Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Y by Yves Saint Laurent

Total Reviews: 51
1978 Extrait?

This goes on oily and has the skin glisten.

This is a BIG, Feminine Chypre. A plethora of Floral notes.
A blast of Galbanum and Fine Quality Citrus pumps into a dramatic Aldehydic Cloud opening. A powerful Bouquet is sweetened by Honey and countered with the slight acidity of Peach.
Support is provided by an extraordinary composition of Amber,Patch and Civet folded into Golden Benzoin.
Oakmoss creams it with a slight savoury and billow which dimensionalizes this into the dramatic. Powdery goodness in the end.
I am sure that Armani looked back at this while developing his first Feminine.
In Y's brush strokes I can see Yves Saint Laurent signature in the later 1971 Rive Gauche.
Recommended in Vintage, surely.
11th December, 2017
I forget how many zillion perfume releases there are in this decade, they seem inconsequential to someone of my age. Growing up we had benevolent dictators in our egalitarian society, they decided just how many perfumes, lipsticks and fine fabrics came into the country. It was all to do with having 'overseas funds' and our trading relationship was with Britain, good old blighty, the place where nearly all our Grandparents lived. There was a large degree of socialist sameness and women wore Tweed, Chanel No 5, and Y.
The only Guerlain I knew was Shalimar but back then I had no idea that Guerlain was a tapestry of living history; I knew who Yves St Laurent was and I think I've had a bottle of Y kicking around in some form since the late sixties. It smells familiar to me, I almost expect to see the smoke swirling around in a cinema. Is that what Cinema was supposed to represent? Scenting my person with Y makes me want to lay a length of fabric out, pin the pattern on the cross, (remembering to match any pattern) french the seams, iron it up, put it together, sew a waistband on the skirt, put the zip in, hem and go out to a dance. Like YSL, those days are gone. Makes you think though, about politics and tariffs and free trade...and perfume
17th July, 2016
Hot weather staple. When I wear this, it's like a phantom Mitsouko for those tiresome months when it's too hot to wear Mitsouko, even though I really, really want to. After a few hours, when the green opening notes of galbanum and honeysuckle have died down a little, and the peach, florals and chypre base are coming through, I'll get a waft that my brain interprets as Mitsy EdT from a distance.
24th October, 2015
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Again Barbara Herman hit the nail on the head, describing this as "summer in a bottle." It is a floral fruit concoction with honey to sweeten it and a "mossy, creamy dry down."

The honeysuckle, supported by actual honey, and the peach make it bright and sunny. The large amount of hyacinth and jasmine in the heart notes accentuates the fresh, springlike overall aspect of the scent.

Unique in its lightness, because it stays. Most light scents disappear in half an hour simply due to the small amount of essential oils used. Y does not disappoint.

For me it is the counterpoint to Jacomo's Silences for summer wear - unisex.

Turin gave it four stars deservedly, but deemed it a green chypre (???).

Top notes: Peach, Galbanum, Honey, Honeysuckle
Heart notes: Rose, Jasmine, Hyacinth, Orris, Ylang
Base notes: Oakmoss, Amber, Patchouli, Civet, Vetiver, Benzoin

One of YSL's best creations and quite unique.
27th September, 2014
Genre: Chypre

You know there’s one serious floral chypre coming the minute Y’s crisp, dry, green rose and hyacinth top notes reach your nose. The central floral arrangement fills out with narcissus – also green – and a vetiver-patchouli accord that accentuates the woody aspects of both ingredients.

Woody-green rose remains the dominant theme in a composition that’s more hard-edged, piercing, and emphatically floral than later genre entries Chamade and Givenchy III. In fact, I think Y is even more coldly aloof than Chanel No. 19. A sustained bugle call of bitter aldehydes accounts for much of this impression, but I pick up plenty of galbanum, too, whether the published pyramid acknowledges it or not. The iris isn’t obvious at all until the drydown, where it contributes to the much softer texture and warmer mood that emerge in the wake of the subsiding aldehydes and green floral notes.

