When talking about fragrances that have changed the direction of the perfume industry, Dior’s Eau Sauvage will inevitably come up in conversation. Created in 1966 by perfume pioneer, Edmond Roudnitska, Eau Sauvage shares a similar structure to Coty’s Le Chypre (1917). In his modern approach to Chypre’s citrus, animal and moss notes Roudnitska’s Eau Sauvage is often praised for its use of the buttery jasmine molecule dihydrojasmonate, also known as Hedione, a name given by the molecule’s designer, Firmenich. By using this molecule Roudnitska was able to extend the life of the citrus notes as well as incorporate jasmine into a men’s cologne, something that was not common in 1966. Eau Sauvage is an all time favourite and a great example of a timeless scent. In 2007 Dior launched a third variation in limited release. Eau Sauvage Fraicheur Cuir is an edition that had been adapted by Francois Demachy. He is now responsible for the house’s fragrances and various other LVMH perfume projects. Eau Sauvage’s elegant 1960s bottle design is retained. Only the label colour has changed from silver to brown, reflecting the leather aspect of this limited edition that has since been withdrawn from stores but can still be found online.
Demachy is respectful in his approach to this iconic formula. The essence of the original Eau Sauvage has not been altered. The classic citrus notes are still there. Once they dissolve Demachy’s influence takes center stage. Demachy takes a highlighter pen to Hedione in his formula. There’s really no escaping it once the citrus notes disappear. The jasmine Demachy has created is rich and buttery with hints of gardenia. He takes out the heady sweet character jasmine is known for in favour of a jasmine that is soapy and fresh. Dior describes Fraicheur Cuir as having a soft tonality ‘supple as a pair of kid gloves’. Obviously the scent of leather is not created by steam distillation of Dior handbags, it is up to the perfumer’s creative mind to recreate the scent of leather. Often this is done by mixing smoky woods such as birch or cade with phenols, iris and musk. Fraicheur Cuir’s leather is less phenolic (smell of disinfectant or creosote). It is a refined woody amber note that can be fully appreciated once the floral heart has evaporated. Fraicheur Cuir can be a little clumsy as it progresses through its different notes. Overall it is an interesting take on Eau Sauvage and fans may like to have this option on hand to alternate between the original, which should be a perfume staple in every gentleman’s wardrobe.
Eau Sauvage Fraicheur Cuir is for the man that has an appreciation for arts and culture; he looks to the past more than the future. He does not feel the need to set trends and is happy to follow directions by those he respects. This is an excellent fragrance for men over 30 and a nice contrast on dark skin. Eau Sauvage has a large female following and I don’t see why this version would not be the same. If anything the heightened floral notes would attract an even larger female fan base.
Christian Dior Eau Sauvage, Acqua Di Parma Colonia Assoluta, Lubin Gin Fizz, Christian Dior Diorella, Bvlgari Pour Homme, Creed Green Irish Tweed, Guerlain Eau De Guerlain
Perfumer: Francois Demachy
Bottle designer: Pierre Dinand, Pierre Camin
Release date: 2007
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Dry Woods