Perfume Reviews

Positive Reviews of Rive Gauche pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

Total Reviews: 191
Rive Gauche Pour Homme was rather unexpected in the day of release, as nobody reckoned Yves Saint Laurent would make it a reality 30 years after the original, and nearly in the masculine style of era in which the famous 1971 perfume in the blue and black-striped can released. Creative director of LVMH at the time, Tom Ford, wasn't afraid of looking to the past for future inspirations, and revitalized the Gucci brand from the brink of demise this way. So when Ford came to supervise brand direction of YSL (much to the late Mr. Laurent's displeasure), he took a similar "conventional beauty" direction, particularly with the perfumes. Likewise, Jacques Cavallier had been tapped a third time for YSL since doing Opium Pour Homme (1995), since he had a firm grasp of both conventional styles that Opium Pour Homme (another late-arriving masculine counterpart to a classic YSL perfume) and Rive Gauche Pour Homme falls under, and trend-setting futuristic composition like L'eau D'Issey Pour Homme (1994), Acqua di Gio (1996), Ultraviolet Man (1999) and M7 (2002). Rive Gauche Pour Homme would be the perfect storm of classic masculine lines and then-modern clean, a true blending of old and new, a DeLorean time machine with fresh tires. Eventually Tom Ford's throwback direction would be rejected by LVMH and he would leave to start his own house with those very same ideas, but at least in YSL, his ideas "fit" the house better, despite the late Laurent's objections.

Rive Gauche Pour Homme opens with what is quite literally the most glorious interpretation of classic shaving cream I have ever smelled. Seriously, if you love barbershop smells, this is going to be among your top picks. Penhaligon's Sartorial (2010) comes close, but with a thinner, more metallic direction. Barbasol for the bourgeois, Gillette for the gendarme, however you want to put it, this one is alpha barbershop scent. Bergamot, rosemary, and the interesting twist of star anise steal the opening. RGPH doesn't have the brutal bergamot of the 80's, but rather the restrained 60's powdery fougère variety, just less piquant because of the sweet anise top and lavender balance in the middle. Glorious clove immediately fills in the middle too, but not the syrupy bay rum type. Instead, we get the chilled clove reminiscent of Old Spice (1937). Avon Cavalier (1989) tried a similar clove-powered oriental/fougère hybrid stance too, but way before this kind of retro was cool again and with almost barbaric blending that renders it too much an anachronistic period piece to be effective. Rive Gauche Pour Homme finds the balance of old and new that other "modern barbershop scents" seem to miss in favor of smelling too old or too modern. The stock parts bin geranium takes us to a base of vetiver, patchouli, and guaiac wood after the clove calms down, with just the slightest tonka and oakmoss touches to root this as a fougère without making it heavy.

Rive Gauche Pour Homme is a typical Tom Ford homage to past masculine glories like what can be found in his own line, but deftly orchestrated by the hand of the capable Jacques Cavallier into something a modern man without such rose-tinted glasses for the past can appreciate. I mean really, who doesn't like that classic smell of "clean and groomed"? Typically in my experience, only contemporary guys obsessed with "fresh" or "sexy" balk at stuff like this, which is part marketing brainwash, and part ulterior motive for why they wear a fragrance, but to each his own. Rive Gauche Pour Homme would spawn two flankers in metal cans, including a light version and an intense version. Sadly all versions are discontinued, with the La Collection reissue series being the last time this saw bottling. YSL just isn't interested in honoring it's masculine perfume legacy anymore (outside 1981's mega-seller Kouros), but this one isn't -quite- a unicorn yet because the barbershop style has gone underground and become the realm of niche perfumers (like the aforementioned Penhaligon's). This means there isn't quite an army of collectors fighting to snap up all surviving inventory just yet, unless you slap "Jean Patou" on the bottle. Bottom line here is you'll smell like the best shave of your life, all day long, so if that sounds like a good fit, then this is your juice. Period. All others can move along, and save the rest for me.
19th March, 2018
So you're looking for a modern fougere? Something classic, manly, clean, sexy and versatile that (still) smells modern?
There you have it. This will be around forever.
(square bottle is good too)
08th January, 2018
BoxPred Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Neoclassical. Masterfully crafted to modernise the classic barbershop scent. This is a fragrance I would class as potentially addictive. It just works.
25th September, 2017
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Powdery, clean scent. A touch more lavender than I'd ideally like, so to my nose the balance is a little off, but that's a minor quibble. Not my favorite "barbershop" fragrance (that would be Derby), but a great addition to the collection that will get a lot of use on formal occasions.
05th September, 2017
It's not certain. Exactly where does the sweet and classy charm of this suave 70's style fougère come from? Is it the hint of patchouli mildew that makes an ordinary grey barbershop into something more intriguing?

