Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent

Total Reviews: 365
I'm not too big into classic men's fragrances in general. Often things with oakmoss or some other classic notes tend to come off very soapy to me. But, I also haven't really tried too many, so I figure I should.

Still, it comes as no surprise to me that Kouros isn't for me. The strong civet note and the soapiness of the oakmoss combine to create a kind of urinal cake smell when up close. And really that proximity is the issue. It's not something where you can put your wrist up to your nose and take a sniff (something I love to do with my favorite fragrances). It's definitely better from far away, which is just not my style.
08th September, 2019
Nuclear pink urinal bricks.
06th September, 2019
Male goats smell good. But only to female goats. For human noses, try Antaeus. Sorry Kouros.
01st July, 2019
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Similar to Aramis, only better. Less dry, I think.
27th June, 2019
My thumb is barely up, mostly sideways.

I've tried both a vintage version (from the 90s) and the current version (as of 2019).

The vintage is indeed "dirtier." Kind of nauseating actually. I wanted to experience the legendary "gladiator jock strap" odor of this thing and... well... be careful what you wish for. It's just not very pleasant. I don't get any urine or fecal smells. It's just kind of ew.

The current reformulation is actually somewhat better to my nose. It has a more incense quality. Still keeping the animalic notes but masking them a bit with spice. Only in the drydown will you experience what the original was and by then it's a skin scent where it belongs.

Both have excellent longevity.

I was looking for something that was bold and outrageous and unapologetically masculine, but the original is just kind of gross. It doesn't smell so much like a sweaty guy as it does a dead animal dipped in potpourri.

If you want to try this, go ahead. But don't get upset if you can't find the vintage stuff, and certainly don't spend big bucks for it. It's not actually wearable in public whereas the new stuff is. Barely.
23rd April, 2019
The negative reviews are obviously from people who have no clue. Kouros (current formulation)is a beast. It is so strong after spraying that you simply can not just put your nose right up to it. It has to be smelled from a distance. That's where the magic happens. You have to wait a good hour before you put your nose to your arm and even then, two inches away, or the civet will overwhelm you. Civet is a note that's meant to work from a distance. The dry down of Kouros is hauntingly beautiful. Three sprays maximum, one on each wrist, and one under the shirt projects massively. Too strong to spray on the neck or upper arm area. Thinking about buying Kouros? I say GO for it. If you wear it right, you are going to love it! You probably will even develop an addiction to it. My advice to YSL is do not reformulate this anymore. The way it is right now is perfect! I LOVE wearing this luxurious juice!
16th March, 2019 (last edited: 19th March, 2019)
I tried the eau de toilette of this. Don't get me wrong, I love sweet fragrances for men, but THIS. It smells DISGUSTING. Don't be fooled by all the positive reviews, most of them are talking about the vintage version (that I've never tried and probably will never try but I assume it smelled better than the current version). This strongly smells like those flowers that reek of piss. I'm not kidding you. PISS. It makes me want to throw up. This cologne is masculine in all the wrong ways. It's an abomination. I don't even know how they managed to create something that smells so foul, sweet and macho at the same time. DON'T buy this before testing is. Or even better; don't buy this at all.
05th March, 2019

I get a soapy rich base laced with anise and a pinch of honey to that anise.White flowers lurking in the mix.This is very musky...in fact the most I've detected in any fragrance.

This is a fragrance I find disgusting because I just find a jokingly toilet reference behind this scent's design, the bottle, and the musk.

The musk comes off as having some kind of fecal similarity that's gone in about 30 minutes but it's unsettling and just gross. The other notes shape this kind of dimension that you're in a white marble decorated bathroom in a restaurant or hotel. Some kind of anise infused custom soap and a vase of flowers on the white marble sink. Turning around behind you is a toilet that contains fecal matter that hasn't been flushed.

I have no idea why someone would want to smell like they spent the night sleeping on a public restroom floor...disgusting.
08th February, 2019 (last edited: 29th June, 2019)
Kouros was a ancient hero who was said to have climbed a mountain and found the doorway to Mount Olympus the home of the Gods. The God's were impressed with this manly hero and the way he carried himself in their presence. Zeus the Father of the Gods gave Kouros the divine ambrosia to take back to Earth.

This ambrosia was said to give immortality if drunk and if worn as a fragrance make women and men fall down in awe before you. Kouros as the hero he was shared this ambrosia elixir of the Gods with mighty Kings and princes of the world.

