THE SCIENCE OF SCENT
UNDERSTANDING THE ESSENCE OF A FRAGRANCE.
The top notes
Working like an amusebouche to set the scene for what’s to follow, bergamot is front and centre in Christian Dior ‘Sauvage’ Eau de Toilette. A cross between the pear lemon and Seville orange or grapefruit, the best is sourced from the Reggio Calabria region of southern Italy. Perfumers often turn to bergamot for its finely tuned balance between sharpness, sweetness and acidity.
The mid notes
Providing the bulk of the grunt here is lavender. Yes, the same fragrance so beloved by Nanna, and the mainstay of so many traditionally female scents. But here’s the thing: instead of being used in the top notes – as it is in many of the sweeter, feminine scents – its sharp earthiness brings an element that’s more forest floor than photo op in Provence. Used sparingly, as it is in this case, lavender is both soothing and savoury.
The base notes
One of the undying myths is that a good fragrance relies entirely on natural extracts. Nonsense. There are myriad compounds that have been purpose built in laboratories to mirror and often improve on nature. One of these is ambroxan – a musky amber base note in ‘Sauvage’. It replaces ambergris, a waxy secretion created by sperm whales to protect their stomach, so prized that the giants were once hunted to near-extinction.