Reviews of Rive Gauche pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

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    Lewy's avatar



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    70s barbershop-smell in a neat can, reminiscent of the shaving cream tins back in the day. Rive Gauche is a modern classic, very mad-men. Clean, fresh, dark, subtle, versatile, very soapy and very old-fashioned. There is no fruit, no chocolate, no synthetic sweetness - just straightforward masculinity, something that I miss in 90% of today's fragrances.

    Since L'Oreal and its reformulation, it comes in a new flakon and is much lighter, I guess to make it appealing to younger generations. It doesn't seem very popular these days though, it's been discontinued in lots of stores in my area. So try to get your hands on it asap (possible on the 2003 version) as it won't be around for much longer I reckon.

    Extraordinary elegant fragrance!


    15th October, 2014 (Last Edited: 28th October, 2014)

    Zgb's avatar

    Croatia Croatia

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    It's been quite a while since I've tried it and worn for couple of times. Completely forgot to write a review, shame on me indeed. What a lovely fragrance, hard to obtain for reasons unknown to me, and a double shame for that.

    In spirit of Azzaro Pour Homme and maybe even Cerruti 1881. In spirit and style, yes, but with it's own character. Very refined fragrance, well balanced and more in tune with the time, 21. century. However longevity and projection seem to be a bit of an issue here. In fact, Rive Gauche can make love Azzaro Pour Homme even more. Difference is there, but the style says it all. Creamy, refined and elegant is the shortest description of YSL RG.

    (tried for the first time 30.05.2014.)

    02nd October, 2014

    RUDOLFO512's avatar

    United States United States

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    I always wanted to buy Rive Gauche for men, but I always put it off, until now. I just got it in the mail yesterday. WOW!!!!! I put it on this morning for work and I already got 4 compliments. It smells so refined and masculine. This fragrance is on the top of my list from now on. Another great fragrance by YSL.

    15th September, 2014

    nwhite14's avatar

    United States United States

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    From a 2ml vintage tin can sample:

    Star Anise can unfortunately completely torpedo a fragrance for me. As is the case here with the massively beloved Rive Gauche Pour Homme. The anise note is very prominent throughout as is a metallic scent that lingers in the middle after an hour or two which doesn't compliment the creamy dry down for me.

    There are many comparisons to Azzaro, which I agree with, although the anise note in Azarro is just mild enough and well blended not to offend my palate.

    Rive Gauche, adieu...

    14th September, 2014

    Zowiee's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Spectacular! I needed to wear it multiple times before I could really begin to appreciate this complex fragrance. I started noticing how the top notes would settle-down and the base notes would then appear and last a really long time for me- and I really love the base notes!

    09th August, 2014 (Last Edited: 29th November, 2014)

    Colin Maillard's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Solid, citrus-soapy opening on lavender, aromatic woods and musks. Bit of a calone metallic feel. A nice, trustworthy, safe and well-balanced contemporary fougère, which does what eau de cologne and fougères are made for – be a manly, gentle, elegant match to a self-confident grown-up man which just wants to smell nice and polite - I appreciate the fact that perfumers still care about that.

    7/10

    15th April, 2014

    Kain's avatar

    Iran Iran

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    A really pleasant and good classic fragrance.
    The opening of this fragrance is a sharp semi fresh, spicy and herbal scent.
    It's really interesting for me because the opening remind me of my childhood and a hair shampoo that I was using it those days.
    This fragrance smell like shampoo and also soaps and yes, that barber shop that people keep talking about. yes!
    It's not a stunning smell but definitely it's a classic fragrance.
    In the dry down the semi fresh smell is gone and that spicy herbal note become stronger.
    It's sharp and spicy and you will realize that you need to watch out and don't use it in high heat and you should be easy on the sprayer!
    It's almost linear so the smell didn't change that much in the base.
    A nice clean, herbal and spicy scent which remind you of soaps and shampoos back in 80s and 90s.
    Projection is good and longevity is above average.

