Eaudemoiselle de Givenchy Perfume Review (by Hester)

My name is Hester Carstens and I have the great good fortune to live in Cape Town, at the very foot of Table Mountain, where I work as an Afrikaans fiction editor for a large publishing house. I came to the perfume world early: There’s always been a bottle or three in my cupboard (these days, more like 80), and my mother’s Knowing as she whooshes out the door in her shoulder pads is a strong childhood memory. The bug really drew blood in 2007, when I was copy editing at a fashion magazine, needed to check up on a perfume we were featuring . . . and discovered this blog and all the others. My life changed! So did the heft of my wallet. And now to the interesting part:

Eaudemoiselle de Givenchy is the kind of scent that makes me want to slap a bumper sticker on myself: My other perfume is a chypre! You know the kind, where you think no self-respecting perfume-lover with a few years of sniffing under the belt could possibly really like this. There’s no aura of the crypt (“mildewy” is my mom’s frequent assessment of other perfumes I wear), no intellectually stimulating dissonance or wildly unusual note to give you pause. Indeed, there’s no pausing here at all: it’s one smooth, comforting goodsmell.

The notes I find online are tangerine/mandarin (what? I can’t say I get that at all), Italian winter lemon, shiso, rose, ylang-ylang, musk, ambrette seed and tonka. Sometimes cedar and orange blossom is also mentioned. The promo material calls it “an imaginary rose in dewy morning”. And sure, that reads fairly true, although rose is not at all the main player here, but a modest ensemble actor. I smell an especially well-integrated lemon – no functional product aroma here – in a zesty, sweet and musky mix with a pronounced orange blossom feel. The first five minutes are quite strong, but just give it a little time for the soft deliciousness to settle in.

Up top there’s a rather interesting vegetal note that I’ve seen attributed to the shiso, and that seems right – I’d love to do a side-by-side comparison with Roger & Gallet’s Shiso; they share a family resemblence, from what I remember of store-spritzes of Shiso. What remains into the far drydown of Eaudemoiselle is mostly musk and ylang-ylang, I think, but something fresh and orange blossom-y stays present. Musk and ylang-ylang sounds languid and lazy, bu

t Eaudemoiselle retains an awakeness, a sprightliness, to the end.

Since my initial tester-sniff, it has reminded me of my very first perfume from when I was six years old, Petunia by Yardley. That should give you a good idea of the retro softness and well-blended feel of this scent – the kind of thing a little girl in the 80s would have found comforting and not intimidatingly sophisticated.

Eaudemoiselle didn’t get the best of press in the blogosphere when it was released. The smell of well-bred nubile virgins, commenter kaos.geo on Now Smell This memorably called it (although this was in one of the few positive reviews; I’m really quoting out of context), and it was widely dismissed for, you know, not having any moss or skank. Well, these nubile virgins at least have the good sense to want a “nice” perfume that’s not Essence of Sameyness: no shampoo here, nor froot or strident aquatic horror, but rather a charming retro-tinged floralcy. I think if a very young girl were to wear this, it would read as endearingly old-world, while it certainly could appeal to older wearers, too.

Eaudemoiselle has enormous lasting power (but yes, the “crystal” musk of the base can get a touch tedious if over-applied, which I tend to do in a big way – most people would never dare spray with my daily abandon). And as a bonus, it comes in a simply stunning bottle – hooray for the not-even-slightly-tacky cap, so unusual, so good to touch and such a pretty metallic shade.

Have you sniffed it, or did the initial bad press put you off? And don’t you all love the bottle, so smooth and pretty?



  • Ula says:

    Hi, loved your review (“aura of the crypt” :D. I have to remember this one). Me, too, have smelled my share of perfumes and tend to love the ‘aura of the crypt’ type, to use your own words, but found Mademoiselle oddly pleasant and nostalgic, I even though of buying it, but eventually didn’t – my consciousness (you have too many!) put me off, but I guess I have to revisit! The bottle is very very nice and adds nicely to the whole ‘retro’ touch.

  • Susan says:

    I like this one a lot – it’s not available in the US, but I saw it in travel retail flying home from Philadelphia one time and sprayed it on with abandon. It turned out that that was the day I got engaged to my fiance, so Eaudemoiselle holds a special place in my heart – I’ve been meaning to buy a bottle online!

    • Hester says:

      Oh then you absolutely must get one, yes! What good fortune, NOT spritzing on something horrid the day you happen to get engaged!

