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  1. #1
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    JaimeB's Avatar
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    Default Givenchy III: Original vs. reformulation?

    I am uncertain as to the relation between the 1970 version and the 2007 reintroduction of Givenchy III, a rather beautiful chypre. When I wore this recently, I decided to attach this capsule review to it:

    This review is for the 2007 reissue. Unfortunately, the notes listed for this on the tester (and in other sources) are just a skeleton of the 1970 version. Whether any of the other original ingredients are present is very hard to say, as I never smelled the original; but it is just possible that Givenchy had some reason to give just the bare bones of the notes, and that not all of the original pyramid was eliminated. I certainly hope that is the case. In any event, the 2007 juice is still beautiful, and while it doesn't have a great deal of longevity, it is quite lovely while it lasts. It preserves the chypre character, right down to the oakmoss, which is commendable, because it is now restricted under EU rules. This version is available only in EdT. Whatever the answer to the question of reformulation, this is a very good scent — a definite "thumbs up."
    At this point, I should say that the longevity of the juice was better than I remembered. Here's the whole skinny on the two pyramids:

    (1970)
    Top note: Aldehyde Complex, Bergamot oil, Galbanum, Gardenia, Peach
    Middle note: Carnation, Jasmin, Jonquil, Lily of the Valley, Orris, Rose
    Base note: Amber, Castoreum, Myrrh, Oakmoss, Patchouli, Vetiver

    (2007)
    Top Note: Galbanum, Hyacinth
    Middle Note: Rose, Jasmine
    Base Note: Oakmoss, Patchouli


    Well, here's what I've done. I went to a small shop that's pretty good at finding stuff, and I asked them to locate the original for me so I'd be able to compare the two. They should have the original version for me by the end of the week if they're as good as their word. Then maybe I'll see.

    Does anyone know, by any chance if there have been any intermediate reformulations between the 1970 introduction and the 2007 reintroduction? That might spoil my experiment. The people who are getting this for me assure me that what they're getting is not the 2007 Parfums Mythiques edition. Can anybody shed more light on the production history of Givenchy III? Thanks in advance for any help you can give on this question.
    Yr good bud,

    JaimeB

    "Why spend life seeking that which does not satisfy? Why remain a slave, when freedom waits? Let your life shine; illumine the world with your truth!"

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    Fiat justitia ruat cælum.

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Givenchy III: Original vs. reformulation?

    Hi, Jaime!
    I happen to compare modern EDT from Les Mythiques and my vintage EDP juice.
    What I could say?
    1) modern version lacks `boozy` impression. It`s hard to explain on foreign language, but I`ll try. Vintage has a certain muddy feeling of someone exhale that reminds about a yesterday night in bar your neighbour could not remember... some alcohol digested... I suppose it`s aldehydes and maybe myrrhe. Mud and booze - that`s not a good words, but they gives the direction of difference.
    2) modern version is more bright, green, transparent and has a crisp sparkling feeling.
    It`s longer lasting too (as you mentioned). I think that this difference is caused by new synthetics used instead of naturals. Especially because of new thing - hyacinth. Which is true synthetics. And replacement of new patented aldehydes - that`s for sure. It has less chypre character - less labdanum (which is myrrhe here), less oakmoss and has patchouli fractioned.
    Another thing is with musks - nitromusks is prohibited now, so they used mix of different and transparent musks.
    Vintage is cloudy and has a definite darkness in it, like thick dark-green cloud. Real bergamot, more vetiver and myrrhe, and castoreum for sure.

    That`s what I could recall right now.
    Vetiver The Great!!!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Givenchy III: Original vs. reformulation?

    and Jaime, I wonder - could that small wonder perfume shop find vintage perfume named Ellipse de Fath?
    Vetiver The Great!!!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Givenchy III: Original vs. reformulation?

    Hi Jaime,

    Givenchy III has been a favorite of mine since its birth in 1968 or so.

    For your question re intermediate reformulations, I think there was a gradual dumbing-down of the ingredients just about the same time that L'Interdit by Givenchy was totally reformulated, sometime around 1996. I have two bottles of III dating from way before the relaunch. The older one is a 3.3 oz spray in a tall, rounded oblong bottle with a cap that fits all the way around. The newer one is a 1.7 oz splash in a high-shouldered bottle with a narrower gold cap that just fits around the bottle neck.

