During my tenure at a department store fragrance counter, I had a young woman come in while I was busy with another customer. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see that she was smelling all the testers and making a scrunchy, unsatisfied face at every one. I finally got over to her, and she said, "I want my boyfriend to smell sweet, but still manly. He's in the Army, he can't smell too sweet." After making our way around the entire counter of men's fragrances (easily smelling upwards of 60 colognes), we settled on Givenchy Play. It's as sweet as a men's fragrance will get without venturing into candy bar/dessert territory while still being light, fresh, and clean. Hell, I might buy it for myself. If I had a man in my life, he would've gotten a bottle of this for Christmas. I sprayed this on my hand one day at work and kept smelling it. I must've looked like a crazy person, for real.
And, how fun is the bottle? Looks like a little MP3 player! Wish I could say that the women's equivalent smelled as good.
Fragrance and me is a very strange area. I'm a carrier of cystic fibrosis, and whilst it is widely said to be asymptomatic, there are a number of small symptoms associated with carrying the disease (as opposed to suffering from it, thankfully I was born having dodged the 1 in 4 chance of this). One such symptom is higher levels of salt in the sweat, which makes it prone to tanginess. And this tanginess means that all fragrances sweeten considerably on me. Virtually ANY sweet/fruity fragrance (it needn't even be overbearingly, sickeningly, noxiously Miss-Dior-Cherie sweet) will be transformed into a spectacularly revolting candyfloss explosion the moment it settles on my skin. Since 95% of women's cologne is sweet to some degree, this doesn't make it a great option. Luckily for me, I don't care for sweet, fruity fragrances anyway. Which makes my penchant for men's cologne doubly ideal!
It's very difficult to review a perfume, since smell is as powerfully subjective as aesthetic and scents rely so strongly on the individual's specific body chemistry. But as far as I'm concerned, this one is a showstopper. It really is gorgeous. The foil sample sachet I'm currently peering at describes Play as being 'woody fresh', and lists the following notes: Bergamot, Bitter Orange, Grapefruit, Coffee Flower Accord, Amyris Wood and Vetiver.
There is a definite citrussy smell in the first few seconds post-spritz (presumably the Bitter Orange and/or Grapefruit mentioned above). It's a very green opening, and since green perfumes aren't my favourite, I wasn't 100% sure to begin with. But ye GODS, when this stuff settles down a bit and warms up, it really is a marvel. I can barely even describe it - partly due to its sheer magnificence and partly due to the fact that my knowledge of the intricacies of perfume is shabby at best. There's definitely a coffee element in there, and a warm, clean, woody smell, a touch of smoke, and just a tiiiny little dash of a floral fruitiness to round it off. The combination of these fragrances doesn't result in a perfume in which each note is very detectable (I always find this quality very clashing and unsatisfying in scents) - everything melds beautifully into an overall waft of 'nice'. And not frilly, non-descript nice. The kind of nice that evokes somebody who is a veritable demon in bed and makes you pant with rabid lust from a mere glance in your direction, but also likes nothing better than to curl up on the sofa with his sisters in front of a weepy and gave a chunk of his savings last month to a baby donkey charity, or something. It is the only fragrance I have ever found that somehow simultaneously screams dirty and clean. Badass and cosy. If it were a person, it would be the stealthily sexy man (or perhaps woman) with the feline swagger, but a 24-carat heart and no shame at all in their sensitive side. The person that exudes filth and oozes snarling, unconventional sexuality from their every pore, but that your mother still coos over and friends all heartily approve of. I am increasingly aware of how much this is descending into 'bargain bucket romance novel' territory, so as far as evocations are concerned I'll try and wrap it up stat. Suffice it to say that when I wear this, people are all over me. It's a flat-out, shameless seducer of a perfume that will peel off your clothes, hurl them at the wall and f%#$ you senseless, but cuddle and console you all morning when your phone goes off on the bedside table and you answer it to learn that your favourite grandmother's had a brain aneurysm. My younger sisters like it (very rare) and grab me the entire time to sniff me, my parents like it (somewhat rare, they consider themselves to be perfume connoiseurs and have very different tastes, but my choices rarely make the cut for either of them), my boyfriend likes it (seems to spend longer nuzzling into my neck than ever when we have sex), my friends like it.... the list goes on. Most importantly, I like it. If people knew how attractive I found myself when I wore this stuff, I'd probably have no friends left.
There is only one downside to this magic concoction. I wish it were not so, but sadly, its lasting power can only be described as crap. If I put a small-to-moderate amount on first thing in the morning, it's all but imperceptible (to me) by about 11am, and by 2 or 3pm-ish it's pretty much imperceptible to everybody else, too. This is a flaw I can more than live with in light of how perfect this product is for me - I will be forever grateful to the outrageously handsome Jamie from Boots Tunbridge Wells for recommending it to me and supplying me with my own weight in sample sachets entirely free of charge - but it is undeniably a flaw.
With all that said, if you're a guy, or, like me, a girl who just gets on better with blokes' perfumes, I definitely recommend giving this stuff a whirl. It's certainly changed my life for the better, albeit in a kind of small-time, trivial sort of way. It is a shame about the lasting power, but hey... if you ask me, the icing on the cake of most truly beautiful things (and people) in the world is the quirky charm that lies in their flaws. Nobody gets hot for the Perfect Penelopes, after all.
This review is for the women's Givenchy Play in the pink container. Its pretty but Its a safe unoffensive scent. Nothing memorable about it. Bergamot, Sweet Pea, Amyris Wood, Tiare Flower, Sandalwood, Musk
This is a review for 'Play Intense' rather than 'Play'. I thought play was a tad sweet on the card but rather nice then I smelt 'Play Intense' as was completely in love. It is a completely different fragrance rather than just a modified flanker. The notes are rich, gourmand and all my husband has to do is spray lightly and I'm his. An evening fragrance for winter - I think it would be far too much during the day or during summer. I have to admit to 'stealing' some too as I think on my skin it makes a darker version of angels and demons, and then I just want to eat my own arm.
This is a mens fragrance but I bought it for myself and love it!!! It is clean and fresh but with depth. It smells slightly sweeter and warmer on me, I have never thought to use a mens fragrance as my own before, but I found myself spraying this on everytime I walked through Macy's and I loved how it developed on me. I think this is very wearable for everyone. AND Justin Timberlake created it, sigh :). It is expensive which is the only downside, $71 for 3.4 oz, but I think all fragrances are now. Love it!!
Top notes: Bergamot, mandarin orange, bitter orange, and grapefruit.
Middle notes: Amyris wood, black pepper, and a coffee flower accord.
Base notes: Vetyver and patchouli.