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  1. #1

    Default vintage Givenchy Gentleman and other thoughts on reformulations?

    So I had my first experience today with comparing two versions of a frag side by side: the Givenchy Gentleman that I've had for a couple years (and love) and the vintage juice that I bought on ebay and just arrived in the mail today. The old stuff definitely has a stronger animalic quality, both a sharp civet-like note and a more pronounced musky accord, both very well played to my nose. It also has a tobacco note, or more like the taste of a cigarette, actually, than like blond tobacco.
    But despite my interest in the history of fragrance and my predisposition to think that what is old and rare is therefore better, it's not clear that the old stuff is better. (And of course all this assumes that it's substantially the same as it was when bottled, not damaged by heat and age.) The old Gentleman is gorgeous out of the bottle but loses its topnotes pretty quickly. The drydown is sweeter and very close to the skin compared to the new stuff, which holds onto a much more well-rounded balance of notes for much longer.
    In total, I like the old stuff and am glad to have it but I would echo what others have often said about reformulations: if there's a loss of complexity and animalic interest, there's also an improvement in longevity and balance.
    What would others say about the losses and gains of reformulations?

  2. #2

    Default Re: vintage Givenchy Gentleman and other thoughts on reformulations?

    Once I had the old bottle (also I liked the old box)
    The new one smells modern-artificial, it's more perfumey
    Last edited by DreamerII; 11th June 2008 at 11:11 PM.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: vintage Givenchy Gentleman and other thoughts on reformulations?

    I liked the old one better, but the new one is more wearable and I end up wearing it more often and on more occasions.

  4. #4
    Dependent pluran's Avatar
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    Default Re: vintage Givenchy Gentleman and other thoughts on reformulations?

    Quote Originally Posted by Strollyourlobster View Post
    ...if there's a loss of complexity and animalic interest, there's also an improvement in longevity and balance...
    There are an awful lot of wacky ideas around here but that one must the most bizarre I've ever read.

    As for Givenchy Gentleman, there's no need to analyze. The original is one of the best men's fragrances ever made (so rich, smooth, round and well blended like it's oozing from your pores), but the new one is hardly worth owning. It's not the worst reformulation ever done (sometimes they don't even smell like the same fragrance), and it still has a lot of patchouli in it, so I'm sure some people might like it for that reason alone. But it's relatively flat and has been stripped of all the precious lubricants that gave it its character. Some reformulations are better than others but the vintage juice is almost always better, usually considerably so. Keep wearing them and see what you think in a few months.

    .
    Last edited by pluran; 12th June 2008 at 04:17 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: vintage Givenchy Gentleman and other thoughts on reformulations?

    For me Gentleman (new formulation) is very simple :

    Horrible very strong civet lasting ~ 1 hour top note
    Very nice dry down lasting 5-8 hours.

    I hate the start, love the rest.
    Last edited by Roc_Xel; 11th June 2008 at 11:35 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: vintage Givenchy Gentleman and other thoughts on reformulations?

    lil off topic...but does Kouros have the Civet note...?

  7. #7

    Default Re: vintage Givenchy Gentleman and other thoughts on reformulations?

    I agree with Pluran's post here. The old Gentleman is head and shoulders above the new one. I've got them both, but that's only because I bought the reformulation first. I was so disappointed in the quality of the reformulated version that I sought out the vintage. It's one of the great men's fragrances.

    There's another thread about this same topic. As I recall Scentemental had some interesting thoughts. It'd be worth looking up if you're interested.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: vintage Givenchy Gentleman and other thoughts on reformulations?

    I'm happy to defer to subtler noses. Thanks for the responses.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: vintage Givenchy Gentleman and other thoughts on reformulations?

    When was the reformulation done? Is there an easy way to tell which is which from the bottle and packaging alone?

  10. #10

    Default Re: vintage Givenchy Gentleman and other thoughts on reformulations?

    Quote Originally Posted by jenson View Post
    lil off topic...but does Kouros have the Civet note...?
    Kouros has loads of artificial civet. Again, it too, has been reformulated. So you can either join the lament club, or look for something new, or be happy with the reformulation. Everything changes, it's called life.
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 12th June 2008 at 05:51 AM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: vintage Givenchy Gentleman and other thoughts on reformulations?

    For my part, would that all reformulations were as good as the one Givenchy Gentleman has gotten.
    --Chris
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  12. #12

    Default Re: vintage Givenchy Gentleman and other thoughts on reformulations?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruggles View Post
    Kouros has loads of artificial civet. Again, it too, has been reformulated. So you can either join the lament club, or look for something new, or be happy with the reformulation. Everything changes, it's called life.
    Thanx Ruggles! so now it makes sense..i was trying to understand the Civet note...i think its pretty clear now!!! love em! Thnx!~

  13. #13

    Default Re: vintage Givenchy Gentleman and other thoughts on reformulations?

    is the old version the one in the black-on-white patterns with silver label packaging? i've seen a mini in this packaging, i suspect it's the old one and would definitely buy this if it is indeed the old formula.
    the bottles i see on the shelves on the shelves are grey on black patterns with white text and border.

    if i'm wrong, is there a way to tell, just from the packaging or bottle?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: vintage Givenchy Gentleman and other thoughts on reformulations?

    Quote Originally Posted by Strollyourlobster View Post
    ... The old Gentleman is gorgeous out of the bottle but loses its topnotes pretty quickly. The drydown is sweeter and very close to the skin compared to the new stuff, which holds onto a much more well-rounded balance of notes for much longer...
    I have a number of bottles dating from the early 1980's and I can assure you I observed this effect on many of them when applied. It is like they become "flatter" in their note range.