After two or three hours on the skin the ingredients and structural cues shared between Y, Givenchy III, and Chamade, along with No. 19, Silences, and Yendi, become increasingly obvious. But while the Givenchy, Chanel, and Guerlain all smell timeless today, Y smells of another time – and not necessarily it’s own. Perhaps it’s the unflinchingly serious demeanor, or maybe all those aldehydes, but Y feels more like 1954 than 1964 to me. It’s certainly “perfumey” in that classical manner that’s as likely to repel as appeal, depending on the wearer’s tastes. I prefer the shy smile of Chamade, the earthiness of Givenchy III, or the spring-tinted optimism of Yendi and Silences to Y’s poker faced expression, but I still credit Y for having very possibly paved the way for all of them.
09th July, 2014
kewart Show all reviews
United Kingdom
I have a bottle of vintage "Y" and find it one of the most versatile scents
in my collection. It has my name written all over it - a shape-shifting beauty
with gorgeous top notes and a subtle, mossy, powdery dry down, that lingers for
hours. "Y" is a well-behaved, elegant perfume that everyone should sniff at least
once. If she doesn't suit you, send her to me!
13th December, 2013
This is one simple, feminine perfume, how can i describe it?

How to describe colour white?

For me this falls into category of female perfumes that i dont understand: cold,white, elegant yet doesn't touch me......i think aldehydes are the main culprit, their synthetic hair spray touch...

It warms up in the dry down, but the synthetic feel stays too long for me, this smells too serious.i go neutral on personal taste
23rd March, 2013
RHM Show all reviews
United States
Fantastic, classic chypre. Extremely under appreciated. I consider this one of the "gems" of my collection.

I have this in edp and in pure parfum. Both smell wonderful. The notes read like a laundry list of restricted notes.
Top is aldehydes, peach, gardenia, mirabelle plum, and honeysuckle.
Heart notes are Bulgarian rose, jasmine, tuberose, yang-ylang, orris, & hyacinth.
Base includes, oak moss, amber, patchouli, sandalwood, vetiver, civet, benzoin & stryax.

Longlasting, complex.

"Y" is like a trip back in time to the grand days of fragrance. Grab it while you can.
18th November, 2012
I have my mother's bottles of Y & Paris by Yves Saint Laurent. My father gave her these & I notice that she used almost all of the Paris & only a fourth of the Y. She preferred green or chypre scents, or florals such as carnation, but disliked strongly musky or oriental scents. She loved the bright sweetness of ginger & hated the shadowy tuberose.

I'm a different type myself!

I am afraid this review of Y will be skewed by the possibility that this bottle is "off". However the main thing I have to say about Y (in this bottle) is that it "plays handball with your mind". The opening note is
a metallic aldehyde (it is affected by the metallic atomizer perhaps) that makes me go "gack" & hesitant to continue the exploration. There is an almost instantaneous passage into an incredibly complicated chord of florals, woods, fruits, mosses & animalic scents that for some strange reason makes me think of dark chocolate with a fruit liqueur center. The dry down is heady but I come back for more: what IS that? Finally, the floral, wood & mossy reverberations linger a long long time.

This is a scent for Daffy Duck.
08th July, 2012
I am no good at detecting individual notes in perfumes and I always prefer to talk about what it remins me of. Sometimes I associate perfumes with colours. In this instance, it talks to me... something "green" that "ripens" not in a fruity way but in a plant way, like in the autumn. It is strong enough to last a good while but it's not in your face. All in all, a real hidden gem.
11th March, 2012
Alityke Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Oh what a a beautiful classic. A tragedy it is now Limited Edition only. Fizzy aldehydic opening followed by gentle delicious green floral with deep green with a tiny touch of powder to finish. Blissfull
12th February, 2012
Y may just be one of YSL's most underappreciated fragrances yet. Being overshadowed by all the glitz and glamour that YSL seems to represent today, this bottle is often lost among the sparkly Parisienne or the candy pink Baby Doll.

This fragrance is a classic, especially in the way that it doesn't have to be loud or ground-breaking to be so loved.

When I first smelt Y the word 'clean' came to mind. I wanted to say soapy and fresh, however Y isn't either of those things. It's clean in a very natural and simplistic sense of the word, like something that becomes you, rather than announcing to the world that it's a perfume.

It isn't heavy and it isn't offensive. Y is classy and sophisticated but also versatile enough to be casual and alluring.

It's green and woodsy with a somewhat powdery quality. It doesn't feel dated and I would not have guessed that this fragrance originated from the 1960's. Although not particularly outstanding, the scent itself is quite addictive. It was something that I had to smell over and over again just to embrace its beauty.

