Perfume Directory

Kouros (1981)
by Yves Saint Laurent


Kouros information

Year of Launch1981
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 1158 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

Kouros is a masculine fragrance by Yves Saint Laurent. The scent was launched in 1981 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Pierre Bourdon. The bottle was designed by Alain de Mourgues

Kouros fragrance notes

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

Reviews of Kouros

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

I have also read the very informative blog "Raiders of the Lost Scent" to guide me for Fahrenheit and Kouros. In this time I now have acquired 4 vintage Kouros from the early vintage through to the pre gucci era. I have not tried the recent versions. The bottles all smell very similar with the earliest one a bit more shrill to me (thats how I perceive this civet for lack of a better vocabulary).

In my vintage collection there are some scents which I feel are timeless and some seem dated as in the accurate reflection of the time they were produced and represent. Kouros is the latter, it represents the glorious 80's bold and masculine and very loud.

I don't think I could wear this now, at work, at night in public, or even in bed wanting to wear something cozy. For me this is a one spray fragrance, right on the chest while I slip on my 3rd gold chain necklace. I will keeping trying to wear it and enjoy it but it's challenging.

I don't mean it smells badly to me but the projection and sillage and one of a kind scent are truly amazing and polarizing which reflect on the quality of ingredients and the genius behind it.

One of the great reference mens scents of 80's IMHO and a must buy (vintage) for the serious collector.
Put it on the wall and admire it but wear it at your own risk.
18th January, 2017 (last edited: 29th January, 2017)
My father wore this all my childhood, so he had the vintage for sure. I didn't like it then, I don't like it now. The smell is very strong and obnoxious.

I do understand why people like it, I can definitely give credit because it is quality juice, just one that I (and many others) don't like the smell of.

This is the "broccoli" or "olives" of perfumes, those who like it will love it, but more than likely people around you wont.
04th January, 2017
Kouros was not pleasing to me at first. But it took me spritzing it on and really seeing its quality throughout the day to conclude: It is a REALLY special, complex, and pleasant scent from YSL. I can't stop sniffing it, and it lasts forever! It has an animalic quality to it that may turn some off (as it did to me on initial sniff); yet it ends up with a very warm, powdery, and musky character that stands alone. (Even after a couple of days, the scent is not stale and offensive, but resembles Royal Copenhagen - neat!) A distinct, classic fragrance for any serious scent-aficionado to check out!
08th December, 2016 (last edited: 09th December, 2016)

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