Many hundreds of years later another hero by the name of Odysseus found the ambrosia at the tree of life at the end of the world. He wanted to share this divine elixir with normal men and not just Kings and great Princes. So he copied the fragrance with the best ingredients he could find. He called it Kouros in honor of the great hero from hundreds of years ago who did climb a mountain and enter the realm of the God's.

Thousands of years later a young perfumery called Yves Saint Laurent was said to have found the ancient parchment in a old Greek temple hand written by Odysseus himself. He took this formula and worked day and night and then in 1981 he released it to the world and like Odysseus he called it Kouros in honor of one of the greatest heroes known to mankind.

For many years real men have enjoyed this juice, it may have changed over the years but it's Spirit lived on.

Unfortunately when Yves Saint Laurent died and the company was taken over by L Oreal the scent was butchered. Some say in the old Greek temples they can hear the Gods cry and lamenting the greatest gift they gave man is no more.

Lets us not forget the greatness of Kouros!
16th January, 2019
OMG vintage...
Go easy on the trigger,
Smells like awesome!
18th October, 2018 (last edited: 29th October, 2018)
Oh, wow, I hate it. It’s so good but I can’t stand it. Never again, but well done.
17th September, 2018
In vintage, possibly the greatest achievement in male perfumery of all time.
Seriouslish
23rd June, 2018
It smells like a construction worker who accidentally sprayed a fake sweet perfume on his dirty clothes. It is the first scent where in a matter of seconds after the first sniff i almost puked. The biggest mistake was that i also sprayed it on my wirst. I felt like a skunk in a perfume store.
24th May, 2018
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hcr Show all reviews
United States
Had a sample of this a few years ago, didn't really like it but didn't think it was horrible. Got another sample and actually kind of liked it. Not sure why people say it's so horrible. Never tried it in the 80's so I have no idea what the original smelled like. It's a classic and worth experiencing.

9 Mar 2019. changed from neutral to thumbs up. Come on it's Kouros, it is what it is and I think I've been converted.
13th May, 2018 (last edited: 10th March, 2019)
Kouros might present a challenge: we are physically animals, and rather than shunning everything animalaic, we can connect with it.

Who wants to taste nothing but mouth wash in a kiss.

Can women want to smell something more than soap on a man's skin?

Kouros acknowledges skin alive on an animal and the an animalaic side we don't have to repress.

clean and dirty like the male animal.

Lift up a women's hair and smell the back of her neck; her natural skin scent.

There is so much batch variation with Kouros.

wondering if anyone else has tried 38M800?

it is
SKANKY - almost sourced from the groin of an ALPHA MALE
FLORAL - like some lady's scent rubbed of on the groin
SWEET - like they were playing with honey

basically: smells like sheets after a couple used them
06th April, 2018 (last edited: 13th April, 2018)
Sweet masculine fragrance. Women like it very much. Mature women to be precise. Next please....
15th February, 2018
TeeEm Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Never really liked it but wore it in the late eighties as I had a lot of positive comments.

Sweet and slightly fresh, not lemony, hairy chests and medallions, perhaps a classic.

Good projection and longevity...

If it was not still pricey I would give it a second chance (or is it third now?)

From the YSL range, for my taste, JAZZ is the king

4/10
06th January, 2018
It is almost impossible for me to dislike Kouros as it's in my dna. I have been wearing this stuff since I was 14 years old. I had a little break in my mid 20's but can't really remember any other time when I didn't have a bottle.

Powerful, manly, animalistic................But at the same time very fresh!!

I can see how the younger generation might not like it. It is so far removed from what they are used to. It bleeds testosterone.

I still think it's great even in it's current formulation and one could argue that it has benefited from being turned down a few notches.

There is a dirty vibe for sure but it is always overpowered by the clean notes.

One of the greatest fragrances ever created by my favorite perfumer Pierre Bourdon.

