Reviews of Sagamore 
Lancôme (1985)

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Sagamore by Lancôme

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Reviews of Sagamore by Lancôme

There are 28 reviews of Sagamore by Lancôme.

I have smelled so many fragrances that came out of the mid-80s, and I have come to expect a certain character and sensibility. It was a time where masculine fragrance wasn't exactly equated with subtlety, and while there were some compelling and stunning fragrances at that time, they were often those which put a loveable braggadocio above charm and grace. There is however, Sagamore.

What a stirring composition, one that makes its presence known, but yields to its wearer. It is not flashy, but it does have panache. A chypre that conjures up the likes of Shalimar, Habit Rouge, Le Troisieme Homme de Caron, but somehow is more nuanced and ethereal than any of these. Take for instance the most dominant note of clary sage, which has subtle, almost tea-like facets that round off the lavender, petitgrain, and bergamot. The spices and florals in the heart are tempered with this styrax, vanilla, and sandalwood, and just when you think Sagamore has dried down to a whisper, its sillage returns and you're reminded of how nuance can help you appreciate the present all the more so, and to use your senses mindfully, moment by moment.

A stone cold stunner.

If you can find some of this,in Vintage, at an acceptable price, grab it. Sagamore follows a similar path as Bois du Portugal, Nicolai New York (and Intense), Chanel Pour Monsieur. The bloom of the heart is a little softer and dry down is closest to 80's Vintage PM.
It runs a little warmer than all of these.
For me Pour Monsieur Vintage 80's and back edges out all the others by it's timelessness.
The others tend to be for the Older set.

*This is a review of original formula vintage Sagamore.

Sagamore opens with significant aromatic lavender, infused with just a touch of light sanitized jasmine before moving to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart, the lavender vacates as a green geranium tinged rose and carnation floral tandem takes the fore with trace hints of the sanitized jasmine remaining in faint support, joined by mossy-green oakmoss rising from the base. During the late dry-down the composition turns decidedly green as the florals vacate, leaving the oakmoss to take claim as the focus through the finish with remnants of the sharp, green geranium to add a balancing additional lighter green touch. Projection is average but longevity excellent at well over 12 hours on skin.

Sagamore (vintage) has built a legion of fans over the years, and when coupled with its mid-80s release a blind buy seemed a relatively low risk endeavor. Now wearing the composition many times over on skin, the assumed low-risk has proved true - Sagamore is a winner. There are a lot of winners from the great 80s (my favorite decade for perfumery), so the *real* question is whether Sagamore stands out from the already strong field of its 80s peers, and that is much less of a "sure thing." The composition does not particularly smell complex or innovative to this writer... It is a well-crafted classically structured green aromatic all the way with a significant floral heart. Indeed the rose and carnation florals found in the composition's heart are probably the best thing about it, with the oakmoss and geranium keeping the "green" motif throughout. Once the florals vacate, the late dry-down smells good, but far from superior to so many others of its time. The bottom line is the $120+ per 50 ml bottle on the aftermarket original formula Sagamore impresses, but the "very good" 3.5 stars out of 5 rated composition doesn't really distinguish itself from its generally excellent peer group except in its higher cost, yielding a somewhat hesitant but positive recommendation to vintage 80s perfume lovers.

Sagamore is a grubby funk of bay rum and bodies.
But not being content with a spicy shebeen, it heads to an Ambery-soft boudoir.

Sagamore feels like the inspiration behind Havana; and also Cuba - but there you stay in a dirty drinking den.

If new Sagamore is the same as the old brown bottle, I can't say: but if Havana to you is like rum to Long John Silver, you probably want to start digging up this buried treasure.

Note: Review is of the 'current' version.

I haven't tried the vintage version of Sagamore, but based on reviews and comments I have some idea of what it can be like. The version of Sagamore I have tried from my sample is the re-release. This is completely at odds with descriptions of the vintage I've read. Even if a perfume is stripped of oakmoss, there remains the skeleton essence - as is evident in the overwhelming majority of reformulations. Sagamore smells completely different, with vague, soft spices and florals (jasmine) over an indistinctive base of woods and musk. It is what I imagine Le 3me Homme de Caron would smell like if diluted to 40% and considerably cheapened. Both sillage and duration are sub par.


