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  1. #1

    Default If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    I sampled some Azzaro PH at a drugstore the other day and I was not exactly enthralled by it. It definitely clashed somewhat with my preconceived notions of what it would smell like.

    For one, I think the lavender was definitely too strong for my liking. (That is probably my main complaint) I was looking forward to a more prominent anise spiciness, but a dominant flowery character persisted on my skin.

    My girlfriend also disparaged this fragrance, so I think it's out of the running for now...

    With all that said, is Rive Gauche PH automatically out of the question for me? (There were no testers)

    I often see comparisons between the two - what do you think are the main differences between them? Can you mistake one for the other? Is it likely that I can enjoy Rive Gauche but find Azzaro unpalatable?

    Economically, Rive Gauche is much more appealing: $27 for 125 ml versus $20 for 30 ml of Azzaro...

    I've read the "barbershop" description thrown around quite a bit for Rive Gauche, and I must admit that this was part of its appeal for me - but I am afraid now after trying Azzaro that I have quite a different conception of what barbershop smells are like for other people!

    Care to share your opinions on either of these fragrances?

  2. #2

    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    No. RG is softer, less astringent, and features a prominent Anise note amidst the Barbasol shaving cream vibe that distinguishes it from APH.

    IMO, they're not very much alike at all.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    Rive Gauche is definitely worth getting IMO.

  4. #4

    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    Both are fougere fragrances but Rive Gauche is darker and smells like shaving cream where as Azzaro is brighter and muskier

  5. #5

    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    Quote Originally Posted by hednic View Post
    Rive Gauche is definitely worth getting IMO.
    +1...

    Should be in everyone's collection.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by hednic View Post
    Rive Gauche is definitely worth getting IMO.
    +1...

    Should be in everyone's collection.
    Mark K

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    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    Quote Originally Posted by delamain View Post
    Can you mistake one for the other?
    I've only sampled Rive Gauche, whereas I own APH, but I would find this highly unlikely.

    IMO disliking one or the other of these wouldn't automatically preclude liking the other. I'd imagine that, with a little digging, you could probably find a better deal than the one you've quoted on the Azzarro though.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    I am like you on this one, I do not care for the pronounced lavender note in Azzaro PH. I somehow overwhelms the olfactory. I do have Rive Gauche and I do enjoy that, though I do not use it much. RG is exactly as many commentators have already described it to be, a classic barbershop scent. It is darker, yes. It does have an anise vibe to it. But it is so much like a barbershop fragrance. If you are into that type of experience, then RG is for you. You really cannot go wrong with RG. It does not offend anyone. You may find it somewhat boring but that is just one man's opinion. It is a clean, manly scent. So it is worth trying, and hey, it is relatively cheap.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    I don't care for either. At this point in my fragrance journey many of the scents with an old school vibe (RG, Azarro PH, Habit Rouge, Eau Sauvage, etc.) just don't do it for me. Maybe I'll come back and love them in the future.

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    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    Quote Originally Posted by delamain View Post
    Economically, Rive Gauche is much more appealing: $27 for 125 ml versus $20 for 30 ml of Azzaro...
    That's very funny. Usually it's the other way round. This price here for Rive Gauche pour Homme would be more than a bargain. By the way: Which kind of bottle is it? Maybe you even spotted the vintage one, so all the better.

    It has been said: I too think that Rive Gauche pour Homme is a modern arabesque on Azzaro's theme and far more adjusted to current taste. I don't know the newest formulation but predict it would be even lighter and more "aggreable".
    Last edited by Candide; 13th July 2012 at 10:45 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    They are very different, though in the same genre. I prefer Azzaro myself.

    The problem I had with RG is that there is a particular kind of lavender note in the drydown which is uncomfortably similar to the cheap fragrance commonly used by toilet paper manufacturers to make 'scented bathroom tissue'. It's unmistakable...unfortunately. This association has ruined RG for me, and I do NOT want to smell like that, even though it is a very good smell in and of itself.

    I never understood the need/appeal of perfumed toilet paper, but I digress.

    Bummer. (pun not intended, but appropriate)

  11. #11

    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    I'm not a fan of Azzaro either but I love Rive Gauche. I don't think the two can be confused for each other. Rive Gauche is darker, softer and classier to my nose, while Azzaro is just a little bit too aggressive. Rive Gauche is a gentleman; Azzaro is an alpha male. Also, if you like anise, that note really is very pronounced in Rive Gauche, far more so than in Azzaro. I'd say give it a shot, at least through a sample or decant (they're readily available online).