    27th February, 2014

    rum's avatar

    Greece Greece

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    No matter how many times I reach for my 'tin can' bottle of Rive Gauche, I can't really explain this scent. There's bergamot, lavender, rosemary, patchouli and geranium in this (vetiver is also listed but I don't get much of this). A lot going on at once and yet it smells divine! Many have described it as 'barbershop' or a classic 'fougere' ("fern") and others have mentioned the smell of shaving cream. My opinion is that it's all of the above. I've discovered it in the middle of winter and others have raved about how good it is in warmer weather as well, so I am desperate to try it then as well.

    I got a tin can version from a shop that had some old stock left. I don't usually believe in the hype of 'vintage' juices, but damn the new version of this one is RANK!! What happened YSL? There's more than one ingredient different to this juice now - it just goes to show that this is just simply not the same fragrance. I will always try to stock up on this stuff, so I suppose I'm partly responsible for the stupid prices that this is going for now online. I blame YSL though for their decision to reformulate this stuff and driving their own, once worthwhile product line into the ground. What a shame. Easily a top 5 scent for me.

    07th February, 2014

    reinhard5490's avatar

    Netherlands Netherlands

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    truly deserve its status

    The finest of aromatic fougere that ever existed, that name could be fitted into Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, which is now discontinued by Yves Saint Laurent itself. Left us wondering what's actually going on with these houses currently, keep discontinuing the good fragrances and launches a horde of new fragrance that far from memorable, let alone became a masterpiece.

    It's opened with weird notes; mostly anise and bergamot and makes me think like 'The hell. Nothing special' but when the cloves and lavender start to appears and followed by the rest, I start to change my mind 180. Rive Gauche is neither clean or dirty, it's both, and that's what makes Rive Gauche interesting. It's like yin and yang, the two polar that united into a single harmony; I notice there's a bit of sweet and smoky character in Rive Gauche as well, which is form a single symphony - Nothing heavy, it's smooth and charming, doesn't need to scream to make other people know it's presence; stays long and have great projection without getting overwhelming, the key in Rive Gauche is simple, less is more.

    Personally this fragrance shocked me more than just when I wear it, but also the people reaction towards it. It's barbershop feelings never offend anyone, and they all give good compliments, even those who get offended by something as simple as YSL L'Homme give a compliments! Could it be that this fragrance is impossible to be hated? probably. Either way, he's now vanished and left a golden imprint in history.

    score : ?????

    Pros: scent, longevity, character, projection
    Cons: hard to find, an acquired taste"

    20th October, 2013

    Unvisible's avatar

    United States United States

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    amazing

    First, I think this is an amazing fragrance. Classic. Super versatile and not dated at all. But what a shame. YSL made this masterpiece and decided "let's repackage it in a new bottle that we will use for our other standard YSL's, put in half the amount we originally did, and double the price." Bad move. I have a sample of this, and I will not be buying a bottle.... ever. It is sad to see greed result in the death of a masterpiece. Consumers are on to this, and I imagine they won't be buying this for over $100 a bottle either. A+ for the smell, F for marketing and price.

    Pros: smells great
    Cons: new bottle design along with far less in quantity and a ridiculously high price"

    02nd October, 2013

    necrosero's avatar

    Romania Romania

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    Barbershop smell

    This is a CLASSIC. Classic both in age and in terms of quality. If you like how shaving cream (that typical '90s shaving cream) smells, you will love Rive Gauche. It is clean, neat, orderly. Best suited with a white shirt put on after a long shower. Could easily be a signature scent, it will never offend anyone. It just smells good, and this is all that it does. Good longevity, medium projection, best worn by 35+ people in my opinion.

    Pros: Squeaky clean smell
    Cons: Somewhat dated and "mature""

    10th September, 2013

    FranktheTank's avatar



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    My absolute #1.

    My absolute favorite frag, I can't say much that hasn't already been said. Its my signature, wonderfully versatile and just great. Very original, inoffensive yet still interesting. I've stocked up on tin cans, so they should last me a while. I haven't had the chance to sample the new La collection version, but I've heard mixed things. I'm just hoping its the same juice.