Lovable precursor to Beyond Paradise and Zanzibar.

Lancome's Sagamore comes off as a dewey, bamboo-like iteration of a citrus and sandalwood fragrance. It is slightly grassy like Japanese green tea and blobby and indistinct in texture in the way that over-blended mall counter scents from back in the day such as the men's Lauder line are. It smells out of focus, if that makes any sense. This is not a dynamic juice for extroverts and night club hopefuls, but rather a comfortable, contemplative creation for taking one's day slowly. I can't help but wonder if CK Truth for Men was intended to be a retelling of the same tale using modern ingredients?

This one isn't likely to wow anybody but if you're looking for a watercolor sandalwood that smells vaguely of melon you will be quite pleased with it.

The perfect song to describe this would be Mizuiro no Machi (watercolor town) by Spitz.

The version of Sagamore I'm sampling (which I think is vintage, but not original) is predominantly an oak moss fragrance, in the same way vintage Chanel Pour Monsieur is. This might be a slightly swampier oak moss than Chanel Pour Monsieur, but hardly different. I'm not sure I could tell this apart from Chanel Pour Monsieur.

I might have a sample of Chanel Pour Monsieur labeled as Sagamore. I'm certainly not smelling any benzoin, and the references to Tiffany for Men make no sense to me.

I haven't tried the new version of Sagamore; I am familiar with the vintage version in the brown bottle.

That being said...Sagamore by Lancôme didn't impress me. Maybe I would have been more interested by it back in 1986 when it was launched. But I'd tested an already old bottle around 2005, and it was a short-lived, flat wood and spice potion that I couldn't connect to. A pity, as I am usually drawn to notes such as benzoin, bergamot, sage, lavender, moss and vetiver; but while I wasn't repulsed by Sagamore, I was just left thinking, Whatever.

Next! :^I

Sagamore is an impeccable floral cyphre with a well-judged oriental component. Absolutely top quality ingredients. After a somewhat bright lavender/floral opening and heart, we get a very literal mossy cyphre structure in the base.

There's a strong connection to Caron's Third Man through the floral heart of jasmine and lavender, but where Third Man verges toward a sweetened fougere base, Sagamore goes for a deep mossy cyphre profile, augmented just the right about with amber and possibly a drop of civet. Much like Third Man, a butter smooth, fantastic lavender note is along for the ride through most of the evolution.

Projection and longevity leaves a bit to be desired, but this is a case where outright quality trumps performance. If you want to know what a great masculine cyphre smells like, look no further.

Stardate 20170109:

Citrus up top with florals and a SW/Ambery/Tonka base. Quality composition. What is not to like.
It is in same vein as Tiffany for Men, Chanel PM Concentree, Bugatti
If you had to choose from this genre I would say go for Sagamore or Bugatti.

Quite a peculiar scent, mostly considering the years it dates to. The opening is powerful and vibrant, with aldehydes, oak moss, a slight animalic heart and patchouli, with floral (rose, jasmin, lavender) and balsamic-mossy vibes, slightly and elegantly citrusy too. Powerful but bright with a nice and unusual floral-ambery heart. It's Lancome and it was the '80s, so quality is top notch. Basically it is a delicate, masculine chypre with a feminine heart, more discreet and refined than other fougères, with a dusty and silky roundness and a dense floral heart. As the amber accord emerges better it quickly evolves into a beautiful, delicate but warm amber-centered scent, at the same time raw and a bit earthy but "powdery", with a classic lavender-citrus accord that still keeps it "classic". The persistence is sadly a bit short, and also overall is not a "powerhouse" in terms of projection, but overall it smells quite modern, creative, atypical and peculiar considering the era. Surely worth a try!


First of all, Sagamore and Programme Homme are NOT the same fragrance --- not even close. I own both, so I can easily compare. Sagamore is a fresh and spicy oriental very much like Chanel's classic Pour Monsieur, and according to H&R's Fragrance Guide, contains many of the same components, although clearly in different proportions.

