Perfume Reviews

Positive Reviews of Yatagan by Caron

Total Reviews: 139
This is a comparison of vintage mid-80s Yatagan (grey bottle sticker/box with a sword motif) and the current formula, purchased in I believe 2014.

TL;DR:
Vintage = more bitter, green, mossy, cool, earthy, better proportioned animalics; a clear cyphre. Modern = warmer, sweeter, more powerful, stronger animalics and leather used with less grace and intention without the offsetting moss.

OK. First off, both are wonderful scents, but there are very clear differences.

Compared to the modern formula, the opening and heart stages of this vintage feel considerably more green (stronger galbanum and moss notes, I think), bitter and vaguely poisonous (more wormwood and/or artemesia), earthy and damp, like forest greenery and soil. It feels more "cool" and slightly sinister. The bitter mossy green tone reminds me of a smoother Aramis Devin, which is not a parallel I ever drew with the modern formula. I think there's less celery, or it's more of a raw celery vs. toasty celery salt.

The modern version feels more arid and has a toasted warm tone with a bit of sweetness that I never picked up before when not comparing with the vintage. The forest notes are there, but this is a dry forest in summer. They both feel rich, but in entirely different ways. The modern version feels considerably more powerful in the opening and beyond, but in an almost bloated, unfocused way, like they're replacing the lithe richness of the bitter mossy green notes with a warm, musky personality that's slightly blown out of proportion.

That basic difference continues through the evolution: the vintage stays greener, mossier, and cooler, and importantly, smells more clearly like a cyphre with a greater moss element. The modern replaces the natural moss that makes the cyphre personality so compelling with a castoreum/musk/leather chord. The vintage is more woody/mossy/dry leather, with a quieter but better-integrated animalic accord.

The gap nearly closes deep in the base, but never disappears entirely. The differences are very apparent for a long time - like at least 4-5 hours.

The vintage version is a lot quieter, and actually strikes me as the more versatile, well-behaved sibling. The modern version is entirely respectable, but I can't deny that my nose is naturally drawn to the more natural and well-proportioned earthy-cool environment of the vintage.

Both versions are among my all-time favorites.
25th May, 2018
Starts off with an "in your face" alcoholic blast which is not overly pleasant but soon drys down to a lovely piney, herbal, leather concoction which is extremely manly and a reminded of how things used to be in male perfumery in days gone by. Something that I personally love to wear although the new kids on the block might be slightly offended especially by the opening. Probably one of my favorite ever fragrances. Has an addictive quality to it where you just can't stop sniffing yourself.

9/10
19th May, 2018 (last edited: 20th May, 2018)
ad_scott Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Close to perfection for a winter time fragrance. Very well balanced, comforting and unique. Off the bat the scent is remindful of a Spanish leather bag shop. Warm, refined leather.
20th April, 2018
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Yatagan is primarily built on a structural base of resinous amber with a lot things done to it.I get a good bit of pine needles and a hunk of old leather that darkens this resin and rubs out it's original sweetness to a degree.Cinnamon syrup instead is added which makes me think of Red for Men a little bit.I don't get much musk really but the aged patchouli is isolated from the amber and it's fairly generous.There is a mild note in this people call herbal that's dry,lightly green,and salty...celery salt.It sounds a little odd to experience but if the 'colors' of scent in this fragrance are brown and green so the celery salt just makes it a bit more rustic.

To me I think Yatagan smells great but I'm going to throw some tips out there on wearing it.Definitely a casual wear fragrance and not formal because it has no clean characteristics to it.Not for hot weather because amber is such a thick,warm,and heavy note...everything in it radiates easily and can be overwhelming in the heat.Very much a love or hate fragrance-people who hate patchouli will make no exception for Yatagan.Very moderate projection through 2 sprays and last a pleasant 8 hours.
24th February, 2018
Herbal. Prominent pine and patchouli. A little castoreum. Yes, there's a celery salt, celery seed, or mustard type flair that only adds to its character.