I must add that this fragrance isn't as dry as some chypres, it has a delicate moistness, possibly caused by the rich green notes and the earthy, wet patchouli note. The fragrance also tends to smell a little musty.

The aura of Y is incredible. It conjures up thoughts of cleanliness, fresh bouquets of flowers and soft, burning incense. Perhaps slightly 'churchey' and refined in its manner.

I could talk about this fragrance all day, as there are many levels to be experienced here. Y is one of those fragrances that leave a profoundly good impression despite its subtlety.

14th November, 2011
Eos Show all reviews
United States
Review of current formulation EDT:

Y opens with a sharp blast of aldehydes and indistinct green notes. Within a 20 minutes the harshness of the opening faded to a powdery hyacinth and a note that is somewhat reminiscent peach skin. After several hours what remains is a vetiver, oakmoss and powdery aldehyde scent. Beautiful.

Sillage: Good, 4-7 feet
Longevity: Excellent, 14 hours on my skin!
Overall Rating and Feel: 9/10. Even reformulated, Y is a fantastic, understated and under-rated chypre. Well made if a touch "old-fashioned" feeling, probably from the prominent aldehyde notes. Highly wearable and suitable for many occasions, dressed up or dressed down, and appropriate for all ages.
30th October, 2011
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I thought I was in love with this fragrance when I smelled it in the bottle, but unfortunately it's another one of those perfumes that I don't care for as much when I actually smell it on me. It's not really a bad fragrance, but it's definitely a perfume I have to be "in the right mood for." If I'm slightly cranky (like I am today LOL) this scent doesn't really do anything to pick me up. It is a very sweet green floral (think tuberose and lily of the valley..both are really dominant.) I don't necessarily hate that type of perfume, but it's not necessarily my favorite thing either. This one also contains a lot of aldehydes giving it that really "soapy" kind of smell. Honestly, I can see this being a perfume that people at the office might complain about if a woman wore it to work (and perhaps if she accidentally spritzed too much on.)
Of course, if you love the type of fragrance I'm describing here (both very sweet and very green with lots of floral aldehydes) then you'll probably love this.
Otherwise, you might want to pass.
04th October, 2011
I am torn on my opinion of Y. Now, first I must say the sample I have is the current formulation of the edt. I don't get any fruity notes at the top, just a massive whiff of alcohol. But after the alcohol clears away, the heart is very nice. All cool green and fresh. The oakmoss at the base is the star for me (love my oakmoss!).
Y is a very well-proportioned fragrance and it has the YSL elegance to it, but I still find it spinsterish. Which is odd coming from me because I have been such a fan of perfumes others have considered dated and old-fashioned.
22nd August, 2011
This may be my favorite "green" fragrance. This may be my favorite fragrance I've ever smelled. I will have to try it against Anne Klein II to be sure, but this stuff is so lovely and clean but not shrill or piercing. The kind of scent that makes things happen.

Can't pick apart the notes but I do get aldehydes and the oakmoss is not so "grubby" as what I'm accustomed to.

Genius. I wish there were more scents in its class, or, if there are, I hope to smell and own all of them.
25th July, 2011
Effortless and understated. Pure class. Absolutely assured. Deceptively simple but a bit too clever for complete idiots. Wouldn't dream of trying too hard..."Oh no, that would be too utterly ghastly, darling. What a very peculiar thought".
01st February, 2011
Mea culpa, forgive me Fragrance Father, for I have sinned. I originally wrote a scathing review of "Y" because after briefly sampling both vintage EDT and vintage parfum, I found the scent to disappear very quickly on my wrist. And this is true: After some gorgeously elegant green and fruity top notes, the scent seems to vanish, even in the strongest parfum concentration. But I reacted too soon with disappointment. The truth is, I do get soft wafts of it coming up from my wrist at random times, and when I do I am very bewitched and entranced. The drydown, light as it is, is a lovely whisper of rose, civet, and a bare hint of patchouli, set against an oakmossy chypre base. I can forgive "Y" for drying quickly down to such a subtle state, because the gentle caress of this beauty is all the more precious for its illusory nature. Sublime is the word. Chypre lovers, this is a must-try. Just be patient with it: Like the rare event of a butterfly landing on your shoulder, bask in the precious, fleeting moments of this perfume's perceptibility.

