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  1. #1
    Serpent
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    Default REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    Are we all breathlessly anticipating the newest release from Yves Saint Laurent, the first one since the departure of Tom Ford, the smell of the new era at YSL?

    Well, you can all stop holding your breath. The new era smells pretty bad.


    How bad? You all should have guessed what was coming when the head of the YSL Beauté fragrance division was bemoaning how sales of scents like M7 and Rive Gauche pour Homme never broke through the market. They wanted something mainstream, so we all should have guessed that their newest launch would have been super-safe. But who could have guessed that YSL would have gone so LCD (lowest common denominator)?

    L'Homme reminds me of everything and nothing, all at once. When looking at the note listings, I remember writing in some thread that it gave me a very "Givenchy pour Homme vibe." Seriously, Givenchy pour Homme is a masterpiece of individulaity and color compared to L'Homme. The YSL reminds me of all those faceless sports-based scents by Adidas and Lotto and Everlast. Maybe True Star for Men. It's got a bland, nondescript fresh top, but it isn't too citrusy or aquatic. It's just sort of... there. The violet leaves are the most noticeable aspect. If anyone is just nuts about violet leaves, I suppose he'll be happy with L'Homme. It very quickly transitions to a midly sweet, "cologne-y" base, rather synthetic, light and transparent on the skin. Seriously, it smells like nothing but... cologne. Like the cheap stuff they sell in the drug store. Like Tag or Axe body spray, but somewhat fancier. I really am sorry there's no breakdown of notes or heart or so on, but there's just nothing there.

    And it shouldn't surprise you, either, at least not if you're given the spiel I was. "This is much younger" than previous YSL scents, I was told. When I informed the sales associate that I owned and loved Rive Gauche pour Homme and M7, she protested, "You're too young to wear M7!" (I must admit, I was flattered.) Of course, I feel too old to wear L'Homme; this has "middle school dance" written all over it.

    As for the much-discussed bottle, I'm undecided. The components are nice separately - the cap is huge on that 3.4 oz. bottle - but, together, that just seem wrong. The bottle is much heftier than I imagined for some reason, and there is a space between the cap and bottle I also didn't expect, perhaps because of the one image we've seen so far. The box is nice, like the card I got yesterday.

    There were no samples, and I had to ask for the tester, which was under the counter. The free gift at Bloomingdale's is a free shower gel. Sign up and buy a bottle now before it arrives, and you'll get the gift when the stock comes in. But seriously, just go to Rite Aid or CVS and get some Axe body spray and shower gel. Together that will set you back, what, ten bucks total? That's a lot less money, and you'll smell almost exactly the same as YSL L'Homme.

    All of a sudden, I miss Tom Ford. I hate this feeling...

  2. #2
    Joel_Cairo's Avatar
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    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    Oh Serpent, ever the scathing contrarian! I admit, I was kind expecting to be let down, but MAN does that sound lousy. AXE? ouch!

  3. #3
    Serpent
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    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    Quote Originally Posted by Joel_Cairo
    Oh Serpent, ever the scathing contrarian! I admit, I was kind expecting to be let down, but MAN does that sound lousy. AXE? ouch!
    How am I being the contrarian? Contrary to whom? As far as I know, I'm the first to post a review. Those who like it will be contrarians to me.

    ETA: In my YSL-brand-name-addled excitement, I hosed my arms down in this mess. Only after I was duly shellacked in the mediocrity that is L'Homme did the sales associate inform me Prada pour Homme and Gaultier² were in-store and that samples only came with purchase. I hate her.
    Last edited by Serpent; 12th August 2006 at 01:05 AM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    Ugh...after reading Serpent's review I am very depressed with the current fall launches. His discription of L'Homme is my same feelings I had with that awful Euphoria Men by Calvin. It seems like the new trend is lets make a scent that smells like clear shallow water with no depth. If we market it they will come.

    My last hold out is for Viktor & Rolf and Burberry.

  5. #5
    Serpent
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    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    Quote Originally Posted by scentimus
    It seems like the new trend is lets make a scent that smells like clear shallow water with no depth. If we market it they will come.
    I don't think they're going to come for this. It's really boring, and YSL isn't a name the people in this target buy. Moreover, people who wear YSL don't want to smell like this. It was a bad gamble. Were it a slightly edgier freshness, it could've worked. While I personally don't think Terre d'Hermès is the right scent image for Hermès' style, that scent for YSL would have fit well.

