Thursday, March 29, 2012

Givenchy L'Interdit (Vintage Perfume)

L'Interdit is a product of a different perfume era. It's a classic aldehydic floral with a hint of green woven throughout its development and powdery dry-down. When people say that something smells "perfumy" they mean exactly this kind of scent, and I'm pretty sure that the many similar fragrances that could be found and everywhere in previous decades were created in L'Interdit's image. After all, this was the perfume Hubert de Givenchy commissioned for his muse, Audrey Hepburn. It doesn't get more iconic than Audrey (though rumor has it that she actually favored Le De, another Givenchy fragrance from the same year)

L'Interdit opens with a big blast of greenery and aldehydes. We've all smelled this a thousand times; In my own collection I have old bottles of Hermes Caleche and Nina Ricci Farouche, fragrances from the two following decades that were clearly heavily inspired by L'Interdit. All three represent the genre of very ladylike perfumes on its pearls, cardigans and thank you-notes on expensive monogrammed stationary.

L'Interdit is a mostly non-committal abstract floral, elevated at the top by those fizzy aldehyde notes and spiced up with clove and carnation, but only a little. It's a cool and collected little scent; L'Interdit lacks the sunshine and cream effect of Chanel No. 5, which perhaps is the reason why the latter is a best seller to this day, while L'Interdit, despite several reformulations and reissues has been mostly forgotten. It's pretty and pedigreed, but the end result is just not enticing enough. Personally, when I get the itch for this kind of fragrance I reach for my vintage Caleche. It has more character, especially in the dry-down, where L'Interdit simply fades into a delicate powdered vetiver.

Notes: galbanum, pepper, clove, strawberry, aldehydes, rose, jasmine, jonquil, violet, sandalwood, amber, musk, benzoin, iris, patchouli, vetiver, frankincense and tonka bean.

L'Interdit perfume ads via
Photo by Nina Leen, 1949.


  1. Adore vintage L'Interdit. On me it always read as the most soft & powdery feminine scent ever. LOVE.

  2. Vintage L'Interdit--although I wore it when it wasn't vintage! I wore this along with Chanel No. 5 when I was in high school and loved them both. The reformulations of L'Interdit were always a huge disappointment to me. Some things are best left as memories.

    1. you're right, reformulations are never the same, I experienced likewise with 'Soire De Paris' originally
      Evening in Paris, yes just best left as memories

  3. L'Interdit was my best friend's favourite perfume when I first bought it for her birthday. She wore it on her wedding day, and never chose another fragrance until they stopped making it. It is indeed beautiful. The newer one they came out with was NOTHING like the original.

    By the way, some of us still wear twin sets and pearls and yes; we write thank you notes, too! :)

  4. I didn't wear L'Interdit back in the day but got interested a few years ago when I went through a huge vintage fragrance phase. I got hold of a mini of the vintage and found it very much as you say: powdery and polite - and a little dull. I was disappointed with this because vintage L'I gets such love. But I've moved on.

    The reformulation released in 2002 is pleasant, and has a lot more sparkle than the vintage, but it has a shampoo note in it that I don't like. Last year I did finally get to smell the reformulation of about 2007, reputedly much clioser to the original, and on me it was a scrubber! Sour, and very powdery but not in a good way. That more or less ended my interested in L'Interdit. Its history is fascinating tho'. Thanks for the review.


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