Perfume Directory

Rive Gauche pour Homme (2003)
by Yves Saint Laurent


Rive Gauche pour Homme information

Year of Launch2003
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 1231 votes)

People and companies

HouseYves Saint Laurent
PerfumerJacques Cavallier
Creative DirectorTom Ford
Parent CompanyL'Oréal Group > YSL Beaute
Parent Company at launchPinault-Printemps-Redoute > Gucci Group > YSL Beaute

About Rive Gauche pour Homme

Over thirty years since the launch of the original female Rive Gauche fragrance, comes this woody-fougere masculine partner, courtesy of Tom Ford.

Created by Firmenich's Jacques Cavallier (Issey Homme, Opium Homme, Ultaviolet Man). The scent was previously available in a refillable "intense" version, which has a stronger patchouli note.

Rive Gauche pour Homme fragrance notes

Reviews of Rive Gauche pour Homme

Rive Gauche Pour Homme was rather unexpected in the day of release, as nobody reckoned Yves Saint Laurent would make it a reality 30 years after the original, and nearly in the masculine style of era in which the famous 1971 perfume in the blue and black-striped can released. Creative director of LVMH at the time, Tom Ford, wasn't afraid of looking to the past for future inspirations, and revitalized the Gucci brand from the brink of demise this way. So when Ford came to supervise brand direction of YSL (much to the late Mr. Laurent's displeasure), he took a similar "conventional beauty" direction, particularly with the perfumes. Likewise, Jacques Cavallier had been tapped a third time for YSL since doing Opium Pour Homme (1995), since he had a firm grasp of both conventional styles that Opium Pour Homme (another late-arriving masculine counterpart to a classic YSL perfume) and Rive Gauche Pour Homme falls under, and trend-setting futuristic composition like L'eau D'Issey Pour Homme (1994), Acqua di Gio (1996), Ultraviolet Man (1999) and M7 (2002). Rive Gauche Pour Homme would be the perfect storm of classic masculine lines and then-modern clean, a true blending of old and new, a DeLorean time machine with fresh tires. Eventually Tom Ford's throwback direction would be rejected by LVMH and he would leave to start his own house with those very same ideas, but at least in YSL, his ideas "fit" the house better, despite the late Laurent's objections.

Rive Gauche Pour Homme opens with what is quite literally the most glorious interpretation of classic shaving cream I have ever smelled. Seriously, if you love barbershop smells, this is going to be among your top picks. Penhaligon's Sartorial (2010) comes close, but with a thinner, more metallic direction. Barbasol for the bourgeois, Gillette for the gendarme, however you want to put it, this one is alpha barbershop scent. Bergamot, rosemary, and the interesting twist of star anise steal the opening. RGPH doesn't have the brutal bergamot of the 80's, but rather the restrained 60's powdery fougère variety, just less piquant because of the sweet anise top and lavender balance in the middle. Glorious clove immediately fills in the middle too, but not the syrupy bay rum type. Instead, we get the chilled clove reminiscent of Old Spice (1937). Avon Cavalier (1989) tried a similar clove-powered oriental/fougère hybrid stance too, but way before this kind of retro was cool again and with almost barbaric blending that renders it too much an anachronistic period piece to be effective. Rive Gauche Pour Homme finds the balance of old and new that other "modern barbershop scents" seem to miss in favor of smelling too old or too modern. The stock parts bin geranium takes us to a base of vetiver, patchouli, and guaiac wood after the clove calms down, with just the slightest tonka and oakmoss touches to root this as a fougère without making it heavy.

Rive Gauche Pour Homme is a typical Tom Ford homage to past masculine glories like what can be found in his own line, but deftly orchestrated by the hand of the capable Jacques Cavallier into something a modern man without such rose-tinted glasses for the past can appreciate. I mean really, who doesn't like that classic smell of "clean and groomed"? Typically in my experience, only contemporary guys obsessed with "fresh" or "sexy" balk at stuff like this, which is part marketing brainwash, and part ulterior motive for why they wear a fragrance, but to each his own. Rive Gauche Pour Homme would spawn two flankers in metal cans, including a light version and an intense version. Sadly all versions are discontinued, with the La Collection reissue series being the last time this saw bottling. YSL just isn't interested in honoring it's masculine perfume legacy anymore (outside 1981's mega-seller Kouros), but this one isn't -quite- a unicorn yet because the barbershop style has gone underground and become the realm of niche perfumers (like the aforementioned Penhaligon's). This means there isn't quite an army of collectors fighting to snap up all surviving inventory just yet, unless you slap "Jean Patou" on the bottle. Bottom line here is you'll smell like the best shave of your life, all day long, so if that sounds like a good fit, then this is your juice. Period. All others can move along, and save the rest for me.
19th March, 2018
So you're looking for a modern fougere? Something classic, manly, clean, sexy and versatile that (still) smells modern?
There you have it. This will be around forever.
(square bottle is good too)
08th January, 2018
BoxPred Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Neoclassical. Masterfully crafted to modernise the classic barbershop scent. This is a fragrance I would class as potentially addictive. It just works.
25th September, 2017
Powdery, clean scent. A touch more lavender than I'd ideally like, so to my nose the balance is a little off, but that's a minor quibble. Not my favorite "barbershop" fragrance (that would be Derby), but a great addition to the collection that will get a lot of use on formal occasions.
05th September, 2017
It's not certain. Exactly where does the sweet and classy charm of this suave 70's style fougère come from? Is it the hint of patchouli mildew that makes an ordinary grey barbershop into something more intriguing?

Knowing La Collection to be a reformulation, the critic resolved to approach the juice in a spirit of objective scepticism. All resistance proved to be futile however as any doubts were effortlessly swept aside by its colossal loveliness - like a gnat in a blizzard.

The easy sophistication of this revised version (composed by Jacques Cavallier under the brilliant art direction of Tom Ford) completely ravaged the heart of the critic.

He is, consequently forced to admit that (whether or not the work was motivated by sly pastiche, retro heroics, or is simply a case of Watch out Azzaro!) todays Rive Gauche pour Homme is not only one of the most classically elegant and civilised masculines on the planet; thanks to the aforementioned fusty nuance it becomes, for the critic, one of the most chic Man Perfumes to be found anywhere in the known universe.

In the light of such a worthy opponent, Azzaro aka King of the Fougères, really should be a tad concerned.

01st August, 2017
This one is a classical "Gentleman's perfume" very good not only for daily office use but also for a dinner, a formal occasion or maybe just for personal comfort in a rainy October Saturday morning lying on the couch covered with a hand-made wool english blanket slowly sipping coffee from a mug.
The perfume remains all the time "tender", "soft", "powdery", somehow nostalgic.
It is a classical fougere which could easily be taken as an 80's, even a 70's made perfume definitely not staying in pace with it's contemporaries.
A splash of bergamot at the beginning followed almost immediately from a very well made lavender.
The Geranium is also very well made and makes a fantastic counterplay to the lavender. Creamy, powdery, just wonderful.
In the final phase i barely get the patchouli note but i really like the woodie accord.
On my skin it lasts around 8h.

29th May, 2017 (last edited: 08th June, 2017)

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