Oh Serpent, ever the scathing contrarian! I admit, I was kind expecting to be let down, but MAN does that sound lousy. AXE? ouch!
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...
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.Originally Posted by Joel_Cairo
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 02:05 AM.
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.
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.Originally Posted by scentimus
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...)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.Originally Posted by scentimus
So Serpent, does the new YSL resemble D&G Au Masculine then? Lemon dishwashing liquid?
Last edited by milamber; 12th August 2006 at 02:18 AM.
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).
Top 5 for Winter:
1) Straight to Heaven - By Kilian
2) Back to Black - By Kilian
3) M7 (vintage or Oud Absolu) - YSL
4) Aventus - Creed
5) John Varvatos Vintage
My mission statement: "I am not afraid to keep on living - I am not afraid to walk this world alone."
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.Originally Posted by Serpent
As true today as when it was written. Im still looking forward to Burberry New London and Dzongkha though.Originally Posted by scentimus
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.
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?
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.
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.
I dunno, I am finding going back in time to be far more interesting than the future of men's scents.
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.Originally Posted by Spiritussancti
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...
I think this is a rude and tasteless swipe. It's beneath the poster and the forum.Originally Posted by zztopp
Last edited by DustB; 12th August 2006 at 06:31 AM.
That girl, that bottle, that mattress and me.
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.Originally Posted by DustB
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 02:05 PM.
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.
Terre d'Hermès is Chanel No. 5 compared to L'Homme.Originally Posted by eric
Sigh!.......now where's the Prozac.
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 06:23 AM.
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.Originally Posted by tariq
Remember the old saying: Too many cooks spoil the broth...
yeah i guess your right, too many noses = less focused juice.Originally Posted by Serpent
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'.
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.
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.Originally Posted by tariq
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 06:51 AM.
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.Originally Posted by tariq
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.
Originally Posted by Serpent
And by "American" juice you mean bland, dull, unimaginative, and so on and so forth?
And maybe made for the very mass market, perhaps.Originally Posted by Spiritussancti
That girl, that bottle, that mattress and me.
More like fresh, clean and understated, i suppose.Originally Posted by Spiritussancti
"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.
that's simply because it is Yves Saint Laurent.Originally Posted by pluran
Last edited by tariq; 13th August 2006 at 10:37 AM.
I find it so incredibly strange that these high-end fashion houses which hardly can produce a t-shirt with out the price tag being set at $200, let alone place them in a store next to me so I can buy them (if I had that kind of money). They come out with the most amazing clothing lines year after year (I'm not only talking YSL here, but pretty much all of them) but cannot, for some reason, do the same with their fragrances... It just escapes me...
Of course I can see that producing fragrances like this brings attention to their brand, but almost none of the consumers wears anything else from that brand. Fragrance seems to be the poor man's luxury (apart from cigarettes and booze) pretty much and I don't like that at all. We do have the Armani Prive line and some other brands doing their flagship-only fragrances, but still... I'm not sure where I'm going with this I'm just rambling. Frustration is all I feel.
I don't doubt Serpents review and I admit being slightly worried (ok, I overdramatised a bit with the Prozac thing) but how many of you, besides Serpent, have tried this fragrance ?
Isn't it better to try it first for ourselfs before slamming this before it's even released ?
I thought about this when replying, but my frustration goes out to more than just this house, so therefore I continued rambling. Of course I need to smell it before putting the actual fragrance down.Originally Posted by eric
It wasn't specifically your post that made me wonder about this, but was meant more in general, Shifts. Me too ,like to read reviews about upcoming releases , for the simple reason that I'm impatient to try every darn, new release. I admire most of the reviewers here for their capability to do so, with the main reason being that I simply never can choose the beautifull descriptions and words that most of the experienced reviewers do it the way they do. (The main reason ofcourse that English isn't my first language). But I do like to read them and other than that, I also am dissapointed when someone is posting negative reviews about an upcoming release,f.e. Prada man, Terre, YSL etc. But then again, sometimes the reviews are right on the spot and sometimes they are totally the opposite of my findings.Everytime I read and enjoy ,reading a review I keep in the back of my mind that it's totally subjective and therefore I still have to smell it for myself.Originally Posted by shifts
Look, someone here's going to like this. Someone's going to love it. I'm not saying my opinion is canonical. I just smelled it and gave my view. (I didn't even go out of my way to smell it; I was in Century City on business.) Everyone should smell it themselves, naturally. Even if someone else smelled it first, I'd still want to experience it for myself.Originally Posted by eric
It's at Bloomingdale's in America right now, folks. Go! Skeedaddle!
I keep trying to think of scents this reminds me of, but they're such a faceless lot. Maybe, on the outside... Baldessarini? (That sort of purple sweetness at the bottom of L'Homme, though: total Axe body spray.) I think some people actually like Baldessarini. So there's hope for some of you.
Thanks for the review! now i'll have to find out for myself what it smells like...
Thanks for your review. I know I'll need to smell this for myself, but this warning is valuable, and I certainly won't buy this blind. I understand the arguments against forming an opinion without sniffing, but many of us BN'ers just can't help speculating - it's fun!
What I like about YSL scents is that they each have strong personalities, and they've managed to do this without having niche-level prices. That's great for us who are not willing to spend $100+ for a bottle.
It would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall at the business meetings for this. Anybody who has been through corporate takeovers (I've seen several) can imagine the lameness of the "new rules", possibly well-intentioned, often very poorly executed.
