Givenchy (1999)

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Pi by Givenchy

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About Pi by Givenchy

People & Companies

Fragrance House
Serge Mansau
Packaging / Bottle Design

This fragrance is named 'Pi' after the mathematical figure which represents the number you get if you divide a circle's circumference by it's diameter. The number Pi starts off 3.141592.. and just goes on for ever and ever. Computers are sitting there as you read this working out more numbers to add on the end of it...

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

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Reviews of Pi by Givenchy

There are 224 reviews of Pi by Givenchy.

I can appreciate the composition of this scent but I can't get past the baby powder vibes. Plus, I'm not a big fan of almond notes in fragrances so this one is a double whammy. Wish I enjoyed it because I love the shape of the bottle and the colour of the juice.

There was a period of time, between 1988 and 2000, when were launched many good fragrances that became classics and changed the perfumery. First aquatics, first gourmands, first unisex fragrances, more sweet ambery fragrances... they all came during that time.

The first unisex marketed fragrance was CK One (1994), created by Morillas and Fremont. A fresh floral and musky scent that became a instant classic. In 1996, another one. This time, a fresh aquatic masculine. Acqua di Giò. Morillas was, again, one of the perfumers. In 98, he came out with this idea for Givenchy. A unisex woody amber scent that became another classic and more around women, actually. They adopted this masculine scent that, at the time, was a bit too sweet for a regular guy, I'd guess. At the time, we were experiencing a change of perspective. The rise of woody spicy and sweet ambery masculines. This helped the popularity of that category. Women wanted their boyfriends to smell like this so they could steal it sometimes. Although Joop! Homme (1989) was maybe the first going sickly sweet, this has more fluffy elements that captivate women.

Looking for the marketing and bottle, everything seems weird. Even the pyramid is a bit weird. Ironwood and Infinium?? (I still can't find what it's supposed to smell like). The smell itself is much more easy to understand. What we find here is, mainly, a sweet benzoin driven scent with mandarin orange on top. There's a lot of base notes and sweetness (but not the contemporary sweetness) which makes this fragrance very linear. There's a hint of freshness in the opening, with the mandarin orange, but the overall experience is very monochordic. Coumarin and benzoin which translates to sweet almonds. That's it. But smells really good. It's like a warm hug. Luca Turin wasn't a fan at all but I find it quite alluring and different from what we see today. An appealing sweet scent that isn't cloying or ultra cheap smelling like many recent fragrances.

Definitely for fall and winter, for a cooler or/and rainy day. I have a vintage bottle with a small Pi logo on the bottom of the bottle and the performance is great. 12+ hours easily. Very persistent. The newer batches aren't that strong but I think you'll still have decent performance with them. The smell is basically the same, since it's essentially benzoin and coumarin.

Alberto Morillas is a really good perfumer and you have many different examples that proves that. This might not be his top 10 best creations, but is surely a classic, an alluring and appealing scent, and a must try! A great unisex scent that is been forgotten over the years by youtubers and bloggers.


Givenchy Pi is a masterpiece. I actually thought it could be from the 80’s but I see it was released in ‘99. This fragrance is very strong so be modest and use less sprays. To me, Pi smells like what I wanted YSL Opium pour homme to smell like. The opening is a blast! The dry down is lovely and comforting. This is definitely a winter frag for me. It takes me to a warm happy place inside when I smell it. I actually keep it bedside because I like to spray it once before I fall asleep. It’s a very relaxing scent. I highly recommend it for date nights and cooler evenings. This one will never be dated to me. It’s timeless.

Although it's not listed in the notes here, there is a very distinct coconut note shortly after the opening top notes begin to fade into the mid-notes, and it lingers well into the drydown. Whether this is intentional, or a by-product of how the other notes interact, it is quite unmistakable, and helps prevent Pi from being just another vanilla-amber scent. It works surprisingly well in warm weather, without smelling like suntan lotion.