Fanatics would also dig Phileas and Les Copains Homme, I think.
12th January, 2018
It is ‘The’ perfect outdoor fragrance. Perfect amount of earthy, smoky and spicy notes. If you love to shop at L.L. Bean and love outdoor activities, you should have Yatagan in your collection. I can assure you there will be no shortage of compliments.
24th December, 2017 (last edited: 25th December, 2017)
There's quite a lot of nonsense written about this scent. It is not some unwearable monster with unspeakable scents of animal nether regions. What there is the most warm, enveloping, and frankly unique mixture of pine forests, warm leather, and bitter aromatic herbs that stick fairly close to your skin. To date I've not found a single person who hasn't loved smelling it. It gives me as the wearer a feeling of a second skin, something leather or fur. There are definite overtones of saddle leather, and feel of having just dismounted after a hard gallop on the finest steed. A scent to be treasured, and one I hope never goes out of production in my lifetime.
11th July, 2017
Zowiee Show all reviews
United States
Fabulous scent, just fabulous! The whole is much more than the sum of the individual notes, and there are notes aplenty! The fragrance seems to continually revolve around the heart and basenotes. Top notes do stay for a long time, which is a plus! Quite an alchemy of scents, a fragrance elixir I adore!
05th May, 2017 (last edited: 11th May, 2017)
Love this. It took me years to find this. I had always passed it over - the low price point led me to intuit that it couldn't be anything special. I can say that this is as complex and high in quality as any $200 bottle that I've ever purchased. The dry-down is the best I've encountered.

The smell of Yatagan reminds me of a specific scent memory from before I discovered Yatagan:
Skiing in the Alps with friends, staying in a small, old log cabin with a fireplace. Wood smoke, alcohol, incense, and a little sweat.
19th March, 2017
Not nearly as remarkable as others claim it to be.. I like this fragrance a lot, but it's basically
Polo Green. Or, perhaps polo green is yatagan. I don't find this perfume too remarkable but it's a safe scent to wear on any occasion. I like it a lot. I smell polo green personally ..... and polo green is in every store from Walgreens to sephora. I don't consider this cologne to be a male powerhouse in any way, shape, or form. Taking away all the hype, reviews, and claims, i adore this fragrance because it has notes of incense and pine. It's really quite unobjectionable in every way and I don't quite understand people asserting how yatagan is so polarizing or even original. It's a safe green scent that I could wear daily, anywhere, on all occasions. I think if you want a powerhouse scent, stick with creed bois du Portugal or Santa Maria novella peau de espana..... or even Knize ten. Yatagan is mild by comparison, but pleasant, fresh, and green.
05th February, 2017
I have the vintage version with the red label and would not recommend buying the new version. I don't think anyone would produce this scent these days, it's not sweet, aquatic, fresh, or has oud.

This is dry, intensely herbal with pine, woodworm and concentrated celery notes. I get none of the musky, dirty or animalistic aromas just mostly wood and herbs.

If I were to blind smell this I think I could pick this out of a large crowd it is very different. It might not appeal to many and it's a mature, outdoorsy scent with sillage and projection that is outstanding depending on your environment.

Very polarizing and a must for serious collector.


09th January, 2017 (last edited: 29th January, 2017)
Vincent Marcello was a very busy boy in the mid-late 70's and early 80's! The genetic fingerprint in his work is clearly apparent with Caron Yatagan, Halston Z-14 and Phileas by Nina Ricci. Of the three, the Halston is the easiest to wear, but the Yatagan is the most unique. All are well crafted with excellent projection and longevity.

Pine needles, woodworm, castoreum and tons of styrax set this into a frenzy of carnal delight. *Visions of ticked-off lumberjacks tying you naked to a tree in a damp, cold pine forest come to mind. Sorta exposed for the world to see (and smell)!

Yatagan is exceedingly strange and oddly exhilarating both at once. Just don't wear this one to church!
28th December, 2016
Yatagan came out in 1976, four years before Bogart One Man Show, but having smelled One Man Show first, that's what this one reminds me of, although this edges the Bogart for pleasant refinement. It has a woodsy, castoreum base that's impressively well done, and the fragrant notes laid over the top add a nice balance.

