Perfume Reviews

Neutral Reviews of Rive Gauche pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

I saw this at a fragrance kiosk and gave it a test. I wasn't blown away but not completely turned off either. The fragrance smelled very common place and nothing I didn't already have similar in my collection.

What bothers me most is the aluminum spray can. It felt very light and I was concerned I'd be purchasing a half empty bottle. You couldn't tell what the volume of scent was. For the price I decided I would pass.
13th February, 2015
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
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
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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
Njtnjt Show all reviews
United States
The longevity of this scent on me is massive. I can clearly smell it on me the next day. I can smell it on my clothes where the sleeves have come in contact with my wrists AFTER the shirt has gone through the wash!

If you want to smell like shaving cream - then this is for you. I dislike this scent intensely. It made me ill.

Clearly well made but like a bad house guest, does not know when the party is over and its time to leave.

For those who gauge their scents by the hours they project vs. the dollars they spent per ml then this is a blockbuster for sure.
25th March, 2012
Very simply put, Brut For men. When I want to smell like my grandfather I put this one on.
10th March, 2012
A versatile classic which can be worn in each occasion projecting a sufficient dose of class and distinction. It's true, it has a barber shop feel which many people perceive as the epitome of a dated, unfashioned smell but the final outcome loses a lot this edge in order to issue a distinguished, contemporary, spicy feel. The scent itself is a modern spicy fougere with a floral pungent heart. The beginning is citrusy, aromatic (rosemary) and dusty with its star anice set on the top just in order to impress an initial dust of spicy (balancing) mildness destined to be tamed and fenced in the course of development. The following spicy-floral lavender grasps the train of the olfactory classicism with its restrained geranium. The latter, on the side of the cloves, adds a moderate hint of spicy sweetness (retaining for a while the initial mild dust) which is soon tamed and balanced by the earthy-rooty (vetiver, patchouli) temperament of the following woody base. Gaiac wood provides substance and structure to the final outcome which is traditionally woody with a moderate angularity and a tamed sweetness. The old school temperament of the scent abides in the link between initial bergamot, lavender, cloves and rooty vetiver. The patchouli is prominent and mild being balanced in its sweety trait by the vetiver itself. Woods, star anice, mild patchouli and geranium are the open window on the modern new olfactory world. Longevity and sillage are notable.
15th February, 2011 (last edited: 10th January, 2014)
A soapy, woody fougere. Decent, but I get bored with it quickly.
30th January, 2011
JMang Show all reviews
United States
Very clean, very balanced, very old school.

Too old school for me.

As others before me have put it, it smells like a nice barbasol or a nice barbershop. But not for someone me in my 20's. I'll stick to YSL's more urban and modern offerings. They may not be as "challenging", but they are more pleasant to wear on a daily basis.
30th March, 2010
Most offerings from YSL are very unique except L'Homme wich is not so distinct.
I like this difference and the ideas of this house that gives us different points of view
about fragrances and how can we smell like. YSL to me means UNIQUE.
I cant wear most of their fragrances like this one or Opium and its flankers or the original Kouros even Jazz... but I like these fragrances and their high standards,better than more expensive bottles from other houses who are selling just their names on cheap smelling scents that doesnt last over 2-3 hours.I wont say Armani...( I just did )
but there are much more,at least most Armani smell nice as long as they last.
anyway neutral from me cause its not for me but its really good from a Great House.
26th March, 2010
I was excited about this one, I remembered the smell of Barbasol shaving cream from my childhood and it does smell just like it. Sometimes I liked wearing this and sometimes it bothered me. It's pretty strong stuff. I put on 3 sprays one day and headed into work and had a coworker tell me he could smell me coming before I was even in the room, from a mile away. I never got a positive comment from this one, only negatives so I sold it. I think I'm developing a dislike of anise notes in fragrances as well.