    It's hard to describe just what is missing from the newer bottle. Givenchy III was such a contrast of mossy/sparkling, austere/light-hearted, etc. I'd have to say that in the older bottle, I notice the darker green notes faster - almost a fustiness, but then I have a nose for oakmoss like a truffle hound. Also, that quality could be attributed to the natural aging process of the juice itself. Either of these bottle variations would qualify as the older formula, though.

    As for the re-launched version.......
    Well, it's not horrible. It's still a sophisticated scent. Moon_fish describes the lightness and transparency well. But it's not a scent that makes me hunger or dream, the way the old one did. Please forgive my singing the same old song about reformulations. But there is a universe of soul-shaking fragrance that is lost to us now.
    Last edited by Jardanel; 30th September 2008 at 05:29 PM.

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Givenchy III: Original vs. reformulation?

    I can't speak to the original, but I very much enjoy the reformulation... it's a light, fresh chyrpe with a great citrus/floral balance. Just an FYI, I was able to pick up a deal on two 4ml minis for $20 here, which is an economical way to try it given that bottles average around $85.

    JaimeB please tell us how the original compares.... knowing what I know about the original (in no small part to your SoTD description from a couple days ago) I can imagine a richer, deeper version of the G-III being fantastic. And oh yeah, if this shop locates more than one bottle just let me know ;-)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Givenchy III: Original vs. reformulation?

    Many thanks to those who replied. I am looking forward to getting the juice I ordered. I only hope it is the original formulation, or as close as possible. I will post my impressions after it arrives.
    Yr good bud,

    JaimeB

    "Why spend life seeking that which does not satisfy? Why remain a slave, when freedom waits? Let your life shine; illumine the world with your truth!"

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    Fiat justitia ruat cælum.

    Let justice be done, even if the sky should fall.

    Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus

    Qui nihil potest sperare, desperet nihil.
    Let him who can hope for nothing despair of nothing.

    Male irato ferrum committitur.
    It is an evil thing to arm an angry man.
    —Seneca

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Givenchy III: Original vs. reformulation?

    I promised a review and comparison when I got hold of an earlier version of Givenchy III, and here it is. I found a bottle in EdT in the earlier packaging, with the box like the one on the Basenotes Directory page picture, albeit a different bottle.

    For reference, here are the pyramids for both versions:

    (1970)
    Top note: Aldehyde Complex, Bergamot oil, Galbanum, Gardenia, Peach
    Middle note: Carnation, Jasmin, Jonquil, Lily of the Valley, Orris, Rose
    Base note: Amber, Castoreum, Myrrh, Oakmoss, Patchouli, Vetiver

    (2007)
    Top Note: Galbanum, Hyacinth
    Middle Note: Rose, Jasmine
    Base Note: Oakmoss, Patchouli

    I'm not sure if the one I got yesterday is the original 1970 version, but it's definitely pre-2007. I can safely say that this version is more complex than the new one, if not as "clean" or "brisk." It is very obvious to the nose that the top note is more complex right from the moment of application; the gardenia and peach notes support the other opening factors quite clearly. The drydown is also more evidently elaborate, where the myrrh and animalic notes especially stand out and strengthen the last chord. The middle still seems to have a hyacinth note (though unlisted in the pyramid I found), but it is considerably denser with the carnation and additional white florals, particularly the green-tinged lily-of-the-valley. The orris also adds an earthiness that is no longer there in the 2007 version. Nothing I say here is meant to dis that newer scent; it is beautiful and well-made in its own right — brighter, cleaner, brisker, altogether more suited to the "modern" taste. But the older scent is a green chypre in the classic mold, comparable to Chanel No. 19 and others in that style.

    The strange thing is that the new version is "faithful" to the old in every important respect, as far a reasonably well-trained nose attuned to "modern" tastes can easily detect. The skeletal structure is intact, and while it is not as rich, animalic, or dense as the original, there is a real sense in which it is recognizably the "same fragrance" with what a "modern" nose would consider incidental or inessential notes stripped away. The starker, cleaner-limbed version is what the current taste would call a green chypre in the Givenchy style.