Update: One of the top notes that is screaming at me on re-wearing, from a bottle I just acquired (original version), is rosemary. Only 3 (now 4) of the 177 reviews mention rosemary - and I hadn't mentioned it in my first two cracks at reviewing this - but I now recognize that's what it smells like in the opening.
28th September, 2016 (last edited: 03rd December, 2017)
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Unusual, quite possibly unique, yet in the most compelling way. Classified as a so-called "Oriental" fragrance just like Habit Rouge, I can see the connection even though the two smell utterly unlike one another. Habit Rouge gets there via warmth, floral spice, and a certain sweetness; Yatagan, on the other hand, takes a route that's dry, intensely herbal, and authoritative. Definitely not everyone's cup of tea, this is on the other end of the spectrum from something like, say, Aventus and its pineapple-y appeal. Not one for boys and girls, Yatagan is adult in nature but nowhere near "old." Still cutting edge, I'd argue. In fact, put it in a smaller, fancier bottle, triple the price, and call it "niche" -- I'm almost certain it would garner even more attention and accolades.
05th September, 2016
Caron fragrances are presently fairly easy to come by and very reasonably priced in the UK if you go to the right places. However, they are hard to get hold of in physical retail outlets and even samples are fairly difficult to come by. I was pleased, then, to have the opportunity of obtaining a sample of Yatagan through scentsamples.uk.com (presently, they have no Caron).

On application, it seemed as though its reputation was overstated - it is after all described by Luca Turin as one of the most "disturbing" fragrances out there. Not a bit of it, I thought, as I applied what is undoubtedly a powerhouse-type fragrance, but one that went on smoothly, hinting at accessibility. Boy, how wrong I was. This stuff comes at you in waves and just keeps on coming.

To start with, I get the lavender, girded with outdoorsy aromatics. Then the pine needles, an uncompromising green element. Then the castoreum adds a fiercely animalic effect. Leather appears, of masculine type, but welded to the vegetal notes. This is an all-star cast of some of the most dominant notes in perfumery, and they all get great lines. Not so much The Expendables as Julius Caesar.

The overall effect is breathtaking. Incredibly evocative; the kind of thing that evolves on you and in doing so makes you stop and sniff in disbelief. So what's to stop me immediately buying 125ml for £35? Simply, occasion for use. I couldn't honestly wear this to work. No one in the family is going to be impressed with this. I am not a private detective, porn star, or historical re-enactor. Walks on autumnal days? Perhaps, but there's the chance of scaring off the wildlife. I half expect this to be the equine equivalent of catnip, to boot.

Simply, until I find a use for Yatagan, it will go unpurchased. But my word, it's good.

Appendix - I wish Caron was easily available in department stores. Keep on wishing.
16th August, 2016
I remember buying this in 1976, when it had just been launched. I was in Selfridges and tried a spay of Yatagan on my wrist. I recoiled in horror, and left the store. I thought it was the most unpleasant fragrance I had ever smelled (Kouros was yet to be released). 20 minutes later I was back and had bought a bottle. I have never experienced such a quick and complete 180 degree change of opinion before, or since.