Knowing La Collection to be a reformulation, the critic resolved to approach the juice in a spirit of objective scepticism. All resistance proved to be futile however as any doubts were effortlessly swept aside by its colossal loveliness - like a gnat in a blizzard.

The easy sophistication of this revised version (composed by Jacques Cavallier under the brilliant art direction of Tom Ford) completely ravaged the heart of the critic.

He is, consequently forced to admit that (whether or not the work was motivated by sly pastiche, retro heroics, or is simply a case of Watch out Azzaro!) todays Rive Gauche pour Homme is not only one of the most classically elegant and civilised masculines on the planet; thanks to the aforementioned fusty nuance it becomes, for the critic, one of the most chic Man Perfumes to be found anywhere in the known universe.

In the light of such a worthy opponent, Azzaro aka King of the Fougères, really should be a tad concerned.

01st August, 2017
This one is a classical "Gentleman's perfume" very good not only for daily office use but also for a dinner, a formal occasion or maybe just for personal comfort in a rainy October Saturday morning lying on the couch covered with a hand-made wool english blanket slowly sipping coffee from a mug.
The perfume remains all the time "tender", "soft", "powdery", somehow nostalgic.
It is a classical fougere which could easily be taken as an 80's, even a 70's made perfume definitely not staying in pace with it's contemporaries.
A splash of bergamot at the beginning followed almost immediately from a very well made lavender.
The Geranium is also very well made and makes a fantastic counterplay to the lavender. Creamy, powdery, just wonderful.
In the final phase i barely get the patchouli note but i really like the woodie accord.
On my skin it lasts around 8h.

29th May, 2017 (last edited: 08th June, 2017)
Rive Gauche is one of those fragrances that I could never imagine anyone disliking. There are other fragrances that I enjoy but I could also see that they are not everyone's cup of tea.

With Rive Gauche what you get is "clean". How can anyone not like "clean"? This is the ultimate Barbershop scent. Not a cheap back street Barbershop. We are talking a high class Parisian Barbershop from years gone by. The upper class gent.

Stunning! Just wish it lasted a little longer on me.
02nd May, 2017 (last edited: 13th June, 2017)
I finally got around to sampling YSL Rive Gauche Pour Homme today, and I'm impressed as I expected. Certainly within the fougere realm, but quite a bit cleaner and less spicy than some of its counterparts (like Chanel Pour Monsieur and YSL Jazz, for example), Rive Gauche lives up to the hype of being an understated gentleman's fragrance that, like the others, emanates maturity and class while not smelling too much of old men, or causing a stink.

Certainly the lavender plays in very significantly in Rive Gauche, as with most fougeres, but it's especially front-and-center to the effect of providing that cleanness into the dry down, following a bergamot/rosemary opening. I'm fortunate to not get too much of the star anise at the opening, as I'd be worried that it'd render it a bit too bitter for my liking. And it the dry down is the familiar mix of oakmoss and other woody/earthy notes--in this case, the soft, semi-sweet guaiac wood with the sharper, earthy patchouli.

A very impressive blend, and one that performs pretty well on my skin, great on longevity, but a more modest projector, contra the reports of some that get a lot of projection from it. It definitely pales in comparison to YSL Jazz or Chanel Pour Monsieur EDP, but it's still solid.

A welcome future addition to my collection, YSL Rive Gauche is yet another gentleman's staple I'm happy to have finally gotten around to trying.

8 out of 10
02nd May, 2017
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
A big thumbs up. Hands down the best creamy barbershop scent I have ever tried. Yep, this is what every old fashioned American barber shop should strive to smell like, memories galore. Perhaps a wee bit weak in performance due to modest power and a quicker than average fade. It always brings to mind a rich combo of a creamy root beer float and lavender led spice blend.

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 with its Italian spice connection.

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 (last edited: 10th February, 2018)
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)
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
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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
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