Givenchy Pi (1999) was more or less released on the heels of Thierry Mugler A*Men (1996), as the hype behind that fragrance and its use of gourmand notes was fast proving to be the advent of a new genre, or at least a new style in the men's scent arena. There is something of an inside joke that Pi was a double-entendre because the gourmand notes also made it smell like pie, but honestly I don't see it. The mathematical theming and unique bottle design still manage to turn heads in stores even two plus decades on after release (the time of this review), with myriad flankers also filling shelves in the wake of its success. Givenchy Pi would become the first real success story Givenchy had with men since Xeryus (1987) launched, and the last major success they would have again until Gentlemen Givenchy (2017) put a unique subversion on the presentation of the classic Givenchy Gentlemen (1974). Alberto Morillas was tapped, as an in-demand designer perfumer with successes in the men's designer market co-composing fragrances like Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger (1994) or Acqua di Giò pour Homme by Giorgio Armani (1996), not to mention also being assigned to make Carolina Herrera 212 Men (1999), which released the very same year as this. All told, Morillas was shaping up to be (and still is) a very commercially-minded perfumer, the Quincy Jones or John "Mutt" Lange of designer perfumers that knows how to put a punchy hook in an otherwise easy-to-digest format, although perhaps at the expense of any creative audacity. In short, he "understands the assignment" if nothing else. Pi was a departure from freshies for him too, which is neat.

The basic theme of Givenchy Pi is sort of a hybrid between the traditional oriental structures that had been lightened and smoothed out as per the conventions of the 1990's, with the emerging gourmand themes that Mugler brought to the spotlight. You get an opening of mandarin orange and tarragon, with some basil and rosemary, and bits of neroli that swirl in a sweetened herbal mass that slowly gets more confectionery over time once the vanilla shows up. Galbanum places a green edge on things, and some ionones add a powdery orris facet too, leading some to say this smells like baby products, but honestly I think most "dudebros" feel so alienated by powdery smells thanks to the conventional wisdom of society and the implied associations of powdery smells, that it's almost mental programming at this point. Still, Pi is not all about being powdery, and soon the benzoin warms up with some anise and an almond note, taking us further into the baked goods direction and away from powder or any commercial smells. Tonka, cedar, and that aforementioned vanilla show up to create a sweet, creamy, early tonka woody-amber profile that smells great in winter time or for romantic settings, cozy and somewhat close-wearing. Pi is not a "club banger" despite some comparisons to other fragrances from the 90's rolling deep with vanilla, neroli, tonka, and benzoin being for that purpose. Wear time will go about eight hours and performance will be medium until the halfway mark of that, then recede until but a skin scent thereafter. I suggest not over-spraying to boost this lest you wish to have a cloying "cologne guy" experience.

Givenchy Pi has gone through some packaging changes, the most noticeable of those being the increase in size of the "Pi" symbol from being small and near the bottom of bottles, to being much larger and placed centrally. Part of this coincides with formula changes as well, since older bottles of Pi contained some oakmoss and had a much darker, warmer sort of throb to them in the wear. I won't say these older bottles smelled more "natural", just heavier and with a modicum of greater performance than anything made since the "Pi" symbol got bigger. Current bottles are just a bit brighter, fresher (in a manner of speaking), and having a bit of rubberiness to the dry down that doesn't kill the scent, but makes it markedly different than the dry down of older "small symbol" bottles. The rest of the scent is 85% the same for me from beginning to end, and older bottles of Pi fetch dumb sums of money in the aftermarket as the usual "first batch is the only real batch" gatekeepers and elitists gobble up then lord over what remains of the older stock like possessing absurd quantities of it makes them a more legitimate fan than you. What are we? Fragrance enthusiasts, or teenagers competing over who the most obscure (therefore coolest) taste in music? Anyway, the biggest competitor to this stuff was very much Rochas Man (1999), which launched the same year, had a similar gourmand vibe, and is also still fairly popular decades on, so there is a bit of Coke/Pepsi interplay between these two if you're a fan of them both. Not for everyone, Pi is still a pretty accessible example of the genre with a cool theme all its own. Thumbs up

Sweet and powdery. That powdery feel gives it a bit of an "old lady" feel, kinda unisex, but overall this is pleasant and enjoyable, even today. Has some similarities with Bulgari Black, minus the rubber and add some almond-vanilla sweetness.

It's a little loud and heavy in the opening hour but calms down and settles into a softer scent. Seems okay for everything except hot weather. Lasts all day on my skin.

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