How to describe Hot Couture No. 1? There are four flankers in Givenchys’ Hot Couture collection, all with similar boxes and with similar notes. Discerning noses can pull out the differences when wearing them. Should you want a particular Hot Couture and are shopping in a perfume store, be very specific in what you ask for from the sales associate. Some of them are not familiar with the idea that more than one Hot Couture exists and will sell you simply what is on the shelf. Look for the right packaging.
Wearing this through the fall and winter has given me a lot of opportunities to decide how to review this perfume. This fragrance has so many accolades from others, I wanted to be as fair as possible in my review to make sure that I was also breathing the Hot Couture fantasy.
I say this because when I first received my box and tested it, all I could get from it was a sticky, thick, syrupy, cooked raspberry jam surrounding me. It was delicious. But I longed for the smoke and sensual notes that others spoke about. It was early Fall in the States and perhaps the temperatures just weren’t right for me to be wearing this perfume. The weather was still warmer, I was still phasing out my summery perfumes and the true briskness of the Fall had not yet set in. Not all perfumes are a good match for all seasons. It just wasn’t time to pop the top of this bottle yet.
Come the bitter cold of snowy winter, still the same thing happened. I needed to find the right season for Hot Couture Collection No. 1 to work its magic for me, if indeed, it would. Apparently, sub-freezing temperatures weren’t the ticket, either.
Early Spring, when temperatures hover at the 30-50 degree marks and there are remnants of snow still on the ground, I tried again. And this time, I was able to discern more notes from this sophisticated gourmand. How this can be considered an oriental floral is beyond me.
It’s different than your run-of-the-mill teen-age foodie gourmand. It’s rich and oppulent with raspberry, but not just any raspberry. This fruitiness is heavy and intense, as if you’re standing over the pot of jam as it’s cooking on the stove. It’s sweet, but you haven’t added sugar to the pot yet, so there’s an oppositional feel here. Blame the bergamot for a breath of Earl Grey tea or the orange for a citrus zing in the beginning, but this perfume’s run will still be under-sweetened by other notes as it progresses.
There’s a woody note that weaves in and out to save the scent of the raspberries from being too linear, overpowering and childish. It’s not strong at all, but it’s there as a backdrop. A hint of smoke wisps tantalize this perfume and the addition of any type of smoke always ups the ante in a fragrance. Leather introduces itself in the drydown as a wrap-around for the ever-present cooked jam.
Givenchy Hot Couture No. 1 is a gourmand that’s not commonly encountered because it strives for oppulence, seduction and sensuality in a scent that is so much a gourmand yet somehow it does work in other ways. It works because of its maturity. Its not simply a tropical fruit, its a cooked fruit, tempered with visions of smoke and leather.
It’s warm and inviting. Yet, it still needs the right attitude to pull it off. It’s not a young, giggly perfume. It’s one where the wearer meets you eye-to-eye, with a formidable strength. Their actions always give you the impression of what’s to come. And that’s what Hot couture No. 1 is about. It sets the groundwork and continues on its Journey. You won’t be disappointed.
The longevity is quite good, lasting for a good six hours or so. Sillage is strong and really, a gentle spritz is all that’s needed. This is a perfume that warms with your body and surrounds you.
For extreme decadence one day, I decided to layer Hot Couture with two other perfumes to create a Neopolitan ice cream effect. I choose Avon’s Extraordinary for the intense chocolate note, and Taylor Swift’s Wonderstruck for the vanilla. The result was pure heaven in olfactory delight. You can mix and match your perfumes to layer them to create scents that you might enjoy. Be creative and have fun!
This is a perfume that would work well in the evening, going out, for leisure or for the week-ends.
Top Notes: Orange, Raspberry, Bergamot.
Middle Notes: Magnolia, Vetiver, Pepper.
Base Notes: Sandalwood, Amber, Musk.