Along with Beene's Grey Flannel, I find Givenchy III one of the two best green scents for men ever created. I know this one was created for and marketed to women, but it is so unisex and so superbly, confidently, quietly masculine, that I can't imagine a woman even liking it, let alone wearing it.
A green floral chypre that is round, deep and complex. Intriguing suave, assured, sophisticated.
Green citrus and fruity florals blend harmoniously and lay over a woody, powdery, slightly spicy base. The slightly mentholated dry down is light and pleasant.
Top notes: Bergamot, Mandarin, Galbanum, Peach, Gardenia
Heart notes: Muguet, Hyacinth, Rose, Jasmine, Orris
Base notes: Patchouli, Oakmoss, Amber, Sandalwood
Turin gave it 5 stars and dubbed it a "great masculine." I agree.
*** This review is of the original vintage ***
Greener than the earlier reviewed Jolie Madame, Givenchy III opens with bergamot and galbanum. The central floral accord gets more noticeable with time but its sweet floralcy and intensity is held firmly in check by the deeply earthy-mossy base. The balance is immaculate, the structure holding its form remarkably well. I must agree with earlier suggestions that this is one helluva chypre that could be easily worn by either gender.
After an intensely aromatic opening the newly revived Givenchy III drifts into an unusually dry, herbaceous, yet indolic white flower accord supported by a firm woody-mossy base. The enduring aromatic notes color the bold chypre structure a dusty green that’s not too far removed from the great Mitsouko – that is if you could imagine Guerlain’s classic without a trace of its trademark peach. In fact, I’d happily recommend Givenchy III for men who love chypre scents but are afraid that Mitsouko will leave them smelling somehow “feminine.” (Not a problem for me, but I know it is for some.) Regardless of gender, Givenchy III is a great chypre fragrance, and I welcome its reissue as reassurance that the fragrance industry is not yet irredeemably degenerate. My only complaint is that it's oddly short lived on my skin.
15th June, 2014 (last edited: 14th June, 2014)
Concerning the vintage perfume formula: The bergamot and lactonic peach rested on a bed of greens is very much reminiscent of the other readily-available reference Chypre, Mitsouko, but Givenchy III is Mitsy with a shadow cast over it, or darkness lurking within. The inky, black base of vetiver, castoreum, and oakmoss is always in the front seat for this ride, and doesn't just reveal itself after the top dies off - it looms behind the whole composition, coloring it a darker shade of smoky green, with a smell upon opening not unlike fresh dirt (It actually has a lot in common with Caron's Vetiver). This is as 'classic' as scents get in the modern age - III is very much an Old World kind of scent, one which proclaims class and demands respect, and is a hard wear for anyone not an intriguing socialite. It is a near-cousin to my beloved Norell but is less bright and all-inclusive, more the dark branch of the family. It is stark and beautiful in an angular face kind of way. Whereas this kind of scent used to be more commonplace in the last century it now fills a different role than intended. This is not at all a scent for the casual wearer, nor is it even suited for enthusiasts - Givenchy III is a scent tailored to the desires of scent maniacs and classicists. It is a placeholder for an era that came and went but one which we wish would stay.
I haven't smelled castoreum this strong since my acquisition of vintage Van Cleef & Arpels. This could easily have been called 'Black Moss.' Beautiful stuff.
Masterpiece of Givenchy
The perfume opens with a strong dose of citrus and galbanum that give a slight 'green' feeling, III would quickly toned down into elegance with more floral added - but still controlled by the citrus and galbanum, which is good to hold the floral from becoming too excessive - think about mass-destruction floral; and after an hour or two, the basenotes of sandalwood and oakmoss starts to appeared and gives a little 'masculine' flavor into this III (but also gives somehow 'cosmetic' smells, almost like a lipstick), which is good since that makes me very sure that III is leaning more into unisex rather than pure feminine, and still retain a pure elegance of the old Givenchy's - which I rarely seen nowadays in mainstream perfumes. a true masterpiece that an avid collectors need at least a bottle in their collection
Pros: scent quality; projection; longevity
Cons: very feminine"