Givenchy launched Eau de Givenchy in 1980, and I almost certainly bought a bottle shortly thereafter as it was one of my staples in college. Eventually I moved on to other fragrances — this was back in the day when I would never have seen the need to own more than 2 or 3 perfumes at a time — and I only recently had the chance to try it again. The notes are bergamot, spearmint, tagetes, greens, fruits, honeysuckle, jasmine, lily of the valley, tuberose, rose, cyclamen, orris, musk, cedarwood, sandalwood, and moss.
Eau de Givenchy opens with bright citrus and green notes, and just the tiniest bit of mint. Some websites describe this as a fruity floral, but whatever fruits it has other than citrus are very subdued to my nose. It is certainly not overly sweet. The dry down is for the most part what I would call "well-blended", but there are distinct notes of lily of the valley and jasmine, with the jasmine continuing to intensify with wear. The woody-musky base notes are very light and soft, with a hint of iris.
This is a crisp, sheer, almost clean floral, very sparkling and cheerful. Like the other light florals I remember wearing in the early 1980s, including Chanel Cristalle and Diorissimo, it has more elegance and sophistication than you find in your average "fresh floral" today. At the same time, it has a contemporary feel, and seems very much in tune with modern preferences for light, ethereal florals. To my nose, it certainly doesn’t call to mind the 1980s, which I tend to associate with much heavier perfumes.
Despite the Eau de Toilette concentration and the light nature of the fragrance, Eau de Givenchy has excellent lasting power. I am so glad to have re-discovered this underrated beauty (huge thanks to L)! It is going to be perfect for the spring & summer — and hopefully spring is just around the corner.
Update: In 2007, Eau de Givenchy joined Givenchy's Les Mythiques collection.