15th November, 2017 (last edited: 16th October, 2019)
Jesus Maria and Joseph! Still got power, still animalistic, still wearing Kouros for almost 20 years. Reformulated but still has basics though. I bought yesterday 2 bottles just for pleasure. Thank You Bourdon Pierre!
07th November, 2017
Kouros is such a watershed fragrance, it's on the lips of almost everyone I come across that knows more than two cents worth about masculine fragrance. It's right up there in mythic must-haves alongside Azzaro Pour Homme (1978), Chanel Pour Monsieur (1955), Eau Sauvage (1966), and the like. Kouros constantly makes top personal lists all over, and is still a best seller for the Yves Saint Laurent label nearly 4 decades on (but not so much in the trend-obsessed US). I must say that so much heaping praise does tend to make me shy away a bit from a scent, not because I hate mainstream popularity, but just because some products (not just fragrance) take on a cult-like sense of value that can sometimes mean folks convince themselves it's good since everyone around them says so; I'm glad to report that is definitely not the case here, as Kouros is indeed a legend. Yves Saint Laurent had always been known for making provocative fashions, and it's no surprise that the scents he oversaw were equally so. His first Yves Saint Laurent Pour homme (1970) is a scent many older guys still swear by, and holds nearly as much mythos as this, but with Kouros, it seems he made his real mark with emerging "cologne guys" of the 1970's and early 1980's. The advertisements for this were equally as prolific as the scent itself would become over time, and it all factors in to why I avoided this one for so long. I literally just saw it everywhere (although to be fair, it hasn't turned up in a major department store since the mid 2000's). My formal introduction to it was a full unused and vintage 1.6 oz spray of it found for just $3 at a rummage shop that sells off belongings from estate odd lots, so perhaps even better for me as I can objectively experience it in it's originally intended state, and not anything reformulated. Kouros is part of what I call "the class of 81'", which includes other ultra-male scents like Chanel Antaeus (1981), Oscar de la Renta Pour Lui (1981), and Bijan for Men (1981). There were many other releases from this year, but these four represent the four corners of what most future 80's powerhouse would be based around.

A lot of talk here is had of this scent feeling like urine cakes, cat spraying, and other unsavory things in the opening, but as a staunch fan of stuff like Moustache by Rochas (1949) myself, that didn't really scare me one bit. Horrifying top notes are usually a prelude to something very special in the dry-down of older-style masculines, with a bit of territorial marking at first before the masculine reassurance and comfort shows up, or so I've noticed with older scents. It's almost a rite of passage to survive such openings in order to smell the true quality of what you just doused on yourself, and Kouros is no exception. This very urine-inflected opening lasts all of maybe a minute or two on the skin, perhaps five on clothing, before revealing it's true nature. The opening is the result of very bitter artemisia and old-school bergamot absolute mixing with spicy coriander and civet, with a barbershop clary sage to smooth it out. The very simple and elegant jasmine, clove, geranium, and iris come out to play the longest in the heart, and the opening probably responsible for this "cat pee" inference is just there to convey the "alpha male" masculinity that was gaining popularity at the onset of the 1980's. The base is much more of a traditional fougère foundation, since Kouros is classified as a fougère when all is said and done. Patchouli, amber, olibanum, honey, leather, and musk make for a very heady oriental feel that is locked into competition with the dry vetiver, hay-like coumarin, and green bite of oakmoss which keeps Kouros barely tailored enough to keep it's bulging, vein-riddled muscularity from bursting the seams and coming for you to do who-knows-what. Wear time is appreciable, as this is a real powerhouse to be sure, and one which others are often measured against, but it still have enough civility to be used casually or for the gym, if not really in a work environment in the 21st century. The intent of Kouros from esteemed perfumer Pierre Bourdon seemed to be as an uncompromisingly masculine fougère without the use of heavy musks or tons of patchouli/sandalwood/tonka mish-mashes like the old guard a la Brut (1964) from a few decades back.

Yves Saint Laurent was undoubtedly out to summarize "male" in the most concise (and likely homoerotic) way possible with this one, as it smells almost like what a fragrance made to capture the more pleasant aspects of a man's natural skin scent would be, or approximate it without actual sweat being added. It's one of the few scents with that "sweaty" aspect that I actually enjoy, as most others try to scream "active lifestyle" and dress that perspiration tang they synthesize with a bunch of aquatic notes into something that's just above armpit-covered-in-speed-stick aroma. I don't care what your sexual orientation or preferences are here, if you at all enjoy the smell of a guy (or being a guy) in his natural hygienic state, you would undoubtedly love this fragrance as it cleans up and adds to it without completely covering it up. If you're more of a "mask it" kind of person rather than somebody who likes body chemistry, you'll want to skip ahead to Rive Gauche Pour Homme (2003), since that is also a fougère but takes a traditional wet shaving route with its construction (and is the equal opposite of Kouros). This stuff pulls no punches in it's delivery of "Epitomizing the ultimate in man" as the old adverts used to say, and it's really as simple as that. Now I understand what everyone is on about with this stuff. I must say Kouros isn't an everyday wear or something to hit the clubs with (at least anymore), but in controlled application, it's a great day scent in spring or fall, and can't do you wrong in environments where smelling like you count your conquests won't be held against you. Does it live up to the hype? Well no, but nothing ever does. Newer batches contain far less animalics and oakmoss as to be expected, but the scent of Kouros is still quite recognizable from them, even if more of the spicy floral heart or fougère base is evident in place of that heavy masculine smack to the face. A classic all should try, but definitely not one all will like, and being able to test this in person has proven increasingly difficult outside Europe where it still flies off shelves, so ordering samples may be how it's done now. Thumbs up!
06th November, 2017 (last edited: 12th April, 2019)
"IF I WERE KING OF THE FOREST"*

If I were King of the Forest, Not queen, not duke, not prince.

