Perfume Directory

Xeryus (1986)
by Givenchy


Xeryus information

Year of Launch1986
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 255 votes)

People and companies

PackagingPierre Dinand
Parent CompanyLVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton
Parent Company at launchLa Veuve Clicquot

About Xeryus

The male partner to Givenchy's Ysatis. It is a woody fragrance containing notes of Artemisiam, Cypress and Amber. The packaging is the exact opposite of Xeryus Rouge.
It was originally to be called Keryus, until YSL objected that the name was too similar to its Kouros scent.

Xeryus fragrance notes

  1. Top Notes
  2. Heart Notes
  3. Base notes

Reviews of Xeryus

Givenchy Xeryus (1986) is the men's counterpart to Givenchy Ysatis (1984) by a young Dominique Ropion, and was originally intended to be called "Keryus" until Yves Saint Laurent squawked about it sounding too similar to their then-hit Kouros (1981). Like Kouros, Xeryus is a powerhouse fougère, but unlike Kouros you won't find animalics or anything particularly confrontational about the stuff (despite the domineering art deco bottle), and that's because Givenchy played it safe. A lot of people who were around then and fell in love with Xeryus have strong and defensive opinions about it and rightly so, as anything creating a positive emotional reaction or developing good memory associations is worthy of some defense, but people who weren't really "there" or wore other things then tend see Xeryus as pleasant but redundant alongside similar 80's fougères. This makes Xeryus something of a "me too" scent of the 80's in the same way may Avons of the time were, or something that could be seen as the 80's version of the myriad designers borrowing "Invictus DNA" or "Aventus DNA" from Paco Rabanne Invictus (2013) or Creed Aventus (2010) respectively. Like all things with quality components but derivative design, that can sometimes make Xeryus feel a bit forgettable, albeit unintentionally. It's also worth mentioning that the flanker Xeryus Rouge (1995) would ultimately overshadow this in regards to hype within the fragrance community, and it would see reformulation then placement in a Les Parfums Mythiques bottle.

The opening of Xeryus is very familiar to wearers of everything from Guy Laroche Drakkar Noir (1982) through to scents like Gucci Nobile (1988), and in fact sits somewhere between those two extremes of soapiness and aromatics. Scents like Alain Delon Plus/AD Plus by Alain Delon (1987) also spring to mind, and even the massive bergamot and lemon verbena wash of Houbigant Duc de Vervins (1985) or the discount entry Lomani pour Homme (1987), with Xeryus sitting in the crux between all that. lavender, lemon, artemisia, bergamot, and a half dozen other citrus and floral notes are all listed, but you won't get half of them. The heart is also the typical clean aromatic fougère treatment, full of juniper berry, geranium, carnation, jasmine hedione, cyclamen, cinnamon, and tarragon among others. Again, a dozen things are listed, and you'll smell maybe three of them. The base is where things pull closer to something like Nobile or AD Plus and away from Drakkar or Duc de Vervins, with balsam fir, amber, vetiver, cedar, olibanum, plus tonka and oakmoss playing a particularly dominant role in the finish. The soapy citrus dimetol combination and the clean hedione florals remain of course, but that piney mossy aromatic finish will be the thing that finally sets Xeryus just a bit apart from its peers. Is it enough? Probably not, but you'll like it if you enjoy the style. Wear time is 10 hours, with good projection and sillage, plus soapy clean aromatics like this can be worn whenever or wherever; a true 80's versatile generalist.

Clean, mature, a bit floral, a bit sweet, and very much "in the pocket" is the smell of Givenchy Xeryus. a fresh aromatic fougère created in image after the genre-defining entries much the same way new takes of the aforementioned Invictus still hit shelves. This tells me that the overly-romanticized belief from vintage snobs that men's fragrances were infinitely more unique and varied in the "golden era" of the 1980's is really just more of the usual online fragrance community hubris that itself stinks up forums or social media, preventing people from trying new things, compromising, or even getting along. It's neither here nor there because the usual elitist gatekeeper types will find something to separate themselves from "us" if not for era of fragrance, then ingredients, price point, compliment factor, whether it's discontinued, et al. I do agree that a lot better naturals were available then and perfumers working for designers had bigger budgets and more control over the creative process, but Xeryus is proof that history is really just repeating in regards to designers following trends if they can't create them. The bottom line is Xeryus will appeal to fans of classic mature office-friendly fougères the likes of which niche houses try to upcharge for these days (a real hoot that one), but will come across to the well-versed collector as a B-side in the style rather than a prime cut (unless it's an old love as mentioned above), and is still at least worth the trouble to try for posterity before it gets axed like the rest of Givenchy's back catalog. Thumbs up.
14th March, 2021
If Xeryus had a star sign I'm sure it would be Aquarius: eccentric, friendly but cool and detached; a non-conformist. says any attempt to box-in Aquarius will most likely fail, and likewise, Xeryus is one of the more difficult scents to get a handle on. It's a gluey, pale green hybrid of fougère, amber and chypre, and it has a kitchen-sink note-list to match (on the other sites at least).
As you'd expect from a profile that features thirty notes[!], Xeryus has plenty of decoratives - which run from lemon, pale tree-fruits, evergreen resin, green notes, woody notes, nutmeg, amber, leather and moss...
Sadly it doesn't work for me, but as 'equality and fairness' are hallmarks of Aquarius, I'll give Xeryus the benefit of the doubt and put it down to Bad Chemistry.
22nd February, 2021 (last edited: 15th April, 2021)
I'm sorry for being so short with my comments. I like the scent very much. In the 80s I wore Patou pour Homme. Terrific stuff! Of course that went away and was replaced in 2013. I didn't bother to try it. But Xeryus, to me, has a very similar smell. That's it.
27th October, 2020
Xeryus is a solid, quality, 80's aromatic fougere. It won't break any vintage lover's top 10 but is very pleasant nevertheless. It sits squarely with the Drakkar Noir, Smalto, Nobile, Tsar, Duc, etc...

Nose clearing, bracing opening blast of artemisia and grapefruit toning progressively toward a really classy dark soapy dry down which is my favourite part.
For those maybe familiar with the genre, not as dark and smoky as Smalto but much darker than Nobile, much less sweet and floral than Tsar, closest maybe to vintage Drakkar.

However good Xeryus and all of those are, one can only lament the pretty much truly extinct and perfect Nobile.
01st July, 2020
I'm not sure what the current version is like but I owned a bottle of this back in the early 90's and it was divine. A real grown up and mature scent. Woody & spicy with a slight touch of floral and sweetness. If I could be assured that it is still nearly as good as the original I would most probably buy a newer bottle. Excellent stuff.
06th November, 2018
I remember receiving Xeryus as a high school graduation gift! I was just beginning to develop a cologne collecting hobby at that time (around 1991), and this scent from Givenchy offered me a scent that I may not have purchased on my own, but nevertheless appreciated.

Xeryus is a nice woody fougere scent that echoes the time period when it came out. It's layered with freshness and spice, as well as an indistince wood-like flair thanks to the cypress. Exudes a sense of charm and confidence, like other well-made fougeres of that era. Clean and long-lasting, never confusing nor cloying.

And then many years after, I discovered and fell in love with Xeryus Rouge, a markedly different direction by Givenchy that has barely any resemblance to this original version, and a flanker that I consider to be one of my all time favorite, never-fail colognes. Can't say that Xeryus original receives a similar accolade from me, but I still give it all due respect as a wearable, thought-provoking scent that is still relevant today after so many years.
17th August, 2018

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