Thursday, 24 July 2014

Review - Dior "Eau Sauvage Extreme"

You smell like my grandad.
Is that a compliment?
Yeah, he always smelt good.

I think that comment perfectly summarises ESX and I could do this as a brief review, however that doesn't really give you an idea of what the scent is like, so I shall continue.

It's musty, has some zesty citrus quality to it but predominantly quite a dry moss/wood/herb smell. This thing is potent, I mean 8 hours plus on the longevity, it's in the top end of my most potent fragrances. It doesn't have enormous projection however, which I see as a benefit; it lasts a long time and stays reasonably close to the body.

There's an odd note or two in here, a bit of funk, a little dash of something that gets up your nose like grit in a sandwich. That unexpected crunch that jolts you awake, it's Clint Eastwood grinding his teeth and squinting at the sun. I've spoken before in my review on M about how a bit of bad can smell good, and that's what I think happens here.

The composition is varied and dense. There are a lot of notes, mostly herby florals, botanical smelling pieces.  Lavendar and moss are classic 80's men's fragrance notes. Look at all these notes-


Lavendar, Rosemary, Bay Leaf, Coriander. You could probably use it to cook with.

They are incredibly dense, as if you took a load of cuttings from the herb garden, threw in some oakmoss to make everything quite dry and dusty with a bit of wood too and put it in a trash compactor machine so it spat out a tiny cube that was barely recognisable but has a new form now.


I am not saying the fragrance is garbage, far from it. This metaphor simply conveys how compacted the notes are together.

Online there are some haters but I think a lot of that comes from people wanting an extreme version of the original Eau Sauvage which this really isn't.

ESX is a lot darker in composition (Look at the bottle for a visual clue, like we saw with Fahrenheit 32) with substantial depth and substance whereas the original was much lighter and had only a few hours of life before vanishing.

There's a group of words I retain for certain fragrances of yesteryear, bearing in mind this is from 1984, and those words are suitable here - Mature, traditional, sophisticated, classic.

Maybe it's just these things because it's old, a good example of a typical 80's fragrance. A colleague said it "Just smelt like aftershave".

It has taken me a long time to appreciate ESX, you could say we have had our ups and downs. I bought a bottle fairly quickly but every so often I would wear it and think it boring, simple and dull generic aftershave, or too much going on.

That was my main complaint - it was too busy. It wasn't until months passed that I started to appreciate the complexity and the power in this scent. Much like a song I overlook on an album only to listen to occasionally and suddenly "get it" on the 20th time at which point it becomes a firm favourite.

It's for a serious man, a wrinkle faced man. A chewing tobacco in the office kind of man, perhaps a private detective who rolls his sleeves up and gets his shoes muddy.

Is the scent relevant today? 

No, I don't think it would be released today.
But I do think it is worthy of a place on the wall of classics.

Even after singing it's praises I do find the scent dated and I wear it more for personal intrigue.

As one might don a wig and flares to go to an 80's disco, in a similar fashion I reach for Eau Sauvage Extreme and wonder whether anyone on the train to work will appreciate it's classic 80's qualities, or simply be reminded of their grandfather...

Bonus comment-
This thing has a magnetic lid and that makes me happy; it's really satisfying to play with.

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