Gucci Envy

Awhile ago I blogged about how much I like Gucci Envy for Men, which features a lot of ginger, an unexpected (and for me, quite welcome) note in a scent.   Musette, in one of our chatty email exchanges recently, asked me what I actually wear when I’m not test-driving something new.  I admitted that I probably wear Gucci Rush more than is decent.  I still can’t find the line in The Guide where Luca Turin describes a scent as (paraphrasing here) “making vulgarity seem like a richly-deserved vacation from good taste,” but I could certainly apply that to Rush, a milky-sweet thing that is both art and trash, like those big, shiny Jeff Koons balloon dogs.  Gucci Flora was okay, and while I ragged in passing on Gucci Guilty on Monday, it’s … perfectly fine.  It’s a very current, office-friendly floral-amber that I wouldn’t object to putting on my body, in theory.  But as I don’t work in an office, and it’s a little too floral to be a wallpaper scent for me, I’d rather wear something else.  Leading me, in roundabout fashion, to the top of today’s review: Gucci Envy.

Envy came out in 1997, when I had a toddler, a baby, and a more-than-full-time corporate job that involved travel.  Whatever marketing message they were sending out with Envy, I missed it. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve walked by a bottle of Envy without once picking it (or any of its spawn) up for a sniff.  I’d be able to buy one of those MDCIs and an Amouage, or maybe I’d dial up the Roja Dove boutique instead and see if they have any of that discontinued Les Larmes Sacrees de Thebes under the counter… anyway, how it is I’ve gotten to this point in my life and in perfumery without a hint of Envy I have no idea, but there you have it.  It’s pretty hard to dig up a list of notes, here’s one cobbled together from Osmoz that seems plausible: bergamot, freesia, peach, hyacinth, magnolia, lily of the valley, rose, jasmine, cedar, sandalwood, orris, musk.   The fragrance was done by Maurice Roucel.  I had no idea.  Maybe I’d have tried it sooner.

Envy is, if nothing else, an interesting study in how tastes have changed in mass-market perfumery.   It’s a green floral, and a big one – one of those goes-with-cigarettes scents like Estee Lauder Azuree the original, Estee Lauder Jasmine White Moss, and Issey Miyake A Scent, although there’s no oakmoss finish to Envy.  The first five minutes are sweet and fruity, rather synthetically so, like the hairspray top notes of the Rush bottle next door crept in.  It feels a bit dated in a fun way, as if I’d oversprayed Chanel Cristalle and suddenly time-tripped back to 1984 for a pineapple daiquiri and a cigarette on the outside patio of the local watering hole.   Then the top fades and it’s both green/metallic (hyacinth and the LOTV) and watery – I get a lot of magnolia – and as it drifts toward the drydown it becomes progressively more musky/woody.  The florals aren’t identifiable individually to me beyond the touch of rose.  Envy’s got the velvety curves of muguet rather than the sharpness of galbanum, and it’s never as dry or sharp (or grown-up) as, say, Azuree, but it’s quite pretty.  It seems far more sophisticated than most of the new mass-market scents I run into.

People are still making green florals – there’s the Jasmine White Moss and A Scent right there on my list – but those seem more exclusive, or niche-ier, in terms of demographic.  What’s Gucci making now to lure the huddled masses?  Flora and Guilty, two fragrances that fit in seamlessly, scent-wise, with the newer offerings on the shelf at Macy’s and Sephora.  The idea of releasing a scent that smells like Envy to the same market (18 to 30 year olds?) it was aimed at fifteen years ago seems absurd to me.   It must have been the Obsession (or the Poison) of its day, right?  For the party-going 20-somethings? These days it’s Gwen Stefani and Coach, cupcakes and light musk, nothing that’s going to pull a groin muscle.

I’ve enjoy my continuing journey through the powerhouse scents of the 1980s and 1990s, most of which I missed, not really being into perfume at the time.  There’s always another surprise out there, no matter how assiduously I sniff.   Envy is stirring my faint memories of green scents with LOTV … does anyone out there remember Sung?  How about Fidji?  Wow, that’s much older, from the 60’s.  I knew a lot of women wearing it in the 80’s.   Who wore Envy back in the day, raise your hand?  How did you feel about it?  How do you feel about it now?