The notes for Sagamore are listed as:

Top: Bergamot, lemon, petitgrain, clary sage, lavender
Middle: Carnation, jasmine, geranium, cinnamon, ginger, rose, muguet
Base: Patchouli, vanilla, sandalwood, amber, styrax, benzoin, musk

In contrast, Programme Homme is a green citrus composition that more closely resembles Halston 1-12 or Grey Flannel. Sagamore is subtle and sophisticated, but lasts a good long time on my skin, and works equally well for business, casual, or evening wear. It's a timeless, understated fragrance that deserves to be more widely known.

The top note contains a floral jasmine-lavender note with a bit of citrus.  In the drydown the florals are blended into a mixture of rose, cinnamon, vanilla and a touch of spice, all combined to a well-composed blend that due to the focused use of a nice musk aroma is a bit more creative than many other similar scents.   After the first couple of hours silage and projection are limited, but overall longevity is excellent, lasting over six hours on me.  A very nice well-balanced fragrance.

Mossy green Bergamot. similar to many other fragrances...Smells like the 70's, Nothing special. I'll Pass on this one.

Updated: Lancome Sagamore represents the quintessential masculine chypre's historical "puressenza", a fragrance that (at least in its vintage formulation which I've tested on skin) smells definitely "niche", glorious, distinguished and natural (something ideally conjugating a classic-modern Caron a la Pour Un Homme with a recent La Via del Profumo's Tabac or Cologne de l'Empereur, passing through the classics Pour Monsieur Chanel, Tiffany for Men, Dunhill For Men, Oleg Cassini, Balenciaga Ho Hang, Knize Ten or the more recent New York by Nicolai and Creed Bois du Portugal). Sagamore is founded on a central soapy/aromatic-chypre accord of lemon-lavender (vaguely barber-shop), soapy oakmoss, balsams, powdery woods, exotic vetiver and probably leather. Along the way I detect that typically talky-aromatic and soapy/lemony freshness we have historically enjoyed in Chanel Pour Monsieur, Knize Ten (but here in to a far more leathery/incensey-barber-shop vest) and (on a certain extent - as well as ideally reducing in intensity bergamot and the lemony hesperides) in classic oriental/semi oriental creations a la Grosmith Phul-Nana or Penhaligon's Hammam Bouquet. Surely many glorious chypre-accords jump random on my nostalgic mind while I'm ideally retracing the history (in its glorious steps) of classic perfumery. The fragrance architecture is basically classic and more than vaguely decadent with its luxurious and almost baroque woody-ambery royal twist. The "baroque" facets last just a limited time under my disreputable nose (it's for a while like catching a sort of decadent and vaguely honeyed/waxy amber-patchouli flanked by restrained floral notes as rose and carnation). I agree on the point that a freshly hesperidic "molecular" initial lavender (not so distant from the one we enjoy in the classic Chanel Pour Monsieur) gives the illusion of a typically fougere's aromatic spark and surely I detect a sort of freshly talky-herbal-hesperidic drier background behind a typical woody-soapy chypre structure (more typically woody and soapy). Oakmoss provides in here musky soapiness indeed and hints of soft leather manage to enhance this (in here vaguely talky-musky) feel. Sagamore's dry down is pure class and discreet distinction with its dry-soapy exotic spark of cool vetiver, talky roots, sharp balsams, still projecting lavender, dosgy (almost ghostly) florals and suede. Excellent.

My old review: Another Classic. Starts herbal and bergamot-lavender prominent with aromatic facets, sharply floral (carnation-geranium?) and spicy nuances before sliding down towards a sort of lemony and silky suede with woodsy and slightly powdery undertones. Old-school and slightly laundry (toilette kind), really mossy, smooth and musky boise. This dry down is pure heaven with its silky-ambery and woodsy fluidity. In spite of its (barely) oriental nature the juice keeps to go on averagely cool (better un-warm) and discreet. Unfortunately lasts just a short while on my skin. A great one anyway.

