Givenchy (2008)

Average Rating:  46 User Reviews

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Play by Givenchy

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About Play by Givenchy

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Fragrance House
Lucas Sieuzac

Play is a men's fragrance launched in 2008 by Givenchy

Fragrance notes.

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Reviews of Play by Givenchy

There are 46 reviews of Play by Givenchy.

If there was ever a great example of online fragrance collectors liking something just because it's discontinued, it's this horrible monstrosity, Givenchy Play (2008). For some context, Givenchy had been burning the candle at both ends with endless flankers of the flanker Insensé Ultramarine (1994), then Pi (1999), Greenergy (2000), Givenchy pour Homme (2002), and Very Irrésistible for Men (2005) into the 2000's, flooding the market with insipid options nearly with the same block-headed frequency as Calvin Klein, but everything was a near-miss or a total misfire (also like CK), so they kept throwing spaghetti at the wall, which leads us to this. By the late 2000's, sweet tobacco and tonka clubbers were becoming the new rage for night wear, so while Paco Rabanne responded with 1 Million (2008), Givenchy responded with Play (later referred to as Play for Him when a women's version released in 2010). The premise is simple: make a sweet innocuous chemical mess with fruity fresh tones and that denatured patchouli thickness that does nothing but keep everything else on skin. Calvin Klein would try something similar to this years later with ck One Red Edition for Him (2014), but managed to do a better job. This is the kind of thing you try to forget when smelled, and struggle to remember if someone else asks you about it later. It's that bad.

Emilie Coppermann did a lot of fragrances like this, so I guess she was an obvious choice, and she was paired with Lucas Sieuzac (son of Jean-Louis) to produce Play. The opening is ozonic peppery lemon and orange with a bit of sweetness that later moves into some geranium and white floral hedione filler. There are the usual clean aromachemical nondescript lines flowing through Play, like it was built off some ready-made framework that needed only the most minor modification to become its own fragrance, then the denatured patchouli, tonka tobacco note, some ethyl maltol sweetness and generic woody ambery nonsense (but not the heavy-handed scratchy ones) finish it off. What's even worse about this is it was built like a clubber but without the power of a clubber, because Givenchy already had plans for the flanker Givenchy Play Intense (2008) to release simultaneously as the -actual- clubber-strength version of this scent. Play Intense adds a touch of booziness that while not great, make it marginally better than this car crash of a scent. Wear time is about 7 hours and sillage is moderate, nothing else to report. You can wear this wherever you want but you'll smell a 2000's mall kiosk after the salesperson sprays 6 different clearance price things on cards for you. At least the sweetness and bits of floral peppery citrus make it feel more unisex than maybe it was meant to be.

This is just before Givenchy "found itself" rebooting all its classics (some for the second time) and making an upmarket "niche" range to compete with Dior, you can expect these confused exercises where the fragrance feels perfumed by the marketing department, while the actual perfumers are ham-stringed on the painfully specific brief. The packaging is the only cool thing, looking like one of those plastic earbud cases in a transparent pod-shape that was popular for fragrances in this decade since someone decided young people wanted their perfume to look like their gadgets. With how much hate the fragrance community had for this line when available, the last thing I expected was for everyone to do a 180 and start singing its praises when it was axed in 2018, but I underestimated the desperation to be relevant people have online. It was suddenly "cool" to like Play because it's not made anymore even if it (and its flankers) was trash before, with people looking for clicks and subs on their online platforms talking up Givenchy Play like a missed opportunity. If this is you, then you deserve to get ripped off by eBay sellers just to buy one precious drop of clout on social media, because Givenchy Play is the fragrance equivalent of watching Vanilla Ice attempt to copy Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit but end up on reality TV for his efforts. Thumbs down.

Play - Givenchy
Thinner and woodglue-like impressions. Watery lemon-orangey with a slight syprupy tang. Transparant woodsy. Vanilla-airy. Ozonic-green. Watery. Very lightweight. Verdict: anorexia masculine.

Starts off unbearably sweet and peppery then patchouli joins in and sweetness dials down without disappearing and there is some freshness but with paradoxical pepper which keeps on getting up your nose.
Nothing playful about that. To be fair the offensive part dials down leaving you with a peppery sweet fresh fragrance which is not too bad. But what a journey to get there and not very masculine.
Similar but done much better is Dunhills Racing Green which is fresh without being sweet and slightly peppery. Good masculine daily wear and its one my wife came up to me and oooooo d at.

Fragrance: 2/5
Projection: 3/5
Longevity: 3/5

Great all day fragrance that doesn't offend the senses. Got my first sniff out of a magazine and had to buy the bottle...quite memorable

I started my serious frag. journey with this and soon moved beyond to play intense and soon enough dozens of others. Its light with lots of peppery citrus, sweet and very inoffensive. Like many modern frags, it doesn't make a significant statement, at all.

I give it a neutral even though I don't wear it anymore. I selected it from a large field of frag counter testers and took several learner steps with it. If you want a modern inoffensive peppery citrus and sweet frag it deserves a serious test. If you want more character, keep looking.

"Generic seems to be the harshest word" in modern perfume reviewing... this one deserves that appellation in spades.

My main complaint isn't that it is not original - and it certainly smells the same as any number of modern designer efforts - but that it promises a lot more and doesn't deliver.

Coffee, vetiver, tobacco? All absent to my nose. The end result is that GP lacks any hint of a backbone to prop it up, none of those "stronger" ingredients that provide a worthwhile base. What I get instead is a kind of sub-Dolce & Gabbana PH, soapy, inoffensive, and throroughly without interest.

Semi-gourmand? It wishes.

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