Perfume Reviews

Positive Reviews of Rive Gauche pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

Total Reviews: 183
In the UK, Boots (formerly "Boots The Chemist") still has a decent loyalty system, and I have managed to earn enough points for a bottle of something a year for the last two years. Last year it was Eisenberg's J'Ose, which remains unopened while I decide what to do with it. (Boots have stopped stocking the Eisenberg lines now; sheer lack of interest, I suppose.) This year, though, it was Rive Gauche I chose (RG for free!), and this is a different story - no chance this is remaining unused.

Rive Gauche is first and foremost a fougere, but it's not an obvious one. It's masculine, but not in-your-face masculine. The usual adjectives applied to RG are all relevant, I think: dark, creamy, a little powdery - and all done in a very sophisticated way. It is interesting above all to read many of the descriptions here discussing RG as "sweet"; Turin in The Guide describes it as "completely devoid of sweetness". I wouldn't want to come down on one side or another at this stage, and without coming on over-dramatic, it has started to make me question my conception of what "sweetness" can be; there's certainly a spicyness here, although whether it's sweet is a moot point. RG lacks the usual ingredients that make the fougere sometimes notorious (perhaps musk, assertive florals, fir balsam among them) and the result is something a little more austere than what you might normally think of as scents in this genre.

Incidentally, RG is a good staging point on the path to understanding Or Black. If you have the choice, try RG first. I will not dare to review Or Black until I've had rather more experience with it.

In the meantime, RG gets a FWF recommendation. It's good for casual and formal wear; it's the one-time jock turned company director who attends the high school reunion and makes jaws drop with his new-found worldly ways. All in all good stuff and completely deserving of its reputation.

Incidentally, this is obviously the new, square bottle version. Excellent, high quality sprayer, with four sprays enough for the day.
17th March, 2017
Hands down the best creamy barbershop scent I have ever used. Yep, this is what every old fashioned American barber shop should strive to smell like, memories galore. A bit weak in performance due to modest power and a quicker than average fade.

Azzaro PH is similar with better power and longevity; but, I reach much more for this when "Vintage Barbershop" is on my mind. APH appeals to me strongly, as well, in a somewhat different manner.

Big bummer, it seems to be getting ever scarcer and spendier. I sourced a second can (a very novel container) a few months ago, before that vendor sold out or hiked the price up a few more notches. Sad day if and when its gone.
08th March, 2017
Some additional thoughts:

Rive Gauche is what Penhaligon's Bayolea wants to be when he grows up. The best of all the barber shop fragrances. The best combination of notes, the best blended, the best individual notes which leads up to the intoxicating brew that is Rive Gauche Pour Homme. Just an incredible aromatic creation by Yves Saint Laurent.

Comforting and classy are the first two words that come to mind. There's a sweetness with a twist that must come from the star anise and it is intoxicating in a wonderful way. I absolutely love the opening and the dry down all the way through. What an amazing day with this frag! I have to say that this is one of the best fragrances I've tried. It is definitely bottle worthy, and is also back-up bottle worthy. A masterpiece, in my humble opinion. Two thumbs-up as high as possible!
19th January, 2017 (last edited: 10th March, 2017)
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Fantastic fragrance from YSL, one of my most favorite in my collection for over a decade.

Rive Gauche has a rich, aromatic character from spray-on to wear down. The anise stays quite present, pairing really nicely with the lavender, cloves. A tastefully spicy, sweet oriental potion that always garners compliments and never becomes sour.

I prefer RGpH basic compared to the Intense vesion, which can actually be more cloying by its hyper-emphasis on the spiciness. Huge thumbs up for this wonderful scent!
07th January, 2017
I've come to really appreciate and love Rive Gauche. It took some repeated wearings for me.

Just as everyone mentions, you get this wonderful shaving cream vibe!

It projects well. It lasts all day.

Just fantastic. I have the skinny can. Love it!
05th January, 2017
Clean, creamy, masculine, aromatic fragrance.