I may give Rive Gauche Light a try if I come across it some day, probably not though.
17th January, 2010
I bay this blind on ebay based on the review on basenotes.From first smell i say ''no way''but drydown is good.I expect more from Rive Gauche .Just try before you bay.
25th October, 2009
MJW77 Show all reviews
United Kingdom
I bought Rive Gauche after all the positive reviews on basenotes. It seemed like it was a must have for any discerning fragrance fan. I don't dislike this fan favourite, but can't help feeling that it's hugely overrated. There is no need for me to mention what it smells like, I'll just give an opinion on what I think of it.
Basically, when I choose a fragrance to wear it depends on whether its for the day or evening, where I might be going, what I'm wearing etc, but I can never seem to find an occasion for Rive Gauche. I don't have an extensive fragrance wardrobe by any means but I just have many others that I prefer and I that I feel suit me better. I do think RG is for the more mature market and, dare I say it, is rather boring. All the talk of it smelling like shaving foam and barber shops is accurate but if I had a wet shave with foam that smelt like this I would still probably slap on another fragrance over the top of it. I don't dislike RG at all, I think it smells nice enough, I'm just concerned others may think I smell old and when it comes down to choosing a fragrance I rarely reach for the Rive Gauche.
20th August, 2009
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Too conservative for me. Definitely smells like a barbershop. Better suited for an older, strait-laced man I think.
05th August, 2009
Yup. Shaving cream. Barbasol. Saturday afternoons of discussing hot rods, baseball and blonde bombshells down at Al's Barbershop in 1953. Even the bottle is a can of shaving cream: thin, metal, and light, which makes it feel really odd. This is obviously one of those things that society would say a man "should smell like," and I suspect that it's a collective-unconscious smell memory...even young people who haven't actually experienced that hypothetical barbershop would probably be able to place Rive Gauche as the clean-shaven piece of nostalgia that it is. Still, I feel like it only goes so far toward being a good scent in its class before stopping short while I'm still in mid-sniff. I'm waiting for more notes to show themselves, but they never quite make it to the party. And unfortunately, the guy that actually showed up on time is Anise, which I don't really like when it's this unadulterated. So it's easy to like this stuff, but I couldn't imagine myself really loving it...I expect a fuller, more complex woody oriental.
11th July, 2009
I can't deny that this is a very very good scent - by this I mean extremely versatile, original (probably one of the most easy to use out there) and very affordable, with impressive longevity and sillage. A great overall scent that often doesn't disappoint. However this has never been a constant in my wardrobe because it doesn't stand out as much as I would have preferred it to. I'd like to call this the "Perfect Standby" scent. It certainly will suit most occasions.
23rd May, 2009 (last edited: 25th July, 2009)
Rive Gauche pour Homme was one of my blind online purchases, because I just can't find it in any of my local stores. Initially I though this to be a kind of nice fragrance, but I had to wonder why it had so many positive reviews here on Basenotes. After a few more uses I became used to the smell and started to have more appreciation for it. This doesn't smell that strong to me, but many have stated in their reviews that this projects much better to people around you, so I'm going to believe the experienced people here and warn others not to spray too much even if you can't smell the fragrance that well yourself. This does last quite a while, but I haven't tested if it really can work from morning to late at night like some people have reported.

What I smell when I spray Rive Gauche pour Homme on my skin is a strong anise at the beginning but it only last for about 15 seconds. After that the smell is a combination of something peppery and something slightly creamy. The creamy accord might be the "barbershop" smell everyone seems to be talking about. I really don't know how an old barbershop smells so I can't comment on that. Slowly a patchouli smell starts to rise from the creamy accord and at the same time the pepper slowly weakens. Many here say they get a combination of patchouli and vetiver, but I hardly get any association with Guerlain's Vetiver. One reason why I like this fragrance is that I like patchouli, but the patchouli in Rive Gauche pour Homme isn't as strong and apparent as it is in some other patchouli-heavy fragrances I love like Antaeus and Narciso Rodriguez for Him.