147 Comments
Flora September 16, 2010

I loved Envy back in the day and I still do - but I don't wear it any more, it's really loud for a Green. Not good for work! I have never tried the men's version, but I should. I liked Fidji but its name always seemed like a misnomer to me, too sweet and too much carnation spiciness for a "tropical" themed perfume. It was pretty big too, not for the shy!

florentina September 16, 2010

I am with you! sigh! How powerful perfume's magic can be! Am constantly amazed by it's hold on me... :)

florentina September 16, 2010

Envy, though interesting, never did it for me ...Now Rush is another story; am on my second bottle...Love, love, love! It makes me feel very italian! Chloe was my first perfume... in highschool...my best friend at the time, who I thought was rather worldly and truly fantastic, wore it and I followed... When I spotted the new Chloe at the Bay, I literally leapt to the counter(probably knocking down a few unfortunate people who were in my way) in the hopes of reliving the scent of my adolescence, that which provoked a lifelong passion for perfume and smells... I sprayed (thankgoodness for those paper strips) and WHACK!... that was the sound of my disappointment...all of my teeming teenage memories that were now about to flood my consciousness at the possibility of Chloe immediately vanished or rather ran away in horror, gagging... Fortunately, I recently found a vintage Chloe EDT sample in my box that brought it all back... :)

Bee September 16, 2010

a bit late, but I've gone all nostalgic thinking about Fidji. However, my big powerhouse scent of the 80s was Diva (Ungaro), that might be something to try again too

Smellifluous September 16, 2010

Hi March, I've been reading Perfume Posse for (literally) years but have never commented before. I just had to put up my hand for Envy. Liked it and wore it back in the late 90s. Didn't quite love it. It smelled bit "synthetic" to me; but while I dismissed it at first, I did end up with a bottle and wore it regularly. I ordered a decant from TPC a few years ago, thinking it would be so fun to re-visit an old friend...but I didn't like it at all. However, I'd rather wear gallons of Envy than most of the new mainstream gunk coming out these days! Thanks, by the way, for the wonderful blog! I love reading your posts (and those of Patti and Lee and the rest of the gang). Maybe I won't wait another 3 years before commenting again :) but either way, I'll be here reading every morning! -Sam

Flor September 16, 2010

I've been wearing Envy for years - I still love it and always have a bottle. Envy Me, Me Too and whatever other ones -- YAWN.

Mary September 15, 2010

Never smelled Envy-- I will keep an eye out for it. For me, Nikki de Ste Phaille is green and richly floral-- the marigolds and mugwort are like a heady, pine-y green breeze. Love it. My vintage Galanos has a green whiff about it, but I forget the notes. Also, I think of Infin by Caron as having a green leafy note, and that was one of my most beloved frags 84-89. Hated Giorgio, but got a tester of it recently and enjoy sniffing it in the name of research. And, I thought the picture was hot. :)>-

Austenfan September 15, 2010

I own a partial bottle of Envy edp. I think. I still haven't decided whether I like it or not. I tend to like green florals. I love Calyx, Cristalle ( although strictly speaking that is not a floral), Jacomo Silences and others that I don't remember now. I think I started wearing perfume in the 80's. Anais Anais was my first proper perfume. Then came Paris, YSL, which I still wear (and unfortunately has been messed with.) If I had an exam I would spray myself with Paris "till my socks were wet". It got me through Med. School I suppose. I have never consciously smelled Giorgio. I kind of liked Poison, never bought it then but now have a mini of esprit de parfum. A friend of mine would wear Amarige. It smelled really good on her, but again I was never moved to buy it. I wonder if people in Holland oversprayed as much as apparently they did in the States. I simply can't remember whether people smelled of perfume more strongly then than they do now. There is quite a nice review on Bois de Jasmin of Envy. She used the same photo as you have today. I find it too blatant, and very unsexy. For the same reasons that some commenters there mentioned. But then tastes, fortunately, vary.

Rappleyea September 15, 2010

I'm wearing a beautiful scent today with both green and some floral although I don't think it's really known as a green floral - Vol de Nuit in vintage extrait. It's probably my HG scent if there ever was one. Great review (as always) but you created no interest whatsoever in smelling Envy. However you did activate a lemming for some Fidji, which I wore waaay back in the day.

Paige September 15, 2010

I wore Sung back in the day. I considered it my "Fall" fragrance while Calyx was my "Summer" one. I still have both and pull these out to wear every so often. I'm gonna have to try Envy for men as I love ginger. Thank you for the post! I enjoyed reading it:)

Elisa September 15, 2010

I think of Envy as a concept scent -- it's a neon idea of green, not meant to smell natural. It reminds me of the lime green Otter Pops of my youth. Like all Roucel scents, it has a sense of humor (I almost wrote "scents of humor"). I don't wear it often but I like having it around. The top notes, like those of Calyx, almost always make me cough/sneeze in their extreme acidity.

Kathryn September 15, 2010

At the time, the huge power perfumes of the '80s felt like an assault on the senses. Even today, if I'm unfortunate enough to catch a whiff of Giorgio in the air, I'll walk swiftly in the other direction. However, I'm belatedly coming to realize that there were some truly wonderful perfumes hidden in all that olfactory aggression. My find of the summer was L'Arte di Gucci, a deeply passionate rose chypre, which I think came out in the early '90s. It does make me wonder what else I missed back then.

