Saturday Question: Which Of The YSL Fragrances Have You Loved?




Hello Fellow Fumies,

Every Saturday we have a Question, an idea purloined from Olfactoria’s Travels. Everyone gets to chime in with an answer, chat with other responders and it is a fun event each week. Taking sides never means taking offence and everyone keeps it respectful and light, even though we can sometimes trawl the depths.

The idea is you’ll see it on the weekend or chime in through the week. Hopefully you will come back and see if anyone has responded to your comment and you can reply to them.

Over 100 responses I will draw a Scent Sample Pack (from my collection)
This week:

  1. Vintage Arpege Extrait
  2. JPG Fragile EdT (D/Cd)
  3. Perfumery Generale Indochine
  4. Vintage Royal Bain de Caron
  5. Estee Lauder Modern Muse Le Rouge Gloss

Last Weeks Winner: Tena

eMail me at (portia underscore turbo at yahoo dot com dot au) with the eMail you’d like me to send your Gift Card to.

Saturday Question: Which Of The YSL Fragrances Have You Loved?

Yves Saint Laurent, even the name conjures pictures in my mind of fashion as art. The era when magic was made in the fashion industry. When theatre, art, movies, music, fashion and celebrity were all joined and manageable. When you needed a craft to become famous, or at least a look that set you apart from the world.

Once upon a time, before everything turned to shit, YSL Beauty was one of the most revered, loved and respected makers of fragrance. They pushed boundaries not only in their ingredients but in their marketing, advertising, bottle design and image. Before greed came and killed the beauty and fun YSL was king of the hill.

My Answer:


YSL was something we loved since 1977 when Opium was released. Maybe a year later here in Australia. Some of our friends Mums were wearing it and causing a sensation. It was everything spicy, sensual, exotic and glamorous to us kids. Tales of international travel to India, Africa and the Far East suddenly had a scent to direct us towards them. Even the bottle and name seemed unimaginably outrageous, “Is that about DRUGS?” Ironically because so many of our Mums were drugged to the eyeballs on distillations that traced their roots to the humble poppy.


My early adult years were drenched in the woody, aromatic scenting of Jazz. 1988 is the date given but it felt much earlier that I was wearing it. The cool black and white unsure bottle with the inbuilt pumper meant that it was the perfect gym bag bottle. No lid to come off and all enclosed for safety. Pulling it out after an aerobics class shower and spritzing in the mens room was very freaking glam indeed. Sometimes when I need happy memories I go to my modern bottle of Jazz and give myself a spritz. Still in the attenuated fragrance that is the modern version I can still smell the bones of my fabulously happy early adulthood.

Caban Yves Saint Laurent fragranticaFragrantica


Now I didn’t love it enough to put my money on the table but the moment these babies go to the discounters I’ll be on it in a New York Second. Tonka & Sandalwood done with a sweetly resinous vibe and a hint of greenery. I keep going back to the counter to spritz it and one day Caban will be mine

My Saturday Question to you is:

Which Of The YSL Fragrances Have You Loved?


101 comments on “Saturday Question: Which Of The YSL Fragrances Have You Loved?

  1. Jyotsna’ says:

    omg- none. Is it even okay to say that here? Definitely not Opium. My mum wore -ahem- DIor. 😁

  2. Cassieflower says:

    Opium. Opium.Opium. Did I mention that I love Opium?

    • Cassieflower says:

      Oops hit send by mistake. I started my love affair with Opium when I was a mere 20 year-old, and for the next 10 years I was never without a bottle of it. And then I moved house in 2005 and somehow my carefully stashed beauty got left behind😢 I haven’t replaced it since as it’s just not the same.

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        Hi there CassoeFlower,
        It is NOT the same. shouldn’t even have the same name.
        Portia xx

  3. Despina Veneti says:

    Being a child in the 80s, OPIUM held the same magic that you describe above, Portia.
    I still try to have some around all the time, always a pre-2000 formulation (although I do have the current formulation, and the short-lived BELLE D’OPIUM, too).
    The pure perfume is a thing of pure joy, I’d love to get my hands on some, as well.
    As a teenager, I got to know and use PARIS, and it’s been a love story ever since!
    From the men’s YSL fragrances, I still miss the original KOUROS.