Such a complex fragrance needs to be learned. I still own some of an old bottle of Yatagan, and, trying to keep it for as long as possible, wear it rarely. I also have a more recent bottle which I wear a lot. Comparing the two shows how this beast has been tamed. The later is a shadowy caricature of the former, and whilst still good is as nothing when smelled side by side with the original. If you like leather and Patchouli, then this is for you. If you hate the smell of Celery (and those that do, hate with a passion) avoid this (especially the vintage version).
12th June, 2016
When I first smelled this it made me smile, because it reminded me of a particular shampoo I knew from my childhood, called Vosene (it may be still around) - I think it was made from coaltar, or at least smelled like it. This scent specifically reminds me not just of the shampoo, but of the smell of hair being washed in that shampoo.
So that's my personal memory. As far as the notes are concerned, I get pine, a strong animalic note (like the one in Chanel Antaeus), and a strong resinous, smoky, medicinal, herbal quality, also with a slight sweetness that comes through later in the dry down, a bit like the strong, bitter, dark, herbal liqueurs popular in Germany and Austria drunk after meals.
It's certainly not a shrinking violet. Yatagan is in your face, masculine, "love it or hate it". In my albeit limited experience, I've never smelled anything quite like it.
I love it. It has the presence of manly greats like Polo, Kouros, Antaeus, Quorum and won't necessarily get compliments from the masses, I imagine, but who cares.
Sillage and longevity both moderate to strong. Sales price very reasonable.
June 2016
11th June, 2016
This has to be the most erotic, narcissistic (in the best way possible--I can't stop smelling my wrist) men's fragrance ever. I'd thought Bvlgari Black held that title--now, I realize it's a mere babe in the woods compared to this irresistible beast.
23rd May, 2016
Among the best 5 frags I've used and owned for the past 30+ years. Luckily still available in Middle East or the odd discount stores in Toronto or Dubai, besides EBay. I still own 2 unopened bottles of the original burgundy & white packaging.

Be warned this is a power punch, delivered without compromise or soft gloves and if you're lucky to have the skin chemistry that goes with it, you'll get hooked forever. Kudos to the perfumer (whose last name matches my first ;-) who could come up with this gem back in the 70's. But then the 70's were the last time we were creative.

Don't know about the celery scent, but the powerful, heavy resin top tone, with humid earth-dry leaves undertones and the bitter wormwood base is something I have been looking for all my life. Goes well with my taste for burning frankincense and other oriental mixtures.

Highly recommended, both for price and intoxicating uniqueness. A keeper for life so stock up.
22nd February, 2016
100% Uncompromising !

I guess thats the right word to sum up what Yatagan represents and it is difficult to put it into any specific category.

When applied (carefully please) it starts off with artemisia and wormwood combined with petitgrain and geranium, a quite different combination lacking any sweetness.

I don't get the animalic facet here, neither the often commented cellery note, but rather a scent resulting of a combination of nature in fall, combined with humid earth. Yatagan is like dry leaves, coniferous expanses, a warm gust through evergreens after a rainy day, very calming and conforting.

It's a bit sharp in the opening, yes, and it's a very bold statement compared to popular men's fragrances, but it's not a rude statement. And that's a big difference.

Pine, yes. Geranium, yes. Artemisia must be that bitter slap in the opening. And there are midle notes coming in and fading out like Vetiver, Patchouli, Castoreum and some Styrax. Overall, it's dark green, bitterly comforting, evocative, and, I'm starting to think, quite addictive.

However: Don't blind buy this one, as it is really very, very different, in a very positive way, though. You love it or you hate it and it's probably one of the most polarizing combination of scents I have met up to now.



19th January, 2016
Ralph Show all reviews
United Kingdom
I bought this a few years back, wore it a few times, thought: 'Ugh, celery!' and sold it.

But something nagged at me about it and so I bought it again last year to have another go at it - and oh dear God, do I love this stuff now? It's just beautiful.

I'm going to stock up because something this good is going to be found by a committee before long and then 'refined for the modern consumer' or something.
22nd November, 2015
After reading reviews here this was a blind buy. It smelled like the resin in a hash pipe. Then it warmed up, and I could swear it's the same scent as the 80's version of Burberry's For Men. An acquired taste but worth it.
10th November, 2015
Yatagan was the first fragrance I ever bought blind. I had just discovered Basenotes, the whole online fragrance world was new to me, and I really wanted to try this raging beast of fragrance folklore.

No internet fragrance board can ever prepare someone for what Yatagan actually smells like, although the notes have been characterized many, many times on this website. I must admit, I recoiled a little at first spritz, and the Yatagan went into the fridge for about a year. I found it shocking, and freaked-out a little. It was that wormwood, I tells ya... It's just so all-conquering, so "BOOM!", right off the top.

Ten years later, and I wear Yatagan frequently. It no longer freaks me out, but I do use it carefully and no, I don't find it necessary to reapply during the afternoon.