A great YSL designer fragrance. This is one of the most masculine and versatile fragrances. it opens up spicy and aromatic with the lavender, star anise and rosemary. it reminds me of shaving creams. it gets creamier as time progresses. the performance is very good. a staple in a grown man's fragrance wardrobe. it gets compliments for sure.

10th November, 2016
A scent that oozes masculinity.yes!everything about this scent is so masculine from its aromatic opening to its woody dry down.a great classic men's scent with a fresh and powerful thing is for sure this is an extremely well-blended scent.created such a memory that I still can not forget.spicy and a bit herbal but with clean overtones.Refined,Charismatic, Elegant,Fresh,Classy,Demure,Inviting,Timeless, Gentlemanlike and Absoloutely Classic.

A aromatic fougere opening with a blast of anisic-citrus goddness supported by a soft herbal powdery lavender/floral accord and then it immediately softens down to a reveal rich patchouli and vibrant guaiac wood that mingles natural oomph with instinctive is slightly sharp right at the beginning but just for a couple of minutes.Rive Gauche PH is a very French type of style and elegance.perfect for formal even night out with your lady in a classy restaurant.


Longevity?Very Good on my skin.


04th September, 2016
A GREAT scent from YSL. Smells like classic shaving cream within minutes of initial spraying. On me one spray lasts about 2 hours then fades to a faint scent similar to Escada IMHO. If you can find a bottle do get it.. I will always have this in my collection. Enjoy!
16th March, 2016
Never wear this enough, and every time I do, I wonder why! There is a very familiar accord with this for me. The rosemary really shines at the beginning, giving it an almost garden feel, aided by a stellar array of florals! Things don’t stop here and as it evolves, it shows it’s quality base of anise, clove and coumarin (again, edible) and soft guiac, vetiver and patchouli. A classic, true “Man’s” scent, reminiscent of a quality, urban men’s boutique circa 1935. Thumbs way up!
07th January, 2016
Stardate 20160913:

A great barbershop. Smooth and classic. If you like Tuscany and Azzaro PH you should get this pronto.

If you don't like Tuscany and APH, you should get this pronto as this is subtler and more well-blended than those two.

Just get it.
18th November, 2015 (last edited: 14th September, 2016)
Oviatt Show all reviews
United States
Glorious scent, and bravo to Ford (yet again) for going out on a limb, a limb that actually takes us back into very familiar territory. Barbershop scent, yes, but with the anise and almond amped up to near gourmand levels. That said, there is enough of the barbershop still about it, coupled with a snarling underbelly of unwashed male machismo, that makes this new and yet old, safe and yet dangerous (I never wear this to the office), and really unique. Sadly not a commercial success for YSL like the original woman's scent, I am glad that this has been reissued and is still available, even as a special release. The common anise note makes this a natural to compare with Azzaro Pour Homme but that scent, despite its reputation for hairy chests and medallions, is much smoother and more subtle than Rive Gauche Pour Homme ever will be--or wants to be!
05th October, 2015
Great scent and last a long time!

Starts sharp and spicy but calms down to a musky sweet scent.

Classic Barbershop Fragrance, just like Barbasol Shaving cream!
04th October, 2015
There is little to add to the perfect review by Colin Maillard, which covers the historic context of Rive Gauche being a brave and unabashed, "retro" nod to the 70's aromatic fougere, Azarro Pour Homme.

Tremendously masculine.

What's unique about Rive Gauche however is, once past the remarkably similar (and powerful) anise and lavender top notes, and the barbershop heart, what eventually emerges is a wonderfully unique tobacco ash / patchouli accord that lasts for hours (even days if not scrubbed). While this may not seem a positive association -- this is distinctly not a cheap cigarette tobacco -- it's specifically the subtle aroma of a fine robust cigar partially smoked, blending with a warm and sensual patchouli.

