Perfume Directory

Jazz (1988)
by Yves Saint Laurent


Jazz information

Year of Launch1988
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 488 votes)

People and companies

HouseYves Saint Laurent
PerfumerJean-François Latty
Parent CompanyL'Oréal Group > YSL Beaute
Parent Company at launchYves Saint Laurent

About Jazz

A fresh light woody fragrance. An 'Old School' classic. The packaging was updated in 1998 when Live Jazz was launched, and is a reverse of the Live Jazz packaging.
Jazz was the first major launch from YSL after it reacquired the rights to its beauty business back from Charles of the Ritz in 1987.

Jazz fragrance notes

Reviews of Jazz

Leshutch Show all reviews
United Kingdom
I have a bottle from cir. 1995. It is too emotive to give a fair review as this scent takes me back to my college days and all of the memories associated with that time (1991 +)

It is a lovely 90s carnation-cedarwood fragrance that will probably mean something to people that are already searching out a bottle. However, it isn't worth buying if you are not familiar with it already.
25th June, 2020
Has that Kouros opening that is borderline unpleasant but in the dry down it weakens but still nothing to wear often. One of those you need to sample 1st. I did not do that and wish I had. Really not my thing cause it is that barber shop smell. Nice bottle though.
04th November, 2019
The trick with Jazz is that people will like it and dislike it for exactly the same reason.

Jazz is, as has been described in painstaking detail by other reviewers before me, a safe, spicy fougere. It harkens back to the 19th century, and it accomplishes this feat spectacularly well, and that is where you will get the division among people. Some will say -- myself included -- that this is a fragrance that is a reference to 19th and early 20th century fougeres that hits the nail on the head as being a well-thought out and well-crafted creation. Others will say that it is a fougere that smells old, dated, and unoriginal. The irony of course is that YSL was purposely trying to smell like "the original." And it does smell "old" and "dated." That's the point. When you smell this for the first time, you should and probably will be saying to yourself "Man, this is something my Dad/Grandpa would wear," and you'd be right, though you could probably throw Great-Grandpa and Great-Great Grandpa into the mix and still not be inaccurate. This smells like a barbershop without the shaving cream. Now, Rive Gauche pour Homme (2003), also by YSL, is the go-to barbershop scent around here, and it is a favorite of mine. I also prefer it to Jazz, but once Jazz starts to dry down and that sharpness fades, you will begin to se a lot of similarities between the two, especially with the lavender and geranium notes.

This is a solid fragrance and it does its job well, but like two-tone spectator shoes, it seems out of place today. It's a scent that will have people thinking that you're either hip enough that you can rock the super old-school vibe, or that you're just completely out of touch and wearing something you raided from Grandpa's medicine cabinet when you were cleaning out his house to sell after he died. I rarely wear this, and when I do, it's to enjoy its historical significance and to break the monotony. Don't expect to woo anybody with this unless you're courting history buffs or people who actually were alive during the Hoover administration.

A liver-spotted, arthritic thumbs-up on this one.
30th May, 2019
Fousty herbal-aromatic fougère with an oriental ground; this may be called Jazz but it's no way avant-garde, more like some boring old Trad band in a mouldy cellar.


Black and white stripe mini
14th March, 2019 (last edited: 15th March, 2019)
Fancy, spicy fougere that defies usual definition and is genuinely a joy to wear.