    Pros: Fantastic, clean cut, distinguished manly smell. Very versatile.
    Cons: Tin can is discontinued."

    05th August, 2013

    lairdangus's avatar



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    The perfect masculine barbershop fragrance

    Where to begin with Rive Gauche Pour Homme? Is there anything that hasn't already been said?

    It is sheer masculine barbershop perfection. The scent simply cannot be improved upon. I find it modestly superior to Azzaro PH, thought I certainly appreciate that old classic as well. The primary reason is the longevity--Rive Gauche will last and project a good 5-6 hours on my dry skin, while I am lucky to get 4 hours out of Azzaro.

    This is my go-to scent when I am in situations that require tact and diplomacy. You will never offend anyone with Rive Gauche. It speaks of universal values such as integrity, loyalty, reliability, and maturity. Azzaro has a bit of a sexual edge to it, an animalic undertone. This accord is absent in Rive Gauche, which makes it a more versatile fragrance.

    Every man should experience Rive Gauche at least once.

    Pros: A masculine classic
    Cons: none"

    14th July, 2013

    Jaakiem's avatar



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    Smell of dark blue

    This is how you make Rive gauche pour homme.
    Take some 70's fougere. Leave out sweaty, herbal notes that can make it smell outdated (Azzaro). Avoid cheap aquatic aromachemicals (Cool water). Keep all the good stuff like lavender, vetiver, oak moss and of course the main player, star anise.
    The end result is very masculine, dark and surprisingly fresh. I don't know if this is still classified as fougere, but it has feel of light and modern fougere.
    If scent had a colour, this would be dark blue. It has it's fresh and clean side, so it works great in office, but it's so dark that it's great for evening too.
    In my mind there is only two perfect perfumes for men that make you stand little bit higher: Rive gauche pour homme and Chanel's pour monsieur.
    One of the most beautiful bottles ever.
    P.S. I don't usually get any comments about my perfumes, but this gets me compliments every time.

    Pros: Clean, masculine, classic, cheap, strong
    Cons: Discontinued

    24th June, 2013

    's avatar



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    Awesome fragrance!

    Very masculine, this is a masterpiece for sure.

    Anise, lavander and rosemary is the most pronounced notes to my nose.

    As said this has a barber shop smell, which is wonderful to my nose.

    Classic yet modern, this is an all-year-around scent.

    If you like Azzaro, Chanel Platinum Egoiste, you'll love Rive Gauche.

    Sillage, lasting power and projection are good.

    06th May, 2013

    bFlay's avatar

    United States United States

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    This is the sophisticated and unmistakably masculine version of a lot of bergamot-woods-spices and floral fragrances available today. Opens with a reliable top note of citrus and dry woods that dries down to pervasive smoky cloves and patchouli. The patchouli is quite light and really harmonizes the more pronounced cycles of orange/bergamot and sweeter notes. I don't get a pronounced floral note from this. RIVE GAUCHE POUR HOMME is truly for men and conveys that throughout wear. It is remarkably versatile, suitable for day or night, work or play. Lasts over 7 hours before breaking down. A great contender for any thinking man's "signature scent".

    31st March, 2013

    sjg3839's avatar

    United States United States

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    Don't know how I let this one pass by me. I've seen this one for a few years and never purchased it. I finally decided to get this one and this is one classy frag. Lightly wooded and barbershop scented frag that will keep the compliments coming. I wear this one to the gym. Two sprays and I'm good to go.

    If you don't have this one, give it a try. You won't be disappointed!

    24th January, 2013 (Last Edited: 15th February, 2013)

    Johannes's avatar

    Norway Norway

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    I know, I know, another negative review, but I just can't take Rive Gauche. It's cloying and sticks like a thin coat of varnish to the insides of my sinuses. The anise note is harsh and synthetic, and for some reason I get the overall feeling that a dirty ashtray has been rubbed on my skin. Engine exhaust is another association, believe it or not. I must be going mad.

