Givenchy III was introduced in 1970 inaugurating Givenchy’s maison launch at 3 Avenue George V in Paris. I do not know the perfumer behind this release, except that Givaudan had won the design brief and Pierre Dinand sculpted the glass for this scent 4 years after his design for Dior’s iconic Eau Sauvage. Classified as a floral chypre, Givenchy III is one of the world’s great feminine perfumes that have a subtle masculine character. For a man it is a novel choice suitable for special occasions. Perhaps not the type of scent you would openly use in the men’s locker room at the gym. Givenchy III is a softly spoken fragrance that speaks the language of luxury. In 2007 the couture house launched Les Parfums Mythiques. This saw the relaunch of previously discontinued Givenchy III as well as some of the house’s other perfumed treasures that were no longer produced. I recently smelled this newer version that is available in selected department stores in the E.U. The original version has the added masculine edge of containing a now restricted amount of oak moss making this soapy aldehydic floral more dense and earthy. With the original you get both the flower and the earth it grew in. The new version is a pretty soft floral (aldehydes and musk) with a subtle chypre base. Of the original Hubert de Givenchy wrote, “Today’s woman can create sunshine all around her by the clothes she wears, the fragrance that is her own ambiance, her own atmosphere. I have created this new perfume for her”.
Givenchy III is most feminine during its opening phase. Muguet, jasmine and rose create the classic floral triangle with an addition of iris, hyacinth and gardenia. Galbanum, peach, citrus notes and aldehydes make this fragrance light and airy, like the feeling of summer sunlight streaming through your living room window. The dry down is where the fragrance interests me the most. Unmistakable oak moss is blended with patchouli, amber and sandalwood to create the classic chypre perfume style. Notes of rose and soapy aldehydes linger providing an effect no longer seen in today’s fragrances.
Going vintage with your fragrance choice can be risky. Add to that the fact we are talking women’s vintage (I’m a guy) and it is fair to say you are walking a fine line. This is not a fragrance to be worn by the male masses, but on the right guy would work magically. It is an excellent male companion at the library or a bookstore. The smell of paper and ink blends well with Givenchy III. Think of this fragrance as an old paperback novel you have rediscovered from your childhood. Rereading it with adult eyes you see it in a whole new light.
Perfumer: Jean-Francois Latty, Raymond Chaillan, Yolande Jerrold
Bottle designer: Pierre Dinand
Release date: 1970
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Mossy Woods