I am hoping for a long, hot summer down here in Sydney. Judging from the wet, cold and dire spring weather we’ve had over the past few weeks, I’m afraid my hopes might be in vain, but that doesn’t mean my olfactory choices can’t reflect a sense of optimism.
I’ve therefore been compiling scents for sweltering and humid conditions as summer temperatures can sometimes reach the high 30 or low 40-degree celsius mark come January. When you have had a long day, all you want to do is peel off damp work clothes, have a cool shower, turn up the air conditioning and slip on a soft cotton t-shirt and shorts. On days and nights like these, I want my perfume to be light and fresh, but still devastatingly feminine and pretty.
Givrine by E.Coudray (1950, 2004)
Photo Stolen Fragrantica
Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Kumquat, bergamot and watermelon
Heart: Peony, gardenia, violet and lily-of-the-valley
Base: Sandalwood, patchouli, musk and white woods.
Enter Givrine by E. Coudray, a soft floral citrus perfume that sounds like the perfect thing for such needs. Les Senteurs even describes it as “the perfect summer holiday perfume – fresh and carefree and exhilarating”. The scent was originally launched in 1950 and then reissued in 2004 by perfumer Evelyne Boulanger. There’s very little information about Givrine, and discrepancies in notes lists. I was expecting a scent that was soft and clean. I was, however, thoroughly unprepared for Givrine’s supreme elegance and classical beauty.
It opens with a vibrant accord of mandarin and bergamot, so rich and lush, it speaks of old-school sophistication and grand chypres of yesteryear. The rose then comes to life – a rich red rose – with the citrus notes making it velvety and bright. The citrus fades rather quickly and the rose note is then underscored by powdery violets and peony. The florals here are all boudoir: a ballgown on a chaise longue, silk stockings, softly lit dressing table, crystal perfume bottles and jewellery boxes filled with strands of pearls.
Photo Stolen visit-the-farm
The effect also recalls the times when perfume rituals were taken seriously and women bathed in bath oil and sprinkled talcum before dabbing on the matching parfum. The result is a fragrant mille-feuille of dozens of soft petals gently caressing warm skin. The petals aren’t the colours of a vibrant rainbow, but the most delicate lilacs and pinks of a Monet painting. The rose-violet accord is accentuated by a hint of gardenia, the dry down a mellow skin scent of soft woods.
Givrine brings back memories of when I was a teenager. I was obsessed with fashion and would spend my pocket money on huge tomes of sea-freighted US Vogue, wide-eyed over the Chanel ads and pictures of Linda, Christy and Naomi. My parents, for various Christmases and birthdays, also bought me all the books in the Vogue “decades” series: “The 1930s in Vogue” and so on. Givrine to me is the “The 1950s in Vogue”. It’s not a femme fatale of the era like Jane Russell or Marilyn Monroe, but rather the smooth, feline curves of a Hitchcock blonde.
Photo stolen sensibility
Givrine is also the demure little sister to the pin-up diva of Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose. Both feature a central rose-violet accord, but the grapefruit and vetiver in Lipstick Rose gives it more lushness and vibrancy. Givrine’s powdery woodiness is somewhat more sedate and refined.
It’s not my first choice for a “t-shirt-after-a-shower” fragrance but would help me keep my poise during a blisteringly hot work day.
Givrine is available at Les Senteurs and at Madame B in Melbourne as well as many other places worldwide, according to the E. Coudray website.
Samples from Les Senteurs are £5, while the 100ml EDT is £63.
Have you tried Givrine? What’s your favourite rose or violet fragrance? What’s your perfume of choice when the heat just gets that little too much?
With much love till next time!