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givenchyI must admit I always get nervous when a new fragrance comes along that references – however obliquely – a really great fragrance from the past. It’s a bit like comparing your current lover with a previous one and finding them, well, a bit wanting. Rarely (and I mean very rarely) do you realise that, actually, you’re better off with the latest model.

So how does Givenchy’s latest offering, Givenchy Gentlemen Only fare? Well, for starters the fragrance it draws its cues from in terms of name, signature notes and flacon – Givenchy Gentleman – in an almost impossibly hard act to follow.

Launched back in 1974,  Gentleman is in my top five fragrances of all time, partly because of its big, ballsy and tenacious patchouli note. Regular readers of this blog will know of my patchouli obsession and Gentleman is one of the best patchouli-based fragrances, deliciously earthy and primal. It’s a note that’s found in Gentlemen Only too, along with vetiver, but this new fragrance is an altogether different animal.

Where Gentleman is deep, earthy, leathery and sensual, Gentlemen Only is fresh, spicy and woody. With the inclusion of pink peppercorn (the note that’s everywhere in men’s fragrance at the moment) it has a thoroughly contemporary feel. If Gentleman is Grouchos, Gentleman Only is more Soho House if you like.

It certainly aligns itself with a lot of modern fragrances and this is both its strength and weakness. It has neither the striking punchiness of Gentleman nor the longevity on the skin and I’m not sure it will still be here in 40 years time, but it’s still better than most of the new fragrances that have landed on my desk in the last few months. If not worth deserting your trusty old favourite for it’s certainly worth having a fling with.

Givenchy Gentlemen Only is available from May. 

Disclosure Notice: I received a free sample of this fragrance for review purposes