and ambery-woody warmth. However, the shortage of witty embellishments or twists and turns combined with a sore lack in quality materials makes for a very generic composition. It is to the point of banality. It simply takes after the style of Bleu de Chanel, but substitutes a simplistic, profit-driven intention for quality and effective ornamentation. The mishmash is boring and borderline aggressive. It is also unrelenting, and the only aspect it will not disappoint is longevity.

Source:, Scent and Chemistry The Molecular World of Odours


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s