Cheryl September 15, 2010

I missed a few of the ginormous 80's ones too. But I do have a question...about the ubiquitous Giorgio...if banned from restaurants...how did that one go over with men? Did men snuff that stuff down and go GORGEOUS...I can't get enough!??? What drove it's popularity? What was it's marketing strategy? I only really know this one through smelling strips in magazines at the time and kind of drifting in the air.

Dea September 15, 2010

So nice to see this review. Envy is not my thing, but there is a noticeable difference between the edt vs. edp vs parfum. The edt is so shrill, while the latter two definitely have more charm. I smell some pear and green grass in the parfum. Looking at that advert, it seems so incongruous to what Envy actually smells like.

maggiecat September 15, 2010

Giggle. Snort. Yes, Francesca that is exactly what it looks like! I still enjoy wearing Balmain's Ivoire - very' 80's, very green. Readily available online and at discounters, though hardly ever often found in retail stores. Worth sampling if you enjoy the genre.

Daniela September 15, 2010

I was 11 years old back in 1997 so I can't say I wore it "back in the day", but I definitely came across it in my teens. I never liked it, to be honest, and scrunched my nose at girls who wore it (scent snob even back then!). It always seemed neither here nor there. Not a fresh scent per se, not a sweet scent, not a flower, not a musk. It's funny that you mention hairspray because that's exactly what it reminds me of. Loved 80s scents though. My mom wore Opium and Poison - the kind of scents that were banned from hospitals back then! I occasionally wear Opium for sentimental value, but largely don't wear the 80s scents on a regular basis. I came across Fidji not too long ago, and as much as I am trying to love it, the chemistry is just not there. Would've loved to see a sweet creamy note in there.

Musette September 15, 2010

March, that's a whole lotta lippage goin' on in that photo! My 80s blockbuster was Paris - and I wore a lot of it, alas. Envy was one I actually liked because of the green, but then it got really plastic-shrieky and I had to put it down. My hair was ginormous, too, as were my Claude Montana-suited shoulders. Ah...those were the days..... ;-D The 80s were also when I first started thinking about perfume 'status' - I wore Joy because it was JOY and IT COST A LOT OF MONEY! I actually liked the way it smelled but that's not why I bought it - me and Gordon Gekko and the hair and the shoulder pads and the nipped-in waists....gah! I had a nipped-in waist, then! My men's favorite back then was Grey Flannel - it smelled lovely and men who wore it seemed less likely to overapply, unlike the Poloards. Mals talked about feeling 'trapped' by a fragrance - Polo would leap off a passing man, chase you down the block and bludgeon you with an olfactory axe. And then it would steal your purse. xo>-)

Francesca September 15, 2010

I didn't wear much fragrance in the 80's because so many of them gave me allergic reactions--so cannot offer any opinion. But I do have an opinion on that photo--she looks like she's trying to make him fwow up.

mals86 September 15, 2010

Having missed out on the entire world of perfume, including my old reliable drugstore scents, from the 90s through about 2005, I didn't smell Envy when it was new. In fact, I think the only things I noticed were cKOne, Sunflowers, and Dune, because friends were wearing them. I couldn't afford such luxuries, or so I thought, and so I didn't go sniffing. WHen I got interested in perfume, one of the first things I realized is that I love green florals, and I went looking for Envy. Could not find it in any local brick'n'mortars, so I bought a mini off ebay for a few bucks and eagerly opened the package... I cannot stand it. It comes across to me as hideously chemical, and I wasn't sure why until I saw Olfacta's comment up there about that so-called pineapple note. I think it's the one in Giorgio that bothers me so much, so that makes sense. I look at the list of notes for Envy and think, "Yep, sounds like My Kinda Thang," but it's not, it's soooo not.

Koki2 September 15, 2010

I'm so surprised and pleased to see this review! I have been an Envy-wearer for at least 10 years. When I worked corporate it was my daily office scent and now that I work from my house I still wear it often (and will put it on today in honor of your review). It took the place of my beloved Calandre during a time when I couldn't wear C. due to troublesome upstart emotions that it triggered. That's all been resolved now, thankfully. I found Envy when I was testing Rush, as a matter of fact, and liked it better. so my Big 3 right now are Cartier's So Pretty, Envy, and Calandre with Chanel 22 when I can get it without selling a body part.

Ursula September 15, 2010

Some philosophy: Perfume seems to be the piece of jewelry that we adorn ourselves with to feel more complete. Old ones, current ones, the search will never end because we will never feel complete.

