Givenchy L’Interdit Original : Perfume Review



Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Givenchy L’Interdit was created for Audrey Hepburn in 1957 by Francis Fabron on a commission from her friend and a famous couturier, Hubert de Givenchy and subsequently discontinued in the 1990s (in the US only, by all accounts, as it was still available in Europe). The House of Givenchy decided to reintroduce the fragrance in 2002 while reformulating it in order to make it more appealing to the younger generation. While Jean Guichard and Olivier Gillotin are talented perfumers, the outcome is a pleasant fruity-floral, well crafted, but not particularly memorable.

As for the original L’Interdit, it was a fragrance of elegant beauty, with a playful side. The opening notes are of aldehydes paired with bergamot, which soften considerably as the fragrance is allowed to meld into the skin and reveal soft peach and strawberry–ripe fruit warmed by the sun–on the floral backdrop of rose, jasmine and iris. The floral notes are not distinct, instead presenting a beautiful swirl of abstract shapes, with the edges blurring into each other. Yet, above this refined melody, spicy carnation adds some pleasant honeyed warmth, thus enhances the floral voices. Matte glow of amber paired with the earthy opacity of vetiver forms an elegant base upon which the floral notes recline, veiled by a powdery mist.

Photo: Paramount Pictures publicity still, 1956.



  • Robin: V, I have never smelled either version. How I wish I had started sniffing long before I did — so many wonderful scents are already lost to me forever. *waaah* July 12, 2005 at 10:09am Reply

  • Campaspe: Darling V., they should really bring back the original. What is particularly distressing is that judging by the reviews on MUA, Givenchy succeeded in convincing many people that their disgusting reformulation was the true, original L’Interdit, which Hepburn herself helped to formulate. Using her image in the ads was especially offensive. One MUA reviewer even maintains that this current piss is the original formula, which had only become available now! Such BS could only have come from an ignorant SA. (deep breath, counts to ten) Yes indeed, this truly bakes my biscuits. July 12, 2005 at 9:19am Reply

    • Charli Hall: I have worn this wonderful scent since the 60’s and am almost out, counting the original, the man I date was able to nab off of ebay — I do not wear anything else and think it is exquisite!! I love the slight waft of scent that changes with my mood as I progress through my day. I love the original and wish it was still readily available! April 25, 2012 at 11:51am Reply

  • Tara: There is a perfumery in La Jolla CA where I bought Vintage L’Interdit, they may have some left. Call 858-454-2292.

    Tara July 12, 2005 at 3:50pm Reply

  • Tania: I have an eBay watch on “vintage l’interdit” in the hopes of smelling it myself one of these days. Haven’t smelled the reformulation because it didn’t sound like my kind of thing at all. July 12, 2005 at 2:10pm Reply

  • Atreau: My sister is an Audrey Hepburn fanatic and purchased two bottles of the original L’interdit when Sephora opened up out here at the time it was very hard to find. I adored the original and agree that the reformulation does not compare. My sister however likes the new version even better – she’s a strange one! July 12, 2005 at 11:58pm Reply

  • Victoria: Dear F,
    Oh, please do not start me on this issue! I think that using Audrey’s image with the reformulated is downright dishonest and unethical. The original is beautiful in all respects.

    Dear R,
    I often feel this way!

    Dear T,
    Grab it! The original can be still located at some online stores. Just look out for old packaging (gold and red, tall rectangular bottle).

    Dear Tara,
    Thank you for this wonderful information! I will be sure to call, since I am running out.

    Dear S,
    I can see why some might like it, but I am just not a fan of fruity-florals. There are too many of them out there. July 14, 2005 at 4:35pm Reply

  • Kebabette: I wore the original L’interdit for many years, then it got hard to track down (I am in NZ). I was so happy when I found it again, but it smelt totally different. The lady in the shop thought I was mad.

    I loved the old fashioned slightly powdery of the original.

