Perfume Directory

Kouros (1981)
by Yves Saint Laurent


Kouros information

Year of Launch1981
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 1164 votes)

People and companies

HouseYves Saint Laurent
PerfumerPierre Bourdon
PackagingAlain de Mourgues
Parent CompanyL'Oréal Group > YSL Beaute
Parent Company at launchSquibb > Charles of the Ritz Group

About Kouros

YSL's best selling men's fragrance and features in the best seller lists most years. The fragrance is distinctly woody, and the bottle based on Greek Architecture.
FIFI award winner in 1982

Kouros fragrance notes

  1. Top Notes
  2. Heart Notes
  3. Base notes

Reviews of Kouros

Kouros, despite its challenging 'unwashed public restroom' opening, remains to be one of YSL's best-selling masculine fragrances. Just who are these buyers? Female baby boomers buying for their husbands? Customers with blocked sinuses and a perpetual cold?

The answer reveals itself after 5-10 minutes when the funky opening loses its potency and your sense of smell recalibrates. What remains in the air is an attractively clean, lightly spiced scent with subtle floral nuances. Texturally it feels dry but neither scratchy nor powdery, a remarkable balancing act achieved within the aromachemical constraints in this post-IFRA era.

Up close and personal, I traced little of the skank that featured in the beginning and unsurprisingly, zero oak moss. Kouros has clearly been stripped of its backbone, usurped of its crown yet retains enough of its overt charms to ring in the cash registers.

Still very good by current standards, but not as great as the vintage. A solid 7 out of 10.
07th August, 2017
Definitely a male scent.Forget urinal cakes and Poo and all.These comparisons are just height of exaggeration.I bet there is no other male perfume in the world which comes close to the maleness of Kouros.Yes,there are perfumes like Quorum,Drakkar Noir,Ted Lapidus,Azzaro Pour Homme,Antaeus etc but nothing comes close to Kouros.
Opening has lots of spices,middle notes has civet and some flowery notes but they are not feminine at all.The base has musk which resembles Ambergris and it somehow feels soapy but in a good way.
Lasting power is good 8-10 hours with moderate sillage.I guess I have the reformulated version which is a little bit subdued as compared to the older versions.
Kouros is definitely male.Fantastic and different.Brilliant!!!
24th July, 2017
Because, not despite your BLZ,
You're a man's best friend!
01st July, 2017
Just the memories alone are worth the 5-star rating. Kouros was my "go to" for nearly a decade in my youth. I'm guessing that no less than five of my friends began wearing Kouros after smelling it on me. I hate to pick up the reformulated version, but I'm gonna have to soon!
07th May, 2017
I don't like the smell, but I love that Kouros has so much character. Being in the fragrance game in the 80's must have been fun with all the heavy, macho scents and new, ground-breaking creations coming out. I'm guessing this was really different then and actually, pretty different now as well.

What I get is public school bar soap mixed with something animalic. Really good performance throughout the 8-10 hours I could smell it and actually mellows out the deeper into the drydown.
02nd March, 2017
Kouros....(vintage) 1981-2009

Unlike most of the fragrances in my wardrobe, I'm ALWAYS in the mood to wear Kouros. This fragrance makes me feel like I'm on top of the world and what better way to start your morning? I find the top notes dirty and invigorating at the same time, such a powerful experience and as it dries down the compliments come rolling in every time. The more time I spend with this fragrance the more I question why I have anything else? I'm truly speechless...

Scent 10/10 I get compliments ALL the time with Kouros, no joke. My wife even likes it!(She's picky) I'm very comfortable wearing this fragrance, It's a part of me. The smell is a pure work of art and unique.

Projection 10/10 Vintage 7/10 Current Formulation

Longevity 10/10 Vintage 8/10 Current Fourmulation

Versitility 10/10 Kouros is an all seasons fragrance believe it or not. Spray lightly! I wear this to church, work, dates with my wife, casual, dressed up....

Reviews for the 5 versions of KOUROS:
I own or have owned all but 1 of the KOUROS formulations and all are different. Here's my take:

1st Era "Charles of the Ritz" (1981-1986): KOUROS in all it's glory. The opening is dirty and whatever notes cause the "bathroom" association (which I love) are amplified in this one. The top notes seem to stay longer than formulations to come. Natural civet was used in this formulation and it makes a difference. The juice is DARK yellow, and thick. The sprayer spays little baby squirts and with 2 baby sprays it's truly a beast and will last ALL DAY. The dry down is very noticeable and pushes out, not a skin scent. If you can score a 100ml bottle for $200 or 50ml for $120 on ebay, buy it. It's worth more than that and it will last forever.

2nd Era, Parfums Corp 1987-1992: All in all, very similar to the previous only SLIGHTLY toned down civet. Nothing to get mad about, its still has tons of civet. Still dark thick yellow juice. Projects and lasts the same as previous.

3rd Era, Sanofi (1993-1998): The scent is like 95% the same but something changed. The opening is very similar but slightly, SLIGHTLY less dirty. Still possesses the "restroom" trademark and this is the last formulation where the oak moss is heavily used. The juice is still thick and dark yellow (you can see the quality) I personally love this formulation a lot just as much as previous 2.

4th Era: Early Gucci(1999-2005)/Late Gucci(2006-2009)
This is the last formulation Yves Saint Laurent will live through, He will die in 2009 and his company sold to L'Oreal, who will ruin his heritage and shame his brand and reputation.
The "restroom" vibe is toned down big time in this formulation most likely due to IFRA cracking down on oak moss. Scent is somewhat watered down but still undeniably KOUROS. The long list of ingredients is implemented in 2005 and the juice is no longer thick and dark yellow. This version is still very potent with strong sillage and longevity despite being watered down, it's still ABOVE average. Still loaded with civet. Still satisfying overall.

In my opinion anything with "silver shoulders, and base plate" is golden. The older the formulation the better but All these formulations smell like Pierre Bourdon's KOUROS. There are some differences but they are all 10/10.

5th & Current Era: L'Oreal
Absolute travesty. They assassinated KING KOUROS.
What you will get out of this is a soapy clove fragrance that relies mainly on clove and patchouli for the dirtiness and utilizes synthetic illusions to bring to mind civet. I fell in love with this version and it was all I knew, but in the back of my mind I knew it must have been so much better. There is an annoying sharpness that I grew to hate. Thank GOD I chose not to settle, and went vintage.
01st March, 2017

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