    My last hold out is for Viktor & Rolf and Burberry.
    From the track record of Flowerbomb (not my favorite, but almost every female friend of mine esteems or adores it) and the new women's Burberry London (one of that superb, elegant crop of women's spring launches), I have confidence both of these launches will have at least something intriguing about them. (Knock on wood...)

  6. #6

    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    Quote Originally Posted by scentimus
    My last hold out is for Viktor & Rolf and Burberry.
    Victor and who? Are those the guys in Las Vegas who got mauled by their white tiger? I'm banking everything on the Burberry! They've got a house style that i like. The original London with its pear note, Touch with its violet note, Brit with its rose note. Even weekend was rather nice in an understated sort of way.

    So Serpent, does the new YSL resemble D&G Au Masculine then? Lemon dishwashing liquid?
    Last edited by milamber; 12th August 2006 at 01:18 AM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    Serpent, it sounds like with YSL L'Homme, YSL Beaute just copied a key element of Hewlett-Packard's business model.

    You know what HP does with printer ink... they make an ink cartridge for $2-3, give it the fancy name of "Vivera", and sell it for $25. Like YSL, HP wants you to think that the Vivera ink is a "premium product", even though HP Vivera ink is no better for 99% of stuff than Office Depot's remanufactured store brand cartridges (Consumer Reports found that one out).
    "It always seems impossible until it's done." -Nelson Mandela

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  8. #8
    Joel_Cairo's Avatar
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    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    Quote Originally Posted by Serpent
    How am I being the contrarian? Contrary to whom? As far as I know, I'm the first to post a review. Those who like it will be contrarians to me.
    I mean contrarian only in the sense of your being a commited parade-rainer. Your MO is more "gofugyourself" than it is "sartorialist", if you get my drift. Its not meant in a bad way; I'd rather read one of your posts intelligently dressing-down some new launch then yet another "OMG, just tried ______ and it rocks!!!" thread. Keep up the good work.

  9. #9
    Joel_Cairo's Avatar
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    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    Quote Originally Posted by scentimus
    If we market it they will come.
    As true today as when it was written. Im still looking forward to Burberry New London and Dzongkha though.

  10. #10
    Serpent
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    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    Oh, ha ha. Serpent hates everything.

    Look, this spring, I was gushing left and right... It just wasn't about what was on the men's counter. The ladies had a fantastic spring of launches with Sira des Indes, Burberry London, Missoni, and Délices de Cartier all plonking down at the same time. Those were amazing scents, with real elegance, quality, individuality. The men get nothing that comes close. I'm just picky. And I go to have a perfumed person, not perfumed writing. With going on ten zillion different fragrances (give or take) out there, a scent better smell pretty damn unique these days. There's too much out there, and too much of it is poor quality.

    But that said, I never approach a scent wanting to dislike it. I own multiple fragrances of Yves Saint Laurent (a rarity for me), so that rule was doubly true for L'Homme. YSL - like Hermès - is a house I very much admire, both for the fragrances and the fashion aesthetic.

  11. #11

    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    Its a damn shame as to what the fragrance market is now becoming. However that pretty much only applies to designer scents. Niche scents such as L'Artisan, Serge, MPG, Malle, etc will always be making odd and unique scents that some either love and hate. Thats the way it should be.

    So my question is, is the great YSL fragrance name finally falling?

    M7
    Rive Gauche
    Body Kouros
    Opium
    Kouros
    M7 Fresh
    Jazz
    Live Jazz

    These scents are all classics or to be classics to some or most people. At the very least adored by a large fan base here on Basenotes. So can we not expect any other great fragrances from this line? Are the stones of society finally crumbling beneath the weight and pressure of...yeah I dont know what the hell I'm talking about.

  12. #12

    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    I really wonder what blind scent tests would tell us about the current market- you know the "do designers tell us what we should like or do we tell them what we want" thing.

    "New" is always better than something "old" to the trend following mass market. I just can't believe that even given the best marketing and packaging the same old "fresh aquatic with burst of melon rind drying down to warm spice" can be expected to be successfully sold under 75 different names.

    Seriously.