    Good luck to you all in tracking down the elusive and lustrous original … October 14, 2005 at 8:50pm Reply

  • Kirsten: Iam confused. I became a huge fan after recieving a sample from a friend. It is very floral and tame smelling. I ran out and purchased L’Interdit online and it smells completly different. Bold/Strong. Small .2 oz bottle rectangular in shape. Which is the original? November 5, 2005 at 10:52pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Kirsten, sounds like the bottle you purchased online is the original. November 6, 2005 at 1:29am Reply

  • Dorothy Hirsch: Have been using the original version since the 70’s and when they discontined making it I couldn’t believe it. The new version does not compare. They should have reintroduced it and kept it the same. There is only one Audrey and one L’Interdit, the original. May 28, 2006 at 2:02pm Reply

    • Charli Hall: The tall rectangular bottle is the #2, the original was a shorter deco type bottle, had a lable with a curved top and the lid of the bottle was very plain. Believe me I have both — the original and #2 smell very similar but the newer revised failed version is very different. The first two are very light and soft — they change with your emotions and moods to be slightly stronger but they are very light. Wonderful, beautiful perfume, just like Audrey!! April 25, 2012 at 11:59am Reply

  • Dorothy Hirsch: Is there no way of getting my hands on the original version of L’Interdit ? May 28, 2006 at 2:04pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dorothy, it is not sold anywhere, but you should try antique stores or flea markets. I am not sure where else to find it. May 30, 2006 at 1:14pm Reply

  • Stephanie: Hi!

    If you’re patient enough, you might find both versions in your local malls if you only dared to look. There’s tons of perfume stores that sells a variety of perfumes, some even stating that they carry rare/vintage/hard-to-find perfumes. I found both versions in L.A. (though I found them in separate locations). The owner of the store where I bought the original said that he bought it in France, the only place left that still carries it in huge amounts. If you have the time and the money, a trip to France might be the best option. At least that’s much safer than buying at the flea markets. June 1, 2006 at 3:05am Reply

  • Stephanie: I almost forgot, I wanted to clear up something.

    I noticed that you posted the url to what the original version looks like (that’s the perfumemart right?). That’s the same thing that I got but I did a little research and I found out that asides from the new version, there was another version created named “L’interdit 2” about the same time the original was released. Here’s what it looks like:

    I’m confused as I thought that there was only one version, the original version, and then it was re-introduced in 2003 as the new version. What’s the difference?

    Has anyone bought things successfully from ebay? I’m just asking since almost everyone that I’ve inquired about regarding the “L’interdit” perfume suggested that I should look for it on ebay. That may be another option for you all if you want to get your hands on this perfume. June 1, 2006 at 3:19am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Stephanie, L’Interdit 2 is another fragrance altogether. You can definitely try Ebay. It is always a good place for finding discontinued fragrances. June 1, 2006 at 11:24am Reply

  • Stephanie: What’s the difference between L’interdit (original) and L’interdit 2? How about with the newer version?

    Why isn’t anyone familiar with it? June 1, 2006 at 10:40pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: I describe the difference between the original L’Interdit (1957) and the new version (reintroduced in 2002, not 2003) in the review above. L’Interdit 2 (1993) is more floral, with rose and strawberry notes more obvious. June 1, 2006 at 11:24pm Reply

  • Stephanie: Just to clear things up, what I inquired about in my previous post is the difference between “L’interdit” (Original) and “L’interdit 2”, and “L’interdit 2” with the new “L’interdit”

    Based on your reply, there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference. It didn’t seem to stray away from the original’s top and middle notes (strawberry and rose among other things).

    Is that all there is to “L’interdit 2”? Would you happen to know the exact notes of “L’interdit 2”?

    Do you know why Givenchy released “L’interdit 2”?

    Obviously the released date that I had typed in my previous post for the new “L’interdit” was nothing more than a typographical error.

    I’m not interested in purchasing “L’interdit 2” as I already have both the original and the new version and I’m quite happy with that. I’m just curious about its origin since I hardly hear this version being talked about. June 2, 2006 at 11:29am Reply

  • Stephanie: Is there anyone else who can tell me about L’interdit II? June 6, 2006 at 4:16am Reply

  • Olga: The new L’interdit is a total and different fragance, I don’t know why they called it L’interdit. The owner of the Perfume Shop where I used to get “the original” told me that it was discontinued, and it’s impossible to get it. Two years ago, I was in Paris, and looked in every Perfume Store I could find, and I was told the same. It was discontinued. I keep trying, but no luck. I will pay anything to get a bottle of the “original” July 3, 2006 at 9:41am Reply

  • Sylvia Wildman: Hi
    I love the original too, I have 1 bottle left, and I bought it in Washington DC 1 year ago from a shop called the Gallerie in a shopping centre in the town.
    They arn’t on the web tho, pity.