  12. #12
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    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    I like Rive Gauche but love Azzaro pour Homme. That said, if you disliked the Azzaro while it may mean you are less likely to like Rive Gauche they are certainly different enough that I would definitely think you should consider trying it. Now if you dislike anise then steer clear...
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  13. #13

    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    Softer, darker, more anise, with a noticeable shaving cream scent - all of those things sound great to me. I think I am soon going to blind buy the Rive Gauche PH...

    I just had to pick up a parcel at the same drugstore again (it has a postal outlet) and I just gave the Azzaro PH another shot while my senses were fresh. I don't "hate" it I guess, but it is definitely not my style. The lavender really does alienate me too much and the drydown is not quite as "masculine" as I would like...

    Thanks everyone for your opinions; you really made the differences clear to me. In some of the other threads I read, the posters made both products seem incredibly similar. Rive Gauche is a great value anyway, so I don't have much to lose...

    (Unrelated, but I went around town today looking for fragrances and the only other affordable old school cologne I saw was Quorum, which from the reviews struck me as having a strong piney evergreen character - something else I do not especially enjoy)

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Davem81 View Post
    I've only sampled Rive Gauche, whereas I own APH, but I would find this highly unlikely.

    IMO disliking one or the other of these wouldn't automatically preclude liking the other. I'd imagine that, with a little digging, you could probably find a better deal than the one you've quoted on the Azzarro though.
    I know that the Azzaro price is rather expensive - they also had larger bottles but there was only a small volume discount, so I definitely would not go that route. Walmart is the only other place that carried it locally and they had a fairly high price, but I can't remember it exactly... I think I'll just take a pass on the Azzaro, honestly...

    - - - Updated - - -

    Candide, if I am not mistaken I remember seeing the tall striped box with the narrow canister... Is that the new or the old Rive Gauche PH? I was not aware of a different version.

    Chili willi, I am actually seeking out the old school fragrances for the first time so our tastes may differ dramatically! I am mostly hampered by the extremely limited local selection and the USPS/Canada Post shipping regulations prohibiting alcohol. (I am afraid to risk expensive purchases online as a result)

    manatee and dr. seid, I enjoy the smell of anise but again my girlfriend despises it. I shall have to wear Rive Gauche PH on my own time... I think the "aggressive" nature of the Azzaro was what I disliked more than anything, because when it has dried down for a long time it isn't so disagreeable to me.

    Andylama, I am definitely concerned about the lavender notes in RGPH but I think I will risk the purchase anyway. It's funny because I enjoy the scent of real lavender but I don't enjoy it playing a lead role in my fragrances... I know what synthetic lavender smell you are referring to, and I definitely don't like it - but I'll hope that its presence is not overly perceivable to my senses.
    Last edited by delamain; 13th July 2012 at 11:02 PM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    I will have to fall into the "Dislike Azzaro pour Homme, but love Rive Gauche pour Homme" camp. I still don't think it is the best blind buy. Of course, I did.....and it worked out great !
    Seeking: Bottles/decants : of Feeling Man, Gucci pour Homme, Essence of John Galliano, Nicole Miller (vintage), Opium pour Homme, Oxford & Cambridge...etc.

    Seeking decant/sample of Jil Sander Feeling Man, Cacharel Nemo, Bijan for Men EDC, Lanvin for Men, Giorgio VIP, Il Lancetti and other old school frags ....etc. I have samples to swap.

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  15. #15

    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    As others have said, despite being in the same genre, you can easily like one and not the other. I'm a RGPH guy myself...

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    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    Actually, of all scents on Basenotes, Rive Gauche is the least controversial. Sure, not everyone will love it (a lot of people will like it), but nobody will hate it.

    Give Rive Gauche a try. Even if its not in your top 10, you will have some use for it.

  17. #17

    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    Quote Originally Posted by Buysblind View Post
    No. RG is softer, less astringent, and features a prominent Anise note amidst the Barbasol shaving cream vibe that distinguishes it from APH.

    IMO, they're not very much alike at all.
    Buysblind seems right on. However, barbershop fougeres will tend to feature lavender since that's a key to being a fougere so if you detested it in Azzaro, it might be problematic elsewhere. Azzaro's barbershop qualities are overstated a bit. Rive Gauche is closer with its shaving cream aroma. If you can sample it first, that'd be the way to go. For an unadulterated barbershop fougere, seek out Jade East, Royal Copenhagen or Clubman.

  18. #18

    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    I love both, and they don't overlap much so you could easily like Rive Gauche and not Aph. I think you can still get a sample of Rg at scented monkey for $3 shipped, by the way.