The crossroads of the masculine chypre, where the chypre meets the traditionally male virtues of perfumery doesn't create anything revolutionary but it does give us some brilliant and eminently wearable perfumes. Here's how it works. The chypre is a genre defined by structure: bergamot, cistus, oakmoss. It's the organic chemistry of perfumery: a staggering number of possibilities, an enormous range of outcomes. Masculines fragrances (fragrances made for and marketed to men) are a genre defined by sensibility, specifically timidity. Masculine perfumes are generally Less Than. Perfumer Bernard Chant, known for having created two of the most bad-assed chypres in history, Grès Cabochard and Clinique Aromatics Elixir, describes the tendency. “Men, for a long time, have been afraid to use something too different. They will accept only small departures, small new steps.” 1 Broad strokes here, but fragrances for men are typically diminished versions of women's perfumes, whether in concept, composition or both. An unintended consequence though is that in a thoughtfully considered masculine chypre, Less Than can also mean deliberation, nuance and careful editing.

Take the implicit chiaroscuro of the chypre--its ability to hold opposing ideas in check without blurring or blending. Ask it to speak more conversationally than the dramatic, loud feminine chypres (eg. Estee Lauder's Azuree, Scherrer's Scherrer, Miss Dior.) The result is nuanced fragrances that center on juxtaposition but not outright conflict. Carthusia Numero Uno (sharp but smooth.) Guerlain's Coriolan (handsome and pretty.) Hermes's Equipage (cozy but aloof.) Perhaps the best examples of this 'taming' effect can be seen in the Lauder men's/women's versions of the same fragrance. Aramis 900, an herbal, rose chypre is a quieter, scaled-back version of Clinique's Aromatic Elixir. Similarly, Aramis's Devin is a smoother, less jagged take on Lauder's Alliage. In most cases, diminishing a fragrance to make it palatable to a masculine ego would make me cynical, but I'm upbeat about these chypres. They seem more tailored than butchered. The tailoring imparts a quiet richness that doesn't so much say manly as gentlemanly.

At the top of the chypre heap has always been Chanel's Pour Monsieur. It's held out as the most calibrated, least adorned chypre. Bright but shadowy, citrus/mossy at the start, ambery/sweet and warm later in the day. It reads as strong in that it has a bold, simple overall shape but it has minimal sillage and therefore doesn't seem forceful. It's the pitch-perfect hybrid of clarity from the chypre and the deliberately short reach of the masculine. My only problem with Pour Monsieur is it appears to have suffered at the hands of IFRA induced reformulation. It seems faded. It's like the eau de cologne version of an extrait. At its best it comes off as a tease.

There are plenty of other great men's chypres available. De Nicolai's New York bridges the chypre and oriental genres, winding up with the best of each. [Caveat: I've just smelled a current bottle, a whispy orange cologne. If it is a true example of the current NY, it is a fatal reformulation.] Aramis by Aramis and Caron's Yatagan match a chypre base to bold elements like leather, woods and herbs. Etro has the quietly odd yet endearing Palais Jamais, a rubbery, smoky chypre that uses birch tar and bergamot to conjure Earl Grey tea. The cologne-style chypres for men, similar in construction to Chanel pour Monsieur, tend to find an easy balance of the two genres: bright and citrusy (cologne) and skin-scent muskiness (chypre). This appears to have been an ideal of the French mid-20th century masculines, evidenced by Monsieur de Givenchy, Eau d'Hermès and the underestimated Rochas Moustche. All three have a more contemporary English counterpart, Miller Harris's Terre de Bois, which could be seen as a nouveau chypre with a vetiver base.