    I dunno, I am finding going back in time to be far more interesting than the future of men's scents.

  13. #13
    Serpent
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    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiritussancti
    So my question is, is the great YSL fragrance name finally falling?
    It's definitely in transition. YSL pour Homme is a scent of its day; it screams 1970s. Jazz, Live Jazz, and Body Kouros were by-committee scents separared from the goings-on of the fashion division that never caught the public's attention. (With the latter two, they didn't have much publicity from a house that wasn't doing well fashionwise, which is also probably why Jazz suffered.) M7 and Rive Gauche pour Homme were poorly promoted, placed in the wrong stores (they should have been at high-end Neiman Marcus and Saks, not Macy's and Bloomingdale's), and it didn't help that Tom Ford's YSL just never came together into a cohesive vision like Pilati's has.

    The scent picture at YSL just seems to be... unfortunate. When they've released great scents, the fashions have not been focused or popular enough to promote them. Now, when YSL's lines have the most attention they've had in decades, they release their worst scent ever. (I abhor YSL pour Homme, but it was a hit in its day.)

    The question will all be determined by sales. If it sells well, expect more sub-Hugo Boss scents from YSL. My hope is just that huge sales of L'Homme won't lead to the discontinuation of poor-selling older YSL men's scents...

  14. #14
    DustB's Avatar
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    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    Quote Originally Posted by zztopp
    ...
    I think this is a rude and tasteless swipe. It's beneath the poster and the forum.

    --Chris
    Last edited by DustB; 12th August 2006 at 05:31 AM.
    That girl, that bottle, that mattress and me.

  15. #15
    zztopp's Avatar
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    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    Quote Originally Posted by DustB
    I think this is a rude and tasteless swipe. It's beneath the poster and the forum.

    --Chris
    hey i didnt mean to insult those two - their reviews and comments are fantastic indeed and their fragrance knowledge far exceeds mine, which has allowed me to learn from those two (and Serpent too). i was just observing that most of their reviews are positive for most of the fragrances. Apologies for any unintended offense.
    -

  16. #16

    Unhappy Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    I hope this one is just as "bad" as Terre d'Hermes and I'll end up liking this one.
    But I have a strange feeling you could be right,... this time, (wink) . I mean, Adidas, ..that sure doesn't sound promising. And Tom Ford left also. Sigh...

    Still have some hope for the new Prada, although the reviews weren't that promising , the descriptions of the people that showed their dissapointement in the threads made it actually sound good to me. Still have hopes for that one.

    But your review,....man.., I'm depressed now. sigh..
    Last edited by eric; 12th August 2006 at 01:05 PM.

  17. #17

    Thumbs down Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    Good review, and as I suspected; bad bad news. The worst thing is that I expect that YSL will not come back for a looong time with some great charachter when it comes to men`s fragrances. This especially, if this new scent will hit the spot in mainstream.

  18. #18
    Serpent
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    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    Quote Originally Posted by eric
    I hope this one is just as "bad" as Terre d'Hermes and I'll end up liking this one.
    Terre d'Hermès is Chanel No. 5 compared to L'Homme.

  19. #19

    Unhappy Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    Sigh!.......now where's the Prozac.

  20. #20

    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    that really shocked me , I mean that juice was formulated by 3 noses -Pierre Wargnye, Anne Flipo and Dominique Ropion- I mean it is not a common event to gather three master noses to work on a project.. so my expectation is so high ????!!!

    from the image & concept i can figure out it is a mature everyday morning fragrance, classical & safe.. so i am ready for a not over-powering aroma & not expecting sex ia a bottle.

    ... well, sniffing is beliving ?؟
    Last edited by tariq; 13th August 2006 at 05:23 AM.

  21. #21
    Serpent
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    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    Quote Originally Posted by tariq
    that really shocked me , I mean that juice was formulated by 3 noses..I mean it is not a common event to gather three master noses to work on a project.. so my expectation is so high ????!!!
    Actually, I was wary when I saw that. With movies, a script with lots and lots of screenwriters generally means the writing will be terrible. So with perfumery, why would one think a scent with several perfumers would be better? I wouldn't think a by-committee scent would be a bonus; it makes me think there was something broken, and several people kept trying to fix it.

    Remember the old saying: Too many cooks spoil the broth...

