Reviews of Xeryus 
Givenchy (1986)

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Xeryus by Givenchy

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Reviews of Xeryus by Givenchy

There are 57 reviews of Xeryus by Givenchy.

(The notes listed above are truly only a small part of the story, there are far more unlisted notes - check Fragrantica).

The original, in the black bottle as pictured here, was the very first cologne I bought for myself as a teenager. At the time (in the 1980's), Drakkar Noir had just hit, and suddenly all my male classmates were literally dousing themselves in that cologne. It was a fine scent, but when you're surrounded by boys you could literally smell from across the room or from down the hall, I was inspired to go a different direction. That's how I blind bought Xeryus. I rocked that scent for a good 10 years before I fell off the fragrance bandwagon.

Fast-foward to today, I'm in my 50's, and I see that this cologne is still for sale, so I buy it.


First, the bottle has changed. It's a nice, heavy frosted glass bottle with a 'gemstone' cap - fine, but it's certainly not as cool or dramatic as the original 'black castle' bottle.

Next, the fragrance has obviously been reformulated, definitely watered-down. What once-upon-a-time started as a bright citrus blast of grapefruit and cypress that softened into a woody, spicy green fougere/chypre combo, and finally dried down to a rich, ambery base - it seems they have kept most of the top and mid notes intact, but the base has really fallen off. So you're left with the woody, slightly leathery mix of fougere and chypre mids and not much else, after the citrus opening. It's still nice, it's just not on the level of what it once was. The base of old was so rich and ambery and mysterious - it was an incredible place for all those other notes to eventually land. If you can get a hold of the original black bottle, grab it, because that's where the magic lives.

As for the reformulation - eh, it's fine. It smells clean. It still has dozens of notes that your nose will have fun trying to differentiate, it interestingly straddles a fence between fougere and chypre - but it's not as intoxicating and addictive as the original. The thing that made it special was something in the base, something that sat on your skin and drew people in and was truly rich and mysterious. That's gone.

To add insult to injury, where I once got so many compliments on this fragrance as a young man, the only comment I've heard while wearing the reformulated version is one of my students saying "someone smells like a grandma in here" when he walked into the classroom. It's a shame. If it smelled like it used to, I'd probably make it my signature scent once again, 30+ years later. Alas, this full-circle is not meant to be completed.

Master parfumer Alberto Morillas did this back in the days, we find several bottles of xeryus in his work office🤘

Givenchy Xeryus (1986) is the men's counterpart to Givenchy Ysatis (1984) by a young Dominique Ropion, and was originally intended to be called "Keryus" until Yves Saint Laurent squawked about it sounding too similar to their then-hit Kouros (1981). Like Kouros, Xeryus is a powerhouse fougère, but unlike Kouros you won't find animalics or anything particularly confrontational about the stuff (despite the domineering art deco bottle), and that's because Givenchy played it safe. A lot of people who were around then and fell in love with Xeryus have strong and defensive opinions about it and rightly so, as anything creating a positive emotional reaction or developing good memory associations is worthy of some defense, but people who weren't really "there" or wore other things then tend see Xeryus as pleasant but redundant alongside similar 80's fougères. This makes Xeryus something of a "me too" scent of the 80's in the same way may Avons of the time were, or something that could be seen as the 80's version of the myriad designers borrowing "Invictus DNA" or "Aventus DNA" from Paco Rabanne Invictus (2013) or Creed Aventus (2010) respectively. Like all things with quality components but derivative design, that can sometimes make Xeryus feel a bit forgettable, albeit unintentionally. It's also worth mentioning that the flanker Xeryus Rouge (1995) would ultimately overshadow this in regards to hype within the fragrance community, and it would see reformulation then placement in a Les Parfums Mythiques bottle.

