Safari Woman by Dominique Ropion for Ralph Lauren 1990


Post by Anne-Marie


I missed Safari when it first came out and one way or another, I only discovered it about 25 years later. Well, better late than after discontinuation! So this is a review of a new friend, not an old buddy.

Safari Woman by Ralph Lauren 1990

Safari Woman by Dominique Ropion

Safari Ralph Lauren for women Fragrantica


Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: orange black currant, tagetes, mandarin orange, narcissus, galbanum, hyacinth, cassis
Heart: rosemary, orange blossom, orris root, jasmine, rose
Base: sandalwood, amber, patchouli, vetiver, cedar

Barbara Herman in her book Scents and Subversion adds honey as a middle note, and I agree. For me, honey is a key characteristic in Safari. Yes, the green bitter notes – galbanum and hyacinth especially – are very prominent. Much as I like green florals and chypres, sometimes they are too bitter for me and in Safari, this is held in check by a sweetness that feels like honey. Not saccharine, but rich, smooth and dark. This may be what gives Safari the warm languor which is referenced in the ads (about which more in a moment). There’s fruit in there but the overall effect is dry rather than juicy.

Safari has a reputation for strength and tenacity, a scent in high 1980s style. My bottle was bought in 2016 and while the texture of the fragrance is dense, I would not have said it matches those big ol’ 80s monsters. Perhaps reformulation has toned it down. After a strongish start, I find that Safari settles to a hum quickly. The fragrance lasts all days with just moderate sillage. By the end, I do get a little tired of Safari. The tussle between crisp greenery and smooth sweetness plays out on my skin all day. Nothing wins, and I’m glad when they finally blend and fade.

From bottle to packaging to marketing, the art direction for Safari is beautiful, as you’d expect from Ralph Lauren. The video ad takes us to Africa, of course. Mr Safari bashes on a typewriter (channelling Ernest Hemingway), while Ms Safari shoots the wildlife (with a camera). A bit of lazy canoodling goes on. No doubt there will be drinks on the veranda at sunset, served by native servants. Sorry, I’m not interested in all this colonialist shtick.

Safari for women is almost impossible to find in retail shops in my part of the world, and occasionally some reviewers have wondered if it is discontinued. It’s easy to find online though. The men’s version, a fougère released in 1992, is everywhere. I have not smelled it. Do comment if you know it.

Safari Ralph Lauren for women Holiday-lettings-Masai ihaiha

Further reading: Bois de Jasmin and Non Blonde
FragranceNet has $64/75ml Before Coupon

What about you? Was Safari part of your perfumed past? Is this what you would wear out there on the savannah, cuddling a baby lion?
Until next time, keep spritzing everyone!


6 thoughts on “Safari Woman by Dominique Ropion for Ralph Lauren 1990

  1. Hi there Anne-Marie,
    I can’t believe I’ve not smelled this. Or maybe I have and can’t remember.
    The mens version was my favourite for a couple of years, went through a big and a small bottle. Even holding that cut glass looking bottle used to make me feel posh.
    Portia xx


    • You may never have seen the women’s version in the shops here Portia. Somehow the distribution of RL stuff is weird. Priceline regularly carries the men’s but the womens is like hen’s teeth. But I’ve seen it twice now in the last month, so maybe a consignment bound for Austria ended up here!


  2. I have loved Safari since I first smelled it in high school. I saved my allowance to buy myself a bottle of the Men’s, actually; because I knew women could wear men’s scents and be badass (my friend’s mom wore Obsession for men when I was little and she was super-badass). Sadly, I was a weenie 15 year old and let the horrified SA at Dillard’s talk me into a gift set of the women’s, “For your mom, of course. You are way too young to wear it and should try this…” I’m pretty sure it was Sunflowers that she attempted to force on me, or maybe Happy. I did stand firm and buy the Safari, albeit the women’s version, and quickly learned to love it. It’s one of the few perfumes I have continued to purchase, though I don’t wear it as frequently these days and have quite a lot in my old bottle. I’ve heard it’s lighter now and think that might be a good thing since it’s easy to overdo.
    I still think the men’s version is great, though apparently it has a not-so-great reputation as a cheap “bros” scent. I don’t have that association and keep meaning to finally buy myself some if I can find a tester somewhere to be sure it hasn’t been ruined.


    • Geez I’d like to think that the days of SAs trying to force people into purchases are long gone. The Internet may have destroyed their power. I hope so!

      Anyway, glad you love Safari. I keep meaning to try the men’s but although I see it for sale I rarely see a tester. And it’s not exactly cheap so hopefully that’ll preserve it from the bros. 🙂


  3. Hi Anne-Marie, I was the lucky one who had a FB of Safari back when it just came out. Maybe it was a bit too much for a college girl, but back then every perfume was strong compared to today’s stuff. I drained the bottle in a few months and haven’t bought another one after that but I remember the long lasting sweetish scent, a bit of honey and some grass maybe…? I’d love to sniff it today but I haven’t seen it around anymore. I also thought it was discontinued.


    • Hunt for it online – it’s there. On the other hand, if you loved it back in the day who knows how you will feel now. Honey and grass – yes, that is it exactly. 🙂


Comments are closed.