    24th January, 2013

    ericrico's avatar

    United States United States

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    My review for Rive Gauche Pour Homme (Original formulation - from the 4.2oz/125ml 'shaving foam can' flacon):

    A step back to the time of classic, old-school barbershops but with a great twist of modernity. Yves Saint Laurent did something special here in the realm of the traditional Aromatic Fougere. It is not a scent that will blow your mind, but instead, put it at ease. Sometimes, as in this case, less is more.

    The quality ingredients with the fresh rosemary, splash of bergamot and the brilliant star anise gently come over you, followed by (as another so eloquently put it) - "lavender in a great mood", a nice earthy geranium note that blends wonderfully with a key note in this brilliant can, cloves. It is what ties the star anise to the heart and carries the composition to a wonderfully warm and slightly 'dirty/earthiness' in the late heart as it blends with the coumarin into the base. I adore this nice contradiction - it demonstrates itself very articulately. It is actually why Rive Gauche works for me. If this stayed fully clean, it would not impress me.

    It does articulate well and carries an aire of both class and sophistication, but yet it works perfect after a clean shave with a pair of jeans and casual top (t-shirt in summer, long-sleeve thermal in winter). Why? Because Jacques Cavallier's intelligence told him that us, as men, would prefer to have a modern fougere that allows us to display our masculinity first and then choose how we want to present ourselves - not let the scent dictate our attire (which is often the case). This is why Aromatic Fougeres work so well - and the good ones are timeless classics...including Paco Rabanne Pour Homme, Azzaro Pour Homme, Houbigant Fougere Royale, Worth Pour Homme and more. I recognize that Rive Gauche is classified as an "Aromatic Green" and not a true "Fougere" or 'fern scent' - but, to me...it is moot point. The classicism that exists here impresses the point to me that it is a modern interpretation of the brilliant Aromatic Fougeres of yesteryear with some added subtleties and nuances with a deft touch be Jacques Cavallier (under direction by Yves Saint Laurent in 2003).

    It never gets heavy and stays "fresh" throughout - a key to its charm, yet it warms and reveals very good depth and shows the raw, slightly dirty edge right under the 'surface' of cleanliness. The base of rich, herbaceous green patchouli is impressive and balances wonderfully with the sharp, woody vetiver. The light touch of Oakmoss (.1% allowable by IFRA in the can) is held up with Tree Moss. However, a key note here that transcends the star anise/clove segue into the heart is the use of guaiac wood. It is an exotic wood note that has tar-like quality, imparting smoky notes in fragrance. It works perfect here and underpins the nice warm slightly earthy, dirty masculinity that makes Rive Gauche a man's man in either a fresh, pressed dress shirt with a tie or a fitted T-shirt/Polo, relaxing on the weekend.

    I like what a lot of reviews here state - it recreates a sense of nostalgia while staying a step ahead. Although respected, it is understated as a composition...which, personally adds to the allure for me.

    Highly recommended. Cheers.

    23rd January, 2013

    jadelotus's avatar

    United States United States

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    Brilliant herbal opening, settling down into a long stretch of barbershop clean. I can certainly understand why this is a perennial favorite, and it's a fragrance most men could enjoy: understated and sophisticated. Ultimately, though, it's a bit too polished to be interesting.

    30th December, 2012

    charger's avatar

    United States United States

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    Wow, I feel like an idiot for waiting so long to try this. I love the box, I LOVE the tin can and on first spray, I love this stuff. I guess I hesitant because it was a blind buy, and also the fact that there has been negativity over the updated version.

    I was blown away as soon as I sprayed some on my arm. The anise, clove and mild citrus top note just grabbed hold to my nostrils and would not let go. The Barbasol comparisons are dead on, but are much fuller and brighter smelling than mere shave foam.