Rive Gauche pour Homme smells like a quality fragrance to me and is also fairly simple. Some have stated that this is for men over 35, but that's not true in my opinion. I recommend men of any age to try this. It's an elegant choice for most occasions and has enough sillage and longevity for most people. It's also fairly cheap, but I find the thin metal canister it's in to be much too cheap. It's an attractive bottle, but at first I though I had received a fake fragrance in the mail, because the bottle looked like a deodorant spray made of even thinner metal.

Before I started to like this fragrance, I was planning to give it a neutral rating. Now that I do like it, I'm still giving it a neutral rating, because I still don't love Rive Gauche pour Homme. It's very easy to wear in any situation and I believe that true love might come eventually, but while waiting to see if this will ever grow on me I'm not ready to give it a thumbs up. If you like Rive Gauche pour Homme you might like Chanel's Antaues pour Homme or Prada's Infusion d'Iris. I recommend Antaues because it also contains patchouli. As for Infusion d'Iris... it's powdery, but not that similar to Rive Gauche pour Homme in any way. If you haven't tried it yet, now could be the time.
22nd May, 2009
The best way I can describe Rive Gauche is that it's a sweet and soapy lavender with a hint of patchouli. I’m pretty confident that if you took all the ingredients of Brut (that stuff in the green bottle at the pharmarcy) and re-synthesize them into better quality ingredients, you might have something like Rive Gauche. Although Brut is dated, Rive Gauche doesn’t quite feel dated… although it does smell “old school” as others have said. Kind of like how old school loafers, skinny jeans and fedoras came back in style in the mid-to-late 2000s, Rive Gauche is that old barbershop cologne your grandpa wore, but it’s redone in a modern way that works. That said, I think any age can pull this off – it just makes you smell like a clean intellectual.

On the negative side, RG is a little too strong for my liking – one spray lasts more than 24 hours and is a little overpowering. I haven’t tried RG Light but I imagine I would like it better.


Edit: I can't wear this anymore, it's just way too strong, synthetic and tenacious for my poor sinuses. To make matters worse, I can't help noticing an uncomfortable plastic note somewhere in the middle notes of the fragrance. If you don't like strong, synthetic fragrances, steer clear of this one...
06th December, 2008 (last edited: 13th August, 2009)
A few years ago, I had not yet entered the world of colognes. Being a young man in college, it eventually became necessary that I have at least something in my wardrobe for nicer occasions. Uninspired, and very much liking the smell without much thought, I bought a bottle of Brut for Men. It seemed inoffensive, clean, and somewhat enjoyable. However, it didn’t take long before most of my female friends were telling me that I smelled “old” or that I reminded them of an uncle, father, or even grandparent. No one seemed to think it smelled bad, just that it didn’t seem to fit a man in his early twenties.

Which brings me to the one unshakeable problem I have with Rive Gauche: I feel like I smell old again. Make no mistake about it, as nice and as high quality as a fragrance as this may be, it is still simply Brut for Men done very, very well.

This cologne probably deserves a thumbs up, especially since I haven’t been told I smell old while wearing yet. Then again, it’s only a matter of time. After the fantastically complex top notes dissipate, you are left smelling of Brut until the Patchouli dry down takes over (which is as enjoyable in its simplicity as the top notes are in their depth). Good take on an “old” classic.
04th October, 2008
I can recommend this as a "budget" alternative to Miller Harris' Fleurs de Sel. It starts our harsher, colder and more metallic, but the metallic note quickly turns into a saltiness very similar to Fleurs de Sel. The herbs are a but harsher and more traditionally masculine in Rive Gauche, and it does have a cooler, more watery tone that makes it feel more generically masculine and less high end. I personally prefer Fleurs de Sel enough to pay the higher price and I don't need another scent this similar, but that said, I can really recommend Rive Gauche pour homme. Just have patience through the offputting topnote - I didn't want to try this at all after just smelling it on paper, but then I read something about it being a salty fragrance and decided to try it on skin, which I don't regret as it gets better and better.
16th June, 2008
markc Show all reviews
United States
Yes, pretty close to the Barbasol effect. Pluses- Smelling like you just stepped out of a clean shave. Minuses- I prefer the anise that is in Azzaro Pour Homme. Also, I wish the Patchouli came out a bit more. After 3 full wearings, I wish I could praise it as much as most on here, but I can't just give it 4 or 5 stars.
22nd October, 2007
Not at all a barber-shop perfume...I don't get that - at all!