    E- bay have 1 at $97 Gold top at the moment. Must be a company because it is a’Buy Now’. July 6, 2006 at 4:22pm Reply

  • Solarstar: i’ve been wearing the original l’interdit since i was 16 years old. suffice it to say that my daughter is now 24 years old– and living in london. i am so distressed with the UNDOING of l’interdit! two years ago my daughter & i did a brief search for vintage l’interdit in paris with discouraging results. i’ve just made a few calls in beverly hills with lousy results– altho my last bottle came in 2004 from la peer beauty supply in beverly hills– dusty, tiny, and packaged in an old, open La De Givenchy box. my question is, can anyone tell me where to search in los angeles, london or paris for the one and only (original/vintage) l’interdit? i’m down to my last 5 drops. December 6, 2006 at 1:03am Reply

  • Solarstar: i’ve been wearing the original l’interdit since i was 16 years old. suffice it to say that my daughter is now 24 years old– and living in london. i am so distressed with the UNDOING of l’interdit! two years ago my daughter & i did a brief search for vintage l’interdit in paris with discouraging results. i’ve just made a few calls in beverly hills with lousy results– altho my last bottle came in 2004 from la peer beauty supply in beverly hills– dusty, tiny, and packaged in an old, open La De Givenchy box. my question is, can anyone tell me where to search in los angeles, london or paris for the one and only (original/vintage) l’interdit? i’m down to my last 5 drops. December 6, 2006 at 1:03am Reply

  • Solar Star: i’ve been wearing the original l’interdit since i was 16 years old. suffice it to say that my daughter is now 24 years old– and living in london. i am so distressed with the UNDOING of l’interdit! two years ago my daughter & i did a brief search for vintage l’interdit in paris with discouraging results. i’ve just made a few calls in beverly hills with lousy results– altho my last bottle came in 2004 from la peer beauty supply in beverly hills– dusty, tiny, and packaged in an old, open La De Givenchy box. my question is, can anyone tell me where to search in los angeles, london or paris for the one and only (original/vintage) l’interdit? i’m down to my last 5 drops. December 6, 2006 at 1:06am Reply

  • Linda: I just found the Original L’Interdit on EBay and won a lot of it through auctions. So I am well stocked now. Great Stuff! I mistakenly ordered one L’Interdit 2 and pheww! I hate it. Nothing at all like the original or even the 2002 remake. December 30, 2006 at 8:45pm Reply

  • Lenny: About Hubert D’ Givenchy’s Parfume, ” L’interdit – 2 “. Simply beautiful ! Classy, and ladylike. It to me is the sexiest fragrance to me. It is sublimely different than the classique L’interdit. And the 2003 version was well, not as becoming. So all you ladies who love strawberries, sunflower, musk, sandlewood, and rose, try L’interdit – 2. It’s simply, divine……………. February 27, 2007 at 8:27am Reply

    • Lisa Rubin: Is it more girly, less sexy? September 7, 2012 at 3:08pm Reply

  • Talitha M. Freitas: L’Interdit isn’t availble in Brazil anymore… and it’s the only parfum I wear… I’d like to protest about it… November 7, 2007 at 11:43am Reply

  • jayne: i’ve worn le de since i was 16. was down to my last few (turned) drops
    from 7 years ago when i bought a bottle of the new le de. what a fool. i thought the formula would be the same as the one i wore for 35 years. i thought my sense of smell had changed with age.
    today, i emailed givenchy, paris, to ask if they’d changed le de.
    after reading several blogs tonight, i know the truth. now, i’ll never smell like “me” again. and — i’m out $85. wow, do i miss le de! November 14, 2007 at 11:24pm Reply

  • Andrea Ortiz: Original perfumes Le De and L’interdit new and sealed boxes are for sale at auction at ebay from seller Sell2002sell. November 24, 2007 at 11:28am Reply