    The scent stays relatively linear and lasted a solid 6 hours on me with just one small spray. I can genuinely say that I am bowled over by this one, and it really lives up to the hype. I also plan on getting a second can just in case they go with the new formula and bottle. I will never be without this wonderful juice in my life ever again!

    13th December, 2012

    Robzrx7's avatar



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    I can totally understand the barbershop comparisons with this one, but I find that to be a good thing. Pure masculine scent nothing ambiguous about this one. The opening is very spicy and strong be light on the trigger with this gentlemen I almost knocked out my wife. You might not want to go around anyone for about 10 minutes when you spray this. I can pick up on the lavender and clove in the middle and the base of patchouli reminds me of Drakkar Noir but maybe more refined and less harsh. Longevity is great Im into the 5th hour of wearing this and its still going strong. Projection is also great which is why you might want to go light on the trigger with this one.

    08th December, 2012

    Houndnotes's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    So here it comes Rive Gauche : pure elegance and magnificence .
    A creamy heart surrounded by a gentle, green-aromatic touch , with the perfect combination of anise, grapefruit and lavender notes to lead a wonderful better sweet symphony.

    Chapeau YSL

    02nd December, 2012 (Last Edited: 03rd January, 2013)

    My_pep_pep's avatar

    United States United States

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    From the year I was born! Wait, wasn't this made in '71? Was it re-released or something?

    Anyway, I don't have much to add. It smells like something high quality but made a long time ago. I get the shaving cream references but that's not how I think of it. There are some long phases, this lasts for hours. I kind of want some but at the same time, I have grown tired of traditional masculine scents for the most part. This would be one of the definitive ones to get. I love herbs, and star anise is one of my favorites, but really none of the notes stand out in particular here.

    12th November, 2012

    Bigtruck260's avatar

    United States United States

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    Class in a bottle. Very light fougere with a wet shave...

    If you like aftershave (which I do) then you need this one in a place that is easy to reach.

    Pleanty has already been said about Rive Gauche...so no need to go into superlatives. If you see it, and don't have it...BUY IT.

    12th October, 2012

    jcw122's avatar

    United States United States

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    Unfortunately to my nose, this just smells like Old Spice. Can't really give a fragrance any points for that...

    10th October, 2012

    Shon T's avatar

    United States United States

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    This is a must have in the collection. I agree with the barbershop smell comparisons. It is a fresh and clean scent that smells like u just had a clean shave and haircut. It can be worn at anytime and won't offend anyone unless sprayed too much. It is a strong scent do only a couple sprays does the job. Can't go wrong with this.

    23rd September, 2012

    cocaineexpress's avatar

    United States United States

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    A nice clean barbershop smell, it reminds me of old spice but is greener and more refined smelling.

    03rd September, 2012

    SpicyPepper's avatar



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    I bought this scent because it was highly recommended by the fellow bn community,( i was looking for a signature scent) WOW is all I can say, wearing this inspires feelings of dominance and confidence. Wearing it you grow a pair if you catch my drift.

    I can see why this wasn't a take off hit that it should have been because the top notes on a tester are quite repelling on your skin it is how ever a much different story. A story of when men were men and had mustaches. That is not to say that this is an old mans fragrance, It came out in 03' this is more of a tribute to that era and is timeless.

    I'm not gonna describe to you the notes or smell because others with better noses have already done that. alas this did not end up as my signature scent, i save it for special occasions when i want to feel extra confident, or i'm dressed to the nines. try it and buy it people you wont regret it.

    15th July, 2012

    Kaern's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    The quintessential fragrance for men, with that retro barbershop feel -- lots of lavender, herbs and patchouli, fresh and powdery at the same time. One of those fragrances that can easily wear you though.

    One other caveat -- this fragrance, Pour homme and M7 Oud (renamed) have all been rebottled in chunky black with quirky tops at a jaunty angle and all sized 80ml. They all smell exactly the same as before, but the prices have gone up accordingly. Thumbs up for Rive Gauche, but a cynical con job nonetheless by YSL.

    10th July, 2012

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