On another fragrance blog, I was criticized (harshly; basically called stupid) for a statement I made in the Sauvage review page over at Fragrantica.com, so I’ll copy and paste that first, to provide the information necessary to go forward:
I can understand how some would enjoy this, or how they noticed many compliments (though those who tried it who I know personally said they didn’t like it at all), but you have to make a logical argument! Is this the only scent that garners compliments? The other day someone said that Mambo for Men was a great compliment-getter, for example, and buying that one instead of Sauvage will save you quite a bit of money. But let’s put money aside for a moment. ConsumerThis said: “Let’s just say it’s been a pleasure to watch that love bar pass up everything over the time…” If you enjoy Sauvage for whatever reason, why would you want to see a whole bunch of other people buying it? Do you want to smell like every other guy in your demographic? I think most people want to at least smell a bit unique when they spray on a scent. Instead, it seems like some people want to feel vindicated, as if when enough people online (and anonymous) say Sauvage is great, then that justifies paying more than you would have for Mambo, Berlin by Playboy, or any number of other “cheapos” that would make you smell more unique and might garner as many if not more compliments! And this leads me to think that many “Sauvage lovers” don’t have all that much experience, either will less expensive (non-department store) scents or with scents in general. If you disagree with me, please make a reasonable argument – I’m really interested to hear one at this point. Thanks.
I’m not sure what there is to criticize in this comment, but I have a feeling that some people have at least somewhat “lost their minds” with Sauvage, even those people who may not like it much, if at all! Why? At this point, all I can think of doing is listing relevant things that are facts or “semi-facts” (see my recent post about that, if you don’t know what I mean):
1. It can’t be argued that there is nothing like Sauvage because one can say that about any of these concoctions. What one can say is that a particular scent is quite odd, such as Secretions Magnifiques, but there are few such examples among designers. From what I can tell, Sauvage may have more ambroxan than any other scent marketed to the general public that also reaches a huge number of people (compared to say an obscure niche company). However, that’s not something the apologists seem to be highlighting in their “defense” of it.
2. It can’t be argued that Sauvage is less expensive than niche, making it some sort of bargain, because A. that’s not even true (50 ml Smell Bent scents are $50, last time I checked, for instance), and B. that would only matter to those who want a huge amount of ambroxan in a scent, and again, I can’t remember anyone making that argument (if there is one, that is obviously an “exception proving the rule” situation).
3. There are a huge number of scents that are very inexpensive and seem to have a similar construction and purpose, Berlin by Playboy being an obvious example. I don’t like Berlin much, which cost me around $5 for 100 ml, but I do think the very different Magnet for Men is quite enjoyable and an obvious “crowd pleaser,” with no “chemical overload” aspects – quite “natural smelling,” IMO, and that cost me around $7 for 100 ml. When it comes to the Sauvage type of scent (that is, with a clear marine quality), I’d rather wear Horizon, so that I at least get some vintage complexity and naturalness, for those interested.
4. If you enjoy Sauvage, that’s great, but it’s just one scent among perhaps 2,000 released just this last year alone! If you claim that you want to smell unique, how can you not consider several of the other hundreds of “masculines” released recently? You have to be content to “smell like every other guy.” That doesn’t bother me at all, though I just happen to rarely wear those kinds of scents. However, this does eliminate one major reason why people say they want to spend $80 or so (or more!) on a 100 ml bottle, rather than just using a deodorant and/or body spray (or “cheapo” EdT like Berlin) that “smells nice.”
5. If you don’t mind “smelling like every other guy,” that’s fine, but then why spend so much? Why not just get a scent that is an excellent “compliment getter” but is a lot cheaper? One reasonable response is that the person doesn’t want to spend the time doing the research, going to stores that might or might not have testers, etc., but again, I can’t remember one person saying something like, “I’ve heard all the online commentary, so I really wanted to try Sauvage, and when I did, I found that I liked it, and I really didn’t want to do any more testing or research at that point.” As things stand, it seems that “online hype,” or whatever one wants to call it (along with ignorance in many cases), is determinative for nearly all of the positive reviews, directly or indirectly.