  19. #19

    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    Quote Originally Posted by Swanky View Post
    Buysblind seems right on. However, barbershop fougeres will tend to feature lavender since that's a key to being a fougere so if you detested it in Azzaro, it might be problematic elsewhere. Azzaro's barbershop qualities are overstated a bit. Rive Gauche is closer with its shaving cream aroma. If you can sample it first, that'd be the way to go. For an unadulterated barbershop fougere, seek out Jade East, Royal Copenhagen or Clubman.
    I am new to the fragrance game, but I have read about the role lavender plays in the fougere style. Unfortunately, I have not sampled too many fougeres, so I am not good at determining the level of lavender contained within. All I know is that Azzaro PH had way too much for my liking. (In contrast, I am completely comfortable with the level/quality of lavender found in vintage Dolce & Gabbana PH - my "most worn" cologne of all time)

    Thanks for the barbershop recommendations. I will check out Pinaud Clubman at least because I know that my shaving supplier carries it; it also doesn't hurt that it is dirt cheap. I have researched it before, but I am somewhat skeptical that I will like it. The reviews lead me to believe that it will too overpowering for regular use. (Then again, using it once in a blue moon can't hurt)

    Surfacing/KMF/noirdrakkar, i'm glad that Rive Gauche PH does seem to have such broad appeal. Your experiences do nothing but encourage me to give this juice a try... ND, you are right - even if its not my favourite, there is very little to lose by having a quality cologne like RGPH for backup.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Tappio View Post
    I love both, and they don't overlap much so you could easily like Rive Gauche and not Aph. I think you can still get a sample of Rg at scented monkey for $3 shipped, by the way.
    Sorry, I should clarify in my profile that I am from Canada. Thanks for the tip, though. I don't know much about scented monkey, but I know that it is a royal pain trying to buy fragrances from the US.

    EBay is like Russian Roulette and fragrancex so far sounds like the most promising option for cross-border shipping. I don't know if it is easy to get samples from American companies up here in Canada, mostly because I haven't tried yet...

  20. #20

    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    They are different enough to own both (and eventually like one and dislike other). I strongly prefer Azzaro which IMO has more personality and in spite of being released in 1978 smells more modern to my nose. On the other side, my girlfriend says that I should not wear Azzaro till I am atleast 40, and likes Rive Gauche...
    TOP 5 hot weather:

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    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    Quote Originally Posted by delamain View Post
    Candide, if I am not mistaken I remember seeing the tall striped box with the narrow canister... Is that the new or the old Rive Gauche PH? I was not aware of a different version.


    This would be the original formulation. For the price of 27 $ for 125 (!) ml you can do nothing wrong in my opinion. Back then I didn't even spot a 50-ml-bottle for that price. Get it while you can!

  22. #22

    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    Personally I quite love Azzaro but never been able to understand all the fuss about Rive Gauche PH. in this context I'd say that If you don't like Azzaro it doesn't automathically mean that you won't like the YSL either...


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  23. #23

    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    Aside from being in the same galaxy of Fougeres they are completely different. But don't just try Rive Gauche PH. Make sure you test out all of the triplets and you'll be surprised how different they are.

    Last edited by MaxHeadroom; 14th July 2012 at 02:47 PM.

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    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    Rive Gauche pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent - Initially, one is treated to a brisk melange of bergamot, with its tart, citric dimension, rosemary, with its cooling, camphoraceous slant, and star anise, with its smoky licorice. This burst of freshness is fleeting, and the refreshing opening transitions rather quickly to the waiting middle. Here, in the herbal heart, a mixture of clean lavender imparts its soapiness, invigorating clove provides a slight smokiness, and crisp, geranium leaf bestows its lemony greeness. This barbershoppy concoction meanders to the awaiting base. A robust medley of earthy and musty patchouli, lemongrass-like greeness and clumped dirt from vetiver, as well as waxy and faintly smoky guiacwood commingle to present a sensual and somewhat dark drydown. This masculine composition has average projection, basically a skin-scent, and good longevity, 7-10 hours. Conjuring an illusion of shaving cream, this wonderfully original and unique scent should be had!

    But, only the tin/aluminum can as shown below ↓↓↓:



    Quote Originally Posted by Candide View Post

  25. #25

    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    I'll throw in a wrench and be in the "you wont like Rive Gauche if you dont like Azzaro" camp. I have two of the 3 RGs, part of the reason why I've not gotten around to getting Azzaro PH. Yes, there are differences, but their similarities are enough not to warrant a bottle of the other, even if its affordable. I live in the tropics where aqua-calone monsters are the norm...RG is already considered "alpha-male" or even "dirty old man". Still love it anyway.

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    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxHeadroom View Post

    Nice collection, MaxHeadroom. Years ago the Light and Intense version were easily attainable in Germany. I should have bought them back then!

  27. #27

    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    Quote Originally Posted by Candide View Post


    This would be the original formulation. For the price of 27 $ for 125 (!) ml you can do nothing wrong in my opinion. Back then I didn't even spot a 50-ml-bottle for that price. Get it while you can!
    It's final... I'm going to purchase a bottle today! I didn't realize that that price was a very good one.

