THE SCI­ENCE OF SCENT

UN­DER­STAND­ING THE ESSENCE OF A FRA­GRANCE.

GQ (Australia) - - GROOMING - Chris­tian Dior ‘Sau­vage’ EDT, $149 (100ml); dior.com

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.

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