    Supposedly, molecules brake down with ageing, having an effect similar to the one described. They loose top notes rather fast and the scent keeps closer to the skin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruggles View Post
    ... Everything changes, it's called life.
    I would call it "the arrow of time". Bad news is that there is no way you can get rid of it.
    Last edited by Pollux; 14th November 2008 at 12:13 AM. Reason: Addition

  15. #15

    Default Re: vintage Givenchy Gentleman and other thoughts on reformulations?

    So funny that this old thread, in which one of my BN heroes gives me a dope slapping, should rise from the grave. Pluran, where are you? I did take his excellent advice and wear it often over the next several months. It seems likely that my two vintage bottles haven't aged well. I'd still stand by the comparison I made when I first got the vintage but I've learned to love the vintage opening very much. It's quite beautiful and dramatic, and definitely has the quality of entering an olfactory time warp to 1972. Completely different from anything contemporary that I've encountered.
    It's worth the search and was still readily available on ebay last I checked. This thread has a shot of the vintage bottle compliments of castorpollux. What I've done is look for the bottles with the wrap-around label on ebay. The newer version has a label that covers only a small portion of the front. And then email to seller to confirm that the picture shown is of the bottle that's for sale. Happy hunting!

  16. #16
    smeller
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    Default Re: vintage Givenchy Gentleman and other thoughts on reformulations?

    Well, I strongly disagree with your hero, even if I still respect him a lot.

    This reformulation is far from "hardly worth owning"

    I have been wearing both since 2 years ago, and the new has some strenghts the old has not.

    I would say the old formulation is more a "baroque" composition, full of curls and shades, a masterpiece of traditional perfume making. The new formulation lost some of the architecture and complexity, but gained in character, it's much more a "wild animal" frag in the best sense. Assertive and still seductive. A modern version for bad and for good also.

    Both are very worth owning, for very different reasons.

    Usually we complain that the juice has been weakened after reformulation, but in this case, it's quite the opposite.

    As DustB said: I wish all reformulations were like this one.
    Last edited by smeller; 14th November 2008 at 01:29 AM. Reason: adding a phrase

  17. #17

    Default Re: vintage Givenchy Gentleman and other thoughts on reformulations?

    I love them both, and they are different enough to be considered separate creations. The new reformulation is certainly one that comes to mind immediately when the designer v. niche conversation arises.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: vintage Givenchy Gentleman and other thoughts on reformulations?

    This was probably my first real fragrance after Brut. It was borrowed and later gifted from my father. The original bottle, which he bought at the time of release, probably during the launch itself, looked just like the one in the above-linked picture (thanks very much, strolly), with a glass neck. I have two later bottles (I think from the 80's) which still have the wrap-around silver label, but they have black plastic rings on the neck, instead of glass (see below). I am almost positive that there is some difference between the original scent and those, meaning that there were probably some reformulatory steps taken in the 10-15 years after launch. I can only say this - the launch stuff was fabulous. Even to the nose of a long-haired punk sneaking Marlboros behind the school, it was amazing juice. I still have a tiny amount in a vintage mini bottle (also with the wrap-around silver label and glass neck) that my dad gave me.

    I have not tried the modern formulation. For all I know, I may like it better, since my tastes have changed. I will definitely make a point of sniffing it now.

    Here is one of my "intermediate vintage" bottles:


    Another point - the directory gives a launch date of 1974, but I could swear that this had to be available in 1972, the date you gave. The directory date is wrong - isn't it? Do we know the real, exact launch date?
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  19. #19

    Default Re: vintage Givenchy Gentleman and other thoughts on reformulations?

    One of my top 3 of all time. Ah - so the bottle shown above is the vintage then. This looks the same as the 100ml I own so I guess it's the reformulation that I haven't experienced.

  20. #20

    Default Re: vintage Givenchy Gentleman and other thoughts on reformulations?

    1972 was just from memory, and mine is pretty faulty. Thanks, Redneck Perfumisto, for the info about the original bottle. What I have, then, is one bottle of the original formula (maybe), one of the (or an) intermediate formula, and one of the most recent. I'll have to compare the two older ones side by side this weekend and see what up. The two older formulations are close enough that I hadn't thought to compare them carefully. My memory (see above caveat) is that the oldest version has a more pronounced floral note (rose?) in the opening that combines with the burnt tobacco to create a more dramatic version of the walking-into-a hot-smokey-club-circa-197? effect. But I'll check in later in the weekend. I think I overstated when I said that the newer one is essentially a new creation. Once you know what to smell for, the burnt tobacco note is there in the opening, just much farther back in the chord.
    Please, anyone who has one of the older formulas, weigh in on differences and similarities. Play along!
    I feel moved to say, and maybe it's the oatmeal talking, that Givenchy Gentleman is a great perfume and ought to be experienced whether you like it or not. As a teacher, when a kid says he doesn't like Whitman, my response is that it's not always about liking, that Whitman's lines are a door into way of seeing, and that the best response is to shut up and listen to them until you begin to see how Whitman's lines divide the world into a series of mighty but achievable leaps. I think certain perfumes are like that, as well. The visceral resistance to smelling certain things attentively is in fact a wall that keeps your worldview tidy: plant a boot heel in the fecker and smeeeell what seeps through the gap. End of little high horsey rant.
    And the other thought here is that any real history of perfume would have to take into account these sorts of (often carefully concealed) changes of formula. Whether lavender still smells the same as it did in 1870 after the two weeks of drought that made them harvest early (or whatever) is another question. Anyone interested in some weekend corporate espionage? Or we sit in the lobby at Givenchy HQ spritzing each other with Aqua di Gio pour Homme until they spill the beans.

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