A rather odd review of Sauvage at Fragrantica.

I’ll first quote the entire review, because I think it is important to do so:

“First off, I would like to say that I can understand why there is so much negativity regarding this fragrance. This is one of those fragrances that took me a good amount of testing to fully understand what this fragrance has to offer.

“There is a sharpness to the scent blended nicely with some soothing notes on top. This fragrance dries down quite nicely but looses it’s sweet smoothness very quickly. Smelled at a close distance I find it almost repulsive due to it’s strong and synthetic nature- I think this is where the fragrance gets most of it’s hate. This fragrance really shines in it’s sillage. Spraying this on my brother and smelling him from a distance smelled great!

“Cons: This fragrance is very strong and will stain my clothes of an unpleasant alcohol smell. The smell is not very linear, which is fine, but the drydown tends to smell too much like a piercing synthetic alcohol musk-ish odor but what can you expect with a $90 designer fragrance.

“I would easily have paid more than twice the price had this fragrance been produced with niche quality.

“Overall 8.5/10 – Great bang for your buck here. It would be silly to expect more from a designer fragrance.”

And I’ll begin by saying that on some level it may be a very good one!  By that I mean the reviewer offers a reasonable explanation as to why some really like this scent and some really detest it (I think it’s interesting but I could never wear it, though it might be useful to me as a room spray).  The reviewer seems to think it is good for garnering compliments, but that it is repulsive if smelled close  up on the skin, though this is true of a large number of scents, so the question is, why spend $90 or thereabouts on it when there are other options?  For example, a three ounce bottle of Cuba Prestige (which is similar to A*Men but without much if any of the tar note) cost me less than $10 total., and it has excellent performance!  Wouldn’t such a scent garner compliments too?

There seems to be an interesting psycho-social element to the “Sauvage debate,” and so that’s why I’ve spent more time on a scent that I have no interest in wearing than on many others (that probably deserve more attention).  It seems to function like this; someone tries Sauvage after reading a bunch of bad reviews, then says to himself, “it’s not that bad, and I did get a compliment, so there must be a group of irrational haters out there!”  Then he goes on a site like Fragrantica and makes such points in the review section, totally ignoring some of the points made, such as what I’ve said about there being thousands of other scents to choose from at lower prices!  How is that “hate?”  Obviously, there is no other scent exactly like Sauvage, but that can be said of nearly every scent on the market too!  Even the “positive” reviews of Sauvage don’t suggest it is especially pleasant smelling, if taken as a whole (the compliment-getter argument seems to be the most common in positive reviews, and again, such people tend to totally ignore the fact that a large percentage of the online fragrance community is clearly not interested in this facet of these concoctions).

By contrast, I have no idea what people who “belong” to certain demographics are seeking when they smell a fragrance emanating from certain other people, and I’ve pointed that out on multiple occasions.  My guess is that there is a desire for “the new,” even when the new in such instances is simply the excessive use of an aroma chemical that is ubiquitous!  When I smell a fragrance on someone I don’t know or only know in a professional capacity, my thought is often, “that smells nice,” but then less than a minute later I’m thinking that it’s at least somewhat cloying.  One recommendation I’ve made to those who wear such scents is to spray it on your back and let it dry for several minutes (so that it doesn’t scent your shirt too much).  At least using this technique you will likely experience it in a way similar to those walking by you.  In any case, I actually find Sauvage to be an interesting composition, and it may smell nice if pumped into the air in a store at the local mall, for example.  I would try diluting it as well as using it as a room spray if I had enough to create different concentrations, to see if there was any way I could wear it without being irritated by it at some point.

Getting back to the review, I don’t understand why someone would think that $90 for 100 ml of such a scent is “the going rate.”  How could someone not know about ebay, discounters, and the fact that a large number of new scents are put on the market each year?  And if you do know, then you have an ethical obligation to your readers (IMO) to explain why those $10 to $20 scents at the discounters or on ebay are apparently unwearable (not to mention some of the dollar store scents, which aren’t all bad).  He ends it by saying it’s “great bang for the buck.”  Really?  Didn’t you make it sound like a terrible “bang for the buck” in your description of it?  I can understand someone not wanting to buy ambroxan and then just adding it to an existing scent he thinks is too weak to create his own version of Sauvage (or not knowing that a scent with quite a bit of ambroxan exists and is really cheap, that is Playboy’s Berlin, which I prefer) – but how can you not know that you can find scents at the discounters that are less expensive and considerably better than a “piercing synthetic alcohol musk-ish odor?”  I’d certainly prefer to wear a scent (or two, or three) that I can find at the dollar store rather than a “piercing synthetic alcohol musk-ish odor,” that’s for sure!

Then we are told that he would pay perhaps three times as much for a niche version of Sauvage, but what would that be?  Ambroxan is meant to add the complex qualities of ambergris, but to get that amount of ambergris in a scent (to replicate the strength of Sauvage) it might cost ten times as much if not more!  And if not ambergris, what do you want a hypothetical niche company to use in place of the ambroxan in Sauvage?  If you want a “niche version” of Sauvage I suggest trying Horizon, though that is more like the vintage designer version of Sauvage, considering its complexity.  But what is this person smelling in Sauvage that he would want replicated in a more “natural smelling” scent?  Notice that he did not specify one natural smell in the description!  This is yet another thing I find quite odd in this review.  Seeking a “niche version” of a nondescript smell that dries down to a “piercing synthetic alcohol musk-ish odor” doesn’t make sense to me, but perhaps it demonstrates that some people have unrealistic notions about what niche companies can accomplish.  And what about all the other designer scents selling for similar prices – why even consider buying Sauvage when you must know there are a large number of other scents available to you and released by the “major” companies?  Why settle for a “piercing synthetic alcohol musk-ish odor?”


