Top notes: Aldehydes, bergamot, mandarin, galbanum, peach, gardenia
Heart notes: lily of the valley, hyacinth, rose, jasmine, iris root
Base notes: Patchouli, oakmoss, amber, sandalwood
The peach and galbanum combo must have inspired Estee Lauder's Aliage, which came out two years later. Aliage distilled, simplified and amplified those notes, chopping off the almost melancholy notes that follow in their wake. (After all, what sport scent gets all brooding and philosophical?)
Givenchy III, in contrast, almost immediately moves from that upper register of sunshine and happiness by drying down into a softer, more contemplative mood with hyancinth, iris root, sandalwood, amber and patchouli. (In a review of Yves Saint Laurent's Y, I talked about how the civet darts around in the background of the sunny fragrance like a microexpression of worry on a smiling face. The patchouli and sandalwood in Givenchy III likewise sound a minor key in an otherwise major key composition.)
There are almost two perfumes on top of each other in Givenchy III, each with different personalities. What's wonderful is Givenchy III's ability to reconcile these two moods into one; you can actually still smell those early notes as the perfume's dusk arrives, like the Rene Magritte paintings which seem to occur on the cusp between daytime and nighttime.
Refined but approachable, Givenchy III is like a beautiful, well-dressed woman who drops her guard for a moment and breaks out into laughter. Chic and joyous.
From the '70s Givenchy III ad:
"Today's woman can create sunshine all around her by the clothes she wears, the fragrance that is her own ambiance, her own atmosphere. I have created this new perfume for her." Hubert de Givenchy Givenchy III: The beautiful environment.