Sauvage by Dior

This post was written pre-release.


I have a mantra: don’t trash, but fairly critique instead.

As the information trickles [and as I type this, the information is still trickling] for Dior’s latest masculine, I am left sorely disappointed. Before I got my nose on this scent, I was positively charged and excited. In my opinion, it would have filled in the ambery gap in the Dior masculine repertoire, excluding the virtually unobtainable La Collection Privee down here in Melbourne, Australia. From the information so far, I [was] lead to dream of a modern oriental with that Dior je ne sais quoi. A panache that set Dior masculines apart. In fact, in retrospect, I have respected every single masculine Dior release, from Eau Sauvage to the newest and swankiest flanker of Dior Homme. But Sauvage changes that.

When I critiqued one of the Chanel Allure Homme fragrances early this year (or late december last year), I left with a sweet note. I understood that this was not my style. However, I also understood that the Chanel organ of scent ingredients, which is then made into scent, are of a quality that alters my perspective of the final product, even when considering the fact that I didn’t exactly love the scent. The conclusion drawn as a result was not a surprise then, and is something I keep in mind when reviewing scent:

Good ingredients do not necessarily make good perfumes. However, they are a sufficient element to achieve such.

Casting Johnny Depp as the key model for this scent also confounded me. Beauty peaks, and for Depp it is not too far a stretch to state that he peaked during his Nightmare on Elm Street days. Depp can thus become a reflection of the house of Dior. Way past their prime, and holding onto a finesse they had in the twentieth century and have gradually began to loose in this new millennia.

Dior Sauvage

Photo by Dior
Note: The opinions expressed here are entirely my own and are entirely honest.


Buckle in and brace yourself for an intense opening – a chemical (synthetic in a bad way, because otherwise I love synthetics) haze of nondescript fruits and citruses. At times I can smell the astringency clearly, like paint thinner fumes permeating a closed room. It pulls and pushes in a way that scratches the eyes and pulls at the eyelids, and a piercing top note is reminiscent of pineapple, stone fruits, and insipid tropical fruits backed with screechy musks. I can detect a strongly ambery base, rinsed excessively with a salty freshness.

I let this pass and a woody scent supported with pepper begins to rise. Lots of sandalwood. A rehashed composition seemingly taking inspiration from some of the hallmark scents of the house, for instance the tenacious freshness of Eau Sauvage, the unapologetic tenacity and stature of Fahrenheit, the simultaneous disparity of Dune Pour Femme, and the pale technicolour woods of Dior Homme. In the end, Sauvage is a scent in a state of flux. It doesn’t know what it wants to be, and as a result has a violent and uncoordinated seizure on the skin. Largely fuzzy aromatic notes, a lukewarm patchouli note, and an unashamed dollop of ambroxan to top it off and to feign quality musk and ambergris notes. When smelling, it pierces right at the olfactory bulb, as Sichuan pepper and Calabrian bergamot clash, leaving Dior in a class next to certain swanky fougeres I dare not utter.

Nevertheless, I have no praises to offer. The tropical top accord has been overused, and certainly that synthetic sandalwood style 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.

What we get from Dior is simply a messy opening that eventually becomes a slightly more bearable scent in the dry down. And that it the problem. It pierces and then it mellows. Nothing more. It is a scent for boring men. A typical masculine scent in the worst way possible.

Even as I consider my Chanel analogy, it is clear that even Dior lacks quality of both creativity and components. My advice to them is clear (although, what do I know?) – steer clear of fads. Allow creativity to flourish. That is what makes good perfume.

“A perfume must above all smell good” – Guy Robert

Subjective rating : 1/5

Objective rating: 2/5

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