Perfume Directory

YSL pour Homme (1971)
by Yves Saint Laurent

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YSL pour Homme information

Year of Launch1971
GenderMasculine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 262 votes)

People and companies

HouseYves Saint Laurent
PerfumerRaymond Chaillan
PackagingPierre Dinand
Parent CompanyL'Oréal Group > YSL Beaute
Parent Company at launchCharles of the Ritz Group

About YSL pour Homme

Yves Saint Laurent's signature fragrance.
FIFI awards winner in 1974

YSL pour Homme fragrance notes

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

Reviews of YSL pour Homme

1971 was the dawn of a new era for the fougère, having been breathed new life in the 1960's by commercial luxury good houses such as the former Fabergé, Swank, Speidel-Textron, Leeming, and even Avon. They all came out with interesting new twists on a Victorian barbershop staple, and the aromatic citrus chypre that had been the former high-brow men's choice was swept away when higher-end designers started making fougères again, but not Yves Saint Laurent. What instead found it's ways onto perfume counters as the debut masculine, and indeed signature scent used by the designer himself, was another aromatic citrus chypre-type fragrance, albeit barely because it was stripped of all it's traditional decorum and presented as a very ascetic take on the trope, but with a dirty secret. YSL Pour Homme hearkened back to the lemon-heavy scents of the 50's, a trend arguably began with 1949's introductory Rochas masculine called Moustache, but YSL didn't wrestle with the funky animal notes quite as obviously as that. Nor did this debut masculine go in the direction of Chanel or Givenchy's entry into men's scents by trying to domesticate the beastly dynamics of the style, or remove them altogether and go with hedionic freshness like Dior's Eau Sauvage (which was ironically crafted by the perfumer behind Moustache). Instead, we get an aromatic citrus stripped to it's core elements, with everything else in it reduced to background accompaniment to leave space for bodily chemistry.

The scent opens with perhaps the loudest lemon note of any scent in this category, so much that people literally joke that this is lemon Pledge furniture polish in a bottle. From this point forward, a strong thyme note pulls the lemon down into something a little sweeter, which automatically takes this away from most other comparable chypres as they are almost always urinous before they become dry, with sweetness quite clearly avoided; this is with exception of perhaps Eau Sauvage, which is a different animal than most anyway. The uncommonly sweet lemon and thyme dance is done on a bed of vetiver, sandalwood, and just a pinch of civet; more virile than Chanel or Givenchy but not raunchy like Rochas. This is probably the second-tamest of the bunch just slightly ahead of Eau Sauvage, and I think even the Paris-by-way-of-New-York attempts at the style produced by Revlon and Avon actually have more cojones than this one... until certain conditions are met. The secret missing ingredient to this scent, the one that gives it the dirty reputation it has, is something only the wearer himself can provide: sweat. Ol' Yves Saint Laurent was crafty, and this scent was made so bare for a reason: when you exerted yourself by way of working, dancing, or even love-making, your own sweat would fill in the blanks of the scent and voila! You've now just created a very obviously masculine aura in cooperation with the fragrance you are wearing.

It was no secret what Yves Saint Laurent's romantic predilections were (which I share): you could see it in his fashions and his early fragrances alike. He would later capture the essence of a man's body much more effectively with the legendary Kouros, and would do it without the participation of a perspiring man; that stuff just uncompromisingly smells like macho in a bottle regardless of context. With YSL Pour Homme, he gave that power an "on switch" instead of just leaving it on 24/7, so it's no wonder that people who just test this out at a counter or wear it to the office just think it is a casual or mature scent, as they've never cranked up the heat to bring out the beast within. Legend has it that this hit the clubs a lot during the disco era, and did battle with all the great aromatic fougères that were slinging around by then, and it's no wonder: it's effectively litmus paper in fragrance form, and can get really rich once you've sweat into it enough. I discovered this by wearing it in a steamy bathroom post-shower, so I can only imagine what a few hours of a hot dance floor must do. As it is, the scent is simple, soft, classic men's chypre, named so because that's what it bears closest resemblance to, but if you wear it on a hot day, it'll come out and bite you so watch out!
This one is definitely wolf in sheep's clothing, and one last hurrah for this style.

P.S: There would also be a "Haute Concentration" version of this released in 1983, undoubtedly to compete better (or better compliment) YSL's own Kouros in the projection department. Some argue it's this one but stronger, and others say it's a completely different smell, so this review is clearly for the 1971 original with a red cap.
19th December, 2017
A lemon masculine that lasts plenty long. The older the better. Mine are the red caps. Pairs well with lemon verbana soap. Pretty much the standard in classy lemon masculines. Not to be overthought.
16th September, 2016
yuk....old man juice for sure. None of the beautiful unraveling of say an oscar de la renta pour lui....that fragrance may be old school but dynamic and beautiful.This is very boring...new formulation is poor.
18th March, 2016
"Very good fragrance, but Chanel Pour Monsieur and Armani Pour Homme are better."

This is a quote from a previous reviewer.I can agree.

YSL Pour Homme was a fragrance of Early Disco for me.
Darvant speaks of an initial "Dirtyness" Yep! This mixed with the perspiration soaked Silk shirts, were the order of the day. We called those "Wormshirts" with an envious sneer. Smart, Slick, Rayon for us plebes on the wage.
In any case, the dance floor reeked of this filth mixed with Rive Gauche for the girls. Ah, what a time!
Up close it smelled of Pine Sol and Lemony Pledge.
On the floor, in the heat and the grind it's fragrance was of sweaty, immoral carnality. Glorious!
None of the Classy Formality of Pour Monsieur or the sleek cool casual Elegance of the Armani.
However, for those who remember "The Bump" there really was no better.
25th January, 2016
YSL Pour Homme opens with a citrus, slightly milky accord, dense and subtly musky, with a juicy dark note of carnation and smoky woody notes (vetiver, sandalwood, perhaps even a hint of tobacco), well softened and made more "gentle" by a heavy dose of lavender and herbal notes. A relaxing, friendly, elegant scent with the right dose of "masculinity" (mostly represented by a light chypre base accord), easy-going and refined – a sophisticated weekend scent, without the formal "austerity" of an "office-scent" and without the naughty boldness of a "night club-scent". A brighter and lighter version of a classic fougère, more herbal-citrus, still a bit musky. To be honest, though, nothing more than a good scent (in other words, in my opinion, not that memorable).

6,5-7/10
17th July, 2014
As everyone and their mother knows, opens with a blast of lemon (not unlike the wood cleaner Pledge). Then settles into a disco club friendly scent. One can almost smell the large collared polyester shirt in this but oddly is likable. It's no where near as majestic as it probably once was but me and John Travolta will still wear it..
20th February, 2014

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