Everything but the kitchen sink (florals). The kicker being massive ylang-ylang and gardenia heightened with sandalwood and vanilla, also overloaded. Big hair and shoulder pads are a must. Famous for making small spaces intolerable. Perfumes like this give perfume a bad reputation.
The opening bergamot and the floral heart is nice, but it would be better if the floral notes and base notes aren't too heavy. Didn't get any patchouli though.
This is a linear version of Piguet's classic tuberose/peach Fracas.
The effect is that of vanilla and melon, drying down to a very light, dry tweed.
It was a very loud scent and permeated the perfume world, due to excellent marketing. Another of the female powerhouse scents of the 1980s, along with Poison.
It is for me a pleasant scent, in small doses, but nothing great.
Top notes: Bergamot, Mandarin, Galbanum, Tuberose
Heart notes: Orchid, Jasmine, Rose, Carnation, Ylang, Orris, Muguet, Hyacinth, Gardenia, Neroli, Patchouli, Chamomile
Base notes: Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Musk, Moss, Amber, Vanilla
I don't quite understand the big perfumes of the 1980s. At heart, they carried a mixed message. They are unavoidable: large, loud, instantly recognizable, distressingly unmistakable. They are written in bold print and are meant to stand out. The problem is that they were also used as identifiers to signal inclusion in a group, or rather, to announce the wearer’s identification as a type. They are tribal. So while their use of olfactory dynamics makes them all about standing out, the intention of their use is all about signaling affiliation, not distinction.
As with Dior Poison (1985) and YSL Opium (1977), even 30 years after the fact, we refer not so much to the perfume Giorgio (1981) as to the type of woman who wore it. The perfume was part of the package: big hair, shoulder pads, geometric make up. Aspiration. Grandiosity. Remember this was the era of a television show called Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
The Perfume itself is remarkable for its superlative qualities: volume, radioactive sillage, endurance, unwarranted certitude. It could more aptly have been called No Exit. It captured the quality of bigger-is-better that defined the 1980s. It is legendary: it was the first scent-strip ever used in a magazine. It is mythical: Giorgio was banned from restaurants. It surpassed even its high wattage rivals. Where Cacharel Loulou (1987) was boisterous, YSL Opium was smothering, and Dior Poison was simply too loud, Giorgio was crass.
Vintage bottles are easy to find. It was mass-produced for decades and made from aromachemicals with industrial half-lives. It is the plastic of perfumery. It can't be recycled, and it will never degrade.
Absolutely worth sniffing, even if just for the history lesson.
19th June, 2014 (last edited: 18th May, 2015)
Giorgio stands beside Opium as an iconic scent whose commercial success set a dominant trend in 1980s perfumery. If Opium begat the modern outsized spicy amber orientals, Giorgio was the mother of all monster tuberoses. In Opium’s wake came Cinnabar, Coco, and any number of lesser imitators, while Giorgio was followed by Amarige, Ysatis and, more distantly, Michael. Opium and Giorgio each had a classic predecessor, too. In Opium’s case it was Shalimar, in Giorgio’s it was Fracas, and both of the later scents “updated” their respective themes in the same manner. Both added weight, opacity, and elaborate ornament to their genre templates, then employed modern aromachemicals to increase sheer power and projection. The results were perfumes that simply could not be ignored, but that ironically grew dated in a manner that their august ancestors have not. The difference is akin to that between Renaissance and Mannerist painting. A Titian Madonna is ageless in its poise, while Parmagianini’s exaggerated proportions seem bizarre, or even awkward, by comparison.
That said, Giorgio, again like Opium, is arguably superior to most of its progeny. Granted that Ysatis, with its slightly more modest and balanced proportions, may be easier to wear, but Giorgio’s take-no-prisoners approach is ultimately the more striking. What does it actually smell like? An enormous (and admittedly very slightly chemical) indolic tuberose/white flower accord that’s sweetened by fruit notes and anchored by sweet, powdery vanilla, amber, and powerful musks. You can smell it standing upwind by yards and it lasts forever. Should you smell it? Yes. Your understanding of perfume history will benefit. Should you wear it? Depends on just how brave you’re feeling.
15th June, 2014 (last edited: 14th June, 2014)