  • FragrantWitch says:

    What a great review, Hester! I have no recollection of this at all, probably because Givenchy perfumes have never done anything for me, bar a brief flirtation with Pi. This sounds like it could be the first one that does!

    • Hester says:

      I do believe it’s my only Givenchy, too, apart from a mini Organza Indecence. I find their bottles heinous, usually, which just sets Eaudemoiselle even further apart.

  • Gwenyth says:

    Hi Hester-
    Thanks so much for the review. I am greatly enjoying the additional voices joining in the PerfumePosse Cavalcade!
    I will be looking forward to anything you choose to write!

    I am a huge fan of Givenchy perfumes. Every one I have is much loved. I think the house does some very nice work. Since I am already predisposed to Givenchy, your well-written review only serves to fuel the fire of my interest. I will be seeking a sample of Eaudemoiselle — and if I know myself at all, I will be acquiring a bottle very soon.
    Thanks for writing!

    • Hester says:

      I’d love to hear the opinion of a Givenchy-lover on this one! I’m not usually big on Givenchy myself. And thanks for the kind words!

  • Patty White says:

    I never even thought about this perfume until I read your review. Now I think I need to. Every now and then I just want something that is more innocent. I’m a huge fan of MDCI’s Rose Di Siwa because it has this curling delicateness that wafts. Thanks, Hester!

    • Hester says:

      Well gosh, I only hope everyone here won’t be horrified when they smell it and immediately doubt whether my nose is fixed on right!

  • nozknoz says:

    Hester, it’s true, if I had come across this, I would have dismissed it as “Essence of Sameyness” just based on the name. Now I’m thinking it could be a useful addition to the summer perfume arsenal. Also love your phrase, “the bug really drew blood in 2007” LOL. And when it does, it goes straight for the wallet!

    Also, way to go living in one of the most beautiful places on earth! I lived in Mozambique for a few years, and am still kicking myself for not visiting Cape Town while I was relatively nearby. The images in South African magazines and cable TV were amazing. Glad you’ve joined the Perfume Posse team!

    • Hester says:

      Thanks for the welcome! We all feel lucky, on an hourly basis, to live here. Come visit! Our currency is nice and weak 🙂

      • Aparatchick says:

        And I’m kicking myself for not visiting Cape Town while I was in South Africa several years ago. Well, it’s a definitely a reason to return (that and the fact that I found such warm hospitality in South Africa).

        Great review, and now it’s on my To Be Sampled list!

        • Hester says:

          Wow, what is there to DO in South Africa if you’re not in Cape Town? 😉 You’ll have to come back. It really is quite different to the rest of the country.

  • Poodle says:

    Thanks for the review. You’ve put it on my radar now. There are times when I just want a perfume to smell good. Sometimes I don’t want to analyze a scent I just want something simple that I can notice and enjoy. This sounds like one of those. I love my skank and tales of the crypt scents but there are times when pretty and well blended work.

  • annemariec says:

    ‘My other perfume is a chypre’. Snort! Great line.

    Lovely review. I too didn’t like this when it came out but I can’t remember why. Perhaps I was over-influenced by the reviews. As I remember it, a lot of people used the release to vent frustration at how far down hill Givenchy has come since the glory days of L’Interdit and Eau de Givenchy. Anyway, I shall give Eaudemoiselle another go. Thanks!

  • Helle says:

    What a lovely review! I will make sure to try it again, I know I tested it when it came out but have no recollection of what it smells like. And yes, the bottle is really pretty.

  • Datura5750 says:

    I have been wanting to try this, thanks for the review!

  • Ann says:

    Welcome, Hester! I read this and nodded right along with you. Even though this was handily dismissed by most, as you noted, something about it intrigued me and I finally got a sample a while back. I’ve only tried it a couple of times but really liked it, and now I need to revisit it again. Now where did I put the danged thing? Anyway, thanks!

    • Ann says:

      P.S. I, too, was a fashion and beauty copy editor (for many years, before the great downsizing machine in journalism cranked up) and that’s where the perfume niche bug bit with a vengeance. Do you still get to work in it occasionally? I really miss it.

    • Hester says:

      Hi Ann; no, I no longer do any magazine work. I can’t really say I miss anything about it… except the periodic goodie bags of things from the beauty cupboard! Once I worked at a magazine that was closing down, and we all got, quite literally, many kilograms of makeup and at least 5 perfumes each! Awesome.