Thursday, May 19, 2011

Givenchy- Eau de Givenchy (Vintage EDT)

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Eau de Givenchy was withdrawn for a while and re-released in 2007 or 2008 as part of the Les Mythiques de Givenchy collection in the new bottles (in few department stores on this side of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


  1. I'm so glad that you find it beautiful and wearable as much as i do. I found recently an old bottle in the blu box. On the back of the box is written alcool 90% vol., which means is enough concentrated for an eau de toilette. It isn't spray, so i'm afraid some of the alcool has evaporated, but still it has this minty, cool, flowery (mostly on me) feeling the scents of forty years ago had, that i long for. I think it will be with me during summer, like a relationship on and off. You take occasional bites, just not to get bored.

  2. Oh I do love EdG, and still have a few mls of a bottle I bought on a trip to Paris in 1996, just before it was withdrawn from sale. I noticed the sales girls bringing out huge boxes of EdG and piling them up on a centre display. They were massively discounted, so I grabbed one.

    I do also have a one of those whopping 100 mls of the new Mythiques version. It's a while since I did a comparison but I think the original is richer, the new version drier. To my nose there is not a huge difference, but others may disagree.

    It's a perfect scent for a hot, hot day. I used to wear it with a lovely white linen shirt, and it was a perfect combination. (Funny, I never wore White Linen with that shirt.)

  3. Thank you for giving this scent some love. I treasure my vintage splash and think it's one of the stars in the pantheon of the green-ish cologne types of the era, along with Calandre. When I was in high school, you could pick up a bottle of these frags for nothing in the local departments stores.

  4. Nulla Tabella, That's a great find. I'd suggest decanting soon into spray bottles to prevent further exposure to air.

  5. Annemarie, how lucky you were to get the good stuff on clearance! I had a similar experience in 2008 when Printemps cleared out discontinued bottles of L'Occitane Neroli (the fabulous original formula) I grabbed them and never looked back.
    I haven't worn White Linen in eons. Used to love it, but my otherwise tolerant husband seriously hates this one.

  6. Moi, yes, I remember the days the good Givenchy perfumes and Calandre were so ubiquitous one wouldn't think of them too much. I wish I hoarded them like crazy back then.

  7. This is one of my all-time favorites. I had a sample of it from way back in the 80s, which I got in Paris.

    Alas, I never actually purchased a bottle, but it's on my list of vintage scents to find.

  8. Ms. M, I hope you find a nice bottle. I have a couple of minis but really need to get a full size one for summer.

  9. I have loved this perfume for years and find it so hard to buy anywhere now. I have a small amount left in a bottle which I save for special days, wearing it always makes me feel good. I haven't tried the new version but have read some reviews which say it isn't the same.


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