a journey of the senses by FLACONNEUR
GIVENCHY GENTLEMAN – 1974 – ♂
Top: Bergamot, Honey, Rose, Cinnamon, Lemon
Heart: Orris root, Jasmine, Patchouli, Cedar
Base: Amber, Oakmoss, Leather, Musk, Patchouli, Vanilla, Vetiver
Perfumer: Paul Léger
Price: $85 for 100ml bottle
A gentleman, in the best sense of the word, is someone who is in good social standing, civilized, educated and well-mannered. Givenchy’s gentleman is a slightly different sort. Their gent is powerful, distinguished, proud of his appearance and a little rebellious. Did I also mention he’s a bit nostalgic?
In 1974, Givenchy released their very first men’s fragrance called Givenchy Gentleman. The inspiration for the name was taken from Hubert de Givenchy’s first menswear collection entitled “Gentleman Givenchy,” which was launched two years earlier. The Givenchy brand presents a dilemma, a sharp contrast that challenges our perceptions of what the modern gentleman is truly meant to be, both in fashion and fragrance. The man who brought the world its first “little black dress” is asking us to open our eyes to a new vision of the modern gentleman. Are we ready?
Givenchy Gentleman starts with a synthetic tickling of the senses. A subtle, smooth, honeyed rose is dusted with cinnamon and enveloped in a vague haze of bergamot and lemon. While a few old tricks have been tucked away for safekeeping, the fragrance seems to have a strong foothold in the recent past, depicted by an unanticipated, austere, powdery burst. Givenchy Gentleman’s nucleus is undoubtedly patchouli-focused, composed of a dense, woody accord, cushioned with floral nuance. While the construction seems overtly chypre, moss in the base, plenty of woods (actually wood for days), the floral facets don’t last nearly long enough to be convincing. The needed florals are extinguished by a sugared and tanned amalgamation of amber and old brittle leather. The leather note adds an antiquated element to this otherwise modern gent. I was just short of getting tire of the accord when it was injected with sweet amber and nutty vanilla, enabling you to get a little closer. The base finishes nicely with dewy vegetation and a dark earth element, bringing us full circle.
Givenchy’s reformulation of the 1974 classic has successfully removed some of the animalistic notes and hippie inclination, leaving us with a more refined male silhouette. I appreciate how Givenchy Gentleman plays today. It is sophisticated, but still slightly rough around the edges. I enjoy the distinguished nature of the fragrance, and look forward to each and every time I wear it. Whether original or reformulation, Givenchy Gentleman will always have a reserved spot in my collection.