  4. crikey says:

    This feels like that awful moment of playing the “Humiliation” game in that David Lodge novel where an academic admits he has never read Hamlet and gets fired… but:

    I have never worn a YSL perfume.
    Not a one.
    Not even to test.

    I have _no_ idea why there is such a lacuna in my fragrance exploration.

    • Jyotsna’ says:

      I’d have to say- same here. And no idea why. I don’t think I’m in s hurry to sample any either. 🤔

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Interesting Crikey.
      It was vitally impossible not to here in Australia because the selection as we were growing up was not so wide unless you travelled internationally. Mum would come back with interesting things if she and Dad went overseas. Mainly though it was what ws available at our local Farmers Department Store in Gordon, near where we lived.
      Portia xx

      • crikey says:

        YSL perfumes were around, for sure. I associate the smell of Kouros with an impossibly handsome friend in my sixth form years.

        Next time in a department store, I think I will have to go and sort out some YSL edumacationing.

  5. Kandice says:

    Always and forever Opium (sigh) preferably vintage of course 🙂 I also used to wear Paris but haven’t worn any other YSL fragrances in a very long time.

  6. Tena says:

    Thank you so much Portia. Emailing you now!,

    My favourite YSL is one I have never heard discussed in the frag world; Parisienne. It is a vibrant floral, roses and violets with berries and, apparently, a vinyl note. Not complicated, but so pretty.

    Please DNEM

    • Laura Keller says:

      I have Parisienne a L’ Extreme (which isn’t at all extreme!) It’s very similar to the first version but deeper, maybe more evening friendly. It reminds me a bit of Lancome Tresor Midnight Rose without as much syrup. I don’t wear it often but I like it a lot. I think you might be the only other person I’ve ever heard talk about Parisienne. I never really got vinyl from the original and it’s not a note in the Extreme.

    • Diana says:

      Congratulations on your winning!

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      I’ve never heard of Parisienne Tena, still, available?
      Portia xx

  7. Melissa Rose Tonkin says:

    Wow YSL fragrances have a place in my heart because of the history I have with those who wore their fragrances.
    My late dear father was a flamboyant women’s hairdresser and his fragrances of choice were the inimitable Kouros and of course, Jazz.
    Various women in my life wore Paris and Opium.
    The bottles currently in my collection ate Paris, I must say, not a shine on the original delight.
    Any my personal ultimate fragrance of choice for myself is Yvress, originally Champagne 🍾

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Champagne! A very famous YSL. I had a mini of it way back when. See it every now and again online for astronomical prices but never think to buy one.
      Portia xx

  8. Laura Keller says:

    YSL has been one of the Big Three houses in my life, along with Lauder and Guerlain. My number one desert island perfume in 1977 and now: Opium (pre 1996). Rive Gauche (vintage) is still a regular in my wardrobe and without a doubt has always been the perfume I’m most complimented on. I have an indecent amount of both which makes me happy. Paris vintage parfum and Fleur de Parfum (but not the edt) have been on my shelves since they were released. Y, parfum & parfum de toilette, was my first green chypre and I still love it. Champagne – especially the parfum – some amazing memories of times I wore that. And oh, how their masculines have affected my life. Kouros, L’ Homme, Nuit de L’Homme, M7; damn but they made a man smell amazing. I like M7 Oud Absolute, Cuir from the Vestaires de la Nuit, and Noble Leather and the original version of Nu edp, Cinema parfum, Manifesto Intense; they aren’t loves but strong likes which is pretty good for post IFRA designer stuff. I’ll buy Cuir if it comes down in price.
    And I read this question sitting in bed sipping hot coffee and basking in the 1982 Opium parfum that’s radiating from my wrists and decollete!
    Thanks for the question!

  9. chez Marzipan says:

    First off before I forget- Do not enter me in the draw…would like to let others have the opportunity to win 🙂

    I have liked and loved and have worn MANY YSL fragrances over the years but the one that holds a special place in my heart is vintage Rive Gauche. My mom was gifted a bottle of it in the mid 1970s and she gave it to me… I was quite young at the time but loved wearing it as the bottle was unusual and the fragrance so unique….I haven’t sniffed it in over 40 years but I still have a memory of what it smells like…..glorious !!!