My regal robes of the forest, would be satin, not cotton, not chintz.

I'd command each thing, be it fish or fowl.

With a woof and a woof and a royal growl - woof.

As I'd click my heel, all the trees would kneel.

And the mountains bow and the bulls kowtow.

And the sparrow would take wing

If I - If I - were King!

Each rabbit would show respect to me.

The chipmunks genuflect to me.

Though my tail would lash, I would show compash
For every underling!

'f I - 'f I - were King!

Just King!


When the cowardly lion belted this one out in '39, little did he know it'd be borrowed 78 years later to illuminate the sheer awesomeness of a men's fragrance released in '81. One musky masculine, one of the best ever!

Well, there it is.

Kouros IS King! King Kouros!


*From The Wizard of Oz. Sung by Bert Lahr, Music - Harold Arlen, Lyrics - E.Y. Harburg.
28th October, 2017 (last edited: 12th December, 2018)
Recently tried this again as I've enjoyed revisiting 80's fragrances with a bit of oomph..give me chanel anteaus any day over this. The opening to be fair is quite nice and soapy but in the dry down it stinks of cat pee. This modern version is pointless really as the reformulation has left this in tatters..shame really because I had a bottle of this as a kid and it was very popular and in no way smelt this weird. I think ysl should pull this one in and admit defeat, the ingredients that made this special just aren't there anymore.
04th September, 2017
Kouros, despite its challenging 'unwashed public restroom' opening, remains to be one of YSL's best-selling masculine fragrances. Just who are these buyers? Female baby boomers buying for their husbands? Customers with blocked sinuses and a perpetual cold?

The answer reveals itself after 5-10 minutes when the funky opening loses its potency and your sense of smell recalibrates. What remains in the air is an attractively clean, lightly spiced scent with subtle floral nuances. Texturally it feels dry but neither scratchy nor powdery, a remarkable balancing act achieved within the aromachemical constraints in this post-IFRA era.

Up close and personal, I traced little of the skank that featured in the beginning and unsurprisingly, zero oak moss. Kouros has clearly been stripped of its backbone, usurped of its crown yet retains enough of its overt charms to ring in the cash registers.

Still very good by current standards, but not as great as the vintage. A solid 7 out of 10.
07th August, 2017
Definitely a male scent.Forget urinal cakes and Poo and all.These comparisons are just height of exaggeration.I bet there is no other male perfume in the world which comes close to the maleness of Kouros.Yes,there are perfumes like Quorum,Drakkar Noir,Ted Lapidus,Azzaro Pour Homme,Antaeus etc but nothing comes close to Kouros.
Opening has lots of spices,middle notes has civet and some flowery notes but they are not feminine at all.The base has musk which resembles Ambergris and it somehow feels soapy but in a good way.
Lasting power is good 8-10 hours with moderate sillage.I guess I have the reformulated version which is a little bit subdued as compared to the older versions.
Kouros is definitely male.Fantastic and different.Brilliant!!!
24th July, 2017
Tanuki-sama!
Because, not despite your BLZ,
You're a man's best friend!
01st July, 2017
Just the memories alone are worth the 5-star rating. Kouros was my "go to" for nearly a decade in my youth. I'm guessing that no less than five of my friends began wearing Kouros after smelling it on me. I hate to pick up the reformulated version, but I'm gonna have to soon!
07th May, 2017
I don't like the smell, but I love that Kouros has so much character. Being in the fragrance game in the 80's must have been fun with all the heavy, macho scents and new, ground-breaking creations coming out. I'm guessing this was really different then and actually, pretty different now as well.

What I get is public school bar soap mixed with something animalic. Really good performance throughout the 8-10 hours I could smell it and actually mellows out the deeper into the drydown.
02nd March, 2017
Kouros....(vintage) 1981-2009

Unlike most of the fragrances in my wardrobe, I'm ALWAYS in the mood to wear Kouros. This fragrance makes me feel like I'm on top of the world and what better way to start your morning? I find the top notes dirty and invigorating at the same time, such a powerful experience and as it dries down the compliments come rolling in every time. The more time I spend with this fragrance the more I question why I have anything else? I'm truly speechless...