And then there's Lancome's Sagamore. My current favorite men's chypre. Lavender gives Sagamore a sort of fougère camouflage that it sheds in the topnotes. After that it shows the best of the masculine/chypre hybrid. It balances glassy sharpness with quiet. It's distinguished and identifiable, but keeps very close to the skin. It has a sharp floral-herbal edge that gives a cool soapiness. Sagamore shows a complexity, an armful notes of fairly equal intensity and density. It's not muddled, it's complex and deliberate. Its winning quality is an unfussy ambiguity. It was reissued as the only masculine in Lancome's La Collection line. Where Pour Monsieur's lightness is the unfortunate result of reformulation, Sagamore's quiet is intentional and suits the cool, crystalline quality. Sagamore is the anti-dandy and exemplifies the best of the classic gentlemanly chypres. For the man who wants to wear an exquisite fragrance while still following the masculine maxims of discretion/valor and speak softly/big stick, try Sagamore. It's discontinued but still available if you search.

It's as if backdoor was written into male gender software and the masculine chypre is accepted along with the worst of the blanched aquatics, loud/bland aromatic fougère and limp woodies. However it's avoided the gender censor, the masculine chypre lineage has managed to survive to the present and proves that masculine fragrance has more to add to the world than fresh, sport and cool.

1Bernard Chant, The Challenge of Creativity (a lecture given to the British Society of Perfumers, 11/11/82

Try as I might, I just can't bring myself to like Sagamore. I've grown to love late-70's mossy green chypres, and Sagamore clearly owes them a debt of gratitude, but it's fantastic blend of forest-floor moss and rich earthy patchouli is buried under an unpleasant top of dank bergamot and overwrought lavender that feels somehow sour (as in sour milk) or like spoiled vinegar.

I reserve the right to change this review of it turns out that my sample has gone bad, but I'd much rather cross over to the 70's green feminines like J'ai Ose or Vent Verte, or even just have fun in modern moss-centric scents like Byredo's Green or TF's Moss Breches than spend any more time trying to convince myself to enjoy Sagamore, which seems to me to do what they do, but not as well. Sorry...

The following is for Programme Homme, which some claim is the same fragrance:

This starts off as a fairly traditional aromatic fougere of the 1980s, possibly closest to Azzaro Pour Homme. That lasts for a couple of hours. What sets it apart is how nicely blended it is, relative to others of this genre, because it has that "manly" quality without becoming irritating in any way. After a couple of hours it gradually transitions into a a superb base that clearly has some casstoreum. There is clearly a strong spice element as well, along with a musk note. It's definitely not sweet especially sweet at this point, but it's also not really dry, and the fougere element from the top continues in a sunbdued way. After a couple more hours, it goies int a sweeter and softer direction, still with fougere elements and the castoreum present. Then a couple hours later, it smell a lot like Acteur at the same point in development, which is dry, woody, slightly powdery, floral, and with a touch of sweetness. I prefer this to vintage Antaeus, for example, because I view that as more of a "mansweat" fragrance, whereas Programme has more complexity and dynamism. One Man Show, on the other hand, has more distinct notes, but is far cruder (especially up top), with inferior blending (and likely inferior ingredients).

Some have said this is identical to Sagamore. The notes to that one are listed as:

"Top notes are lavender, clary sage, petit grain, bergamot and lemon; middle notes are carnation, ginger, cinnamon, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, rose and geranium; base notes are sandalwood, amber, patchouli, musk, benzoin, vanilla and styrax."

However, if Sagamore does not contain castoreum, then I can't imagine these two being identical. Also, Programme seems to have an anisic quality in the top notes. Otherwise, the notes could be the same. It certainly seems that Programme has patchouli, a wood note, geranium, and florals. Ginger and cinnamon seem right as well. So, Programme goes from being a little rough (for a couple hours), in the typical aromatic fougere way, to being a kind of fougere/Oriental hybrid, with a soft, complex, dynamic base. Projection/"sillage" varies, from being strong at first to being more of a skin scent seven or so hours later.

Although classified as a Chypre, vintage Sagamore seems more lika a cross between a spicy fougere and a citrus chypre. The fragrance has elements from both families and the combination is solid in the way that 80`s fragrance used to be. The first moments of the fragrance are typical from that era, starting with a huge lavender note, followed by some bitter citrus aromas. Something mossy, but without being dirty, seems to appear on the beginning already, but isn`t the dominant note, as the fragrance develops to a spicy and powdery heart. The cinnamon is evident. although not so much because it`s very blended with the carnation. I cannot pick the flowers on this one, they seem more like a powdery floral aroma, that unfold gradually a kind of vanilla-tonka accord at the base, do in the old style, withouth smelling gourmand but adding a subtle sweetness to the ambered musky base. Classy and elegant, the kind of fragrance that unfortunately was abandomned by most of men.

