Fragrance review: Monsieur de Givenchy

Monsieur de Givenchy fragrance for men

It’s amazing that nearly 50 years after its initial release, Givenchy’s first fragrance for men, Monsieur de Givenchy, is still available, still selling, and still perfection. A hesperides lover’s dream come true, Monsieur is composed of bergamot, lemon, lime, petitgrain, lavender, clary sage, orange, basil, musk, civet and cedar. Don’t worry — if it sounds herbal, it is, but only slightly.

Monsieur opens with a bright, fresh citrus punch that is quickly restrained by a green bouquet of sage and basil. At this point, I’m reminded of the opening of classic Eaux de Cologne like Eau de Guerlain or Eau de Patou. As the top and middle notes relax, the fragrance settles into a soapy lavender and musk with warmer hints of cedar and civet. It is these basenotes that set Monsieur apart from many other scents of its time, such as Dior’s Eau Sauvage (1966), regarded by many as the best men’s fragrance of the 20th century, though I vehemently disagree. Whereas Sauvage ends in a green earthy note of vetiver accented by basil, Monsieur develops into something warmer, richer, and to my nose, far preferable.

The fragrance sheds its citrusy Eau de Cologne persona after about 45 minutes when the cedar and musk really begin to shine, though it never totally loses the slightly powdery soapiness of the lavender. At this stage I’m reminded of Acqua di Biella No. 1, though without the minty highlights. The petitgrain remains a strong contender throughout and the entire effect remains on my skin for about 3 hours, not tremendous as far as longevity goes, but definitely satisfactory. This last phase of the development is my favorite as the sweet musk and cedar really open on the skin. Perfection.

To offer additional praise, Monsieur is easy to wear, relatively inexpensive, and great for any time of year, and any occasion. The new packaging and re-designed bottle (see photo above) bring it into the 21st century where hopefully it will continue to thrive as an example of the early genius of the house of Givenchy.

Monsieur de Givenchy is available at most internet and retail sites around the world. A 50 ml bottle can be found for less than $25 at 99perfume or

Shop for perfume

Parfums Raffy


Leave a comment, or read more about commenting at Now Smell This. Here's a handy emoticon chart.

  1. Anonymous says:

    M, cannot resist chiming in to say that Eau Sauvage IS the best men's scent of the 20th century, LOL…

    Admittedly have never tried MdG, but if its got soapy powdery lavender, I'm not going to like it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This sounds really wonderful, but…

    to me the best men's scent of the 20th century (and all centuries really) is Dior Fahrenheit. :-)

  3. Anonymous says:

    I'm with Colombina… Fahrenheit is da bomb on my BF.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Yes, yes, Sauvage is a classic, blah, blah, blah…and Fahrenheit, huh? As part of the Fahrenheit generation, I officially cannot stand the scent…


    Ok, Monsieur is quite different from both, but has that same timeless feel as Sauvage and Fahrenheit…so please do give Monsieur a chance! I was suprised I liked it so much…

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is absolutely lovely and very classic and is as wearable by a woman as Eau Sauvage. As for Fahrenheit – so different as to not really be comparable.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I am hoping to get my hands on Cannabis Santal from Fresh.

    I think it will smell a lot like Givenchy Gentelman.

    It is a classic and certainly spells MONEY to me (a CEO favourite) but it is overpowering. Perhaps if misted, or is't it time really for a new version of this, without retiring the original of course!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Oh My god!!! I am so ashamed! I thought the review was from Givenchy GENTELMAN!!!! SOrry folks… I have yet to wake up today…. PLease ignore my comments. :(

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hey Kaos, everyone's allowed a couple of Oops! moments…Givenchy Gentleman and Cannabis Santal share that same green edge, but otherwise are very different scents, especially texturally.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Ach, you know me and the Givenchy's mens' scents. I really think as far as “masculine” fragrances go, Givenchy does pretty well as a house, and they sometimes get overlooked for whatever reason. I'm so glad to have found the Monsieur (thanks!) as it smells remarkabley refreshing to my nose. I do happen to think it smells a bit old-fashioned, but then I am a fan of old-fashioned so that works out :) And it is super easy to wear, I so agree – for boys and this girl at least, heh.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I loved the idea of the re-release of “Les Mythiques”. The combination of Givenchy's first four fragrances Vetvyer, Monsieur de Givenchy, Xeryus and Insense in new bottle designs and with that awe-inpiring title Les Mythiques got me really excited. I love Givenchy's Frangrances in general. But particularly Xeryus. I have never found out whats in it. Is there any chance of a review of it? :D

    Look at the effort put into the campaign for Givenchy's Pi Neo. I can't wait to try it. They are claiming a lot for it… but they always do.

Leave a reply