NOTE:  A very different kind of odd review was this Fragrantica one for Jaguar:

“Worth Buying.
I am a well versed and frequent buyer of perfumes.
Please read my comments on other perfumes before any critisism.”

What are we to make of this?  A 7/10 doesn’t sound that special, nor does the “worth buying.”  Is it worth buying for someone who is looking for something nondescript, but inexpensive?  Or is it worth buying to those who like these kinds of scents?  Or something else?  And are we supposed to read his other reviews in order to understand what his Jaguar review means?


NOTE #2:  Some people seem to think they can call people “trolls” because they state an opinion the person doesn’t like.  This often appears to be a substitute for “hater,” perhaps because the person realizes how silly the hater claim is when it involves someone stating an opinion about an olfactory concoction (and the supposed hater isn’t even saying anything hateful!).  In fact, to know for sure if someone is trolling one would have to be a mind reader, and I’d guess that if Socrates were alive today many would call him a troll for saying the same kinds of things he said in ancient Greece!  No, you are not trolling simply because someone gets upset when he/she doesn’t agree with your opinion.  That person is the one with “the problem.”

NOTE #3:  At least one person has questioned the prices at which I obtain fragrances, yet all one needs to do is to go to sites like ScentedMonkey once in a while or take a quick look on ebay a few times a day!  My advice: wait for the deals to come to you, so to speak.  Unfortunately, too many seem to buy in an impulsive way, but that’s not my fault!  I think many simply don’t have a good understanding of the psychological components involved with these kinds of purchases.  A good example is Eau de Iceberg Amber for Men, which I have written about here, on Basenotes.net, and at Fragrantica.  It is like a light version of Ambre Sultan but with a rum note and a bit of ambroxan added (the Sandalwood one is the same price, still available, and quite good as well).  More than a month after I began writing about it, it’s still less than $9 for 100 ml at ScentedMonkey!  I think for such people one should simply reference the old saying about the “gift horse’s” mouth.

UPDATE:  One blogger seems to disagree with everything I’ve had to say above, which is fine.  That’s a major reason for blogs to exist, that is, to state one’s opinion.  I am confident in my opinions, though I’m certainly not always correct, but what’s interesting to me is that some people seem to want to argue what one might call “semi-facts.”  I’ll address this one passage in particular:

“This suggests that Dior Sauvage enthusiasts are possibly unaware of the existence of eBay, discount grey market sites, and the ever-rising tide of new perfumes that flood our shores each season, which is not a very realistic comment, in my opinion. But he continues to be hung up on price, price, price. He thinks it’s absurd that anyone would accept Dior’s asking price for Sauvage, at what he contends is $90 (I’ve seen it for $85 here in Connecticut, and can’t comment on the rate elsewhere). ”

First note that I say things like “$90 or so,” which is based upon what I’ve seen (I haven’t been to a dept. store or a Sephora in years, for example).  That is a “semi-fact” at this point in time – you are not going to pay much less for the 100 ml Sauvage EdT bottle, unless your friend gives you a bottle, you get it as a gift, or perhaps you are “lucky” to obtain one on ebay for a “good” price.  I just checked ebay and a 100 ml bottle described as 70% full sold for $59.97 on June 20, 2016, for example.  Since my past comments have been mostly about Sauvage reviews in the early days of its release, why would anyone question the pricing (and it’s still “more or less” true today!)?  On more than one occasion, I’ve pointed to Playboy’s Berlin as a scent that one might compare to Sauvage on certain levels, the price for that one being less than $10 for 100 (in multiple places at different times, though I haven’t checked in a while because I already have a bottle; the difference in price here is huge, so it wouldn’t matter if Sauvage was selling for $70, as it would still be seven times “or so” more than Berlin!).

The many online reviews and posts that include statements like, “I just picked up a bottle of this great scent” must mean that these people paid full retail price or close to it.  That may not be a fact the way the spherical shape of the earth is, but I think most would agree it isn’t too far from it!  And what about all the other scents at the dept. stores?  Some of us, myself included, prefer the Mugler A*Men type of scent to the “fresh” and IMO “chemical” scents like Sauvage.  Why do so many write reviews of Savuage that make it seem like the choice is between Sauvage and a $300 “or so” niche scent?  They never seem to explain why they do this!  But I’m just pointing this out in the hopes that some of them will change their ways and be more specific.  Moreover,  I’m not the one “hung up on price,” but instead I was responding to reviewers who were saying things like, “you can’t expect more than this from a designer fragrance these days.”

A point that I made quite a while ago (and have kept making) is that these are just smells.  One might prefer a dollar store scent to the most expensive niche!  I wrote these things to try and inform people that there are plenty of great deals out there (even if you don’t go to yard sales!), if you just do some research and then go to the major sites every once in a while (my best deals in recent years have come from ebay, ScentedMonkey, and Amazon, in that order).  But of course they don’t have to listen to me – how many of them have read anything I’ve written on the subject?  I’m simply pointing some things out, which are either undeniably facts or probably should be regarded as such (“semi-facts”).  In a sense, it’s good when someone comes along and makes a terrible argument, because that can be used as “training wheels” for those who are beginning to think more and more critically about assumptions many hold (such as going to a dept. store to buy a “quality” fragrance).








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