On the trail of Sauvage

Love it or loathe it, the behemoth that is Sauvage didn't spring from nowhere, it was a long time coming.
I've been tracing the origins of Sauvage and I've found another footprint on the trail.

Using the (none too reliable) note listings, it's possible to pick out the features that give Del Mar and the all pervasive blockbuster their family resemblance.
Breaking it down into categories - to make comparisons easier - we find a number of similar notes, and this also works for Chanel's bid for the Spiky Woods crown, Bleu.

First of all there's citrus : which works if you allow bergamot as citrus (it's also aromatic and resiny) - Del Mar;
mandarin - Bleu; and elemi -Sauvage (which isn't strictly a citrus but it smells like one).
The second group is a spicy note : cinnamon and cardamom (which is also aromatic); pink pepper; and then three different peppers in Sauvage!

The citrus and spice elements are then paired with cedar - which forms the core of the fragrance.
This classic masculine combo is then completed by a group of woody and amber notes that form the bedrock of the composition; vetiver, patchouli, sandal (which isn't listed in Del Mar but it smells like it), labdanum, ambergris / ambroxan.
All three perfumes are based around these same building blocks. Their colour and size may vary but they are basically the same structure.

Obviously, they aren't going to smell the same. The biggest difference is between Del Mar (2005), and Bleu and Sauvage (2010 , 2015), with Del Mar feeling like a Spiky Woods 'en herbe' - unfinished, in training. The piquancy is there but subdued, and in sillage it presents a sweet synthetic-aromatic and slightly powdery trail. Not as spiky as Sauvage, but the spikiness and the dark base are there if you search for them. Some readers may be glad to know that Del Mar is nowhere near as loud as Sauvage.

You could say that - without the aggression - Del Mar is a pre-teen Spiky Woods. I'd like to say it's all the better for its mild demeanour, but it's not.
Without the cohones of Sauvage, Del Mar is a bit sappy and boring.

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