The opening of Xeryus is very familiar to wearers of everything from Guy Laroche Drakkar Noir (1982) through to scents like Gucci Nobile (1988), and in fact sits somewhere between those two extremes of soapiness and aromatics. Scents like Alain Delon Plus/AD Plus by Alain Delon (1987) also spring to mind, and even the massive bergamot and lemon verbena wash of Houbigant Duc de Vervins (1985) or the discount entry Lomani pour Homme (1987), with Xeryus sitting in the crux between all that. lavender, lemon, artemisia, bergamot, and a half dozen other citrus and floral notes are all listed, but you won't get half of them. The heart is also the typical clean aromatic fougère treatment, full of juniper berry, geranium, carnation, jasmine hedione, cyclamen, cinnamon, and tarragon among others. Again, a dozen things are listed, and you'll smell maybe three of them. The base is where things pull closer to something like Nobile or AD Plus and away from Drakkar or Duc de Vervins, with balsam fir, amber, vetiver, cedar, olibanum, plus tonka and oakmoss playing a particularly dominant role in the finish. The soapy citrus dimetol combination and the clean hedione florals remain of course, but that piney mossy aromatic finish will be the thing that finally sets Xeryus just a bit apart from its peers. Is it enough? Probably not, but you'll like it if you enjoy the style. Wear time is 10 hours, with good projection and sillage, plus soapy clean aromatics like this can be worn whenever or wherever; a true 80's versatile generalist.

Clean, mature, a bit floral, a bit sweet, and very much "in the pocket" is the smell of Givenchy Xeryus. a fresh aromatic fougère created in image after the genre-defining entries much the same way new takes of the aforementioned Invictus still hit shelves. This tells me that the overly-romanticized belief from vintage snobs that men's fragrances were infinitely more unique and varied in the "golden era" of the 1980's is really just more of the usual online fragrance community hubris that itself stinks up forums or social media, preventing people from trying new things, compromising, or even getting along. It's neither here nor there because the usual elitist gatekeeper types will find something to separate themselves from "us" if not for era of fragrance, then ingredients, price point, compliment factor, whether it's discontinued, et al. I do agree that a lot better naturals were available then and perfumers working for designers had bigger budgets and more control over the creative process, but Xeryus is proof that history is really just repeating in regards to designers following trends if they can't create them. The bottom line is Xeryus will appeal to fans of classic mature office-friendly fougères the likes of which niche houses try to upcharge for these days (a real hoot that one), but will come across to the well-versed collector as a B-side in the style rather than a prime cut (unless it's an old love as mentioned above), and is still at least worth the trouble to try for posterity before it gets axed like the rest of Givenchy's back catalog. Thumbs up.

If Xeryus had a star sign I'm sure it would be Aquarius: eccentric, friendly but cool and detached; a non-conformist. says any attempt to box-in Aquarius will most likely fail; and likewise, Xeryus is a difficult scent to get a handle on. It's a gluey, pale green hybrid of fougère, amber and chypre; and - as you'd expect from a scent with thirty notes[!] - it has plenty of decoratives: lemon, pale tree-fruits, evergreen resin, green notes, woody notes, nutmeg, amber, leather and moss...

Sadly it doesn't work on me, but as 'equality and fairness' are hallmarks of Aquarius, I'll give Xeryus the benefit of the doubt - and put it down to Bad Chemistry.

I'm sorry for being so short with my comments. I like the scent very much. In the 80s I wore Patou pour Homme. Terrific stuff! Of course that went away and was replaced in 2013. I didn't bother to try it. But Xeryus, to me, has a very similar smell. That's it.

Xeryus is a solid, quality, 80's aromatic fougere. It won't break any vintage lover's top 10 but is very pleasant nevertheless. It sits squarely with the Drakkar Noir, Smalto, Nobile, Tsar, Duc, etc...

Nose clearing, bracing opening blast of artemisia and grapefruit toning progressively toward a really classy dark soapy dry down which is my favourite part.
For those maybe familiar with the genre, not as dark and smoky as Smalto but much darker than Nobile, much less sweet and floral than Tsar, closest maybe to vintage Drakkar.

However good Xeryus and all of those are, one can only lament the pretty much truly extinct and perfect Nobile.

I'm not sure what the current version is like but I owned a bottle of this back in the early 90's and it was divine. A real grown up and mature scent. Woody & spicy with a slight touch of floral and sweetness. If I could be assured that it is still nearly as good as the original I would most probably buy a newer bottle. Excellent stuff.

I remember receiving Xeryus as a high school graduation gift! I was just beginning to develop a cologne collecting hobby at that time (around 1991), and this scent from Givenchy offered me a scent that I may not have purchased on my own, but nevertheless appreciated.

Xeryus is a nice woody fougere scent that echoes the time period when it came out. It's layered with freshness and spice, as well as an indistince wood-like flair thanks to the cypress. Exudes a sense of charm and confidence, like other well-made fougeres of that era. Clean and long-lasting, never confusing nor cloying.

