Thursday, December 7, 2023

Givenchy L'Interdit Eau de Parfum Rouge: fragrance review

 Glamour fragrances go hand in hand with the celebrities who endorsed them. No myth is stronger than the tie of Marylin Monroe with Chanel No 5 Parfum or Audrey Hepburn with L'Interdit by her preferred couturier Givenchy from the 1950s. Whereas No.5 has retained its core formula to the best of the brothers Wertheimers' ability, rendering the contemporary versions recognizably No.5, the same cannot be said for L'Interdit Eau de Parfum by Givenchy from 2018 and its subsequent editions - especially L'Interdit Eau de Parfum Rouge Givenchy (2021).

Rouney Mara for Givenchy Interdit perfume

That does not mean at all that it is not worthwhile or that it does not reflect some semblance of a vintage advantage. Although vintage fragrances belonging to specific genres suffer from a sort of incompatibility with the modern tastes of the market nowadays, such as the aldehydic floral, the mossy chypre, or the spicy oriental, there are elements that can salvage a core idea into a timeless quality. Despite an embarrassment of riches in having three top perfumers vying to make it worthy (usually a sign of despair in my personal books), L'Interdit Eau de Parfum Rouge by Givenchy is excellent because it retains that precarious balance between a contemporary fragrance, yet with vintage elements, making it a recurring theme from the past extended into four dimensions, like it's traveling interstellar mode.

The classic combination of the amber-floral chord, a sweet hesperide, a white floral, and a woody base of sandalwood with ambery tonalities, is lifted through two or three specific jarring points, which provide the interlocutor suspense.
First, a cherry note that is oh-so-modern. Cherry scent molecules have trickled down to floor cleaners by now because the trajectory of the industry from top to bottom of the ladder has increased so rapidly, but two years back, it was still kind of novel and ground-breaking.

Secondly, there is a spicy component, but not just any spice. Beyond the dated cloves references (which recall the best days of Ernest Daltroff for Caron), there is ginger which, via its Asian reference, is very contemporary and sort of multi-culti too. Thirdly, there is a pimento leaf note, which adds to the green-spicy garlands but tends to withhold the headache-y allusions to the oriental spicy fragrances from the 1980s.

The end result is a contemporary fragrance with a very satisfying tie to the past. There is no direct reference in glossy publications and influencer videos on social media that Audrey Hepburn actually wore this version of L'Interdit Eau de Parfum Rouge like they often -still!- do with the revamped version from 2018 (L'Interdit Eau de Parfum Givenchy), but it is a fragrance that reflects glamour, elegance, plush and a true sense of chic.

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