  • Elena: Thank God – I thought I was going mad!! I had been wearing L’interdit since 1988 – and I loved the scent.. I loved the way it smelled on me, and how it lasted. However when we had my son in 2000, my last bottle lasted me until his first birthday. Since then, my husband didn’t buy me the perfume until this Christmas passed. He sprayed it on my daughter and sent her up to me to surprise me. I smelt her perfume, but did not recognise it. When he showed me the changed bottle I told him ‘that’s NOT L’interdit’. Now that I know that it has been reformulated, I feel better, knowing that my nose was not playing tricks, and I feel bad, thinking that maybe I will never smell my favourite scent again.. I will be checking my local department stores, and chemists, and ebay for the original – I am in Melbourne, Australia. And thanks to those who pointed out that L’interdit II was a different scent altogether, because I became confused by the packaging thinking it was the original. January 18, 2008 at 5:22pm Reply

  • bea: I seem to be in the same boat as everyone else. i discovered l’interdit in beverly hills years ago. Because it was the most amazing
    fragrance it became my signature perfume and i wore only l’interdit. A few years ago while attempting to locate it i was told that it was dated and unpopular. I replied that it was created for Audrey Hepburn and therefore could never be out of style. Anything created for her was timeless.

    I went online to several department stores in Paris to no avail. Even drove to Palm Springs to the now closed Givenchy Spa. No luck.
    Considering the number of comments on line and in
    perfume departments at major stores; it would appear that many of us
    want the original fragrance back. Perhaps we should inundate the givenchy web site with our requests. February 5, 2008 at 9:17am Reply

  • Cheryl Davidson: I’d like to purchase the original L’ Interdit. February 18, 2011 at 4:19pm Reply

    • Lisa Rubin: I would like the original, too! September 7, 2012 at 3:10pm Reply

  • Tracy Bloom, LMT: Now I remember! L’interdit! It was one of my favorite scents 25 years ago! It doesn’t sound like it has aged well – too bad! March 3, 2011 at 5:18pm Reply

  • Patricia: I chose l’interdit to wear for my wedding day. I never knew that Audrey Hepburn was the inspiration, how interesting as my parents always told me to wear my hair up, and very in order to try to get me to do so told me I looked like Audrey Hepburn / Grace Kelly. They have very different looks so I realise it was flattery aimed at getting their way! The perfume was beautiful and slightly mysterious as I recall. I cant get any of my favourite classical fragrances now. The ones you find today disappear within a couple of hours and they all smell like iced water, cold, clinical and just so similar to what the world has become, commercial with little soul or constructive passion. Just a passion for vulgar wealth and possessions.

    I believe that the synthetic ingredients have ruined the perfume industry in terms of sensuality especially. Everything smells almost the same and the horrid cheap smell, yes smeill, that caught in ones throat and nostrils when you stood at a bus stop and had a person wearing cheap perfume in line with you reminds me of the, attempt, to have very feminine, sexy, sensual perfumes. I dont believe in cruelty but I do know that ambergris and musk were / are unmatched by any artificial substances today. Attar of roses, jasmine, tuberose, sandalwood, patchouli etc where are the real fragrances. Cant we build multi story blocks which dont take up space and grow these plants and harvest their flowers ? Science has progressed so much, but so often, not in the right or most constructive way, usually destructive. I am waiting, for the fish gene used to stop tomatoes etc going soft, to make the produce so hard we wont be able to eat it in a few years. Those scientists have absolutely no idea of what they are doing when they tamper with nature – for the long term it is disastrous. We will not be able to eat anything soon.

    My first ever fragrance, age 15 was Manhattan (does anyone know who produced Manhattan?) later on I graduated to Jolie Madam by Balmain. June 4, 2011 at 1:39pm Reply

  • Amber: lovely idea, awesome fragrance! my fave! February 3, 2012 at 8:48pm Reply

  • Dorothy Hirsch: I have used the original L’Interdit from 1973 and was very dissappointed when it was discontinued. Tried the new one: no comparison. I had to send away to Harrods in London. I still have 3 bottles left. They are fine. Plan on ordering more , it is that good. I am an Audrey Hepburn fan as well but started using the perfume long before I knew that she was the one who introduced it back in 56 or 57. One of a kind. !!!!! April 16, 2012 at 9:58pm Reply

    • Charli Hall: I have been wearing the original since the sixties and wear nothing else. The man I date was able to get both the original and #2 off of ebay. I am trying to find more and I am glad for your input — thank you. April 25, 2012 at 12:05pm Reply

    • Carole Hearn: Dorothy,

      Can you please tell me how to order from Harrods. I tried on line but no luck. More than willing to call – I have also worn original since I was 17 (50 years ago). Hopefully you can help me!