  22. #22

    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    Quote Originally Posted by Serpent

    Remember the old saying: Too many cooks spoil the broth...
    yeah i guess your right, too many noses = less focused juice.

    I wish if they have sticked with Jacques Cavallier or Sophia Grojsman as usual, they knew YSL better than anyone else.

    Jacques did OPIUM PH, NU, RIVE GAUCHE PH, CINEMA & M7 with Alberto Morillas.

    while Sophia did PARIS & CHAMPAGNE 'YVRESSE'.

  23. #23

    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    I am really upset about this. I love all the YSL fragrances out now. This new one and the newer ones to come will completely suck. Should have kept Tom Ford. At least he wouldn't have passed the complete sh!t that will now becoming out of this one great fragrance house.

  24. #24
    Serpent
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    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    Quote Originally Posted by tariq
    I wish if they have sticked with Jacques Cavallier...

    Jacques did OPIUM PH, NU, RIVE GAUCHE PH, CINEMA & M7 with Alberto Morillas.
    Ah, but Opium pour Homme, Nu, Rive Gauche pour Homme, Cinéma, and M7 were all commercial duds. In Saks just today, the sales associates were talking about the poor performance of both M7 ("When we had it, we didn't sell not even five units.") and Cinéma. ("Who did Cinéma? YSL? They pulled that one, too.") The whole strategy behind this new juice is supposed to be exactly the opposite - big volume, mass appeal, don't end up at TJ Maxx.

    Will it work? I guess we'll find out soon. But I just can't see such monochromatic blandness as a formula for success.

    I want to say L'Homme reminds me of Higher by Dior, but it's been awhile since I smelled that...
    Last edited by Serpent; 13th August 2006 at 05:51 AM.

  25. #25

    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    in my place Rive Gauche pour Homme, Cinéma, and M7 sell very well, & the SA are so happy with R.G. ph & M7 performance.

  26. #26
    Serpent
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    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    Quote Originally Posted by tariq
    in my place Rive Gauche pour Homme, Cinéma, and M7 sell very well, & the SA are so happy with R.G. ph & M7 performance.
    Right now, one is only guaranteed to find Opium (the women's scent) and Paris in department stores in America. Sometimes one might see Baby Doll. Even Kouros has gotten harder to find over the last few years, a victim, I think, of the other scents' poor performance. Sephora will cary Kouros, Cinéma, and Baby Doll in addition to Opium and Paris.

    Opium pour Homme, YSL pour Homme, Rive Gauche pour Homme, M7, Jazz, Rive Gauche, and Yvresse are relegated to Yves Saint Laurent boutiques. (The last time I was at the YSL boutique, Body Kouros, Live Jazz, and Nu weren't on sale there.)

    I just don't think YSL's scent jive with America at large and their tastes, but I think they're trying to reverse that with L'Homme. It's a very "American" juice.

  27. #27

    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    Quote Originally Posted by Serpent
    Right now, one is only guaranteed to find Opium (the women's scent) and Paris in department stores in America. Sometimes one might see Baby Doll. Even Kouros has gotten harder to find over the last few years, a victim, I think, of the other scents' poor performance. Sephora will cary Kouros, Cinéma, and Baby Doll in addition to Opium and Paris.

    Opium pour Homme, YSL pour Homme, Rive Gauche pour Homme, M7, Jazz, Rive Gauche, and Yvresse are relegated to Yves Saint Laurent boutiques. (The last time I was at the YSL boutique, Body Kouros, Live Jazz, and Nu weren't on sale there.)

    I just don't think YSL's scent jive with America at large and their tastes, but I think they're trying to reverse that with L'Homme. It's a very "American" juice.

    And by "American" juice you mean bland, dull, unimaginative, and so on and so forth?

  28. #28
    DustB's Avatar
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    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiritussancti
    And by "American" juice you mean bland, dull, unimaginative, and so on and so forth?
    And maybe made for the very mass market, perhaps.
    --Chris
    That girl, that bottle, that mattress and me.

  29. #29

    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiritussancti
    And by "American" juice you mean bland, dull, unimaginative, and so on and so forth?
    More like fresh, clean and understated, i suppose.

  30. #30
    Dependent pluran's Avatar
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    Default Re: REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

    "No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public."

    But how can this many people spend time postulating about a fragrance they know relatively nothing about? It's absurd.

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