Dior had a bit of a middling period in the late 90’s through early 2000’s with men’s fragrances, relying too heavily on limited flankers of its established lines, and releasing a few new pillars that went on to flop, like Dior Dune pour Homme (1997) and Dior Higher (2001) until creative director Hedi Slimane released his controversial Dior Homme (2005) fragrance to critical acclaim. Fahrenheit Summer (2001) was one such limited flanker, being worked out by hired-gun niche guru Bertrand Duchaufour, and strikes out to do the impossible by making a fresher more-casual version of the original petrol leather that was Dior Fahrenheit (1988). I guess in the big picture this was a success, and is indeed a lighter, fresher take on the DNA of the original, but that DNA is so distinctively challenging and masculine that no amount of redressing it will make Fahrenheit any more approachable. Perhaps that’s why this particular flanker ultimately failed, as if it even mattered since these things were all made with planned scarcity as limited releases, although stock of this one commonly lingered around until at least 2007 or so because so few liked it.
The opening of Fahrenheit Summer showcases the characteristic petrol “barrel note” accord (originally created by accident in the making of Fahrenheit) toned way down in favor of a less-complex zesty grapefruit, mandarin orange, and a watery soapy quality that could be a bit of dihydromyrcenol. The heart is pretty much that stiff “gasoline” violet you expect from regular Fahrenheit, but flanked with a simpler arrangement of hedione, freesia, and some woody aromachemicals that add a tiny bit of dry depth. The base is where this becomes the most “like Fahrenheit”, with the signature leather and vanillic touches of the original, some additional cedar, patchouli filtered of its terpenes, and the sharp oakmoss/treemoss blend that was becoming the standard thanks to the IFRA rulings of that year. Everything is as suggested, and this becomes a lighter, more “summery” Fahrenheit, not altogether different from the original, but not as strong or deep. Wear time is about eight hours but sillage and projection won’t come near the vintage original nor better batches of more-recent stuff, but it does oddly have more of the “barrel note” than productions of the original Fahrenheit from the 2000’s. Best use is obviously in warmer weather, but this has legs that can run through until fall too.
Fahrenheit in most iterations will forever be for the “man apart”, which is perhaps why it has endured so much in Dior’s lineup where others have been mostly forgotten or given limited distribution. I can’t rightly tell you where to use something so characteristically individualistic and polarizing in any form, but if you’re an admirer of Fahrenheit as is, this flanker might be a welcome addition to your wardrobe. If Fahrenheit isn’t your thing, if that petrol vibe is just too much, this won’t be the one to change your mind to be sure, but as a supplementary scent for fans, Fahrenheit Summer wins. Fahrenheit Summer was released in the older-style packaging with the beveled cap and font type, so it should be easy to spot for treasure hunters, although since it is your typical major designer “unicorn” due to the hype surrounding Dior and especially discontinued Dior, expect to pay a pretty penny if you want some. I personally don’t see this as different enough for anyone except hardcore vintage masculine or Dior collectors, but I do like it enough to give it my stamp of approval. Whoever said working at a gas station near the beach on a hot day couldn’t be a vibe? This is Fahrenheit but taken down a couple notches, case closed. Thumbs up.