There's no way around this: Eau de Givenchy in its original form smells like a time traveler. It's the oakmoss.
Yesterday I reviewed here a very modern perfume, Donna Karan Pure DKNY, a fragrance that represents what I see as the wrong side of clean and fresh. But what do I know? Loving the clean scents of yore, those based on sharp green florals, biting citrus and oakmoss make me just as much a relic as my bottle of Eau de Givenchy. Once upon a time this was considered a light daytime, almost sporty perfume. You'd spray and wait for that bracing astringent feeling to take over and make you feel... fresh. You'd relish the crispness of the herbal notes that suggests good personal hygiene, put on a white seater and leave the house basking in your scent.
Eau de Givenchy quickly moves into oakmoss territory and stays there. It's plush, rich and plays beautifully with the green flower notes such as muguet and marigold. One's reaction to Eau de Givenchy is entirely dependent on how he or she feels about real chypres in general and real oakmoss in particular. Many a young nose find them horribly dated. Others just want to roll in them the way my cat Lizzy rolls on a bunch of parsley. I'm with Lizzy here, loving oakmoss and missing perfumes built around it and around a real green heart that doesn't smell synthetic.
Notes: bergamot, spearmint, tagetes, greens, fruits, honeysuckle, jasmine, muguet, tuberose, rose, cyclamen, orris, musk, cedarwood, sandalwood and oakmoss.
Eau de Givenchy was withdrawn for a while and re-released in 2007 or 2008 as part of the Les Mythiques de Givenchy collection in the new bottles (in few department stores on this side of the pond, easier to find in Europe). Considering IFRA restrictions on the use of oakmoss in perfume, your guess on what's in those rectangular bottles is as good as mine.
Image: model in Givenchy on the cover of L'Official, a French fashion magazine, June 1968