Let’s face it, if you are the kind of person who reads/writes reviews or posts about these olfactory concoctions, then you have bought into “hype” to some degree (including myself), in some way, but that doesn’t mean at least some of these scents don’t deserve the hype! How many movies were you “hyped up” to see but then were quite disappointed? Or lived up to it? And for how many other things does this apply? This is a normal part of humanity, it seems. There’s nothing to be ashamed of here, unless you become obstinate and make claims that are clearly unsupportable. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to just go to the local mall and buy a scent at the department store fragrance counter – why not just leave it at that? Why feel that you need to go online and “defend” the scent? Dior must be making huge profits on it, so you don’t need to “help” them (so many seem to think that by praising Sauvage they are doing the equivalent of standing up to a bully!). Why not just let the scent speak for itself? Some people spend hundreds on a 100 ml (or less!) bottle and think it’s a great deal while others don’t want to spend more than perhaps $15 or $20 on such a bottle – if someone tells you that you might like a $5 bottle of Berlin, why not say something like, “thanks for the tip – if I can find a tester I will?” If Berlin is likely to “accomplish” more or less the same thing that Sauvage does, shouldn’t you be glad? Why reduce everything to some sort of illogical “zero sum game?” And if you took the time to write a review, you can take the time to explain your decision-making process!
If you haven’t read many of my recent posts, I’d like to mention here that it will be interesting to see what happens in the fragrance industry, because there are so many companies marketing inexpensive scents that are very similar to expensive ones (meaning around $80 or more at the local department stores) and are “good quality” (at least in the drydowns) one has to wonder if this all falls apart for the “major” companies. Of course, the success of Sauvage would seem to be evidence to the contrary and perhaps another variation on the old saying, “nobody ever went broke overestimating the stupidity of the American public.” It may be that the top notes are what closes the deal, so to speak, especially at department store counters (as some have said for a while now), but these days (with the internet resources available), the only thing stopping someone from most likely getting a great bargain is their desire to do something else instead of a bit of research.
NOTE: For an example of someone who seems to be the kind of person who would think that spending $80 on a 100 ml bottle of fragrance is ridiculous, there is this review of Trump’s Success on Amazon.com:
OK I’m not a huge fan of Trump ego but boy boy boy I know this fragrance here will get me alot of compliments from the ladies. I’m a huge cologne fan own over a 100 bottle this will most definitely be a signature scent. To put it bluntly it have a citrus blast of Nautica Discovery when you sniff yourself and then a crossover of Avon Driven Black if your familiar with those scents it’s in one here. I smell successful when you leave the room people will definitely know you been there…
I tried Driven Black a long time ago and didn’t think much of it, but in any case it sounds like Success might be similar to Cuba’s Silver Blue, which is selling for about $4 for 100 ml now at ScentedMonkey. I would have bought it but I can’t just buy every “cheapo” at this point or else I’d be tripping over these bottles! But even on this “cheapo” level there may be better deals – the “super cheapos” – it’s all about how much effort you want to put into it, and also there may be no testers available locally, meaning that you need to decide if you want to “risk” a blind buy. And so, as I’ve said before, you should just make your own decisions. Don’t think you need to justify your preferences or motivations when you buy a bottle. But if you feel the need to do this, consider making an argument that can withstand some scrutiny. Don’t assume everyone else shares your decision-making process. I know I’m likely “preaching to the converted,” but I’d like to make sure my views are clear on the subject.
UPDATE: Since my last post on the Sauvage review page at Fragrantica, nobody has written a review there that addresses my points. This review, written after my comment, is a good example of a “thoughtful” one that is worth examining:
There is nothing wrong with this fragrance but there is not groundbreaking either. it smell good but kind of generic after the initial blast calms down. Longevity and projection are both good which is a plus. However i think most people are disappointed with this fragrance because they expected more from a house that came out with the Fahrenheit and Dior Homme series. At the end of the day it serves it purpose though; an easy wearing fragrance that can be mass marketed. It has become quiet popular here in toronto as every department store i walk into is really pushing this one.
Of course I don’t agree that it is “easy wearing,” but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case for most of the “younger generation.” However, most importantly (in my view) is the notion that it “serves its purpose,” because that can be said of deodorants, body sprays, and much less expensive EdTs. So, again we encounter yet another reviewer who does not address the issue of price. Is he rich? Does he not have the time and/or motivation to do some research? We don’t know, but it’s really his responsibility to tell us if he’s going to make such statements.