Lancome is re-releasing parts of their La Collection (see photos and discussion on The Non Blonde Facebook group and join us there), so I thought it's a good time to talk about Sagamore, a 1985 masculine fragrance that was rebottled and made part of Lancome's La Collection in the previous decade and promptly discontinued with the rest of it.
I used to have a tiny sample of pre-La Collection Sagamore, which seemed to have a greener and spicier bite than the reissue, but that could have been age. It's hard to tell for sure when dealing with small quantities of vintage juice. I can say that my bottle (bought for half a song when discounters were dumping their Lancome inventories) is of a crisp fougere-chypre hybrid. Sagamaore starts as a fairly standard green masculine with a 1980s vibe (from the pre-ozonic era, when herbs and lavender were the building blocks for clean and fresh scents). I think I was a little bored with it for a while, but I do love my spicy greens and there was quite a bit to be discovered there.
The most impressive thing about Sagamore is its complexity. They rarely make them like that nowadays and it's a shame because there's a lot of beauty in the herb and flower blend. It's just a little bitter and deliciously aromatic thanks to ginger, clary sage and carnation. The use of floral notes doesn't take away from Sagamore's masculinity; I can't say I smell rose in there, though the geranium is recognizable, more green than floral.
The kick from the chypre-like structure is mild, probably because the dry-down is more ambery than slightly sweet than one might expect. As a matter of fact, it's this base that has eventually won me over and made Sagamore a favorite in its category. The fragrance becomes a rich and velvety example of what patchouli and fresh greens can create on skin; the light musky sweetness that accompanies them lingers for long and pleasurable hours.
Notes: lavender, clary sage, petitgrain, bergamot, lemon, carnation, ginger, cinnamon, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, rose and geranium, sandalwood, amber, patchouli, musk, benzoin, vanilla and styrax.
Lancome Sagamore in its mid-2000s incarnation is still available online for a reasonable price. While it's not part of the mini-line that just appeared at Bergdorf, rumor has it that some department stores abroad might have different parts of Le Collection (in the taller bottle above). If you've seen it please let us know.