      Carole July 7, 2012 at 9:09pm Reply

      • Dorothy Hirsch: Hi Carole:

        My last 4 bottles were purchased in Vancouver some time ago. I am half way through the 2nd and have 2 more bottles left. They have been stored properly and nothing is wrong with their fragrance. I checked online to see where I can get more when the time comes and the only site I found was Harrods but I have never had to order from them as of yet. I will be terribly disappointed if they don’t carry it anymore. It’s a hard fragrance to follow it’s so wonderful. Just in case you have no luck I found another fragrance by Armani called ACQUA di GIOIA . I still prefer L’Interdit but what’s a girl to do. ??? HA HA !!!

        Good Luck
        Dorothy July 8, 2012 at 12:39pm Reply

      • Dorothy Hirsch: Hi Carole:

        You got me searching again and I found it on Ebay from Hong Kong. The bottles look exactly like the one’s I have. I would give it a try.

        Do you believe it ? Maybe there was such an outcry from numerous women that they decided to make it again.

        Dorothy July 8, 2012 at 12:39pm Reply

        • Lisa Rubin: Hi guys: I used to wear Miss Dior back in college in the 1970’s and purchased it many times over. I’d like to find a fragrance that could be mine again. Audrey Hepburn always my favorite…is it too late to make the new version of L’Interdit my own (since I never even tried the original)? August 31, 2012 at 11:23pm Reply

  • Geneviève: Hello, I just want to make sure I understand everything. Does the bottle of L’Interdit re-edited in the collection «Les Mythiques» is very close to the original? Because, you are talking a lot about the new version (that I hate), and l’Interdit 2, but not about the version from «Les mythiques» collection… Am I right? That bottle is my favorite perfume ever! I wear it all the time even if I’m 24. I just would like to know if there is a huge difference between that bottle and the one of 1957. Thank you! October 23, 2012 at 8:43pm Reply

  • Barbara Chasson: I used L’Interdit for 30 years, until it was discontinued…. boohoo. Hope Givenchy brings back the original, ’cause I don’t even consider the ‘replacement’… definitely not the ‘real’ thing! Please, Givenchy, give us Audrey Hepburn’s L’Interdit. December 14, 2013 at 11:18pm Reply

  • Sheeps: I’ve recently got L’interdit mkII and thought my mind was playing tricks on me as it wasn’t how I remembered it (I just thought it had been repackaged but realised that it smelled different to how I remember it). The only time I’ve used the original L’interdit was way back in 96/97 when Organza was first launched. I had gone to Jenners department store in Edinburgh to buy Organza for my sister’s Christmas and the Givenchy counter was doing a promotion that was a celebration of the first Givenchy fragrance and their latest. The gift included a 5ml bottle of Organza parfum (the actual parfum and not eau de toilette or eau de parfum either) and a 7ml bottle of L’interdit parfum, which at the time would have cost about £85 for the two. So it was a really expensive gift that I received for free – I was buying Organza anyway and only had to buy a second product (an Amarige soap at £12) so the gift I received was worth considerably more than what I spent to receive it. I fell in love with L’interdit and am kicking myself that I didn’t buy it again for myself before it was discontinued. August 27, 2014 at 6:56am Reply

  • Jerrie Mitchell: I think it’s ridiculous that they are even calling this something similar in name to L’Interdit because it smells nothing like the original. I was soooooo disappointed when I received it and am taking it back to the nearest Macy’s store asap. July 27, 2019 at 1:03am Reply

  • Marcy Hirshman: I too wish I could get my hands on the original. The one they call L’interdit now dosn’t even come close. I have seen some vintage (originals) on line, but for a ramsom. And you never know what you’re going to get. I also have used it since the 60s. and pretty much stopped using perfume when u couldn’t get it again. October 6, 2020 at 6:22pm Reply

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