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 1249 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

Clean, barbershop, woody, mature.

A great scent that has clearly earned its place. Not exactly a playful or youthful scent meant to be worn by a younger man or anyone who is tallying complements, but a mature man to be taken seriously. I will be purchasing a bottle when I turn 40.
01st October, 2018
While I started out liking fougeres, I've sort of moved on from them. There are several that I've worn and liked, even loved - from the classic Azzaro, to the futuristic Jazz, the verdant Tsar and the rich Nobile. However, the one that has stayed with me the most is Rive Gauche pour Homme. Nothing else matches its admirable qualities of being modern, cosmopolitan, but yet so fundamentally wholesome and grounded in the best qualities of traditional perfumes. It is a seamless blend with a seamless transition - the vivid lavendar-geranium is spiked with the freshness of rosemary and thyme, spiced up with star anise and clove (not medicinal, not strong, but deft and subtle) on a bed of soft patchouly and creamy guaiac wood. However, notes only tell part of the story, as the end product is as elementary and essential as a tailored fine white shirt; and while being spectacular, it is also very much an 'everyday' scent, doesn't seek attention or needs to stand out, but forms a distinguished, fragrant cloud around the wearer.

Rive Gauche pour Homme has become my most-worn scent, and as a fact I'm fairly familiar with its bits and parts. It is, perhaps, not fun the way Mugler Cologne is, or it doesn't make a statement like Kouros. However, it is effortless, and is a genuine contender for being a part of the curated wardrobe of a discerning gent. I can mention it in the same breath as New York Intense as being examples of fine gentlemanly scents that are indeed signature worthy, always appropriate, and, unfortunately, fast disappearing.

17th September, 2018 (last edited: 28th September, 2018)
I have the original.

A classic. Strong, fresh Brut-type fragrance... only much better.

About the best woody-fougere there is.
16th May, 2018 (last edited: 15th May, 2018)
Swanky Show all reviews
United States
One of the great masculine fragrances of the latter twentieth century. For those who care about such things, this garners compliments from the opposite sex. This is the best YSL for men since YSL Pour Homme, and as much as I like that earlier offering, Rive Gauche is more complex and elegant and is suitable for just about any occasion.
08th May, 2018
Soapy and floral with added barbershop notes like vetiver and cloves and lavender to give it a traditional feel but not in a dated way. Perfect fragrance for a successful man that has survived his twenties in one peice. The fragrance projects class and sophistication due to the well blended structure, there is never too much of one thing, it all just plays out evenly with precision. I only have the new version in the glass bottle so can't compare to the old tin. Longivity is quite good but I think this fragrance is designed to enhance your morning/evening routine for an extra few hours. I will definitely replace this with another when finished. Reminds me of Gillette shaving foam in some ways.
19th April, 2018 (last edited: 24th April, 2018)
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. Obviously, this became a huge hit in it's day, spawning the creation of a few other old-school masculine scents from the likes of Gres, Michael Kors, Vera Wang, and others looking to reignite the oakmoss or tobacco fires after they had been out for over a decade. The last hurrah of classic masculine "groomed" perfumery is what Rive Gauche Pour Homme initiated, which makes it all that much more special.

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 treemoss/oakmoss touches to root this as a fougère without making it heavy. It's hard to not like the theme of this stuff unless you just don't like the smell of shaving cream or soap, which if you don't, that's completely understandable and this isn't really for you. The shower gel is also quite fantastic and if can be found, is worth pairing with the fragrance.

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 normal versions are discontinued, with the exclusive La Collection reissue series being the last time this saw bottling, selling at an entry-level niche price point that really isn't a better value than the surviving tin cans, although that will change as they gradually skyrocket in price. YSL just isn't interested in honoring it's masculine perfume legacy anymore (outside 1981's mega-seller Kouros), because the barbershop style has gone underground and become the realm of niche perfumers (like the aforementioned Penhaligon's) or specialty wet shaving shops. This stuff does have it's hardcore fans, (myself included), so if you want to get in on the Rive Gauche action, better do so before you're stuck with the pricey re-issue (which still smells good BTW). 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 (last edited: 29th July, 2018)

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