Certain fragrances come to define a decade, for better and for worse. And you don’t get any more definitive than Dior Sauvage.
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An update on the classic Dior Eau Sauvage, created by Edmond Roudnitska in 1966, it’s now a fully-fledged range in its own right.
A rapid succession of super-lucrative releases – Dior Sauvage EDT (2015), Dior Sauvage EDP (2018), Dior Sauvage Parfum (2019), and, most recently, Dior Sauvage Elixir (2021) – has maintained its position as the best-selling male fragrance in the world. The plethora of fakes on the market attests to its popularity.
Having the controversial, weather-beaten Johnny Depp as its face has also not harmed its profitability.
With the launch of Dior Sauvage Elixir (more on it below), we look at the appeal of Dior Sauvage EDP.
Scent Notes (according to Fragrantica.com and the brand)
Calabrian bergamot (top), Sichuan pepper, lavender, star anise, nutmeg (heart), Ambroxan, Papua New Guinean vanilla absolute (base).
You don’t become Dior’s in-house perfumer without major credentials. Until his recent replacement by Francis Kurkdjian, François Demachy produced hits such as Aqua Fahrenheit EDT (2011), Homme Intense EDP (2011), Oud Ispahan EDP (2012) and Eau Sauvage Parfum (2017) for the French luxury brand.
He’s the man behind all the Dior Sauvages. The Cannes-born perfumer is also admired for creating Emanuel Ungaro Ungaro Pour L’Homme EDT (1991), Fendi Fan di Fendi Pour Homme EDT (2012) and Acqua di Parma Colonia Leather Eau de Cologne Concentrée (2014).
“François Demachy drew inspiration from the desert at the magical twilight hour. Mixed with the coolness of the night, the burning desert air exudes profound scents.
Sauvage EDP is thus the olfactory interpretation of a moment tinted with a thick blue that unleashes the wildest instincts. In the hour when the wolves come out and the sky is set ablaze, a new magic unfolds.” – the brand website
“When creating Sauvage Eau de Parfum, I didn’t focus on its power. Its signature is already quite identifiable. The goal was not to accentuate this or to saturate its composition. Instead, I wanted to enrich each of its dominant notes to reveal new colours,” says Demachy.
Packaging & Presentation
A darker blue than its predecessor, the bottle captures the sensuality and mystery of its twilight inspiration. The magnetic cap adds a touch of luxury. The staid black box keeps it masculine and classic.
The intro belongs to the sharp citrus hues of bergamot. According to the brand’s website, Demachy used an exclusive variety from Reggio di Calabria, Italy. It gives the EDP a whoosh of juicy and sunny freshness, with spicy overtones.
Subtle aromatic notes of Sichuan pepper, star anise and nutmeg build on the spiciness of the opening. Lavender gives it a clean floral aspect.
Smooth and rich vanilla is discernible in the drydown. It’s fruity and spicy, without any of the sweetness often associated with this note.
While Demachy emphasises the use of high-quality natural ingredients, it wouldn’t be Dior Sauvage without a large dose of Ambroxan. The synthetic form of the rare and costly ambergris is all woody muskiness, with impressive longevity and projection.
Who Would Like It?
Perhaps we should rather ask, who wouldn’t like it? Due to its ubiquity and men over-spraying it, it’s also equally unpopular and has come to represent a certain kind of alpha male in the minds of its detractors.
Seriously, though, if you’re looking for a well-composed fragrance that ticks all the boxes, look no further.
Where To Wear It ?
It doesn’t get more versatile than this winning formula. Gym? Check. Office? Check. Bar? Check? Dinner date? Check? Although best in spring and summer, it will carry you through fall and winter as well.
Similar Fragrances To Consider
Where to start? With the success of Dior Sauvage, every designer brand has focused its efforts on “the battle of the blues”. Although all different in their own way, they also tend to be variations on the fresh-spicy-woody-amber theme.
Versace Pour Homme Dylan Blue EDT, Yves Saint Laurent Y EDP and Hugo Boss Boss Bottled Infinite EDP are worthwhile alternatives. As is Bleu de Chanel EDP, Dior Sauvage’s closest competitor, which has followed the same path in terms of versions (EDT / EDP / Parfum / Elixir?).
Dior Sauvage Elixir
What’s that noise? It’s the sound of the latest Sauvage iteration already doing brisk business.
It could also be Johnny Depp screeching the guitar in the desert in the big-budget advertising campaign directed by Jean Baptiste Mondino.
Richer, darker and more concentrated than its predecessors, it’s big on the spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom), lavender and sandalwood, yet is still undeniably Dior Sauvage.
It’s also big on the price ($155 for 60ml), which, of course, has upset many people.
We’re enjoying this more mature version anyway and must congratulate the people at Dior for always finding new expensive ways of getting us to part with our money.
Richard Goller is a fragrance and grooming blogger. His blog is called Fragroom. A senior editor with 20 years' experience, his blog allows him to combine two of his passions: engaging content and the always-intriguing world of fragrances. When he isn't blogging, you'll find Richard indulging in his newly found passion for balcony gardening.