An Objective Review of Dior Homme 2020

The king is dead, long live the… king?

As we all probably know by now, Dior Homme has undergone its second major reformulation this year, and perfumer Francois Demachy has completely discarded any trace of the original formula. Instead, he’s opted for a clean slate.
I’ve already waxed poetic about the state of Dior Homme, but I want to give Homme 2020 a fighting chance. Thus, it’s time to give it a review by itself.

In order to give it a fair review, I’m going to avoid drawing any comparisons to the elders in the Dior Homme line. Instead, it’ll be evaluated on its own merits – or lackings, where applicable – and similarities or differences to other offerings.

Initial Thoughts

Dior Homme 2020 presents a familiar visual shape, with several aesthetic changes on a smaller scale to tell us as viewers that we’re dealing with a new animal. It has a masculine shape and stalwart appearance, with a clear graphic on its torso – perhaps we can consider this to be embodying the figure of a modern male, wearing a graphic t-shirt. Or, perhaps I’m waxing poetic again…

I digress.

It’s an Eau de Toilette, but has considerable lasting power. It’s fresh and woody in character, and my nose seems to detect some of the long-lasting DNA of Dior’s other masculine best-seller, Sauvage (EDT formulation). It’s loud, chemically clean and demands attention, just as the ambroxan bomb of Sauvage does.

The Olfactory Notes

Homme 2020 opens with a heavily projecting blast of bergamot and pink pepper, backed by elemi resin. The loud shout of the bergamot and pepper combination is probably what reminds me of Sauvage EDT so much. As I said before, the overall character of these two fragrances is the same.
The drydown purports to consist of a simple heart, made of cedar and patchouli. The cedar is quite present, and the patchouli is the smooth, synthetic kind that you find in many designer fragrances. The scent is still projecting strongly throughout this period, and continues to do so for many hours.
The base note list is made up simply of musk and vetiver. Neither of these are particularly characterful, both have a refined yet chemical character that doesn’t really feel inspiring.

Overall, the scent feels like the olfactory equivalent of a metal sculpture that has endured so many polishings before its eventual unveiling, that the audience can no longer witness any character in the curves and lines – instead it has become so blindingly bright that it no longer has character, It is a victim of fanatical over-refinement to the point of creating boredom.

If you wanted to buy an incredibly safe, non-offensive (provided it is applied sparingly) men’s fragrance as an entry into fragrance, you could probably do worse than this. It certainly fits that bill.
However, that particular market is crowded enough without another pricy entrant.


Longevity: 1/1

This is one of those scents with a huge power level, it keeps on going for the whole day.

Projection: 1/1

It also projects quite strongly. Combine this with the high longevity, and you’d better make sure you love this fragrance before you apply multiple sprays.

Blend Quality: .5/1

I think the blend is highly polished, but the ingredients are sterile and boring.

Presentation: .5/1

I love the squared, masculine, 2001 Monolith-like image of the Dior Homme bottle, but I don’t like the glass graphic tee that this bottle design’s elements seem to signify.

Personal Smell Score: .2/1

I’m not a fan of the smell at all. It has a highly chemical character, the kind of which irritates my nose more than I’d care to endure. I think I’d replace the word ‘homme’ with ‘hospital’ in the case of this scent’s title.

Total score: 3.2/5

What Would I Wear This With?

I think this fragrance is one for a young and mostly casual look. Tees, jeans and that sort of thing. Given the character of it, it’d be weird wearing it with a dressy outfit.

Don’t wear this fragrance to dinner.

Concluding Thoughts

Two possibilities behind the creation of this fragrance are apparent to me. Either this is a piece created exclusively by numbers, by order of executives who want to fatten the bottom line, through distributing a faceless product.
Or, it could be interpreted as a perfumer’s statement. A creation of something deliberately as square, as boring, as completely void of character as possible. A depiction of the state of designer perfumery?
My respect for Mssr. Demachy makes me want to tell myself it’s the latter. Even though I have a gut feeling that says otherwise.

Thanks for tuning in,

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With content features ranging from appearances on popular menswear hubs (The Rake, StyleForum, Put This On) to French perfume newsletters and university course readings, Sam is a writer, designer and enthusiast in the fields of menswear and fragrance.

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