It has this smooth, dark and cool stringent woodiness, peppered with a note that, for a long time, I found hard to determine, let alone describe...

As for now, I can describe this note as dense, sweet and bitter at the same time...a blend of clove, pepper and anise, with the anise dominating.

I have to say, most fragrances that feature a dominant licorice or anise note, give me a rotten headache...but not this. Its there, and its in your face, but it doesn't give you a migraine. I also usually find that that type of note gives my nose an unpleasant tingling feeling - yet again - it doesn't do that in this perfume - but it is there, and if I use too much, it perturbsme in a way that I can't say I like.

All in all, the patchouli, cedar, guaiac and oakmoss keep the balance there, and are all notably present throughout. The rosemary gives it a nice herbal coolness, coupled with the bergamot. However, as with all anise/licorice scents, this could do with a little less of that note, and more of the woody/herbaceous notes it otherwise features very nicely!
02nd July, 2007
jlros Show all reviews
United States
Tried it on as a tester, my initial impression was good... so I impulsively bought it. As I walked around I increasingly became bothered by it. Two women I was with really disliked it.

Perhaps at 40 I am not old enough to wear it or it is too much clove.

It does smell like shaving cream and while that may initially be nice there is a reason the razor takes the cream away.

Anyone want to buy an unopened bottle...
08th April, 2007
txman Show all reviews
United Kingdom
The jury is out for me on this one!

read all the reviews here, so decided to try it in a tester, and it didn't really work for me, seemed a bit too classic or old manish for my tastes, and I am only 40ish, maybe will try it again to see if it comes across any better.
17th January, 2007
Ok, I will edit my review. When I was a relative newb I rushed to buy this during the Great Rive Gauche Craze of 2006. I received a few negative comments on it and was a little wary of the uncompromising lavender and herb topnotes. I traded it away and gave it a negative review.

Over the years, it kept pecking away at me, and I started wonder how I might react to it with a little more experience under my belt. I bought it again, and while I do still think it's slightly overrated, I appreciate it for the important role it can play in just about any wardrobe: the versatile, refreshing, and clean scent that has a distinctive personality, is not citrus-based, and shares many characteristics with the brash old-school powerhouses while remaining very wearable. Whew! Not surprisingly, there are very few scents that fill this niche and don't cost much, so I understand why it is so universally appreciated.

Others have commented thoroughly on the feel of the scent. After the sharp, dry herbal opening, it does indeed smell like a traditional creamy shave foam with a bit of a sweet patchouli accent, especially has the base gathers strength. I honestly can't pick many of the heart and base notes from the pyramid out of the scent, other than the patch and maybe some subdued clove. Mostly, I get a nice, fuzzy, ambiguous gentleman's grooming product vibe.

Just one problem. I notice faint plastic-synthetic note in there, right when the topnotes start to mellow into the creamy base, that lasts a few hours. It seems to stand apart from the creamy shave foam and patchouli, as if that part of the fragrance was indeed well executed, but someone accidentally spilled some Eau de Party Balloons in the formula at the last minute. Sometimes this is especially prominent, and I even get a funny taste in my mouth. Sometimes I don't notice it at all.

All in all, I will continue to wear and appreciate the scent, but I don't think I can give a thumbs up, as something is askew on me. Borderline thumbs up, but not quite.
02nd May, 2006 (last edited: 12th January, 2011)
I am very reluctant to actually apply this scent to my skin for the plain and simple fact that it smells exactly like spray on deoderant. A female friend of mine smelled it in the bottle and said it smelled the same way as I have described it. Maybe it will open up into something different when I wear it like the other Yves Saint Laurent scents that are also in my collection currently.
26th April, 2006