Purists were in for a bit of a shock in 2017 when the 1970s classic Givenchy Gentleman EDT was relaunched as Gentleman Givenchy EDT for a new generation. Please note the subtle difference in the name. Confusing, isn’t it?
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The French fashion brand did the same thing with the much-loved L’Interdit Givenchy from the 1950s. The original was created for Audrey Hepburn and then re-launched as Givenchy L’Interdit in 2018.
Givenchy isn’t the first and won’t be the last to put a modern spin on one of their classics.
As to be expected, the first interpretation of Gentleman Givenchy didn’t blow ’em away. But then came the flankers and, what do you know, the Gentleman Givenchy range, with its various iris interpretations, must be one of the most rewarding around.
Which brings us to the latest version (2022), Gentleman Givenchy Reserve Privée EDP, which some people are saying is the best one yet. What do we think of it?
Scent Notes (According to the Brand)
Bergamot essence from Italy, whisky absolute from Scotland (top); chestnut, orris concrete from Italy and China, benzoin Siam resinoid from Laos (heart); cedarwood essence from Virginia, vetiver essence from Haiti, patchouli essence from Indonesia (base).
You don’t get more accomplished than master perfumers Nathalie Lorson and Olivier Cresp. Olivier Cresp is the nose behind the gourmand-pioneering Mugler Angel EDP.
He also created Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue EDT, Parfums de Marly Sedley EDP, Penhaligon’s Juniper Sling EDT, Versace Man Eau Fraiche EDT and Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium EDP. In 2018, he launched his own niche brand, Akro, with his daughter Anaïs.
Nathalie Lorson’s achievements are equally impressive. Bentley For Men Intense EDP, Lalique Encre Noire EDT, Le Labo Another 13 EDP, Mugler Alien Goddess EDP and Dolce & Gabbana Sicily EDP are just some of her standout creations.
“The ultimate in timeless elegance and refinement.” – brand website
Who Would Like it
If you’re looking for a classy iris with a twist, this one’s for you.
Where To Wear it
We’ve worn it in summer, but it really comes into its own in cooler weather.
It can be worn to the office with ease and has after-hours appeal in abundance.
Packaging & Presentation
From the bottle to the juice, there’s an inviting warm amber tone, which is carried through to the brown, black and gold box.
Blink and you might miss the freshness of the listed bergamot note. But that’s okay because the whisky note is the attention-grabber here. Boozy without being overpowering, it’s smooth, warm and softly spicy.
The real star of the show is the orris concrete (also known as orris butter). We won’t go into much technical detail in this review. Suffice to say, the ingredient produced from the rhizomes of iris pallida (a time-consuming and expensive process) is given an earthy and powdery treatment.
It’s complemented by the woody tones of the chestnut but doesn’t go off in an unnecessary gourmand direction, while the benzoin is typically sensual and cosy.
They lead the way to the resolutely woody drydown, where the notes of cedarwood, vetiver and patchouli complete the sophistication.
Gentleman Givenchy Reserve Privée EDP maintains the quality we’ve come to expect from the range. While another take on the iris theme, it has more than enough distinctiveness to warrant your attention.
Similar Fragrances To Consider
Thanks to the phenomenal success of Dior Homme from 2005, men have been turned on to orris/iris fragrances in a big way. From the Dior Homme range, the intense and parfum versions are superb.
Other designer options include Prada L’Homme EDT and Van Cleef & Arpels Bois d’Iris EDP.
Diptyque Fleur de Peau EDP is a reasonably priced niche choice, whereas Frederic Malle L’Eau d’Hiver EDP and Amouage Interlude Black Iris Man EDP are recommended for those with deeper pockets.
A Quick Guide to the Best Versions of Gentleman Givenchy
The range has expanded at a steady pace since 2017 with various renditions of the iris theme, all created by Olivier Cresp and Nathalie Lorson. The fact that we’ve included most flankers here says a lot about the quality of the line.
Gentleman Givenchy EDP
While the 2017 release Gentleman Givenchy EDT was nice enough, we really sat and up and noticed when the EDP flanker was launched in 2018. Powdery orris meets the warm spiciness of black pepper, patchouli, vanilla and Peru balsam. Seriously seductive stuff.
Gentleman Givenchy Cologne EDT
From the deep and sensual to the bright and light, this 2019 release is big on the freshness of bergamot, lemon, rosemary and vetiver. An iris with lots of lovely zing.
Gentleman Givenchy EDP Boisée
“Boisee” is the fancy French term for wooded and there’s plenty of that in this 2020 release, including notes of cedarwood essence from Virginia and sandalwood from Australia. The combo of powdery orris and cacao is delicious without going full-on gourmand.
Gentleman Givenchy EDT Intense
Iris gets a cool yet sensual blue treatment, from the fresh and spicy opening notes of bergamot and cardamom through to the woody aspects of cypress and cedar, in this 2021 release. Coumarin brings a subtly sweet vanilla-ish dimension to the composition.
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Richard Goller is a fragrance and grooming blogger. His blog is called Fragroom. A senior editor with 20 years' experience, his blog allows him to combine two of his passions: engaging content and the always-intriguing world of fragrances. When he isn't blogging, you'll find Richard indulging in his newly found passion for balcony gardening.