I agree that having several designers is probably not a good sign. The first designer may have come in with something "strong", and some new suit (with a strong background in the carbonated beverage industry) would say, "no, that's old-school YSL - we're looking for youth-market penetration" [oooo!], and if you don't believe us, we've got the sales-figures for M7 right here. We're looking to make the new Acqua Di Gio". So the designer makes version 2, and that's knocked down, and finally they bring in another designer, and another, and so on. Finally, they end up with watered-down, totally derivative swill, and it may even sell well!
The funny thing is, I suspect if they'd marketed M7 by featuring the latest tabloid celebrity stooge, it would have sold like a demon!
couture alone isn't going to make anyone any money, and fragrance is the only thing these companies make that is INVISIBLE. thats why they allow themselves to put out crappy stuff for the masses in the fragrance arena. earn profits. have people truly believe that because you own red jeans, you own something "versace". and don't visibly degrade the line. gah! its genius!Originally Posted by shifts
I really think they should have pulled a more nichey approach to marketing it! i mean oudwood base? who's even heard of that apart from us frag nuts here on BNOriginally Posted by Cognoscento
No, what they should have done is marketed it without a big ol' penis.Originally Posted by czesc
Those ads didn't run in most magazines, though. I think the name was odd. But really, the scent was just weird. Talking to sales associates about Yves Saint Laurent, they tell me people just hated it here. At Saks, I was told, "I don't think we sold more than five pieces the whole time it was here." That's not good for a major launch from a major designer. If one has quirky tastes, if one is into YSL's whole line, or if one has the patience to work with the scent, M7 will pay off. But I can say that, for the average customer, just coming across M7 on one cursory sniff, it doesn't make a good impression. Remember that's what scents have to do - sell themselves in a quick sniff. It's like movie trailers: You have to get people hooked in a limited amount of time and willing to commit a considerable chunk of money before they decide to move down to something else or worse, just walk away. M7 starts very dark, hard, and almost ugly; it almost dares one not to buy it.
But think about what taking a "nichey" marketing approach really means. Hermès and Patou have done that lately. Do you know how they've done it? They limited the amount of stores in which their scents were available, and they jacked up the prices. Is that really what you want? Is that your solution to poor sales - make it harder-to-get and more expensive? Clearly some people think it is, because Antidote, a scent that is really not terribly special, costs about $25 more than comparable designer scents and will be exclusive to Saks for about four times longer than most exclusive runs. And, like Flowerbomb, another scent that was really not terribly special, it will probably sell hand-over-fist.
So hard-to-get and really expensive. That's the key...
Last edited by Serpent; 30th August 2006 at 08:06 AM.
What a depressing thread. Still, no surprises.
I agree totally, when sampling it I even thought that YSL L'Homme could appeal to Liz Claiborne customers. Sort of "my-first-adult-but-not-too-sophisticated" cologne.Originally Posted by Serpent
Thank God someone's smelled it!Originally Posted by cedriceccentric
I really think someone at YSL took a bottle of Givenchy pour Homme to the three perfumers - a tip-off that this wasn't going to be a singular vision of artistry but rather a by-committee scent to appeal to the masses - responsible for L'Homme and said, "Make us our own version of this, something nice and pleasant, with the guise of refinement but fresh and uncomplicated enough for all those people whose noses are too accustomed to colognes that laundry soap won't be turned off."
Companies realize those guys who used to buy CK One and Eternity for Men are getting a bit older and more affluent and are looking for new fragrances, thinking they should wear something that reflects their higher salaries and the more expensive labels in their clothes. But that doesn't mean they necessarily want to change how they smell. That's why M7 and Rive Gauche pour Homme were such spectacular flops in America. No, they just want their Eau de Hygiene to have more prestige, and YSL looks like it's catching onto what companies like Bulgari (Bulgari Aqua), Ermenegildo Zegna (Z Zegna), Clean, and Sean John (Unforgivable) have been onto for awhile now.
Finally had a chance to sniff this one today. It's not out over here until 16th September, but the YSL concession in Harvey Nicks had a tester hidden away waiting for me to go in and see them. The SA was really excited and couldn't wait to spray me with it. I held my hand out with baited breath, took a sniff and wished that I had held my breath for longer. Everything that Serp has said about this scent is true. It really is boring.
The SA came out with a wonderful remark. She said that the lid would make an ideal paperweight. To me that's the only use that this latest disaster could be put to.
Will someone please fire miss Chantal Roos!
Last edited by eric; 2nd September 2006 at 03:22 PM.
Hey, if she makes them a truckload of money, she'll get a big bonus. You all know how to register your displeasure with a fragrance: Don't buy a bottle.Originally Posted by eric
Oh, my word. This is not good.
It's like water with celery.
This is so not good.
This is sad news for sure....Oh well....I hate the bottle anyway so....in this case....Bad Bottle = Bad Fragrance.
Well Serpent, what can I say?
For once you weren´t brutal enough - this is a piece of garbage.
I will forever remember this dreadful day of sampling as the moment when this prestigous house, creators of so many fine fragrances sold out.
Horrible juice, closest thing is Hugo Boss Selection. A sad day indeed.
Haven't even tried it yet and on the strength of your collective appraisals, I don't even want to.
Oh no!Originally Posted by MonkeyManMatt
Am I going soft? I do have a reputation as the resident curmudgeon to maintain. I'll try to be much more venomous next time...