Giorgio (Giorgio Beverly Hills)

There comes a point in every man's travels where he feels an onset of chronic ennui. Like a sinus infection, it creeps up very gradually and then viciously attacks, bogging all sensory perception in quicksand, a sort of olfactory limbo. The culprit is repetition. Eventually it's just one too many of everything: too many ambers, too many fresh-woody nothings, too many cotton candy fuzz-fests, yet another citrus cologne formula you didn't need, a glut of masculines that are too tepid, and feminines that are far too sweet. You yearn to smell something refreshing, and not in the abstract sense of sea-breeze ozonics or fruity-florals, but in the literal manner, with a new note, never before encountered, illuminating your surroundings and shedding light on why you dwell on fragrance in the first place. I had this exact experience when I first wore Giorgio several months ago. Without it, I'm not sure I could move forward with the same gusto as before. But thanks to Giorgio and its gorgeous fruity-floral nuclear explosion, I'm all in.

When people discuss "grape notes" or "grape candy notes" in fragrances, I usually suspect it's amateur hour. Broadly speaking, very few fragrances actually incorporate grape, or anything akin to grape, in their formulas. Grape has a deep, acidic, dry smell, distantly related to red apple, but far richer. To use it in a composition is like using a T-90 to plow snow - it cleans up perfectly, but there's nobody left to appreciate your effort. Methyl anthranilate has a room-clearing (world clearing?) effect. Most perfumers opt for subtler apple, berry, or even peach notes, the Ford pick-ups of perfume. I've seen Cool Water draw comparisons to grape candy, and it always makes me chuckle. I suppose if one is unfamiliar with the brisk concord grape aspect of anthranilates, it's easy to mistake Cool Water's combination of lavender, amber, jasmine, and tobacco for a soda flavor. But smell Giorgio and there is no mistaking anything. This is the real deal of grape notes. The opening is so dense and powerful that it elicits memories of an unnaturally-purple cough syrup my mother used to give me when I was a child, but it rapidly develops into an expansive, champagne-like dryness.

To me, Giorgio is unisex, although I can understand why guys would fear it. To address that in masculine fragrance parlance, I'll point to Joop! Homme for comparison. I'm not saying Giorgio smells like Joop! Homme, but the explosively sweet'n fruity top notes of both fragrances lead to similar drydowns of indolic white florals. Joop! Homme's drydown maintains an abstract sweetness (mostly jasmine and orange blossom), couched in fuzzy notes of sandalwood and musk, while Giorgio's becomes a truer bouquet, with more concise accords of tuberose, gardenia, jasmine, orange blossom, and ylang. Following the bright grape intro is a tart pineapple illusion, wedded seamlessly to meaty tuberose. All the proportions are burly and over-sized, like a Tamara de Lempicka painting for the nose. Every so often I get whiffs of peach through the petals, and true to eighties form, there's a megadose of patchouli and amber connecting top to bottom. The word on the street is that Giorgio boasts a prepackaged Schiff base, and I don't doubt it. The yellow tint to the liquid is endearing, the perfect cherry for this super-vulgar sundae.

Is this something today's woman can wear? I'd rather smell it on myself, but a girl would do well to sport Giorgio. It's undeniably a sexy perfume. This is what I expected Tom Ford Black Orchid to smell like (it didn't), and something about Giorgio turns me on. I want to know a woman who wears this in just the right dose, and she should favor avant-garde French cinema from the sixties and conceptual art. Ultimately it's very eighties, very velvety-purple, but it is unswerving in intensity, mysteriously alluring, and simply irresistible to anyone with a pulse. It would work wonders on a summer night. I think this is a case of gender-bending being completely called for. Let men wear this for a decade or two, and women (all women) can have Drakkar Noir.


  1. You are the only blogger I've ever read to give Giorgio a glowing review! Honestly, I don't remember smelling this perfume during the 80s (hard to believe). It has a certain reputation though, and most reviews can be summed up as "Avoid at all costs! Run for your lives!" (LOL). Based on that, I've been afraid of it, but your review gives me courage. Since I've had success with, and enjoy, big 80s frags such as Poison, Paris, and Diva, I will go ahead and test this one the next chance I get.

    1. It's a very "big" composition, all blaring notes and swagger. The fruit accord is so loud that it comes across as syrupy and overly sweet at first, which I can understand would scare people. But ultimately it winds up coming together into a very nice fragrance, albeit one that might work better on men than women nowadays. Do give it a try, see what you think, i'd like to know how it works for you.


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