When Eau de Givenchy was a fairly new fragrance in the early 80's, I thought it was too, "old" for me. Today, it strikes me as being on the youthful side-funny how that happens. That hasn't stopped me splashing it on, but it does make me wish I hadn't wasted so many years thinking it wasn't for me. I'm having a difficult time imagining anyone it wouldn't be lovely on, particularly in hot weather.
When the weather turns hot and muggy, I look for fragrances with a substantial amount of lily of the valley as I like the way it smells fresh without smelling artificially, "Clean." EdG combines the lily of the valley with honeysuckle, which are brilliant together (I don't know why this isn't a more common combination). Where EdG gets unique is the addition of oak moss. Bright, sweet, green-EdG is like a Monet, decanted. There's mist, and water lilies, and moss-pale colours and just a whiff of showing off. EdG has a very limited silage, but it is a delight for the wearer (this wearer, anyway).
For the longest time, there was a note I couldn't identify in Eau de Givenchy. The harder I'd try to identify it, the more my nose betrayed my efforts. I finally looked up the notes and immediately understood-mint! My brain couldn't process the idea of mint in this fragrance as it seems so out of place, and that's exactly why it works so well. The mint is strange-not a spearmint, and definitely not a peppermint, I wonder if the note is synthetic as it suggests mint more than it demonstrates it. Let's call it a, "Watery mint." Ordinarily, I can't stand orris root, but combined with mint it takes the medicinal, antiseptic edge away and lets the more metallic aspect come through. I finally, "get" orris root-at least used the way it is in EdG.
Once the lighter top notes fade (and they do, a bit too quickly for my liking) the rose and tuberose emerge in a cloud of musk and sandalwood. I know that sounds terrible on paper-how can tuberose and musk smell light? I suppose that's the artistry of the perfumer, because EdG never becomes close, or heavy, or anything near suffocating. The tuberose and rose give the fragrance depth, and the musk gives it personality-not too much, mind, but enough to keep you from losing interest.
Of course, finding EdG in the vintage formulation is getting harder as with most fragrances. I suggest grabbing what you can, as there are still affordable bottles out there. My bottle is from the late 80's, and it hasn't lost the top notes though as I say, they don't have much longevity on my skin. There's nothing like a good oakmoss (provided you're not allergic to it) and it makes me a bit sad to think what's out there to be purchased is it. I understand the regulations, etc. but I still mourn for the classic chypres. EdG isn't fully a chypre, but it is close enough that I feel confident recommending it to someone that category of fragrance. EdG is pretty, without being cute.
Bergamot, grapefruit, mandarin orange, fruit, mint, cyclamen, honeysuckle, tuberose, orris, jasmine, ylang, lily of the valley, narcissus, rose, sandalwood, musk, vetiver, cedar.
If Givenchy would go back to making fragrances like Eau de Givenchy instead of imposing the Dahlia line on the world, I'd hold the company in higher esteem. Don't even get me started on Pi and the subsequent flankers. I have two letters to sum up my feelings about that-P & U. More isn't always merrier.
Strangely, the nose behind Eau de Givenchy, Daniel Moliere is also responsible for another of my favourite 80's perfumes, Balahe. I say, "Strangely" as Eau de Givenchy shares absolutely nothing with the powerful, rich notes of Balahe. Had I not looked it up, I'd have never guessed we were talking about the same perfumer's creations. What the perfumes share, I suppose is the use of unexpected notes in combination-mint and honeysuckle, for EdG, pineapple and civet for Balahe. Neither should work, and yet...
This has been a strange summer in Nebraska. We always get heat, but this year the dew points have been so high, the air and earth themselves project noticeable odours-and they aren't terribly pleasant! Wet, mouldy hay. Decomposing wood mulch. Fungus. Algae covered ponds. Sulfur. Fumes from idling traffic. Damp cement. It ain't pretty out there (though if Demeter bottled it and called it, Nebraska Summer" I'm sure people would buy it). Tailoring fragrances to my surroundings has been a bit more challenging this year. Eau de Givenchy has been a lifesaver in these conditions. Sure, when summer rolls around I want to break out the tropical scents and douse myself in gardenias an coconut but that's not going to happen this summer, even poolside. If there was ever a time and place for unscented sunscreen-this is it! Classic Coppertone would be gagging.
I don't want to leave you with the impression that Eau de Givenchy is strictly a summer fragrance, as it also works beautifully in the dead of winter. I'm having a difficult time imagining a situation where it would be out of place. I won't go as far as calling EdG a, "Perfect" perfume, but honestly, it is pretty damn close. For me, Eau de Givenchy has become a default scent. Don't know what to wear? Grab the bottle of EdG. We all need that sort of thing in a perfume wardrobe, particularly when the climate decides to throw the worst of everything at you. If your surroundings insist on smelling like a trash heap, Eau de Givenchy can ensure that at least you won't. Hard to ask for more.