Wednesday, July 8, 2020
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.
MY RATING OF VINTAGE: 9/10
MY RATING OF REFORMULATED: 10/10