And then many years after, I discovered and fell in love with Xeryus Rouge, a markedly different direction by Givenchy that has barely any resemblance to this original version, and a flanker that I consider to be one of my all time favorite, never-fail colognes. Can't say that Xeryus original receives a similar accolade from me, but I still give it all due respect as a wearable, thought-provoking scent that is still relevant today after so many years.

A nice clean and soapy men's scent with nice longevity and projection. Nice bergamot note on the top with mingling citrus. Blending with geranium, spices and oakmoss. Has a bit of woods in the dry down. A true winner but I wouldn't blind buy if you haven't experienced this juice before. Enjoy!

I find the top of Xeryus intriguing, but something in the base is not quite my style, too coniferous, perhaps.

Wearing this some more, I get a strong connection to the smell of dryer sheets, in a nice way - top quality dryer sheets. I could almost give this a thumbs up, I'm on the fence.

Xeryus is an understated, yet terrifically pleasant floral-herbal aromatic fougère which opens with a gentle soapy accord of carnation, geranium and spicy woods, well surrounded by a classic base of woody-mossy notes (a great, sharp, compelling oak moss note) with a refreshing zesty head of citrus and a lavender note. Old school elegance with a hint of playful exotism. Initially close to the clean, relaxed, soapy genre à la Versace pour Homme, a bit more sophisticated, transparent and complex, but that is the "family" in my opinion. After its first phase, though, Xeryus evolves on a different path, more dark and shady and tending more towards classic gentleman's fragrances: the oak moss emerges better together with a spicy woody-leathery note, always restrained and clean, and always surrounded by a soapy and slightly exotic floral-herbal vibe. Radiant, relaxed, effortlessly refined and cozy, yet with just a hint of "mystery" all over: a sharp, heavenly sense of cleanness hiding shades and secrets. Cozy, refined and long lasting. To grab immediately in case of good deals (not a masterpiece, though, so don't spend too much money on this). Gorgeous bottle.


Very dated and watered down generic woods fragrance. Undiscernable citrus notes. Again, just translates to watery notes with no punch or personality. The amber is more than just a is really the only dominant scent after 10 minutes. Xeryus is bland and inoffensive. Does not project much. Lasts 4 to 5 hours on skin.

Genre: Fougère

The relatively conventional, but extremely well rendered citrus, lavender, and sage top notes that introduce Xeryus are good enough that I'll apply it again just to get another sniff. The combination is sweet and suave, but the aromatic and animalic facets of the sage note put a darker edge on the accord while balancing the sweetness.

Astringent artemisia and geranium notes, mildly smoky woods, and a quiet floral accord that includes rose and orange blossom anchor the middle section over a foundation of moderately sweet amber and oakmoss. Some kitchen spices, most notably nutmeg and cinnamon, drift into focus after an hour or so of wear, but never grow so strong as to overwhelm the rest. The overall impression is somewhere between a woody oriental and a robust, 1980s-style aromatic fougère: part Héritage, part Lauder for Men.

Xeryus is in fact more restrained than most of the landmark 1980s powerhouse scents, and this restraint leaves it feeling less dated and more wearable than many of its contemporaries. The drydown, with its amber, moss, and animalic traces, is warm, and relaxed, yet civilized. While Xeryus doesn't jump out and demand my attention once the splendid top notes run their course, it is a satisfying, comfortable scent that probably remains underappreciated alongside its brawnier, yet less amiable, peers.

A note: don't evaluate Xeryus on paper, where the animalic sage note grows strident, sour, and overbearing.

Two fascinating moments in perfumery happened within a few years of each other. They are the “road not taken” moments. When Thierry Mugler's Angel hit the scene, women's perfumery was changed irrevocably. Florals, chypres, traditional orientals were instantly ancien régime. It was a classic paradigm shift, an overthrow of the old order. The floral survived by evolving into Fruity Florals, Orientals were diminished and became Gourmands, Chypres, god help us all, became outlaws and now are effectively black market commodities.

The specifics of how the men's market changed in the 1980s differ in some respects from the changes in the feminine market, but the parallels and simultaneity of the changes make the similarities more important than the differences. Davidoff Cool Water was the masculine counterpart to Angel.