Sagamore smells at first like Tiffany for Men and Chanel pour Monsieur were locked in a room and told to fight it out. It starts out rather sweet and oriental. After things settle down a bit it shows us its true nature, which is more of a chypre than an oriental. As the initial sweetness subsides it reveals a lovely lavender, citrus and aromatic herbal element which is blended on top of both a floral and spicy heart. There is a jasmine, geranium, rose, muget and carnation center blended with cinnamon, ginger, geranium, clove and pimento notes. The ever present base is a sensual accord of vanilla, musk, benzoin, styrax, sandalwood, patchouli. Sagamore is one complex and elegant scent. It's easy to over apply. I don't understand the reviews which call it a light citrus scent at all. It is a real serious oriental/chypre, and an excellent one at that.

If I had to pair this with a person description it would have been "funky old guy". As foetidus says the opening is quite unique. Like smelling two scents at the same time. It felt like my head was banging inside a glass bell. First thoughts: this has gone bad! But no. This is it This is just wild composition. Different notes running wild on your skin for the first five minutes, competing for domination of your nostrils. Something tart peaking its head every now and then. And then it all calms down to a peppery, woody, powdery delight. What is really striking is how such a classic base can pair so beautifully with such an individualistic opening.

A fragrance came up to me and said I'd like to poison your mind.With strong aromas that appeal to you though I am not unkind.It looked at me I looked at something written across its cap.And these are the words that it faintly said as I tried to call for help.Dry. Woodsy. Lemony. Powdery at the end.

There are two movements going on concurrently in the opening that make the opening quite an elegant and complex presentation: first the lavender / citrus combination which has been fairly typical of many fragrances; second, the nutmeg / sage combination whose juxtaposition with the lavender / citrus accord deeply enriches the total impact of the opening – it's remarkably rich… and long lasting. The flow to the middle accord is so smooth that it's hard pinpointing the transition. I know that I reach the middle accord when I realize I'm smelling florals – soft florals where the usual flowery emanations have been refined to a masculine floral texture. It's sensual and elegant at the same time, and it, too, lasts. The base is a multi-noted accord typical of the times, but done even better than most. It is a well-refined amber, wood, musk and styrax accord… balanced, masculine, and as rich as the accords in the previous levels of the fragrance. Sagamore is beautiful. It is one of the most tasteful and elegant of the deep, rich, woody masculine amber Orientals of its time. It is soft enough for it to be easily be worn today if applied lightly: A great one from the past that works in the present.

Lancome Sagamore(Vintage version): My First impression of wearing this scent was that of wearing a talcum powder, which wasn't very sweet. The only hint of sweetness are in it's opening notes where soft notes of lime peel and herbs peek thru the dense, powdery accords of Lavender..a lavender so rich, one could feel it's grittiness, feel it sway, almost taste it. there is a very raw use of Civet here which cuts of any hint of freshness in the scent. kinda gives it a very masculine accord. As the lavender tones down a bit, the notes of lime are much more clearer, although, it's not bright, or sparkling, it smells like dried lemon peel. the framework of this scent is quite obviouly like Chanel Pour Monsieur, which makes me think of the Impact Chanel PM had on the perfumery. Sagamore continues to be a green, citrus based chypre in it's heart notes reminding one of Chanel PM, the only difference, it's not as bright and fresh if you may. Sagamore settles down to a much more relaxed note of vetiver with hints of patchouli and lovely accord of sandalwood...oh how i miss such accords in basenotes..especially the use of sandalwood. This could very easily be a daily wear and is not as gothic as one would imagine. it;s a gritty, citrus base scent which is dirtied up a bit yet, Smells a million bucks or more. People who like Chanel Pour Monsieur type of scents should definitely put this one on their wishlist.

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