About a year ago I smelled Derby at Bergdorf Goodman on paper and really liked it. However, Derby comes in this very unattractive wood bottle and that bothered me. Then I found out that it had previously come in the iconic bee bottle, but that had been discontinued in favor of the current bland boxy bottle. So of course I had to obsess about how to get my hands on a bee bottle. After searching around, including calling multiple Guerlain stores and reps, I came to the conclusion that I was not going to find my Derby bee bottle. So I finally gave up and moved on to my next perfume obsession.
Last month when I was in Chicago, I stopped by the Michigan Avenue Saks store where I asked the sales associate if they had any samples of Derby. Of course, I was given the “are you really asking me this” look and was told no. After wooing her with some charm, she managed to go to find a small decant bottle and she provided me with a 5ml decant of Derby which was more than I had expected. Note to sales associates: you’re not dispensing gold, just perfume.
WHAT I SMELL: Derby opens with bergamot and wonderful oakmoss (no wait, that’s carnation intended to mimic oakmoss) with a twist of lemon. It’s slightly sparkling and a bit powdery and dry. After a few minutes, Derby becomes a little more spicy… but it’s still fresh and clean. After that, Derby stays clean, but some wood is added to the spice. Supposedly there is leather there, but I have no idea where it is and figured that the cow must have run out of the door. I wish I could add more, but that’s really where Derby left me. It’s pleasant and pretty subdued and I found it to be a safe scent for men who don’t want to smell “out there.”
Derby Notes from Fragrantica:
Top notes are bergamot and orange; middle notes are spices, carnation and exotic woods; base notes are leather, birch, patchouli and woody notes
THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE DERBY: safe, neat, easy
BOTTOM LINE: To me this smells a lot like my vintage Givenchy III, except with a slightly more masculine tinge. I would like to smell the vintage Derby because I have heard that it’s a bit beefier and contains actual oakmoss. The carnation mimics the oakmoss well, but it’s not the same as the real thing. Do I want a full bottle of Derby? No. Wait…if someone has a bee bottle that they want to get rid of, I would gladly take it!!
- Bone Rating: 3.5 out of 5 possible bones
- Scent: Woody
- Classification: Masculine
- Expense: $245 for 100ml EdT