Perfume Reviews

Positive Reviews of Y by Yves Saint Laurent

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
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

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
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
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

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.

ELEGANT ELEGANT ELEGANT!!!!!!

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
Another scent I know from childhood! I distinctly remember a friend of my parents wearing this, a typical haute bourgeois lady: smart, affable and stylish. In short, not a fragrance for young women (maybe with exception of the ones who know what they are doing.)

Peach is pivotal in Y but with a slightly weird note giving it an intriguing unnatural aspect. The peach is also the main reason why I disagree with those who see in Y a potential unisex (it also has “that Perfume smell” of traditional female fragrances, although not as prominent as some but you’ll never mistake it for something that came out last week.) Sillage is good and longevity as with nearly all YSL scents is outstanding.

Y possesses a modern spirit, not as it’s often misused on Basenotes (new, dictated by current fashions…and bogus) but as a promise of optimism, wide-eyed intelligence, sleekness. So it makes total sense as the first Yves Saint Laurent fragrance. Good office scent and apparently not well-known.
21st May, 2009
A delightful and discreet chypre, that provides a considerable impact without ever becoming obtrusive. An apparently simple construction, one can detect the pivotal influence of the rose, which provides the fulcrum on which this entire fragrance balances so beautifully. Having been formulated during a time where longevity was a necessity, this ticks every box that you can possibly put before it.
04th March, 2009
I can't believe it took me so long to try this fragrance. After two-and-a-half years of reading about it and wondering, I finally got my hands on this nostalgic little blend. It is unique. To me, Y starts out as a spring floral, and, if it had a color, it would be yellow-green. Images of forsythia bushes in bloom come to mind. The scent is predominantly honeysuckle and other spring flowers, with a strong component of green and some peachiness and happy citrus. While Chamade is springtime and fruit trees in bloom, full of powdery pollen, Y is springtime and flowering hedgerows in the suburbs. It is powerful, in the manner of fragrances when perfumes were perfumes, and nobody had to make excuses about wearing one. In that respect, you get your money's worth when buying this fragrance. But it isn't a rude strength--no animalics, no bazaar spices, no chemicals. And, here's the best part, the drydown grows dry. The oakmoss is elegant, stepping forth and giving classiness to the entire composition. My only complaint, and one that makes it unsuitable for becoming a regular in my wardrobe, is that it is too soapy and clean overall. It is similar to vintage Vent Vert, which which I prefer becasue it lacks the soapinss. (But you can't find vintage Vent Vert anymore.) Y is a well-composed perfume in the classic manner.
26th February, 2009
The best chypre on Earth? Well, I think so. This is a perfect blend of chypric ingredients: not too green, not too woody, not too harsh.
"Y" has so much character and is so unmistakable. Once you know it, I promise: you will not forget it.

This is what perfume *should* smell like. It smells, to me, like I imagine the best French shops smelled in the mid sixties. It is the definitive French-school fragrance!
The peach and plum lactones are just the right amount of creaminess, and don't weigh down the soft, cool elegance of this beauty.
It is at once comforting and austere, sensual and refined.
I think this one is also very accessible
to non-appreciators of old-fashioned fragrances. It is very likable and easy on the nose.
It has *marvelous* sillage. Whenever I wear it, I keep catching little smell "glimpses", and I thinking: "What is that amazing, perfect scent?" And it's me!
I disagree with other members, that this is an "office scent". That would be a waste. Wear it when you want people to know you have impeccable taste.
27th December, 2008 (last edited: 27th February, 2010)
My favorite scent of all time! I've been wearing this since 1970 and recently found the parfum on ebay. Unbelievable! A dry chypre that gets more compliments than anything else I've ever worn.
04th October, 2008
Quarry Show all reviews
United States
If Rochas Femme is the Mae West of chypres, then Y is the Audrey Hepburn, worldly but still refined.
27th August, 2008
Y is a well-balanced light green / floral / fruity / mossy chypre. To me it seems to be musky with a sensual animal component among the green, fruit, florals, and moss. The lightness and refinement of the mixture are quite remarkable and Y comes off to me as a lighter version of the classic chypres… intelligent and beautiful but with a plucky sensuality. For top notes I get mainly green (galbanum?) with a touch of peach; of the florals of the middle I can identify rose and gardenia with some softer more delicate florals along with them. The base gives me primarily the moss and animal notes with a nice touch of amber along with it. I know that when this fragrance was made, these were considered feminine accords. The way it responds on my skin, I could very well see Y as unisex. Except for the first few seconds, there is not much in it that I find very feminine. It does seem, however, to be the kind of fragrance whose intricacy and soft sensuality would allow it to respond in many different ways to different skin types.
22nd August, 2008 (last edited: 03rd December, 2010)