Perfume Reviews

Positive Reviews of Rive Gauche pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

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
I love this perfume because I love Azzaro PH. This is very much like APH for first couple of hours. Then it starts diverging- the drydown here is more like Kouros (which I am not a big fan of)
I would save money and get APH if I was on a budget. If not get both.
18th November, 2015
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
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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
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)
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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
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
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)
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 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
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
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
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)
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
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 no need to go into superlatives. If you see it, and don't have it...BUY IT.
12th October, 2012
Shon T Show all reviews
United States
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