To say the aromatic fougère was supplanted by the aquatic fougère doesn't sound like much, but the the newer, more tailored aromatic fougères had just started to surpass the dominance of the 70s big boys like Paco Rabanne Pour Homme and Azzaro Pour Homme. It was the greatest height of the fougère since the release of Fougère Royale in 1882. Musky fougères (YSL Kouros, Paco Rabanne Ténéré, Dior Jules) floral fougères (Caron's Troisième Homme, Xeryus) spiced fougères (YSL Jazz, Jacomo Anthracite, Laroche Drakkar Noir) were taking the genre in exciting new directions. The fougère is structurally tied to both the oriental (tonka, balsam) and the chypre (oakmoss and coumarin tethering more effusive floral and spiced notes). It is an inherently rich genre and many perfumers were using the fougère structure to find new ideas. It's worth considering that Michael Edward's, the most authoritative figure in the nomenclature of perfumery, placed the fougère at the center of the wheel he created as a visual analogy for categorizing perfumes. It is the ur-perfume.

There were still a few great aromatic fougères produced, such as Partick by Patrick of Ireland (1999) a fougère in the chypre direction, and YSL Rive Gauche pour Homme (2003), but for the most part, after the advent of of Cool Water (1988) the aquatic fougère ruled with an iron fist. Dyhydromyrcenol made for the creation of fougères that would have the volume of the best fougère from the 1970s, but lacked the complexity and therefore matched the feminine counterparts that were becoming ever louder, ever simpler fruity florals and candied gourmands. Feminism's effect on perfumery changed or waned, depending on your perspective, and the empowered feminines like Aromtics Elixir, Scherrer de Scherrer, Dior Diorella, YSL Rive Gauche became ‘Old Lady Perfumes'. Hypergender became a stylistic norm, and countless straight couples could be spotted on the town: her, with hair three feet high and rising dosed with Poison or Angel; him with slicked back hair drenched in Cool Water.

I am sad over the loss of the pre-1988 aromatic fougère. It was just about to take off into some great places. Let's not forget that these perfume were also the basic blue-print for the 1980's mens' power frag. Take a fougère, exchange the lavender for some more spicy elements, and freeze-dry the wood. Voila! Krizia Uomo, Chanel Antaeus, Patou pour Homme. Sometimes the player of a group known for largesse is the one to go for. Scherrer de Scherrer, a chypre that could give Aromatics Elixir a black eye is my go to green/leather chypre. Xeryus has some of that well-dressed thug appeal, seeming more like a perfume for Craig's Bond than Moore's. Or perhaps Dench's M.

Xeryus is becoming on you in the way it allows to you swagger a bit. It lends authority. It's a remarkably detailed perfume that tells you not to sweat the details. It has a vaguely threatening edge at the same time it lets you be a pretty boy. Great combo of attributes. Definitely a perfume to play with.

The notes listed above don't sound right to me. I've been a fan of Xeryus ever since I first smelled it on a trip to Europe in 1986. I don't get any grapefruit in the top notes, nor much amber in the base. To my nose Xeryus is a spicy coniferous chypre closely related to Weil's Kipling, Francesco Smalto and Drakkar Noir. H & R's Fragrance Guide lists notes that sound much more like my impression of Xeryus --- at least, the original formulation of it:

Top: Bergamot, mandarin, mace, lavender, lemon, green note
Middle: Cyclamen, geranium, juniper, clary sage, estragon, petitgrain, coriander, jasmin, cypress
Base: Sandalwood, vetiver, moss, fir, musk, cedar, cistus

The opening is fresh and slightly sweet, but not overly so, and the drydown fades into a wonderfully woody forest. It reminds me of walking in a redwood grove where the air is fresh and alive with negative ions, scented with wood, bark, damp earth and green needles. It's been a staple in my collection since 1986, and one I still enjoy wearing regularly.

if you're a fan of Amber, as I am, then this is a good place to start. It is a friendly fragrance and projects an air of sophistication without insisting upon itself.

A nice citrus-artemisia opening leads to a woody cypress drydown. In the base a restrained moss and an ambery note combine to a classic fougère. As is expected there is a soapy ending that is a bit too strong for my taste, but fits in well. Classic, not truly remarkable but well done. Decent silage and projection and five hours of longevity on my skin.

