Eau de Givenchy (Givenchy)

Spring is near. After what goes down as the mildest winter on record here in my neck of the woods, this fact meets with little fanfare. No one is expelling the sighs of relief one usually hears after a particularly brutal season. You know the kind - two solid months of nonstop snow, frigid rain, slush, icicles, 10°F days and -3°F nights. This week was 70°F two days in a row, and it's only the middle of March. Last week it was 50°F, or thereabouts, for oh, I don't know, let's say four or five days. Lately cold is anything under that. And snow? Haven't seen it since January. Well, there was that little snow squall toward the tail end of last month, when I think we may have seen a dusting here and there. But let's just say the winter of 2012 has been a godsend.

My issue is that this really takes the snap out of spring. We broke some temperature records here this week, yet nobody was marveling over the sun and heat. Usually you hear things like "can you believe this weather?" and "Shit, it's way too early for this," but instead there was only silence, broken by the occasional "nice day today." People aren't stunned by stunningly nice weather when it's been stunningly nice for weeks. But the problem, as I see it, isn't with the presence of premature summer. The problem is the absence of coolness.

Coolness is what makes spring an interesting season to me. I tend to think of summer and winter as the "major" seasons, with autumn and spring as the "minor" ones. They're transitional seasons, with markedly similar characteristics in stark contrast to their polar-opposite endpoints. October is about crisp, dry air. Spring is about cool, sometimes cold, humid air. Without the coolness, the rain, spring simply doesn't exist. If we go right from frigid winter to balmy Sundays, we've skipped a vital step in nature's ritual. With the truancy of spring's cold and wet, grey, bitter pallor, I'm a little disoriented. Even lost.

Fortunately there's a fragrance that captures the essence of fishing in the reeds on a foggy April morning. Eau de Givenchy is fresh, green, damp. It's coolness in a bottle. Released in 1980, ten years after the more classically-composed Givenchy III, but bearing some categorical similarities to its predecessor, EdG transports its wearer to the very soul of springtime without so much as lifting a dragonfly's wing. It conjures images of strong, dark, mythical femininity, average school girls whose inner beauty forces their skulls' plates to gradually realign into the countenances of ravishing women. Eau de Givenchy reminds me a bit of Jacomo's Silences in that it doesn't pander to common fruity floral trends, but rather rolls like cold water off mossy rocks and simply shimmers in a kaleidoscope of green, yellow, and white.

As a lover of green fragrances, I'm always excited when I find something that smells of dewey fields and unopened flowers. Eau de Givenchy comes pretty close to ticking off all of my "green" boxes. It opens with a brilliant and clean lemon, and swiftly transitions into an array of grassy notes and white florals, namely honeysuckle, muguet, and jasmine. Although strong hints of them abound, these florals never really take center stage, and as rapidly as they appear, are just as rapidly tinged with the same bitter green grassiness of the opening. Tuberose and oakmoss are present, but take a backseat to the greens. Eventually, as Eau de Givenchy settles, the contrast of green and floral finds a steady balance, leaving a very light, herbal skinscent in its wake.

I think this fragrance is almost perfect. I wish it were a little less floral, as those notes compromise the incredible greenness of the grass accords. It could also be a smidgen stronger in concentration, but we're talking an eau de cologne-style perfume here. Although marketed to women, I consider this to be utterly wearable as a man, and see some similarities to the equally scintillating Chevrefeuille Original by Creed. It certainly smells just as expensive, and it's just right for those April and May commutes. Wear it, and know the smell of winter's ghost.

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