Fumes in the News: What Stinks, Johnny Depp?

Johnny Depp: he who smelt it, dealt it.

Deep in the Mojave, Johnny Depp is rolling down his sleeves after fixing a flat on his Volvo 245 DL. Suddenly, a mephitic odor assails his handsome, kohl-rimmed nostrils.

What the...?”

Johnny's brow crumples into furrows, his mouth into a moue as he strains to identify the source of the stench.

Roadkill? The sun-ripened remains of a coyote's dinner? A faulty septic tank behind a meth cook's trailer?

He urgently scans the landscape. His forelock swishes, then stills to a quiver with the dawning of the horrible truth.

“Christ. It's me!”

Johnny had forgotten he'd accepted a token spritz of that Dior cologne when he shot the ad a week ago.

“Goddamn! Now I have to take a shower.”

The folks behind the campaign for Christian Dior's latest men's fragrance have a wicked sense of humor. Apparently, no amount of skull jewelry and talismanic tattoos can protect their spokesmodel from the pure, “this stinks!” effect of Sauvage. And the truth is written all over Johnny's face.

Can you blame him? Sauvage is a backwash spat from an unholy mouthful of three indifferent men's colognes. Despite the name, Sauvage bears no family resemblance to the sunny, relaxed elegance of Eau Sauvage, and little indication that it belongs to a brand that has produced other such iconic masculines.

For Dior is a house of legendary perfumes, like the elegant chocolate cash of Dior Homme and the petroleum leather mystery of Fahrenheit, which both smell good -- and have personality. By dispiriting contrast, Sauvage is an ugly, sneezy, featureless bunch of yuck. A spicy aerosol apple. A duty-free mistake.

59 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I do enjoy the truth in (wrinkled nose) advertising.

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  2. If you ask me, he could do with binning those bangles while he's working on the scrubber.

    Thank goodness the Mojave is home to the Tehachapi wind farm. With a bit of luck the 1200 or so turbines will shift the stink in time.

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    1. It'll take the whole wind farm. This thing lingers.

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  3. You know what he's burying out there in the desert with his shovel.

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  4. It's like, you're writing to me specifically. Genuine chuckle at "Sauvage is a backwash spat from an unholy mouthful of three indifferent men's colognes"

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  5. MyMickers and Daver from the Fragrance Bros are going to post a Youtube video response to your article tomorrow, Katie.

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    1. Sauvage is loud, annoying and goes on forever without there being any quality to its content. I can see why Mymickers likes it: it's like one of his reviews.

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    2. I have a small collection of 120 bottles, out of which 95% are designer and the rest niche. I do have to say that being now part of Fragcomm for the last 4 years and having experienced more than 300 plus scents (as sampling them on my skin) I do have to say that this although "Generic, Pedestrian, and Uneventful it is a bottle full of Joy.

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    3. With your experience, David, you're a good person to ask about this. I totally get that some days one just wants to wear something uneventful, something not too demanding, that one doesn't have to think about.

      But I find Sauvage *very* demanding, in that it smells like clashing aromachemicals turned up to 11.

      Where is the joy for you? Don't you find, for instance, the Prada flankers and the Hermes flankers nicer smelling and more pleasurable to wear than this?

      Thanks for sharing your insights!

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  6. I'd always assumed the turned up nose was a response to a stinking piece of Andouillette

    http://i.imgur.com/e3IRUGR.png

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    1. Ohhhhhhhhhh...I had the (informative) misfortune of eating a mouthful of Andouillette recently. Why? WHY?

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  7. The awfulness of Sauvage is beyond words, so I shan't write any more.
    Eau Sauvage is a jewel: bright, shiny, precious and sensual. IMHO.

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  8. I trust you completely, Katie, so why am I even more compelled to try this after reading your review?

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    1. The mark of a True Fumehead, Randy, is that bad reviews excite even more interest than good ones. My pen pal Dan can attest to that.

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  9. You are hilarious, loved thos piece! LBARTON

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  10. too funny...volvo 245 DL... lol

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  11. What is wrong with me? You give this review and now all I want to do is head down to the local fumery and smell it!

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  12. If they had only put some of that real Mojave plant in it, the creosote bush, it would have had some character...

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  13. Seriously LOLing

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  14. So while it is indeed a 'duty- free mistake', is it fair to say it is not doody- free?

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  15. Now, if Johnny Depp decided to bottle some of his, er, man sweat it might smell better than Sauvage...

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    1. Bring it up at the next Dior brainstorming session.

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  16. I'm sick and tired of all designer frags. All they make is flankers of their good sellers. Thierry Mugler, Dior, Ysl are hell bent to make a buck, spitting the same pos colognes with little variation over and over. Don't count with me anymore. I rather pay more for original and creative scents(niche) than to waste my money on their trash!

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    1. Funny you should say that, Jorge - my fume buddy Dan just wrote me the same thing:

      'These companies should just put all their marketing ideas into their great old fragrances and “re-launch” them every few years. Because it doesn’t seem like they’re all that committed to actually doing good work anymore (advertising aside).'

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  17. While I don't think it outright stinks, I do think it's boring, bland, and clearly takes a lot of cues from other fragrances, like Bleu de Chanel. Dior was clearly going for a mass market appeal fragrance, rather than a unique work of art. Hopefully this is a mistake Dior doesn't repeat.

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    1. You're right on the money re Sauvage taking its cue from Blah de Chanel (whose own creator admitted was inspired by the smell of men leaving the airplane toilet).

      My roadkill/septic tank refs were just for the chuckles - in reality there is nothing that smells of nature or humanity in Sauvage.

