Monsieur de Givenchy – old and new

Created by : Francis Fabron

Date : 1959

Genre : Citrus chypre

Concentration : eau de toilette

It’s been said that there’s nothing like a good chypre and that would certainly apply to Monsieur de Givenchy before the recent reformulation.

Older formulation

As citrus chypres go, the original MdG was beautiful – nicely grounded in a balanced chypre base with a citrus and herbal heart that smelled clean, masculine and classy.  Although I prefer the less herbal Chanel Pour Monsieur in this category, my bottle of MdG certainly got alot of use, specifically during the summer months.  On my recent trip to Havana I took it with me because I thought it would be perfect for the warm Cuban evenings.  And, it was.

When a Cuban friend asked me if I would leave him my bottle, I did so without hesitation knowing that Monsieur de Givenchy is readily available and I could replace it easily once I got back to Montréal.  But… when the Givenchy sales associate presented me with a newly packaged bottle, I was skeptical.

New formulation

So, what has changed.  The new Les Mythiques Monsieur de Givenchy formulation actually has a more spectacular opening, with the timid, Edwardian rosy note replaced by a white soapy one.  And because I happen to love soapy notes this new opening was an unexpected, welcome surprise.  Unfortunately, several minutes later all the drama disappeared and MdG dried down  to a somewhat muted herbal heart which  stumbled and gasped to the finish line 4 hours later.  This new formulation is no longer a chypre (due to recent IFRA regulations, no doubt) and it has lost most of its staying power.

So, this is what I would recommend if you want a citrus chypre for the summer.  Buy the older formulation if you can.  I suspect there will be stock around for several years to come.  If you really love it after having tried it, go back and buy a second bottle.

If you can’t find an older bottle, try Chanel’s Pour Monsieur or Eau Sauvage by Christian Dior.  Both are wonderful.

Addendum written one week later : If you are not used to wearing cologne and you want a beautiful, safe bet that won’t last too long (say, a couple of hours for drinks before dinner or sex), the new formulation is perfect.

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  1. Bonjour,
    Mon père occupait ce parfum et j’ai un rapport pas mal sentimental avec.. La bouteille que j’ai est en train de finir et je voulais savoir, puisque j’ai lu que vous habitez à Montréal (comme moi) où est-ce qu’on peut le trouver? (idéalement la vieille version, quoique la nouvelle aussi ferait l’affaire) Vous m’aideriez beaucoup parce que je le cherche il y a longtemps..merci!

    • Bonjour!

      Merci pour le commentaire. Vous trouverez facilement Monsieur de Givenchy (version Les Mythiques) à La Baie Centre-Ville. Mais la vieille version se trouve plutôt dans des kiosques de parfum. Il y en a 3 ou 4 au Métro McGill (Centre Eaton, Place Montréal Trust et le Métro sortie ouest). La vieille version n’est pas difficile à trouver… pour le moment.

      Sentez-vous à l’aise de m’écrire à si vous avez besoin plus d’assistance.

      Bonne chance!

  2. RG

     /  April 26, 2014

    Bonjour Normand,

    Am surprised you are so generous about the Les Parfums Mythiques reformulation. This might as well be CVS’ “impressions of” series from their label “perfect scents” (have you seen those? “impressions of Chanel No. 5”, “impressions of YSL Opium” etc. for $9.99 each. You smell them. At first you think they’re a little similar, then you start feeling sick and realize it’s the Pet Sematary version of those perfumes). It found nothing in LPM to replace the oak moss, and what you describe as a soapy middle note to me is tinged with a cheap lemon that makes me feel I’m wearing Mr. Clean floor cleaning solution. There’s a reason this bottle can be bought for 30$ on the web, whereas people will pay many hundreds for the vintage formulation. Could it be that the bottle you had prior to the PM reformulation was already a reformulation itself? (Givenchy is notorious for killing its own scents – think of how great Givenchy Gentleman used to be, and how depressing it is now). I always buy bottles from the 80s. Maybe the fall from the late 90s bottle to the 2000s bottle was not so steep?

    Best to you. I enjoy reading your blog.

    • Hello and thank you so much for your comment!

      I try not to focus too much on the past… having said that I pretty well agree with everything you said. However most people reading my blog seem to be interested in what they can buy readily today so I look for the positive when I can.

      Thanks again for your comment. You seem to know a lot about perfume!


  3. RG

     /  April 29, 2014

    Thank you, Normand. I appreciate and applaud your positive attitude. Having just spent a lot of time and a lot of money on tracking down one last bottle of Penhaligon’s Racquets (do you know it? Pretty amazing. Only flaw: a little too much musk in the heart note – otherwise near-perfect, imo), I can see why “readily available” sounds attractive!

    Cheers and thanks for your compliment. I am very passionate about perfume, but I feel I am a long ways away from being really knowledgeable.


    • I can’t say I’ve ever heard of Penhaligon’s Racquets. My 2012 Fragrances of the World by Michael Edwards lists a discontinued Racquets Formula of 1989 to be a chypre. Enjoy! It must have been very difficult to find!


  4. Actually drydown is a sorto of “plastic” odor….. much, much better the older version.

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