I hate summer. Oh, yes, nubile young ladies gambolling about on golden-sand strewn beaches, and all the sybaritic loveliness that comes of coastal living in the balmy months are all well and good but I find as the heat goes up the number of great fragrances you can wear goes down in direct proportion. Moreover those legions of light, wussy aquatics just get eaten in short-order by my fragrance hungry skin. Forget sillage. Forget projection. Forget fragrance! I might as well wear nothing. Even on fabric they disappear into thin air in moments.
Above thirty degrees Celsius, which is quite common here, literally the only scent I've ever found that I can wear, which is sensational (and I demand at least a few sensational things in my rotation, or what's the point?) and which provides reasonable sillage and longevity is Eau de Guerlain. However even that gets boring after a while. At any rate we're pushing into spring in this hemisphere and I'm desperately trying to put together an inspiring daytime rotation for summer. So I lined up all the bottles I had under consideration the other day, like soldiers on parade awaiting orders, and thought, 'hm, nothing by Givenchy?'
Givenchy is a house I have more than a little love for, thanks largely to Xeryus, Xeryus Rouge, Gentleman, Vetiver, Insense, Monsieur Givenchy, Organza, Eau de Givenchy, Ange ou Demon and more. They can be off-the-charts brilliant. So I raided my fiance's side of the wardrobe (where most of my unisex fragrances end up) looking for Eau Torride which I remember liking, despite longevity issues, thinking I'd just pop some in an atomiser and freshen up during the day. Then I remembered Into The Blue when I saw the little bottle which I bought as a tester (with cap) in a plain white box for a damn good price when I found it at my local fragrance store, thinking 'Hey, it's by Givenchy. Give it a chance.' despite that it looked like an aquatic. I never got around to spraying it though before it was purloined, but the bottle was nearly empty when I found it which seemed to bode well.
What a little gem this is! Between this, Xeryus Rouge, the reformulated Xeryus and Ysatis (all of which I consider unisex) and Eau Torride I'm starting to think Givenchy has major unexplored potential when it comes to unisex fragrances. Into The Blue looks and feels like it should be so ho-hum, and I won't deny that in anything but the warmest weather it can't keep up with the stiffening competition, but on seriously hot days this little firecracker really goes off. I tested it by leaving a scent-strip close by a heater, and later by warming up my wrist in the same way, and it really made this pop. Whether it's the concentration, or the ingredients this isn't a scent that is going to give you much if you're not generous with the application, but bear the price in mind and give yourself a few solid sprays, some on skin and some on fabric and Into the Blue will work hard for you.
Let's look at the notes, but bear in mind I'm not the greatest nose and I usually need to be intimately familiar with a fragrance before I can deconstruct it.
The sweetness of the top-notes is of a crisp, herbaceous and floral nature that has a tartness to it making it unlike those dime-a-dozen, summery citrus compositions. I can't pick up a distinct bergamot note so I imagine it must be fairly subdued, but there is a certain astringency to it that I love. It hits the nose like a stiff, cold shot of hard liquor hits the throat, making it open up and anticipate, even demand, more. It's hard to take brief sniffs of; I almost feel like I want to drink it with my nose, in fact the first time I tested this in the heat I ended up deadening my sense of smell for a few hours because I couldn't stop inhaling.
This opening is by far the star of the show, but thankfully it doesn't disappear as things progress. This is a linear fragrance with fairly simple aspirations; the top notes continue to inform the heart and base throughout its flight, and right up until the last stages of the drydown. Compared to summer favourites like Cool Water and Azzaro Chrome, Into The Blue has a certain decorum. It feels a little more mature; the words 'mountain fresh,' do not spring to mind. I am almost moved to compare it to CK One, but it's crisper, less saccharine and more befitting of masculine sensibilities.
Sweet Pea? I believe it's in there, but not in any telltale quantities. In fact all of the notes here fit together very smoothly with the exception of the Orchid, and the woodsy base, but these are what make this fragrance. Orchid to me has a very airy, summery scent and regardless of how authentic the ingredients are here I'm really pleased to smell something which has a crisp lightness and slightly aquatic sweetness that seems to be born of an accord, a combination of natural smells (regardless of whether they're artificial or not,) and not a fat helping of calone, or some other aroma-chemical.
The woodsy base seems artificial, but as-described there is indeed a refreshingly luminous quality to it. I've spoken to my fiancé about her impressions as she has used so much of it, and her thoughts seem to echo mine: there is something rather addictive about the top notes of this little beauty. Especially in a warm atmosphere.
Sillage is passable. You do get a little trail for the first couple of hours, and for about the same length projection is again passable. The reason I can forgive it for having such modest projection though is the refreshingly addictive nature of this type of scent works best when kept subtle. This is something people are going to catch a hint of, and it will leave them wanting more. A great little fragrance for those with midsummer cravings of the romantic variety.
Projection fades gradually over about three hours, but in total Into The Blue lasts for around six, if only as a skin-scent, encompassing you with a light aura provided by those luminous woods, informed by a subtle sweetness. However if you put some on your shirt or sleeves you will get longer-lasting projection, and slower evolution; the combination of the top and middle notes on fabric and the woody base on your skin will be especially striking in the warmth.
If - like me - you struggle to find summer scents that do not smell 'mountain fresh,' Into the Blue might be for you.
02nd September, 2012 (last edited: 18th December, 2012)