The simple elegance of a decent eau de cologne is one of the greatest things in the whole of perfumery. That tension between citrus, flowers and herbs (and now in modern times, musks) is a sparkling tonic when the mercury rises. In fact, the purity of a good eau de cologne transcends seasons and can be the perfect thing to wear at any time and on any occasion. To put it simply, when eau de colognes are good, they’re very good, and even when they’re bad they’re still pretty good!
One cologne that really struck a chord with me recently was the latest launch from Givenchy: ‘Eau de Givenchy’. Inspired by Hubert de Givenchy’s gardens in the South of France, Eau de Givenchy is a modern reinterpretation of a Givenchy fragrance of the same name that launched in 1980. François Demachy is the man behind this new scent and he has penned a contemporary eau de cologne that presents, as Givenchy puts it, “a moment of freshness suspended in time that feels like it could last forever.” Well, that’s quite the promise – let’s see if Eau de Givenchy delivers…
Top: Bergamot, Mandarin and Bitter Orange
Heart: Orange Blossom, Neroli and Petitgrain
Base: Musks and Cedarwood
How Does it Smell?
The first spritz of Eau de Givenchy is akin to a relaxing exhale of breath. The citrus is cool and weightless. There’s a sharp pitch initially, as if the golden, bitter facets of the trio of citrus notes all click together, creating sparkling fruit notes on a knife’s edge. Complimenting this, and evoking the light green tint of the bottle, Eau de Givenchy boasts a verdant hue that is fresh, juicy and grassy. It’s very ‘sipping lemonade on the cricket green’ and that’s an aesthetic that I’m always here for. Always.
In the heart, Eau de Givenchy serves up neroli, petitgrain and orange blossom – three elements that are integral to an eau de cologne. It smells as one expects it to – like clean linen washed with honey, boasting accents of leaves, flowers, citrus and twigs. Many colognes have a blinding, whiteout feel to them, but Eau de Givenchy uses its floral (and floral-adjacent) notes in a way that is more muted – one that allows for a purer cohesion between citrus, flowers and musk. Like a piece of Givenchy couture, Eau de Givenchy is seamless.
To my nose the base is all musk and I get little of the promised cedarwood, if any. Many modern colognes have a stiff, starchy quality in the base, almost as if they’ve been over-laundered at the laundrette. Eau de Givenchy however, treads a much softer and more refined path. The musk is treated so delicately – yes it gives a hint of clean cotton, but it draws down shadows of the citrus and greenery to create a silhouette print on this fine Givenchy fabric.
Eau de Givenchy is a classic eau de cologne served up in the modern way (ie. with lots of musk). It is not innovative or wildly unique, but it is incredibly elegant and feels like a greener, more citrus-focused (and definitely more affordable) alternative to Tom Ford’s incredibly popular (and bloody lovely) Neroli Portofino. It’s a lovely fragrance inside a lovely bottle and easily the most impressive thing I’ve smelled from Givenchy in quite some time. Double thumps up!
Eau de Givenchy is available in 100ml Eau de Toilette for £60.
Sample, notes and quotes via Givenchy. Images are my own.