13th January, 2011 (last edited: 23rd January, 2011)
Y pure parfum is soft & lovely. Y edt is bright & lovely. But Y edp is the star. It starts with a peachy bergamot (similar to Mitsouko) followed by a floral heart. The final notes give more than a passing nod to leather but never approach an unfriendly, hard leather. It is a classic non patchouli chypre and I can understand why it has a loyal following. Y is not outstanding in any way, but it is a wonderful example of a now defunct class of perfumes.
26th December, 2010
It’s no wonder that people love this scent. It is beautiful from so many angles, and so deftly balanced. And, wonderfully, this balance doesn’t seem the result of consensus. This is not the middle of the road in a bottle. It contains the best of green florals and grassiness, a smart fruit choice, a confident dose of moss and just enough darkness in the basenotes to make it meld with your skin. It is a quality of many chypres to sink into the skin over time. This one becomes a skin scent, but one with sillage, almost instantly.

There is something so poised and charming about Y. It has confidence yet never seems to have to prove itself. There’s just that hint of a knowing smile. God, I wish I were Y. Interestingly, while other green scents suggest flowers, grasses, things you might find out-of-doors, Y is in fact outdoorsy. It has all the city sophistication of similar fragrances (Cristalle, Silences, No. 19) but seems perfectly at home in the woods.

Y was released in 1964, the year I was born and a year I’ve never quite made sense of. I remember what the later 60s were like on the east coast of the US where I lived at the time. Yet photos from 1964 look like the mid-50s to me. Y captures a bit of this for me. A few years earlier and Y might have been Jolie Madame, a few years later, Diorella. Sort of an interesting in-between time.
29th November, 2010 (last edited: 30th September, 2011)
kitsch Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Delicious, long-lasting on the skin under clothing. Utterly enchanting fragrance. 100% positive rating.
12th October, 2010
Clean cut soaring green chypre- very classical in smell . Such a lovely melange of notes make up Y - galbanum,honeysuckle, gardenia, peach,jasmine, orris, ylang ylang, oakmoss, amber,patchouli, civet,vetiver and benzoin. Wonderful ! You cannot go wrong with the elegance of this one.
04th October, 2010
(Sampling vintage edt) I find this to be a very lovely green chypre with a fruity sweet streak throughout that makes it approachable and easy to wear. It doesn't get too stuffy with the mossy notes. An old-time chypre that's quite casual and versatile, which is a rare thing, imo. Also, one of those curious fragrances that has good sillage, but seems to disappear when nose goes to skin.
04th July, 2010
Most sophisticated, utterly feminine chypre.Ideal wearer:in a black&white film,an actress in a Rolls Royce. :)

This perfume has a nice, relaxed, elegant and sophisticated character.
14th April, 2010
Flora Show all reviews
United States
I really love this - I found a bottle of the EDT online for a very low price, and took a chance. It is fresh and animalic at the same time, a breezy type of chypre and very easy to wear. I then acquired a mini of the Parfum and wow, it's fabulous! My only complaint is that this fragrance does not last as long as one would expect from the style, but then it is not a heavy scent at all. Y is an easygoing chypre that would be a good introduction for someone who wanted to test drive the genre and was intimidated by the Jolie Madames and Cabochards of the perfume world. Oh, and one more complaint - it's discontinued!
23rd January, 2010
another great french perfume - a green chypre-clean, proper and fresh.very refined and classical.
04th December, 2009
The top and heart notes of Y are possibly the best take on a green soft floral yet. Like an improved no. 19 that projects better and is a tinge sweeter and richer, while still retaining freshness. However the basenotes let you know that not all good things last forever, giving you a strange peppery woody finish, which, while not unpleasant, is totally undesirable in the given situation. Beautiful nonetheless.
15th September, 2009
To add to Jemimagold's list, lovers of Chanel No 19 will probably appreciate it too!
21st August, 2009
donna255 Show all reviews
Northern Ireland
I have the parfum and the edp versions of Y.


The first opening blast I get peach and stop and think Mitsuoko. Then the moss and woods come through and Y tranforms into its own creation. I wear Y and I feel feminine and oh so lady like. Others think it is unisex but for me chypres and especially Y are just pure femininity.
26th July, 2009
My goodness, this is probably the worst smell ever. My husband walked into the room after I had sprayed it and asked what that awful smell was. Can't see how anyone could wear this.
18th June, 2009