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hi there CM,
      One of my GFs wore Rive Gauche in the 1980s. She wore it so perfectly. Now my mate Scott wears it and smells divine in it too.
      Portia xx

  10. Julie F says:

    Nu and M7 for me.

  11. Claudia S. says:

    The only YSL I ever had was a decant of Nu. It’s a beautiful scent and I wish I had a bottle!

  12. Indigo Niebla says:

    Opium… My first true love, the human one, bought me a bottle of my first true perfume love, Opium, for my 18th birthday. One sniff and I was hooked… I wore it for years, but I lost interest in the early 2000s when the magic went away with the final death-knell reformulation. However I’ve recently rediscovered my enduring love for vintage Opium thanks to Gumtree. Glorious stuff…

  13. Tara C says:

    I have worn and loved Paris, Nu, Cinema, Yvresse and In Love Again. Opium was a little before my time and nobody I knew wore it. If I had been a bit older I’m sure I would have worn it as i love big spicy orientals.

  14. rickyrebarco says:

    My favorite YSL fragrance has always been Cinema, it’s such a classic beauty reminiscent of breezy afternoons on the Mediterranean.

  15. AnnieA says:

    Paris was a friend’s favourite in university so I am nostalgic whenever I sniff it again.

  16. Gina says:

    These are the ones that I own or have tried:
    M7 Oud Absolu EDC
    Rive Gauche
    Black Opium
    Opium Orchidee de Chine
    Opium (vintage)
    Belle d’Opium

    My loves? OPIUM, Paris, Champagne and M7.

  17. Ellen M. says:

    My favorite is vintage Opium, followed by Paris, Cinema, and NU.

  18. Jesse Lewis says:

    My first fragrance (apart from Lynx Africa) was Opium Pour Homme when I was 17. I used to work in a pharmacy which stocked about 30 fragrances in a little cabinet. I remember it being spicy and powerful, and lasting ages with great projection. I currently don’t own it, but I’d like to smell a vintage bottle again, as the current formulation smells sharp and a bit metallic to my nose.

    I recently obtained a sample of 1982 Opium (pour femme) and it’s just amazing. I don’t find it dated at all. Just a great spicy oriental with power and complexity. I’m certainly on the lookout for an 80s or 90s bottle.

    I bought my first bottle of Kouros 3 years ago and it’s probably still my favourite masculine designer fragrance. I just love the contrast of the freshness and animalic musk and civet notes. No other fragrance makes me feel so confident.

    • Jesse Lewis says:

      I totally forgot my modern favourite! Majestic Rose opened up my eyes to rose fragrances. Jammy rose boosted by raspberry and saffron, with a subtle, dusty oud and guaiac wood base. I still haven’t found another Rose I like more

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Opium PH, very nice Jesse. I like its bottle too.
      Portia xx

  19. MMKinPA says:

    Hanging head in shame… very little YSL exposure. I have minis of Paris and Parisienne which occasionally see the light of day but I wouldn’t call favorites. A few samples of more recent releases and a small decant of Y from a swap. And I’m sure I would recognize Opium but have never tried it myself. (Hated Black Opium though!!!)

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      HA! Mildly amusing story. I was hating on Black Opium so much that Jin decided to spritz himself with it in the mall. What smells like a synthetic hot mess on me suddenly bloomed and became the most lavishly exotic coffee, spice and cream on him. You have no idea how wonderful it smelled, heaven.
      Portia xx

  20. Maya says:

    I had to think about it and the answer is none. I have not heard much good about current YSL so I do not bother with them. I have tried original Rive Gauche, did not like it – original Opium, was not wowed – original Paris, sadly more negative than positive. But, what’s so wonderful about perfumes is that there is a potential love in each new sniff or sample. Right now for me it is Habanita – OMG – and that’s for the current one. Can’t wait to get a hold of the vintage. 🙂 dnem

  21. Ceil says:

    I liked Nu and Cinema. The YSL counters near me don’t carry much of a selection of their fragrances so I have not tried a lot in this line in recent years.