Ruanne September 15, 2010

Sung! I hugged a friend the other day, and she was wearing so much, that I felt she probably wanted it to be noticed, so I asked what it was. I did not care for it at all, but apparently, she has loved it for years and recently snapped up all the bottles she found at Marshall's. I would love to smell the pre-reformulation scent, because it has to have been so much better for her to choose it originally. It always surprises me when someone does not notice that a previously beloved perfume does not smell great anymore. Is the ghost of the original enough that your unconscious fills in the rest, perhaps?

donanicola September 15, 2010

1997? Don't know why I thought it was older than that. This was just before I realised I might have a perfume addiction (I probably wouldn't even have admitted an interest but bottles of Feu d'Issey and Helmut Lang amongst the Chanel 19 are, in retrospect, a total giveaway). I remember picking up Envy several times and trying it on paper and skin and liking it but not enough to purchase. I think I still had a bottle of Ralph Lauren Safari and that satisfied my desire for green florals. Next time I pass it I'm going to pick it up to see how I now feel. One thing I know - for me it will beat the sh*t out of Coco Mademoiselle.

Olfacta September 15, 2010

I have a mini of Envy, and it has that Allyl Glycolate (the pineapple note) that makes me run for the hills. There's also lily, same thing. But those are just personal opinions; I must have had a bad experience with a bouquet of Stargazers and a pineapple once. (LoTV, on the other hand, is ok with me). I wish I liked it more, because it's a good scent, not as out-there as Rush but definitely makes its presence known. I love most of the va-va-voom 80's scents, except for Giorgio and, to some extent, Poison. The original Must de Cartier perfume smelled nothing like the sweet-amber-vanilla it is today. It was intoxicating, with a deep growl, and I still don't know how they did it. The EDT was loaded with galbanum and smelled almost spicy. An early, sad reformulation.

Jillie September 15, 2010

Thoughts of Fidji take me right back to the early 70s. I thought I was so sophisticated wearing this because (as Bee says) all the other girls at college wore wearing Charlie. Tragedy struck and a bottle leaked into my bag, and it reeked of Fidji for months (if not years) afterwards and left an indelible scent memory in my brain - which is why I am so convinced that the current version does not smell as good. I used to think it had a vague hint of banana to it - did anyone else get that? Later in the decade I turned to Cristalle, which is still one of my favourites even though it now is heavier on the jasmine and lighter on the citrus. And, naturally, I like EL's Jasmine and White Moss. I think I like green, and maybe I should give Envy a sniff.

Winifreida September 15, 2010

I went through many bottles of Fidji, and then it sort of disappeared. I have now reclaimed it thru' *bay, vintage of course, and it is still a gorgeous scent,and quite modern in feeling; it gives me a vibe a bit like the wonderful Amoreuse. My 80's monster was Must de Cartier - was it the beginning of the vanilla gourmand?? I know Luca hates it! I also had Paris, and the Lagerfield one that was like Opium but a bit more Tabu-y. Gosh, those were the days when mainstream perfume had such character! Thank goodness for Serge!

Bee September 15, 2010

Fidji, that's the 70ies for me! My first self-chosen scent, and also a protest act against all the Charlie-wearing girls at school (the vast majority)... I've never tried it again since then, but will now :)

Louise September 15, 2010

I had a brief moment with the (ladies) Envy, and then it just starting getting toooo suh-weet. So I gave it to a friend, knowing the fling was over. I still need a green floral hit now and again, and like Ca Sent Beau on occasion, but have OD'ed on the genre overall. I wore Sung for quite a while, and miss the older version-it was gutted and can now be found at the discounters, in a sad state ; ( My favorite 80s-type scent, though I believe it was released a little later, was the Guess brand scent in the twisty bottle. It's a huge-shouldered amber monster, and I still spot it on for the memories...

jan v September 15, 2010

Ok, lost my message, will redo....I was saying, I love Envy for Men! A lot. Because of this and LT's review, I bought the "ladies'" version, sniffed. For me the lotv overwhelms the other notes, the ones I love. Back to the men's.....when I tested it at Sephora recently, not only was it a different color, but it smelled totally different, not in a good way. The new blue green juice lacked what I had perceived as almost incense-y nuance that the older leaf green had . Am I crazy??? Or did they formulate it?

Kym September 15, 2010

I'd love to hear your thoughts on an 80's favorite of mine, K de Krizia, which apparently put Maurice Roucel on the map...I just sprayed some on last night and fell in love all over again...

Erin T September 15, 2010

Using my freakish memory for useless information, I can tell you that the "vulgarity like a richly deserved holiday from good taste" line is in LT's Narciso Rodriguez for Her review, and it refers to Balenciaga's Talisman. For the record, I prefer Balenciaga's Rumba, which ups the vulgarity about ten notches.

Eric September 15, 2010

I'm thinking the Turin quote is from Vanilia but it wasn't quite word-for-word so I'll let you decide. I always sprayed Envy on testers but never put it on skin. I wish I did, though; I think I like green florals (A Scent was great on tester strips and I loved the bottle but if it's not in Nordies or Sephora I don't generally get around to it.) Also, I LOVE ginger so I wish I could find a tester bottle around. Maybe in a discount perfume store....