    If I really like it, I will buy another bottle later this week...

    I was especially not aware that this was poorly reformulated in recent years; Candide, thanks a million for pointing that out!

    To all of the recent posters, thank you for the reviews and for providing a variety of answers to my question - some in the positive, some in the negative... I will have no regrets about buying this frag, even if it is not totally enjoyable to me!

    I'll let you all know what I think in a few hours...

  28. #28

    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    Quote Originally Posted by delamain View Post
    I was especially not aware that this was poorly reformulated in recent years; Candide, thanks a million for pointing that out!
    This is what finally pushed me from "to buy someday" to "buy one now." When the reformulation was announced last year, I figured I had better just go ahead and get it while it was cheap, because they prices would definitely eventually increase. Hope you are as happy with your purchase as I was!

  29. #29

    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    Thanks Tappio, I am quite happy...

    First impression: 9/10

    This is definitely a keeper. For $28 tax in, I got 125 ml - Fragrancex lists it for $45! (Old Spice is $17 around here!) I am hoping to buy several more bottles in the near future, just so I have a small stockpile of this great cologne to last for a few years.

    This will likely be my "clean" and "fresh" fragrance. It is as light or bright as I want to get... The anise and the Barbasol really do shine through; I am not great at picking out notes just yet, but those two are clear as a bell. To me, it has an elegant and subtle masculinity. This will be a good choice for casual wear, when I don't want an extremely challenging frag.

    I wore this after a long walk in the sun, and the base notes were definitely throbbing from the warmth but I could not break them down into their constituent parts. This seems like a well-blended cologne to me; I don't think someone uninitiated to the fragrance community would be able to dissect this cologne easily, except for the "barbershop" quality...

    It definitely has a prominent floral component, and I can smell some lavender, but it is a huge improvement over the Azzaro PH in my opinion. It is way more balanced and way more wearable. As long as original RGPH exists somewhere, I could not contemplate buying the Azzaro - it does not suit me at all in comparison.

    It is terrible that YSL has supposedly emasculated this classic, but that's life. I will just try and get as much of the original RGPH as I can in the here and now...

    This was my first blind buy, I'm really grateful for the assistance of everyone here on the forum. It was definitely a safer bet than some, but there was a risk I'd be wasting my money. (More often than not, when I smell a new fragrance it does nothing for me - I think that just goes to show what's available at your mainstream fragrance counter today is garbage)

    My only hope is that my girlfriend enjoys RGPH... That may be an unrealistic wish!

    As my last thread discussed, my next blind buy will likely be Havana by Aramis... I know it is completely different, but I expect completely different things from it! After that, there are loads of frags on my radar - it will be a chore to narrow it down!

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    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    Quote Originally Posted by delamain View Post
    First impression: 9/10
    Hey man, good to read your positive first impression. Maybe your enthusiasm can be transfered to your girlfriend, too. Enjoy (both)! :-)

  31. #31

    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    They are kind of in the same general genre of fragrance so you may not like. But, that said I think Rive Gauche PH is not as old fashioned and more likable.

  32. #32

    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    Buzzlepuff,

    I see the similarities but I concur with some of the other posters - they are different enough that one can have opposing opinions about them.

    Rive Gauche PH is more mature and more of a classic to me than the Azzaro. It is more understated and far more charming. Take that opinion for what it is worth...

    I think Azzaro, at least in its current formulation, is a little too loud for me and as an overall composition it is not what I would look for in an "old school" masculine powerhouse. If I had to grow up in the 80s, I would still probably be scarred from the heavy-handed Azzaro guys who insisted upon lavender-bombing themselves every Saturday night... If I'm going to have a strong scent, I'd like something darker like tobacco or spices or heavy woods or patchouli or incense or leather...

    (I took a shower last night after applying the Azzaro, and I actually enjoyed the subtle but unmistakable floral scent left on my hands AFTER the fact than at any time while I was actually wearing it)

  33. #33

    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    Don't cheat yourself, treat yourself. Rive Gauche would be a great buy!

  34. #34

    Default Re: If I am not a fan of Azzaro, is Rive Gauche out of the question?

    First, you probably haven't sampled Azzaro at its best, since vintage bottles are quite scarce. I have a bottle and I get to wear it now and then. But regardless, RG is better. It's a full, well rounded, masculine fragrance that is so modern and does get compliments. I think this is one of the rare cases where a woman actually meets a man, without him going out of his way to please the opposite sex. I wear Rive Gauche mostly in the colder months, quite often, especially when I don't know what to wear and I don't want to regret. I have a few spare bottles to give as gifts in the future,. or maybe just for myself.

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