  22. Neva says:

    Reading all the above comments I realize that people who haven’t tried YSL perfumes in the eighties and before reformulation are at a great loss. I loved YSL’s sexy feminine fashion and the perfumes were accordingly great. Back then I wore Rive Gauche, Paris and Nu and I still have a bit in my last bottles of each one left. I’m not sure I’d have the courage to try the current versions, I love them too much…can anyone comment on it???
    Kouros is probably the best male perfume from the eighties and Jazz and M7 were also great. Many friends used to wear them.
    And then there is Saharienne from the newer age which is good but I wouldn’t buy a FB necessarily. I’d rather save the money for some vintage Nu or Paris.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      You are SO right Neva,
      YSL was most dominant ands fabulous in the last quarter of the 20th century. Since then it has been sad decline.
      Some good new offerings though are brightening the bleak picture.
      Portia xx

    • Laura Keller says:

      Neva, if I only knew YSL from post-reformulation stuff I wouldn’t have any great love for it. I have liked a few of the things they’ve released since 2000, but not enough to actually buy them at anything near retail and I don’t know what people find in any of their reformulations. I remember the first obviously drastically reformulated bottle of Opium I bought in the late 2ks, having no real idea that there was even such a thing as reformulation. I thought I was losing my mind, it was a weak shadow of something I wore regularly for 25 years. It was only a few years ago when I started looking around online that I learned about IFRA and found ways to get vintage YSL fragrances again, thank goodness. I don’t love everything about getting older but I do feel grateful that I got to live in a time when amazing perfumes were so accessible, and wearing them was socially acceptable too. I feel sorry for younger perfumistas who have to make their way with only what’s available now; happily I’ve been able to kind of mentor a few so that they could find their way to some great stuff they would be missing.

      • Neva says:

        You are so right Laura. Mostly I am complaining that I cannot get any perfume that I loved so much but actually we should be grateful for the beautiful times we had with truly great perfumes. Somebody mentioned that Rive Gauche is still okay. I will give it a try.

  23. Ingrid says:

    I absolutely love vintage Y and Rive Gauche. Opium was ok in its day but I wouldn’t wear it today. It’s been worn to death, like Angel.

  24. Dawne Leedom says:

    Oh how I miss buying at the Mom and Pop drugstores in late 80s early 90s

    • Saffyishere says:

      The orig Champagne was perfect ,wasn’t it? All that glorious bubbliness. Even when renamed Yvresse it seemd to lose the gloss.
      Sometimes wouldn’t have been good to have a crystal ball, Dawne, so that we would have purchased a couple more litres of Champagne?

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Boy the times have changed haven’t they? I can’t even remember the last time I went to a chemist that wasn’t from a BIG PHARMA chain.
      Portia xx

    • chez Marzipan says:

      I miss those days too.

  25. Diana says:

    YSL has a special place in my perfume wardrobe and my heart: while I don’t care much for some of their modern creations (and to be frank, those created by Sophia Grojsman, I find Y, Kouros, and Opium to be irreplaceable. I wear Nu sometimes, it’s been growing on me even though I found it quite scary the first time we met.

  26. Tiffanie says:

    My oldest YSL memories are of Opium and Paris. Both were worn by many friends. I preferred Rive Gauche. All three are unforgettable, one of a kind. I haven’t worn or encountered any of them recently, which is rather sad to think about. In December I sampled Mon Paris. The red berries made it a no-go for me.

  27. Fazal Cheema says:

    YSL has come up with marvelous creations in the past. Kouros and Opium in original versions are the best ever from YSL in their respective gender categories. Other masterpieces include M7, Nu, Rive Gauche (both men and women versions), and Jazz.

  28. Melanie says:

    Great question Portia and so many lovely replies and stories.
    I wore too much Opium when I was younger so find I can’t wear it anymore. (Perhaps it’s more of a time machine and I find I don’t want to go backwards!) My mum liked Rive Gauche. I’ve worn Baby Doll in my time and Opium Belle I like – it just doesn’t last long on my skin. Just recently added a couple YSL’s to my decant wish list – Black Opium, Paris and Yvresse.