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  18. I'm a Dior guy, I love the brand and will hand over any amount of cash to keep Dior homme in my collection. I bought this (Sauvage) the day it launched in the UK and was semi excited. Then suddenly i could smell it everywhere, on everyone. I realised this is unbearably sweeeeeeet stuff and sticks around forever.
    Thanks for confirming Katie, I almost tricked myself into being a fan.

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    1. It's interesting, isn't it, how our perception can shape-shift depending on context. If you *want* something to live up to your hopes for it, you can almost convince yourself it's good, even though it isn't.

      I do that with music all the time, most recently when my beloved M83 came out with "Do It, Try It". I kept listening to this awkward song with its cliched synthetic sounds, over and over, trying to find value in it. Like, "is it a choice that he made a song this lame, and I'm just not getting the artistic joke?" Then I had to just boil it down to "does it work, or not?"

      And the answer to that, as with Sauvage, is "not".

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    2. Oh, and its plutonium half-life is a spike in the brain.

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  19. You managed to work in a reference to the half-life of plutonium (as an example of an extremely long half-life), rather than that of a "nuclear half-life", as per our discussion in the comments section of the Cool Water vs Green Irish Tweed thread. Well done you!


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    1. I was HOPING you'd be here to notice your A+ student!

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  20. Very funny review - I really enjoyed reading it! Although, I must admit, I really like Sauvage! My wife bought me a bottle from, yes, duty free (lol) and initially I was underwhelmed but I've slowly warmed to this one over the last couple of months.
    It just smells nice when I want to smell nice and not like a camp fire or an incense stick or a bag of oranges or an old leather jacket (all of these things I'm happy to smell like every other day).
    I get that you get that whole concept but it's just the combination of nuclear strength chemicals you don't agree with and that's cool.
    I'm going to wear Sauvage tomorrow to work and put an extra spray on especially for you! He he he.

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    1. I do appreciate your respectful disagreement, Ross, and intrigued by your tolerance of the stuff. With your extra spray (for me) tomorrow, I shall build a barrier of an incense stick, a bag of oranges and an old leather jacket, and we shall both be happy.

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    2. I love it when I enjoy a fragrance that gets pretty universal bad reviews, and you understand why, but you still take a strange pleasure in wearing it. It's like being friends with an unpopular weirdo. You just "get" this person.


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  21. Katie, I am late as usual. Loved your on point review. A ballet Sauvage in fact. How do I feel about Sauvage. Let me put it this way. This stinker has put the kibosh om an future enjoyment of the Pirates of the Caribbean films...and the ride at Disneyland too!

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    1. Oh no! Sauvage is ruining everything!

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  22. What exactly is bad here? Can it smell of decal, or some type of pee pee? I don't like that kind of thing because I don't like toilet smells, but also I despise very sharp floral and barber men smells. They need areal sexy man to market this like that guy on the news. Charles something. I will smell this in the weekend. Thanks for the proposal.

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    1. Anna, Sauvage doesn't smell of decay or bottom-oriented odors (despite my teasy-weasy joshing around). Its sin is that it is verrrrrrrry sharp and brain-cleaving.

      I'm enjoying your comments. Keep up the good work!

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    2. Thank you Katie as a famous person for replying. I have to tell you that Johnny Depo was once mean to me on Facebook. But, once I was mean to Matt Dillon, so is karma. But those are the only famous people encounters except Nell Carter and some porn stars.

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    3. Haha, celebrity karma. Johnny Depp cancelled your karmic debt to Matt Dillon. Between the pretty men and the porn stars, that's a pretty spicy mix of encounters.

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    4. I should tell you that JD in the movie Black Mass was the best even if I don't like him. But the movie is depressing but good. Now what can be fixed about the work people who wear Bed bath, and body works stuffs that smell like dirty hair, and the people who smell like sugar stink? I am not a rich person with niche smells, but how dare they funk up my Voile de Violette?? It makes me smell like I live in Palm Beach! Really, but the bad cheapie smells ruin my moderate priced but smells like rich lady smells. I can't afford to get a bottle of infusion iris for all these jokers!

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    5. Now that's a thought: perfume charity for taste-deprived...

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  23. So nice to find yet another of the apparent few who "got" immediately how appalling this synthetic mess of chemical sewage is. It was the first frag I snorted last summer as I re-entered the world of scent after a ten year hiatus, thanks to both illness and being repulsed by every designer I came across...

    Only to smell this industrial run-off and drive home with a four hour headache...never mind being mighty pissed at Mr. Depp.

    Can't believe people seem to love this stuff, and that apparently women swoon like mad over it. I'd rather bathe in discount store toilet water.

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    1. How unlucky, how inauspicious that Sauvage was the one that popped your re-virginized fume cherry after 10 long years.

      Hmmm, I've personally not heard any swooning reports. The only perfume craze I've witnessed with my own eyeballs (and nose...balls?) is for good ol' Molecule 01 (and increasingly Le Labo Santal 33). Any time I'm in a place that sells those, the patrons come in practically panting for the stuff.

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  24. Hey Katie,

    I think Sauvage is an interesting one. I didn't think much of it when I first smelled it. Seemed pretty simple and unoffensive but nothing like Eau Sauvage and I thought it was fairly ho hum. The reviews on Fragrantica are mediocre at best. But Jeremy Fragrance loves it. He has had it on many videos like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7loxrd4-4ao . The compliments are the most interesting.

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    1. Darin, thanks for that Jeremy Fragrance link. What a hoot! He's officially Head Fume Bro.

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  25. wild at heard...autocorrect error

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