Y by Yves Saint Laurent: Retro Elegance

JohnLewis.com

I noticed recently that a small selection of YSL past favourites have been re released into a carefully curated Heritage range.  I have always wanted to try Y by YSL, having read of its legendary  green notes and its mossy finish- which is usually enough to get me hooked.  I was not disappointed and upon finding a bottle in my local House of Fraser, I duly drenched myself in it.

y by ysl

When first applied, it reminded me of a bottle of perfume that has been sealed for a long time before being opened.  There is a slightly “off” tang about it, like an old vintage perfume that has yellowed with age.  I realise that doesn’t sound like praise, but it is, I can assure you.  After a few moments there is a touch of green bitterness, not unlike Clinique Aromatics Elixir, and the aldehydes- sharp and uncompromising, dominate throughout the opening number.  Y then dies down quietly in a powdery green chypre that fans of Chanel No 19 and Guerlain Chamade will enjoy.

Every flower is here: all the heady, blousey ones- tuberose, rose, honeysukle, hyacinth, jasmine. There is Orris root to, which calms any stray sweetness into submission.

The basenote is where this really gets my loyalty for life (actually, it had me when I took its lid off).  With classic, textbook chypre characteristics, Y has a slightly bitter, slightly powdery finish heady with thick oakmoss, amber and patchouli.  There’s benzoin, styrax and a touch of civet too, just to drive the point home.

I should point out that I cannot make any comparisons between this and previous formulations as I haven’t smelled them.  Suffice to say, I was overjoyed to find a bitter, mossy green chypre on a modern day beauty counter.

YSL Y is fabulously retro and I fear that a youthful modern nose, attuned to sweetness and berries may wrinkle in disdain, which may explain why it’s not on the bestseller lists. Yves Saint Laurent Y is a classic-a green bitter chypre that you don’t have to seek out on eBay.  It already smells vintage and it makes this nostalgic chypre fan very happy.

Stockists

Y is available from House of Fraser, John Lewis, Amazon UK and Harrods

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2 thoughts on “Y by Yves Saint Laurent: Retro Elegance”

  1. I shall have to come round with the vintage bottle I scored on eBay recently. 🙂 It’s gorgeous stuff, isn’t it? I took a long time to come around to chypres – I couldn’t handle the bitterness for a long time. But once I did fall for them, oh my word! I have come to love the sharp greenness and rich bases of these glories.

    1. Oh yes do come round! In fact it’s all your fault I love chypres. I didn’t get them at all until you let me loose on the Balmains and the penny dropped.

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