Perfume Directory

Rive Gauche (1971)
by Yves Saint Laurent


Rive Gauche information

Year of Launch1971
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 340 votes)

People and companies

HouseYves Saint Laurent
PerfumerJacques Polge
PerfumerMichael Hy
Parent CompanyL'Oréal Group > YSL Beaute
Parent Company at launchCharles of the Ritz Group

About Rive Gauche

Re-orcestrated in 2003

Rive Gauche fragrance notes

Reviews of Rive Gauche

This smells much like a stereotyped powdery vintage floral mix, with predominant rose and lemongrass opening that goes towards metallic aldehydes and soap with time.
I’d like to sample the original version and understand what makes it special, even if I find it beautiful now.
Adding: why am I hating the bottle so much?
27th October, 2018
In the early '80s I was a dedicated wearer of YSL's "Y", but one sniff of Rive Gauche and I remember how prominent it was at the perfume counters and on my friends. And this is in that same green citrusy rose family as YSL's "Y", but with a much bigger rose. This is the scent that Don Draper's second wife would have worn, with her French-Bohemian chic and her batwing Pucci dresses.

I'm getting a Parisian-soap sense from this, and finding it captivating, even though I usually dislike soapiness. There's something so retro about this soap lifted by aldehydes, kind of like original Ivoire. This is also making me recall Rabanne's "Calandre", another great favorite of mine in this era, with its soap-and-metal accord. It's interesting that so many reviewers can't detect the rose here; to me it's large, and I sense none of the other florals some describe. There's nothing sweet about the floral aspect, in fact it's rather spiky. I can picture this fitting right in with the Le Smoking era of androgynous Saint Laurent fashions, even though I'd only ever associated "Y" with those images at the time. In fact, this current version would make a great casual office scent for a man today.

What I'm sniffing is a contemporary version, and Turin gives pretty high marks to the 2003 renovation of this scent, which I presume this is, but I'd still like to experience that resinous quality that he says gave the older stuff a darker background. And other accounts note that there was a sizeable plonk of sandalwood in the vintage aluminum can version.

Sadly, the two sprays I applied had almost vanished after 90 minutes. I'm going to reapply just to experience that green citrus/rose again and to see if I can find any oakmoss in the drydown. But I already know I'm going to add this to my vintage hunting list, and I regret not giving this scent more attention in its heyday.
20th November, 2017
Mid-1980s edt: This is a nice, wearable floral, perfectly unisex. It smells like it uses high-quality ingredients that are no longer available or no longer used, and that give it an effortless refinement.
19th March, 2017
I had this in the late ‘80’s, and loved it. It was a fabulous scent that was reformulated and, in my opinion, ruined when I came across it years later. I remember feeling very sophisticated and "grown-up" when I bought it. I was lucky enough to receive a sample of the ‘86 stuff (thanks purecaramel!) and it was wonderful to try it again. After three hours of wear, I was enveloped in a lovely, soft veil of creamy jasmine and gardenia, with a touch of powder. There was also a very faint indolic note – not enough to ruin it, in fact it just made it more intriguing. The bergamot and the green notes add just the right amount of tang, which stops this from being too powdery sweet. I don’t get much of the peach, but I do get a bit of the rose. One of our students came in to my office today and straight away said “oh, you smell soooo good!”, so the sillage is obviously good. I seem to remember this being a bit spicier on me way back when though, but ugh, I’m so old now that it could just be my memory playing tricks on me ;) This is a good one, and the staying power is right up there – 11 hours and still going and still lovely. Apparently it has been reformulated again – is that true? Has it improved from its first re-formulation? Would love to hear your thoughts.
06th September, 2016
Rive Gauche, Mmmmmm!!
1970's. At the time, it had a big dollop of Sandalwood.
I have been told that reformulations killed it.
Well as luck would have it a bottle of this gem from the American years 86-92 I was able to find. Those old Butane bottles are the best. This scent's all as I remember. Adelehyde blast, almost metallic Bergamot. Balanced, Billowing Bouquet of Jasmine and Muguet and Non cloying Rose. Gosh this is gorgeous! All plush in the drydown of Quality Wood, Oakmoss and Savon.
I can wear this! And will!!
Thumbs up for the Vintage!
26th January, 2016 (last edited: 20th August, 2016)
An odd green floral/wood scent that is pleasant, but unremarkable.

Turin gave it 5 stars and named it a "reference rose." The rose is very very faint and gives us the green note. It combines with peach, muguet and jasmine and floats above "dark resins," such as vetiver, sandalwood and musk.

Top notes: Peach, Bergamot
Heart notes: Rose, Jasmine, Muguet, Geranium, Orris, Ylang
Base notes: Vetiver, Tonka, Sandalwood, Musk, Oak Moss, Amber

Certainly nice, but there are better green roses out there (Jacomo's Silences, Dior's Diorling and Laurent's own initial scent, Y, come to mind).
20th June, 2015

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