As many have noted before me, Yatagan is a bleak beauty, and in this day and age of generic fragrance dreckitude, it attracts attention. I currently have several bottles of it, insurance against any cockamamie ideas that Caron may have about "modernizing" it. I sincerely hope that this one is never, ever altered.
23rd August, 2015 (last edited: 02nd September, 2015)
gimpy Show all reviews
United States
Pine, Celery Seed, Castoreum, and Wormwood.

Bitterly dry and aromatic. You'd never know this fragrance was released in the 70s as it's not dated at all.

Lovers of dry and green fragrances need to do whatever it takes to sample this. It's been in my top 3 or 5 ever since I've discovered it.

Longevity is not the best, however.
23rd August, 2015
When I first smelled this, I immediately recoiled. Once I was done showing my utter disgust, I bought it.

Why anyone would ever actually wear it, however, I have no idea.
07th May, 2015
To my nose Yatagan is a wood scent, with hints of green and leather underneath. I smell the lavender in the top which makes for a soft, very old school type scent, but not in a barbershop way.

Initial projection is fairly big, so a little is a lot with this one. Longevity is a good 8 hours. I normally don't care for fragrances that project on my skin as much as Yatagan seems to, but the scent is so likeable and different than anything in my collection, I'm happy I have it.

Definitely a winter, fall scent, perhaps I'll wear it to a casual evening out in a cool early spring. I need to experience it a few more times so I can control the projection.

8.5/10
01st March, 2015
Yatagan by Caron is a soft pine mixed with castoreum and leather. I also smell patchouli but not in an offensive way. Yatagan is one fragrance that sticks to my skin which is unusual. I love it to say the least. I read that it was released in 1978 but I did not hear about it until last year.
10/10
08th January, 2015
It's like fall leaves and pine with a funky patchouli. There's a salty celery note in there as well. It's good at what it does but one feels like one should be a lumberjack wearing this.
23rd November, 2014
Put aside its reputation as raunchy or animalic: in reality Yatagan is in line with what makes fragrances like Esencia Loewe appealing: it smells of green things, of forests, of the earth. It smells natural and robust. I'm not one of those hipsters going for the whole "urban lumberjack" look that's popular right now, but really, those guys should be pairing Yatagan with their thick beards and boutique-bought red flannel. It's like making a dress shirt out of a forest.

I don't get the animalic facet here. I have and much enjoy Dior Leather Oud, but I also know that one's naughty; it's always suggesting time between the sheets even when it's offering a gentlemanly smile. Yatagan, though, is more dry leaves, coniferous expanses, a warm gust through evergreens. It's a bit sharp, yes, and it's a bold statement especially in comparison to popular men's fragrances, but it's not a RUDE statement. And that's a big difference.

Finally: celery? Nope. Pine, yes. Geranium, yep. Artemisia: must be that bitter slap in the opening. Overall, it's dark green, bitterly comforting, evocative, and, I'm starting to think, a bit addictive. A must try for anyone exploring men's fragrance.
19th November, 2014
Genre: Leather (Oriental, according to Edwards)
Uncompromising. I can think of no better word for Yatagan. It concedes nothing to prettiness. Every element is honed sharp, just like the Turkish blade for which this scent is named.

The opening is almost pure Artemisia absinthium, commonly called wormwood, and the base of the classic absinthe beverage. Having grown this herb for years, I can assure you that the note is dead accurate!

At first you might conclude that Yatagan is purely linear, since the artemisia dominates completely for the first couple of hours. But after some time the pine and geranium slowly emerge in a new accord that becomes grounded on a firm leather base. A marvelously integrated touch of castoreum adds animal warmth and vitality to the mix. The whole composition softens slowly through its extended drydown, but never shows even a glimmer of sweetness.

Yatagan is easy to over-apply, and can be hard to wear. You need to be self assured in the extreme to pull it off. Or do I have it backwards? Perhaps arming yourself with Yatagan channels self-respect and power.

Yatagan may be far from pretty, but that doesn't mean it isn't beautiful: beautiful in the manner of a desolate landscape under a hot sun, and just as dangerous.
09th July, 2014