Quality fragrance, just way too soapy opening for me. I smell "Irish Spring" soap for the entire opening. Not bad, but not something I'd wear.

talking of Vintage a really refined scent for refined people!

Spicy, warm, amberish (not unlike old-school Pears soap but more complex).

But ultimately dry-down a little thin, even synthetic?

Gone, but not forgotten.

1 All taste is personal.
2. Smell is probably the most subjective of all five senses.
3. Try before you buy. (On paper first, then skin.)

Moss is boss with Xeryus. Fragrances such as Acqua Di Selva that contain a prominent oakmoss tend to be very dry and sharp. Xeryus manages to be more refined by buffing the edges with citrus and sweet. After the opening, the woods come to the fore and Xeryus becomes even more comfortable to wear.

It's a bridge fragrance: it looks back toward classic male perfumery via the oakmoss and woods, staples of old school scents such as the aforementioned Acqua Di Selva, without being dated while the tempering, quite mild sweetness (very mild) looks toward trends that would flourish in the Nineties and later.

I wore this in my very early Twenties without any "old man" comments (whatever the hell that term means) and it was one of my staples. I'm glad to have returned to it twenty years later and to have found it still going strong.

Xeryus (vintage)

I decided to blind buy Xeryus as it used to be the signature fragrance of a really good friend of mine on Fragrantca. What a big surprise!

Xeryus is a slightly animalic, yet civilized woody fragrance enriched by oakmoss and amber. After the bitter-sour grapefruit opening the cypress note takes over becoming quite dominant in the middle phase of this composition and, together with the sweet woody-ambery drydown made me think about Bertrand Duchafour's Cipresso Di Toscana for the overall "old-perfumery" vibe. Don't let this mislead you because while this composition shows many of the 80's perfumery hallmarks at the same time takes the distance from the powerhouse style with its distinctive "loud-sobriety".

Xeryus made stronger my belief that in perfumery almost everything has been already invented. A fragrance that we all need to re-discover as it's still tremendously wearable.

Stiff (though slightly exotic), moody, classic aromatic fougere. Citrus-lavender, oakmoss, sage, sandalwood, geranium, amber and other notes turn this fragrance out very similar to the sadly disappeared Coveri Pour Homme, which i prefer to this one because of the Givenchy's one final too stressed warmth while the Pour Homme kept on till dry down that touch of green-earthy freshness that makes more wearable a fougere. The mossy warmth as already written, is enhanced by a link between artemisia, woods and moss which pushes up the heat in the dry down pumping off in that phase the coolness provided before by cypress, aromatic notes, fruit and citric lavender. The beginning is all watery citrus, basil, grapefruit and sage and is wonderful because, while forseeing the following depth, exudes woodsy aromatic, herbal, sufficienty cool and mentholated notes before the dark-grey warmth starts to rise up from the background. As well as the woody-spicy-mossy density by cypress and cypriol starts soaring, the aroma keeps becoming massive and enveloping the initial citrus fluidity. These woods are resinous in my opinion and this is the reason of that tarry, nearly gummy trait dominating the final outcome. Some flowers as dry geranium and jasmine ( i detect violets and may be rose) exude moody and obscure botanical refinement in the middle of the development before the fragrance settles in to a warm sandalwood, incense, amber, rubber  base smoothed and encompassed by musks from the forest. There is an hint of vetiver in the base but not so marked. I've heard the new version is a better stuff
because is airier, fresher and subdued in musky density. May be but i would not swear about. The longevity is strong while sillage is medium bodied.

Please, let me clarify, This review is for the reformulation of Xeryus in the plain ugly bottle- Not the wonderful original fragrance in the Shiney Mirrored Black Deco bottle.
Finding Xeryus again after many years , I thought, was going to be a pleasant surprise.
Why this was reformulated is beyond me. The Original was a rich and classic fragrance that was formal and memorable...dry down was a masculine powder that evoked many complements.
This new formulation is a spicey mess that induces a headache. One dimensional and quite awful. I purchased two bottles at two different stores hoping the first bottle was a bad batch. It wasn't. I gave one bottle to a friend that also previously owned the Original black bottle version.
They asked me if I was joking-that this smelled nothing like the original.
It has been, to this day, the biggest disappointment in my fragrance collection.
Shame on you Givenchy for destroying the original and pasting it's name on this headache bomb!

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