I’m attempting to be ladylike today. Wearing Givrine makes me want to talk like Celia Johnson in Brief Encounter and wear a tight skirt suit and court shoes. It might well have that effect on you too. E Coudray Givrine was created in 1950 and to me, at least, embodies all that was elegant about the decade.
Packaged up in a bottle that any dressing table would gratefully accommodate, Givrine is an interesting blend that doesn’t quite sit in any particular genre. It’s a floral, but it’s more than that. It has green touches, but it’s not quite green. It has melon and cucumber, but isn’t a calone. It also has kumquat. Yes, kumquat. I believe this may be a modern addition from Nose Evelyne Boulanger, since Paris wasn’t awash with them in 1950.
What I like about Givrine is its retro feel. There’s Lily of the Valley, a touch of talc and a bunch of peonies in there somewhere too. There’s enough citrus to stop this being too powdery: namely lime and kumquat, which is like a small tightly concentrated herby-lemon. It smells both clean and traditional: not quite laundry clean, more like kissing a pristine aunt wearing face powder. The base is woody and musk, with light touches of patchouli and sandalwood. Longevity is robust at around seven hours.
Givrine has been modified for the modern palate without losing its classic feel. It makes me think of those maribou puffs for talcum powder that ladies used to get every Christmas when I was growing up. Add in some of my beloved lily of the valley and you have a happy Sam in a floaty cloud wishing you a very good evening.