Insensé by Givenchy (1993)

Ah, the Nineties...

Nose: Daniel Molière

Insensé is one of the many fragrances I shamefully underrated for a long time, I guess for my lack of experience and proper taste. I always misjudged this in the past, always trying it quickly from samples or decants, and always ending up in considering it only a really nice albeit a bit boring and kind of heavy sort of “overly feminine fougère”; I am really glad I grabbed a deal recently and got a small 30 ml bottle of this some days ago, so that I had the chance to wear this at its fullest and give it a proper chance. And I got, as they say, a true “epiphany” about this – from mild enthusiasm to sudden devoted worshipping. It is indeed the hyped masterpiece many rave about, and the hype is fully justified. Actually, no, it even gets way less hype than it should. For me, Insensé has now jumped straight on top of the – however limited – chart of the best floral fragrances for men ever made, because it is hands down one of the best, if not the best one ever. And easily among the best masculine offerings in general ever made. Luca Turin once mentioned two key features of this, which perfectly reflect what I also strongly felt while full wearing this the first time: “melancholy and mystery”. It is exactly how I also view Insensé: this a dramatically romantic, rich and slightly decadent scent which stunningly blends decades of masculine and feminine perfumery in an enigmatic, completely new, clever, breathtakingly creative and above all, irresistibly good unisex floral blend. Which indeed smells mysteriously “different” from anything else. Like a prism, it reflects echoes of perfumes ranging from Cristalle, to Diorella, to Caron’s 3rd Man.

The smell is complex but seamlessly beautiful: there is a rich heart symphony of green herbs and flowers refreshed by a subtle fruit-pine breeze, contrasting a deeply dark, smoky base accord of woods and aldehydes which provide “weight” and baroque gloominess to flowers and herbs. The overall feel is soapy, smoky, lightly waxy, aldehydic to the bone, floating between a nostalgic green-chypre powderiness and a fresher, more austere balsamic-woody feel of many classic fougères. Not simply a juxtaposition of different styles, just a true rewriting using selected key notes and accords from all those inspirations. It may sound simple or boring, it’s definitely not: as I said it’s truly a sort of triumphant gathering of decades of perfumery blending together to compose this incredibly handsome, unique mosaic. Distinctive, bracing and sophisticated in a quite peculiar, decadent way to say the least, probably also quite “gothic” to a certain extent: surely “not for the faint of heart”. Totally worthy the high prices. Leave that shitty niche boutique and save your money for this.


P.S.: obviously I refer to the vintage version of Insensé (pictured above).


  1. 10/10? Oh my, you hardly rate 10 to a perfume! I hope I will find it in the shops! I'm going out to give a try...

    Your rate and your fluent reviews make me curious about what is in front of me and I all the time refuse to try cause I'm ridiculously busy with so-called niche markets.

    1. Hi Keiwan! It's discontinued but not super hard to find... they made also a more recent version but I never tried it.
      (I am not on Facebook anymore, sorry :D)

    2. Keiwan, give me a shout on Facebook. I'll point you in the direction of a few bottles of the original vintage juice at a discounter that are around $80/100ml. I believe they do ship internationally, too. Insensé is my signature frag. I did a lot of digging around to find a few backup bottles (I own 2,000ml of it) but made sure to leave a few bottles at this reseller for other enthusiasts like yourself. This juice is absolute perfection.

  2. How about Insensé Ultramarine? Do you like it?

  3. I've never tried that! (none of that series of flankers actually)