Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Givenchy Gentleman

If you hate patchouli, stay far away from Givenchy Gentleman.  Givenchy could have easily, and probably should have, named this "Givenchy Patchouli Pour Homme".  This has been one of my favorite frags for a long time, and even I have to say that it isn't a gentlemanly scent.  This is a bold and daring fragrance, even in its reformulated state, and it takes some real balls to wear this out in public nowadays.

I rarely go out of my way to make a big deal about reformulations, but the reformulation of Givenchy Gentleman is worth noting.  When I first bought this back in the early 90's, the bottle I had (and still have) was made, I'm guessing, sometime in the 80's.  Even though this frag was first released in 1974, I'm assuming a lot of perfume fans would consider my bottle to be "vintage", and good lord, this was a barn-burner of a fragrance.  It is a full-on patchouli BOMB, and to make an even more daring statement, it has a strong, sewage-like civet note blended in with it.  Givenchy Gentleman was a dirty, brutish, "fuck you" powerhouse.  It was not at all refined or "gentlemanly".  Like I said, I still have the bottle, and spritz it on from time to time to remind myself of how rude a fragrance can be.

I bought a bottle of the reformulated Gentleman about ten years ago, which is the same one you see in the picture above.  The bottle and box Givenchy sells this fragrance in now looks a little different, and I assume they reformulated it again, but I can't say for sure because I've never tried it.  What I can say is that the reformed Gentleman I have is amazingly good, and I prefer it to the old version.  It's still a brute, albeit a caged brute, but it's a lot smoother and more "gentlemanly" than it used to be.

Gentleman now is a legitimate leather fragrance, with strong patchouli on top.  The amount of leather and patchouli in it reaches macho levels.  I can also still smell there's civet in there, but it's much better balanced with the leather and patchouli.  The fragrance is far better composed and balanced than it was originally, and is therefore more versatile.  That doesn't mean it's not still a daring scent, because it is.  Any guy who walking around these days wearing overt leather and patchouli is going to turn heads, even if people aren't likely to be outraged as if you were wearing the old stuff.

So the bottom line is that Givenchy Gentleman is a superb scent, regardless of which version you have, but they are different.  The reformulated version is closer to being a gentleman's scent, whereas the original is a balls-out powerhouse.  I love them both.




  1. I have never smelled vintage, but I consider my 2016 bottle a true masterpiece. Sharp, rich, and mysterious.

  2. The reform version is a masterpiece. Vintage is great too, but I wouldn't call it a masterpiece. It's way too crude

  3. As someone who grew up in the 80's and 90's, I can't help but wonder if there's been a turning of the tide the last 20 years; fewer and fewer of the younger generation seems to wear fragrances on a daily basis.

    Sure, the rise of light, transparent scents in the late 90's might weight in, but generally there's a lack of "whiffs" whenever I encounter people these days.

    Awareness of allergies, "the green wave" and so on are probably elements too, but I suspect that the interest in colognes are waning among those half my age. Even the Axe body spray generation who now are in their late 20's/early 30's seems/smells like they've abandoned the habit. Not just the male half, but also the female part of the population.

    This, perhaps, explains the lack of availibility of colognes/deodorants in the physical stores. Beside the obvious top 5 and lesser segments like celebrity cheapies, there's a slim (really slim) chance upon stumbling over the tried and true colognes.

    This might be an european trend, for all I know, but it makes a fraghead a bit sad. Gone are the days of the drugstore scents, readily available as they were just 20 years ago.

    The lament of a middle-age man; yes. As usual, lots of things were better in my youth.

    On a positive note; there's a relief in the lack of certain colognes no longer assualting my nose when I entered a crowded space. Sad part is, I will probably never smell Lagerfeld, Boss no. 1 and other golden oldies neither.

    Guess I keep splashing it on myself, if only for the hell of it, and for my own pleasure. I'm old enough to don't give a bloody shit about snowflake nostrils.

    A pleasure to revisit the past whenever I read your reviews and views.

  4. I got my first bottle of Givenchy Gentleman in college in 1979. It was my first Big Deal fragrance, followed by the first version of Gucci Pour Homme.
    I had bottles throughout the years, but finally ran out a few years back. My husband bought me the bottle pictured; on my skin it smelled like gasoline, not the fragrance I knew, loved, and got dozens and dozens of compliments on over the years. So I'm thankful for eBay--I went and bought a few bottles of the old version, so I don't have to worry about being without.

  5. Those old bottles you got on eBay should last you a long time, as mine has, because even 1 or 2 sprays is good enough. I find out very powerful. Like you, a lot of guys don't like the reform version, though I love it. I can tell it's vaguely the same scent, but I think the difference is strong enough that Givenchy could have marketed the reform as a flanker, calling it something like Givenchy Gentleman Leather Edition.

    1. I agree. I'm just glad I could purchase a couple (or four) bottles of the vintage stuff. Scents are so evocative of moments in time--I can remember the first time I smelled this. 1979, I was in college, asked for some for Christmas. I can see the room, what I was wearing, the entire memory. That's what I think is so magical about fragrances.

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