  29. Monica Beaton says:

    I have loved and still love Cinema. Now that it’s discontinued, I have a little hoard so I can still spray and enjoy it’s beauty now and again.

  30. Sue Mills says:

    I’m with you, Monica, I have a soft spot for Cinema – I didn’t realise that it has been discontinued! Aaarhg!
    I also own Nu and need to experiment with it; it may be a no-go for me, as the only time I have worn it I found it dry and too spicy until about 10 hours into wearing. I bought it online, the lovely, round bottle, untested.
    I am surprised to find these are the only YSLs I own. I am drawn to try Saharienne and In Love Again, as I sniffed that on someone else and loved it, Yvresse I would love to try. I loved Kouros in the 80s as a friend of mine wore it. I tried it on my own skin and had to scrub it – it was an inhuman, metallic nightmare on me.
    Actually, I think I have a set of YSL minis somewhere … where have I put them?

  31. BBMc says:

    I started my love for YSL in the mid 80s. I own vintage Y, Opium, Champagne, Rive Gauche, Paris, Cinema, Nu, M7 and have gifted my father Jazz and loved the smell of Kouros on my French teacher. The good old days of YSL 🙂

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Kouros on the French teacher must have been very discombobulating BBMc. I wouldn’t have learned a bit of French.
      Portia xx

  32. Anna Maria says:

    I still have a little left of my 1989 Honeymoon EDP Opium! over the years have worn many bottles of Rive Gauche, the current one its ok! Paris and Cinema have been in my wardrobe over the years as well. I have a current gift of Mon Paris EDT and body lotion. The Pour Homme Opium I wear to work and feel like I am at a 1970’s disco, I really do!

  33. Oh YSL! I felt the same way about them, so glamourous and luxurious, I still revere the old days of the colour, luxury nd hedonism of the house. I went to visit Saint Laurent and Bergés house in Marrakech, it was so beautiful I teared up.
    While I love all of thier original range up until and including Opium for Men ( rrrowwwr!)
    The fragrances I have ( and still do) loved are Paris – I wore it on my first day of the HSC for courage and glamour (1993). Its sadly just a shadow of its former lush self. Rive Gauche because it’s so stunning and chic – and yet what a game changer; a natty tin you can just toss into a tote and get on with the business of being fabulous. Points go to Kouros and Farenheit for being just so over the top manly.
    My beau wore Kouros on our first date last year.. I thought it was a bold choice and was really impressed…. Turned out to be the only one in the bathroom close at hand!! Bless!

  34. Undina says:

    I planned to say that YSL is “not my” brand, but then I looked in my database and realized that I loved and wore 3 perfumes from that brand, which I can’t say about many other brands (having 1 or 2 favorites is more usual for me with most of the brands but several that are definitely “my”).
    So, the three perfumes that I love(d) and wore:
    – Baby Doll (I think I went through 2 bottles but I think they’ve changed it at some point – and I stopped wearing it)
    – elle (still have about 5 ml left in my bottle but probably won’t wear it any more)
    – Cinema (still think it’s great, though do not wear often)
    Undina recently posted…Month of Irises: Week 1 (Feb 1st – Feb 7th)My Profile

  35. Tess says:

    Paris. I tried it in the chemist when I was out shopping with one of my girlfriends years ago, walked around the shops for half an hour, then had to go back to buy a bottle – I just could not resist.

  36. Ingeborg says:

    In theory Rive Gauche would be an instant love for me, but it is one of few chypres I don’t care for. The original Opium was too much for me and I seldom wear rose perfumes, so no YSL among my full bottles at any time.

    I do find several of the male fragrances good, wish someone would wear Jazz or some of the even bolder fragrances.

  37. Lynda Allen says:

    I quite lile Cinema. I think that’s the only one I have ever YSL I have ever owned/worn…

  38. Despina Veneti says:

    I’d love to hear from the friends here which YSL classics are still good enough to buy in their reformulation versions.
    I know from my own experience that my favorites, OPIUM and KOUROS are sadly radically changed and clearly inferior to the previous formulations, while PARIS is rather a shadow of its former glorious self.

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