This cool picture from Fragrantica is the vintage eau de toilette, but I’m reviewing the modern parfum.
Givenchy III is considered one of the greatest green fragrances of all time. It’s green in the old-fashioned way: musty and powdery in contrast to today’s bright, fresh green scents. (Sometimes the latter turn out well but often they’re screechy and feel like they’re marketed for someone who wants to wear their favorite Febreze to the club.)
Here’s the official note list, from Yesterday’s Perfume:
Top notes: Aldehydes, bergamot, mandarin, galbanum, peach, gardenia
Heart notes: lily of the valley, hyacinth, rose, jasmine, iris root
Base notes: Patchouli, oakmoss, amber, sandalwood
My take’s a bit different than the list. I think it opens up with rich layers of musty green, like moss or cut grass that’s been lying there damp for a day or two. It also smells kind of like cashmere. It’s very rich, heavy, and opulent in kind of a brainy way. The lady who wears Givenchy III isn’t necessarily going to a ball. She could be going to a fancy dinner with literary types.
I can smell some leathery notes in the heart. It also gets a bit astringent. It smells fruitier sprayed on fabric. The iris root contributes to the soft powderiness, and becomes strong in the heart notes. I can also smell some Chamade-style hyacinth. I don’t notice any rose and jasmine in the modern version. (I haven’t tried the vintage.)
Towards the end I mostly notice the oakmoss. It smells pretty close to a classic chypre despite the lack of labdanum. The citrus notes make the overall effect a little more buoyant. I’d definitely recommend it as a fall/winter fragrance.
Overall it’s a fantastic fragrance. You can smell the layers and the depth. To me, it feels like putting on a cozy thick sweater on a gray day.
I Googled “grey cable knit sweater” and these pics went along with how Givenchy III feels to me. (*Note: I am not being paid to advertise any of these things. I just wish I could afford to buy them.)
(lyst.com Dolce & Gabbana cardigan)
(poshposh.com Alexander McQueen wool/cashmere sweater)
All that being said, I prefer my fragrances brighter or louder or something. Givenchy III has a great personality but I’m not sure what to say to it.
Bottle Designer: I found several sources that said the bottle was designed by Pierre Dinand, but my usual source for perfume data, Fragrantica, didn’t state the perfumer on its Givenchy III page.
Price Range: Expensive
Recommended Occasion: I’d wear it for any, but some would say fancy.
Release Year: 1970
My Rating: 8.5
Read more Givenchy III reviews at Yesterday’s Perfume and The Scented Hound. They’re both reviewing the vintage version.