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.
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.
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.