Saturday, January 26, 2008

Givenchy III

Yes, it's fresh and green, but it's a heavyweight perfume, like an incredibly difficult piece of music to play that a great musician could make sound effortlessly light for the untrained ear to think he'd just heard a sound, not of specific notes because they went over his head, but of wind blowing by. Would you know what I meant if I said it smells like how perfume used to smell, almost like booze--maybe rum--and potent, with a powerful, distinctively *perfumey* smell?

Givenchy III was created in 1970, right there between the births of Guerlain Chamade (1969) and Chanel No.19 (1971). Givenchy III is described by Jan Moran as Chypre Floral Animalic, and I'd say that's right because that's how it smells to me, except it's also very flowery and sweet, the way Chanel Cristalle in the later eau de parfum version smells sweet, richly (white) floral, green and mossy. However, Givenchy III is a drier, almost leathery scent, not quite as dry and bold as, say, Halston (otherwise, I couldn't wear it), but with the slightest hint of that dry patchouli-chypre base popularized in the '50s a la Cabochard, Jolie Madame, Miss Dior (1947).

Givenchy III is a great classic that'll leave others in the dust. Grab it now because it's rare, and although I haven't smelled the newly rereleased version, I'm not too confident it'll live up to the original if they've done something to tame the jasmine that was the heart of this sophisticated ladylike fragrance. Actually, the jasmine in this vintage I have is not that animalic, and smells like a gardenia mix. Chunky, bold, urbane and minimalist, the original bottle design by Pierre Dinand (tall and square-ish with rounded edges) is also a beautiful work of art.

Jan Moran lists the notes in her book, Fabulous Fragrances as the following:

Givenchy III (1970 Chypre-Floral Animalic)
Top Notes: Aldehydes, galbanum, peach, bergamot, gardenia
Heart Notes: Jasmine, jonquil, carnation, rose, lily of the valley, orris
Base Notes: Amber, patchouli, oakmoss, myrrh, vetiver, castoreum

(Image: 99perfume, Images de Parfums)