In fact, if you're a cigar aficionado, this would be an excellent choice for an evening at your local cigar lounge.
28th August, 2015
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It didn't take me long to fall in love with this. It's very masculine and so fresh and clean, yet at the same time creamy. This one is staying in my collection for a long time. Truly a superb scent.
09th April, 2015
ad_scott Show all reviews
United Kingdom
I like this scent.. truly fresh, creamy and barbershop! On wearing Rive Gauche I find that I can't really smell it on myself but other people can smell it on me... then the following day I can clearly smell it on my shirt collar! It's as if the scent comes in waves. I don't know why this is? Maybe because Rive Gauche is so clean and fresh?? But when I do smell Rive Gauche full on it is wonderful - like a barbershop shaving cream with a mellow herbal touch akin to sandalwood - maybe a tad minty too? The bottle design is well done; looks like a can of shaving cream, a perfect design to match the scent. I'd say Rive Gauche is fairly versatile: office, date, social occasions... but bottom line is: It's clean, fresh and creamy like the aura of a well groomed gentleman at Savile Row.
26th January, 2015
The lavender and star anise are excellent and the sillage with just a couple of swipes of the applicator is flooding the room. It gives it a nice herbal floral scent that has a "overcast day at the riverside" impression about it. I can see why people are trying to buy this up before it disappears. I'm liking this more than Patou Pour Homme Prive, but maybe it's because Prive is too old to compare to fresh juice. The vetiver and wood give it depth. It stays in this character almost all the time. Very unique smelling.
25th December, 2014
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)
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
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
Zowiee Show all reviews
United States
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)
Like Turin wrote in his guide, “it took guts to come out with an aromatic fougère in 2003”: it did, indeed, as Rive Gauche pour Homme is truly a jump into the Seventies. Not a “rewritten tribute”, but a veritable, extremely elegant and pleasantly pedantic aromatic fougère exactly as they made (plenty of) them thirty years ago. Something I like to see as a proud and shameless slap to contemporary trends, which is admirable from such a big important company. It makes a statement, which at that level of visibility, may truly mean something. While I usually can’t stand fragrances - especially niche - which are “inspired by” and/or plain rip off chypres and fougères but they try to conceal that by acting new, “cool”, “luxury” and avantgarde as if they were ashamed of smelling derivative, too simple and “too outdated” as they do, I can’t help but appreciating an open and genuine operation like this. There’s a big difference in fact. Rive Gauche pour Homme is the quintessence of nostalgic simplicity, smelling and looking openly outdated, declaring it loud and proud. Many other companies still produce very classic fragrances, but to launch a new one, again – “it takes guts”.

All here is a true time capsule from the past, from the fragrance itself to the unpretentious, functional and almost cheap-looking bottle which looks like a drugstore shave foam can out of the 1970’s. The fragrance, anyway: lavender, anise, green herbs, woods, oak moss, patchouli, carnation, a nephew of Azzaro pour Homme looking and acting exactly like his hero uncle, just younger. The skin is softer and paler, the voice is still a bit juvenile, everything’s more light-hearted and livelier, but the face, the look, the style, it’s all the same. This is Rive Gauche pour Homme: a fougère which combines a lighter modern look, an overall obvious “fresher” feel due to its young age (I mean lacking in the “vintage” feel caused by the aging of the juice), with a vintage quality. It doesn’t aim at be a masterpiece, and in fact it isn’t, but it’s an extremely pleasant and stylish fragrance retrieving the true purpose of a man’s perfume – smell good, confident, mannered, masculine. Dry and dark as most of classic men’s scents, but the “aromatic” side comprising powdery-floral notes of lavender and anise keeps it bright enough. Obviously a nostalgic redundant product thirty years late on its reference trend, but totally irresistible. The Kaspar Hauser of fragrances.

15th April, 2014 (last edited: 03rd May, 2015)
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
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
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

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
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
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
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
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 Show all reviews
United States
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