Perfume Directory

Dark Saphir (2013)
by Agonist


Dark Saphir information

Year of Launch2013
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 13 votes)

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About Dark Saphir

Dark Saphir is a shared / unisex perfume by Agonist. The scent was launched in 2013

Reviews of Dark Saphir

I've held onto my sample of Dark Saphir for a couple of years now, trying to make heads or tails of it and coming up with more questions than answers. The consensus among all the other reviewers here gels with my own impression: this stuff is busy, with every note on that impressive pyramid jostling for attention--and most of them getting it, actually. But what, exactly is it that I'm smelling, besides a whole bunch of notes all doing their crazy thing? What is this perfume trying to do or be? Figuring this out is the first step for me if I'm going to offer an evaluation of something, because how else can you decide if the effort is a success or a failure?

I don't normally break my brain trying to place a perfume into a category, but sometimes it helps to have some kind of hook on which to hang something, especially when it's smelling something complicated that seems to color outside the lines of classical perfumery. Off the bat, I find a distinctive and somewhat reassuring textbook floriental of the rich and fruity but still romantic rose/violet/iris/heliotrope school, enriched with a sensual peach and a touch of playful raspberry, with a patchouli/amber base--all of which speaks to the 80s/90s girl in me, like someobody finally got Poison and Paris to play nicely together and go skipping off together into the sunset to Danceteria. However, arm in arm (and in arm, I guess) with this very femmey composition there's an aromatic fougere that rings the changes with bergamot, violet leaf, black pepper, ginger, cumin, coriander, tonka and the aforementioned patchouli (I'm gonna go ahead and guess that there's at least a soupcon of lavender happening in the "aromatic herbs" listed here) and a powerful hit of cypriol that takes me right back to Drakkar Noir--a compositinal element that's as complete and as period-suggestive as the plush floriental side. I guess in theory all of this stuff could get along just fine in the 80s Wayback Machine. And I'm sure, at some point in many a fine evening back in the day, many many people ended up smelling like some combination of these perfumes, through close personal contact on public transit, dance floors and bedrooms.

However, Dark Saphir wanders off the nostalgia reservation almost immediately and never really goes back, aside from the occasional quick flash of association--because, at the end of the day, this stuff is built, pier and beam, on a base of a decent and not overly terebrant synthetic oud, along with other contemporary woody materials like guiac and cophaiba. I can't really tell the woods apart, per se, but I think the aggregate effect softens or at least diffuses the effects of the woods, which works for me. I don't hate modern woody ambers, but I do hate when they're allowed to run roughshod all over compositions that contain them. Likewise, I appreciate when they're handled carefully, as this one is, and at the end of the day, this Frankenstein of a perfume actually comes together and works in a delightfully post-gendered way that gives anyone who wears it a chance to have their cake and eat it, too--you can feel as comfortable in whatever skin suits you, and know that you'll smell intriguing at the very least. So many of these contemporary woody perfumes smell of a sense of dullness and melancholy to me, as if they're ashamed to show any emotion at the risk of some unfashionable reference to perfume as fun or attractive or (god forbid) sexy. Dark Saphir's overall vibe comes off as exuberant almost in spite of itself, giving the perfume a fun push-pull between serious and (almost) silly, like someone struggling to keep a straight face--and failing.

It must have been really hard to make this thing work as well as it does. The closest perfume to it, in spirit and execution that I can think of, is Tom Ford's Black Orchid (and lo and behold, Dark Saphir has an orchid note!). I think the name of the perfume could be a hint that someone might have been thinking of Black Orchid at some point along the way as Dark Saphir came into being.

I've enjoyed wearing this stuff every single time I've tested it, and now that I've kind of picked it apart, I actually think I like it even more. At the end of the day, I guess the takeaway image for me is two Gen X parents with their wacky but attractive millennial progeny--a nice little perfume family portrait. The only downer about all this may be that I've heard that Agonist has totally rebranded (again) and gone all natural. I have no idea what that has done (or not) to their compositions--if they've reimagined them with all-natural materials or completely replaced their old lineup. I'll actually be visiting a local retailer that sells Agonist this weekend, so maybe I'll have a chance to find out.

Anyway, if you like over-the-top perfumes that, by all rights, shouldn't work but actually do, then this one is definitely worth a sniff. Followers of jolie-laid perfumes like Piguet's Ouds and some of Thierry Mugler's high-end offerings might like this, too. It's an art project, no doubt, but it's one of the few I've found that I also really enjoy wearing. I hope Agonist haven't deleted it entirely from their lineup . . . . I'll try to update this review when I know more.
17th August, 2018
After being disappointed by many of the 'knock them on the head and take no prisoners' type of oud frags, this is a welcome change. The oud makes its presence surreptitiously, cloaked by a gown of violet leaves, coriander, jasmine, geranium and a delicate rose (all 25 of the ingredients are listed on the package and bottle).

After the dry-down, this lady (not a man, although it can be worn by both) sings a slow, mellifluous ballad, enticing the wearer with its repeated wafts of rose and herbs. High quality ingredients here (no plastic harps in this lullabye!). This is a seductive oud, that sneaks in rather than bang on the door.

Definitely a keeper, Excellent silage and longevity (8 hours of sultry wafting).
30th May, 2016
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Ahh, a superb natural patchouli greets me, with a delightful purple violet not - like a more slim-line and elegant version of Tom Ford's Purple Patchouli's opening blast. Cumin and ginger abound, and a slightly peppery coriander - I get the drift: a somewhat somber and darkish but not inelegant spice mix.

The drydown intercalated floral tones, especially nice geraniu and a darker black orchid impression, with the base adding a labdanum-olibanum component of rare quality, given more depth with a light and minimally sweet tonka not that is very deftly admixed to the spice potpourri. Still, throughout the development the patchouli remains in the foreground on my skin, the golden thread on this colourful olfactoric map.

I get strong sillage, excellent projection and an impressive eight hours of longevity; especially impressive given the natural quality of these top-notch ingredients. A great winter warmer. 3.75/5
31st December, 2015
Great oud fragrance surrounded by berry notes and a guality rose note. Boozy and very alluring,this will get attention when wearing. 8.5/10
22nd March, 2015 (last edited: 28th March, 2015)
Dark Saphir opens with a boozy violet that quickly transitions into the all too familiar rose-patchouly-oud scent profile. The protagonist is the rose, however, but there is a myriad of notes present to support it. I particularly detect peach and raspberry, which make the rose come alive and not jammy. My favorite phase of the composition was the base when the ylang and labdanum become more apparent.

This fragrance is somewhat reminiscent of Malle's Portrait of a Lady; and although the quality is good, it feels quite distant from POAL.

Is it good? Yes. Is it original? No.
05th July, 2014
Agonist - Dark Saphir
What a horrible creation. Wearing this perfume(?) is far more difficult than describing it. Unstructured, flat, dull, zero personality and full of natural ingredients(?), that in this blend smell too chemical. It smells like: 1) very cheap ginger-ale, 2) a homemade scroppino which got the ratio's all wrong, 3) sour lemon-sorbet 4), the inside of a new plastic bag, and 5) the flint of a disposable lighter; firmly pressed together and cranked up to a high volume-level that altogether gives Dark Saphir a penetrant and musty sour-bitter taste of smell, that is hard to bare for my nose. Sweden is a land renown for its reliable made products with a great feel of design; this thing manages to impart none of those qualities. I don’t hope that Dark Saphir sets the tone for the whole range of the Agonist-product line. Unskillful made perfume.
17th May, 2014

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Agonist Dark Saphir 10ml (0.33 oz.) TRAVEL SIZE decanted perfume

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