    Nevertheless, it is a treat to know the original in all its fleshed-out splendor, with all the bells and whistles that used to be considered indispensable to a refined fragrance before newer fashions and EU restrictions put perfumes on a (dare I say "forced?") diet.
    Yr good bud,

    JaimeB

    "Why spend life seeking that which does not satisfy? Why remain a slave, when freedom waits? Let your life shine; illumine the world with your truth!"

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    Fiat justitia ruat cælum.

    Let justice be done, even if the sky should fall.

    Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus

    Qui nihil potest sperare, desperet nihil.
    Let him who can hope for nothing despair of nothing.

    Male irato ferrum committitur.
    It is an evil thing to arm an angry man.
    —Seneca

  8. #8

    Default Re: Givenchy III: Original vs. reformulation?

    Great report, JaimeB.

    I would have to agree with you that the reformulation certainly got the "skeleton" correct. On its own merits, the re-formulated Givenchy III is an elegant, intelligent scent.
    If I hadn't spent so many years in the presence of the original, I would not find it lacking at all.

    Your note about the unacknowledged hyacinth in the original caught my eye. Perhaps it's the jonquil in the middle note that you are registering as "hyacinth". Jonquil in combination with softer florals such as the rose and jasmine can often give an overall impression of hyacinth - that's just been my experience. The castoreum in the original's base is one of the missing elements I noted right away in the re-launch.

    Thanks for your time and effort in performing this comparison - I don't know you, but I'd say you are a gentleman and a scholar!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Givenchy III: Original vs. reformulation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jardanel View Post
    Great report, JaimeB.

    I would have to agree with you that the reformulation certainly got the "skeleton" correct. On its own merits, the re-formulated Givenchy III is an elegant, intelligent scent.
    If I hadn't spent so many years in the presence of the original, I would not find it lacking at all.

    Your note about the unacknowledged hyacinth in the original caught my eye. Perhaps it's the jonquil in the middle note that you are registering as "hyacinth". Jonquil in combination with softer florals such as the rose and jasmine can often give an overall impression of hyacinth - that's just been my experience. The castoreum in the original's base is one of the missing elements I noted right away in the re-launch.

    Thanks for your time and effort in performing this comparison - I don't know you, but I'd say you are a gentleman and a scholar!
    Thank you for your kind words. It is always interesting to gain first-hand knowledge about scents. This little bit of comparison shopping was fun, and I got a bottle of the earlier formulation of Givenchy III out of it, as well!
    Yr good bud,

    JaimeB

    "Why spend life seeking that which does not satisfy? Why remain a slave, when freedom waits? Let your life shine; illumine the world with your truth!"

    My Wardrobe
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    Fiat justitia ruat cælum.

    Let justice be done, even if the sky should fall.

    Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus

    Qui nihil potest sperare, desperet nihil.
    Let him who can hope for nothing despair of nothing.

    Male irato ferrum committitur.
    It is an evil thing to arm an angry man.
    —Seneca

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Givenchy III: Original vs. reformulation?

    I have a couple G-III minis, which I assume are of the old formulation. This is a perfect example of something I'd have never in a million years tried but for BN. G-III is now on my bottle list.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Givenchy III: Original vs. reformulation?

    Quote Originally Posted by bbBD View Post
    I have a couple G-III minis, which I assume are of the old formulation. This is a perfect example of something I'd have never in a million years tried but for BN. G-III is now on my bottle list.
    Kewl! Glad we have turned you on to it.
    Yr good bud,

    JaimeB

    "Why spend life seeking that which does not satisfy? Why remain a slave, when freedom waits? Let your life shine; illumine the world with your truth!"

    My Wardrobe
    My Reviews

    Fiat justitia ruat cælum.

    Let justice be done, even if the sky should fall.

    Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus

    Qui nihil potest sperare, desperet nihil.
    Let him who can hope for nothing despair of nothing.

    Male irato ferrum committitur.
    It is an evil thing to arm an angry man.
    —Seneca

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Givenchy III: Original vs. reformulation?

    I find both the newer EdT and vintage parfum 'difficult' to like. Not sure what it is...but I'm struggling with this fragrance. I'm going to stop trying to 'get' it for now, put my vials away, and come back to them at a later time.

    I agree with moon_fish's comments about the 'dark' quality of the vintage parfum. Still...it leaves me cold.

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