YSL's Jazz is still in production, and I am not surprised. Jazz really reminds me of Christian Dior's Eau Sauvage, both being fresh and with bergamot / lemon goodness, along with additional spice, wood, and floral notes. It evokes feelings of well-being and is enjoyable to wear for most any occasion.
24th August, 2018
A lot has been spoken about Jazz by Yves Saint Laurent (1988); it is a fragrance born out of YSL distancing itself from it's period under Charles of the Ritz as a perfume house. Original bottles were housed in a "Memphis-Style" plastic cladding that emulated the look of black and white piano keys (eventually moving to glass after Live Jazz launched in 1998), it was very late 80's/early 90's in aesthetic to be sure, but the scent inside is nowhere near as ostentatious. Previous feminines by the house were famously androgynous while masculines under YSL followed mostly in Mr. Laurent's sexual predilections of being suggestive of virility when they weren't out-and-out animalic. This gives explanation to Yves Saint Laurent Pour Homme (1971), Kouros (1981), Yves Saint Laurent Pour Homme Haute Concentration (1983) and Kouros Eau de Sport (1986), but Jazz didn't head down that "bedroom eyes" path, choosing a much more conservative and for all intents antique style. Jazz is a fougère, but not an aromatic fougère like what emerged in the 70's, nor a "fresh" fougère consisting of bright top notes and unobtrusive synthetic base notes like Aramis New West (1988) or the as-yet-unreleased Eternity for Men by Calvin Klein (1989), but instead just a classic turn-of-the-century type undoubtedly inspired by Fougère Royale (1882). Jazz wasn't the first fragrance to revisit this vibe, as Zino Davidoff (1986) had come across like a Victorian fougère bolstered with wilted flowers and the smell of used panties, making it appropriately scandalous for the loud 80's. Jazz played it safe, which was quite against the grain in 1988, and feels more like a spicier and woodsier take on the prototype fougère that appeals more to the everyman than the kind of haute bourgeoisie successful white collar guy typically known to flaunt their brand.

Jazz was orchestrated by Jean-François Latty, who's only notable credit besides Givenchy III (1970) was as half of the team on Puig's Brummel (1975), but he created a scent that was in it for the long-game rather than the here-and-the-now of the 80's. Perhaps this insistence on a classic approach is what inevitably cemented it against discontinuation, as it's outlived many contemporaries and even it's own flankers, yet doesn't receive the same heaps of praise as them. Jazz hums along to it's own tune, and it's one of long quiet melodious strides throughout the day. Jazz opens with bergamot, lavender, and artemisia, with only the last one being of significant difference from the fougère norm. From there, geranium pairs with lavender in the most classic of barbershop ways, harkening me back personally to the oft-ignored/forgotten Avon for Men/Avon Original (1949). Nutmeg, carnation, and cinnamon add a spicy warm floral twist that recalls another Avon: Wild Country (1967), but without that scent's heavy powder and dry leathery nubuck finish. The carnation and spices keep Jazz lively without making it sharp, and it's a classic "fern-like" accord from there into the oakmoss and tonka base, saddled with leather, amber, sandalwood and cedar. The sandalwood is very present in the dry down, but not enough to pull this away from fougère territory, with oakmoss and tonka keeping the woods in check, but the spicy middle continues to give this a distinguished character throughout the wear, without the profuse anise, clove, soapy orris, lemon, or vanilla of other 80's fougères. Jazz doesn't excite, but it does indeed satisfy, especially as day wear for work, casual use, or after a shower.

Jazz really isn't very "jazzy" and much understated compared to other 80's masculines, or even it's own flankers. Jazz Prestige (1993) would come about as a "bolstered" version of Jazz with almost the entire note pyramid (save the artemisia) intact, but with added fruits, spices, and sweetness to make both the sandalwood of the base and cinnamon of the middle pop even more, dragging the Jazz theme to the oriental side. Jazz Prestige is subsequently more lauded by perfumistos for it's dynamism and venerated by vintage hounds because it's rarer and discontinued. Honestly, I prefer the original Jazz as it's an antique vibe that's as precious to stumble across today as it likely was in 1988. The lavender and geranium tandem, for all it's talk of being a barbershop staple, is actually not seen so much these days, and it's nice to see a high-quality designer like Yves Saint Laurent make something in a vein usually left to old apothecaries or drugstore/direct sales houses, then manage to keep it alive. I get the hype around Jazz Prestige as I own it too, but sometimes that "extra" is just too "extra", with the vavoom and sparkle sometimes overpowering the core scent it was meant to augment. Jazz gets overlooked by a lot of YSL fans because another throwback fougère in the form of Rive Gauche Pour Homme (2003) would usher in a retro fougère craze with it's high-end Barbasol smell 15 years after the classic barbershop vibes of Jazz were forgotten in a haze of commercial missteps like Nu (2001) and the divisive final return to YSL male virility that was M7 (2002). Jazz is just a really solid traditional fougère with a spicy twist that makes it versatile enough for nearly all seasons. If YSL really was intent on making a more conservative masculine, they couldn't have done much better.
03rd July, 2018

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