Scent 10/10 I get compliments ALL the time with Kouros, no joke. My wife even likes it!(She's picky) I'm very comfortable wearing this fragrance, It's a part of me. The smell is a pure work of art and unique.

Projection 10/10 Vintage 7/10 Current Formulation

Longevity 10/10 Vintage 8/10 Current Fourmulation

Versitility 10/10 Kouros is an all seasons fragrance believe it or not. Spray lightly! I wear this to church, work, dates with my wife, casual, dressed up....


Reviews for the 5 versions of KOUROS:
I own or have owned all but 1 of the KOUROS formulations and all are different. Here's my take:

1st Era "Charles of the Ritz" (1981-1986): KOUROS in all it's glory. The opening is dirty and whatever notes cause the "bathroom" association (which I love) are amplified in this one. The top notes seem to stay longer than formulations to come. Natural civet was used in this formulation and it makes a difference. The juice is DARK yellow, and thick. The sprayer spays little baby squirts and with 2 baby sprays it's truly a beast and will last ALL DAY. The dry down is very noticeable and pushes out, not a skin scent. If you can score a 100ml bottle for $200 or 50ml for $120 on ebay, buy it. It's worth more than that and it will last forever.
FINAL RATING 12/10

2nd Era, Parfums Corp 1987-1992: All in all, very similar to the previous only SLIGHTLY toned down civet. Nothing to get mad about, its still has tons of civet. Still dark thick yellow juice. Projects and lasts the same as previous.
FINAL RATING 11/10

3rd Era, Sanofi (1993-1998): The scent is like 95% the same but something changed. The opening is very similar but slightly, SLIGHTLY less dirty. Still possesses the "restroom" trademark and this is the last formulation where the oak moss is heavily used. The juice is still thick and dark yellow (you can see the quality) I personally love this formulation a lot just as much as previous 2.
OVERAL RATING 10/10

4th Era: Early Gucci(1999-2005)/Late Gucci(2006-2009)
This is the last formulation Yves Saint Laurent will live through, He will die in 2009 and his company sold to L'Oreal, who will ruin his heritage and shame his brand and reputation.
The "restroom" vibe is toned down big time in this formulation most likely due to IFRA cracking down on oak moss. Scent is somewhat watered down but still undeniably KOUROS. The long list of ingredients is implemented in 2005 and the juice is no longer thick and dark yellow. This version is still very potent with strong sillage and longevity despite being watered down, it's still ABOVE average. Still loaded with civet. Still satisfying overall.
FINAL RATING: 10/10

In my opinion anything with "silver shoulders, and base plate" is golden. The older the formulation the better but All these formulations smell like Pierre Bourdon's KOUROS. There are some differences but they are all 10/10.

5th & Current Era: L'Oreal
Absolute travesty. They assassinated KING KOUROS.
What you will get out of this is a soapy clove fragrance that relies mainly on clove and patchouli for the dirtiness and utilizes synthetic illusions to bring to mind civet. I fell in love with this version and it was all I knew, but in the back of my mind I knew it must have been so much better. There is an annoying sharpness that I grew to hate. Thank GOD I chose not to settle, and went vintage.
01st March, 2017

I have also read the very informative blog "Raiders of the Lost Scent" to guide me for Fahrenheit and Kouros. In this time I now have acquired 4 vintage Kouros from the early vintage through to the pre gucci era. I have not tried the recent versions. The bottles all smell very similar with the earliest one a bit more shrill to me (thats how I perceive this civet for lack of a better vocabulary).

In my vintage collection there are some scents which I feel are timeless and some seem dated as in the accurate reflection of the time they were produced and represent. Kouros is the latter, it represents the glorious 80's bold and masculine and very loud.

I don't think I could wear this now, at work, at night in public, or even in bed wanting to wear something cozy. For me this is a one spray fragrance, right on the chest while I slip on my 3rd gold chain necklace. I will keeping trying to wear it and enjoy it but it's challenging.

I don't mean it smells badly to me but the projection and sillage and one of a kind scent are truly amazing and polarizing which reflect on the quality of ingredients and the genius behind it.

One of the great reference mens scents of 80's IMHO and a must buy (vintage) for the serious collector.
Put it on the wall and admire it but wear it at your own risk.
18th January, 2017 (last edited: 29th January, 2017)
My father wore this all my childhood, so he had the vintage for sure. I didn't like it then, I don't like it now. The smell is very strong and obnoxious.

I do understand why people like it, I can definitely give credit because it is quality juice, just one that I (and many others) don't like the smell of.

This is the "broccoli" or "olives" of perfumes, those who like it will love it, but more than likely people around you wont.
04th January, 2017