digging (into) vintage: Christian Dior Eau Sauvage, 1966

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(image of 1970s Cal Arts party by Michael Jang)

Perfumer Edmond Roudnitska

Eau Sauvage is a sort of Ouija board. We make it spell out whatever we’re hoping to channel. Chypre, magic all-day cologne, fresh jasmine, woody citrus. I smell a sparkling candied lemon and a cool sip of water at the start, but it winds up a shimmering woody floral. I do see the through-line from Roudnitska’s Eau Fraiche to Eau Sauvauge to the shady Diorella, but they speak with distinct voices. Eau Fraiche was a real no-bullshit chypre/cologne, refreshingly plain-spoken and direct. By the time he got to Diorella, Roudnitska’s oeuvre, the over-ripe fruity chypres, had taken on a seductive, languorous drawl.

Eau Sauvage, sandwiched between its direct precessor and its heir, had a voice unlike the others. It had pefect elocution and made a series of succinct pronouncements. It came off as stylishly masculine with a touch of the dandy. It is slighly formal, in the vein of Chanel pour Monsieur’s chypre, but has more panache.

I remember the scent of it when I was a child in the late ’60s and mid ’70s. It shone against the backdrop of 1970s fougères and oily musk perfumes. It projected a confident, sophisticated virility that stood out against the nervous masculinity of the mid-1970s.

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