Givenchy Ysatis: File Under Classics


I was inspired to review Givenchy Ysatis by a kind reader who wrote in and told me how much she loves it.  It prompted me to ask why on earth I have left this wonderful classic so long?

Created in 1984, Givenchy Ysatis ( “Eeh-Sah-Teece”) was down among the brash Eighties hard hitters such as Dior Poison, Giorgio Beverly Hills and YSL Opium (which is technically late 70s, but was very suited to the excesses of 80s life). Eighties perfumes still have a what-the-heck nostalgia about them ( I will always have a bottle of Cacharel LouLou), but Givenchy Ysatis has somehow quietly acquired a bit of a classic status and still holds it own to this day, but not as a gimmick,  more out of sheer respect.  In fact, if I smelled it blind I would have attributed it to Estee Lauder.  It reminds me of Private Collection, Knowing and White Linen.

The notes in Ysatis are too numerous to list here, so I will tell you my impressions of it (which are, as always subjective).  Ysatis opens with strong aldehydes, lemon and woods. This phase lingers on for over an hour (reminding me very much of Taylor of London Tweed).  In the middle, the notes blend into a woody, green phase with a few flowers around the powdery edges.  Not girly freesias or peony though: spiky geraniums and rooty Iris, still with a background of aldehydes and greenery (think ferns and greenhouses).

The finish lasts for several more hours and has more of that delightful powderiness to it. It is rounded off with a hint of rich resins, a soupcon of honey, more woods, vetiver, oakmoss and even a hint of tobacco.

I tried this on my skin and my coat sleeves a few days ago and again today and every time my coat touched my skin, a bit more Ysatis would waft up deliciously.  Use sparingly on skin, and add to a scarf and coat sleeve for a scent that lasts all winter.

Ysatis has die hard fans and is here to stay, I hope ( although you can never say for sure in PerfumeLand).  From the glitzy excesses of the eighties, we found elegance and daring that still looks good today.  Oh and don’t worry about the eau de toilette version being weak, it absolutely is not!

Stockists: in the UK you can get Ysatis online or in store from Boots at 24.99 for the 30ml EDT, or  the 100ml can be ordered from Escentual for only 47.33. In the USA you can get it from, and in Canada, from

21 thoughts on “Givenchy Ysatis: File Under Classics”

  1. I had a bottle of Ysatis back in my days of serial perfume monogamy, and while it wasn’t true love (I went back to Opium eventually), we parted on terms of mutual respect. It was a beautiful perfume, although a bit more floral than I tended to prefer. I should try it again to see if it might be more suitable to my sedate middle age. (I should probably look up a particularly nice old boyfriend for the same reason.)

    1. Hi Laurels,

      Isn’t it funny how sniffing a bottle of scent you used to wear can take you back to an era/boyfriend/party/job more vividly than a photograph? I wear LouLou sometimes, just around the house. Just to remember stuff like red lipstick, black clothes, staying out late and drinking a lot of red wine for several years. Ah! my early 20s!

  2. Lovely to see Ysatis reviewed! It’s the creaminess in Ysatis that always makes me smile. It reminds me of 24 Faubourg but Ysatis us much more relaxed and good humoured. I think it always was splendidly silly, like those music videos we all used to grin at in the 80s. You can still get vintage Ysatis on eBay etc but the new stuff is great too, and a bargain.

    1. Hi Annemarie,

      I am so glad you like my review. Ysatis definitely has an 80s vibe about it doesn’t it? But its not so much in the “shoulder pads/giant phone” league as the “everyone wore pearls in abundance” league. I agree about it being a bargain, I was surprised to find how cheap it is. It came in well under £30 squid.

      best wishes Sam

  3. My favourite! I’d wear this 24/7 if I could, when I was working it used to be the first thing I reached for after my evening shower. Couldn’t wear any scent to work as I dealt with stallions and they can react to perfume, best to be safe rather than sorry.
    My husband (ex now) would buy me a large bottle for my birthday and Xmas but I’d have to ‘top up’ inbetween. Sadly no one bothers now and, like I said before, not being able to work means I can’t afford. Never mind, blue grass is being a sniffed out! Lol.

    PS, I’ve put a link to this website on my new blog, hope that’s OK?

    1. Hi Gwearbennen, This review was prompted by you, so of course I don’t mind you linking to my site! In fact, I am very flattered. You may also like Tweed or Dana Tabu. Both are under ten quid and the drydown of Tabu reminded me of one of the phase of Ysatis- maybe the basenotes.

      I am sorry nobody buys you Ysatis anymore. That makes me sad for you. If I ever get my hands on a bottle I shall send it to you. xx

  4. Another nostalgic wearer of Ysatis in the 80s! I have a couple of vintage minis and take them out and sniff them from time to time. I should just try wearing it again!

      1. Excellent taste indeed, expensive tastes too. No, it’s not really any more expensive than any other classy perfume. Besides, we’re worth it!

        I’ve been dropping the broadest hints to family here. Wonder if it’ll work!? Hehe

      2. I think Ysatis is great value. I have seen some very meh scents lately at beauty counters that are well over forty quid for 30ml and nothing to write home about.

  5. I resent Ysatis for changing the fragrance and forcing me to pay inordinate amounts of money for the “vintage” scent on eBay. Sadly, it is dwindling there and I can’t wear it as much as I’d like – DAILY! To whom would one write to complain? I don’t speak or write French or I’d contact the company.
    I have worn it since the 80s and every single time I wear it, strangers ask me what I’m wearing. It is lovely, even today. I’ve had men ask me on elevators what I’m wearing and then how to spell it because they wanted to buy it for their wife or girlfriend. Men love this scent. The new Ysatis fragrance is awful and not near the pleasant old version. Scoff if you will, but it is classic and still fabulous today.

    1. Hi Tee Cee and a warm welcome!

      I often find the best experts on a scent are the lifelong fans. For example, Ysatis smells the same to me as it always did but someone who wore it as a signature would sniff out any changes straight away. You are a good example of that in this case.

      You never need to write in French- they can easily translate a letter and English is often used as the language of business in Europe. However, I find that these days, it is quicker and more public to demand answers via Twitter, so if you have a question, Tweet it to @ParfumsGivenchy and see what they say!

      best wishes

      1. HA! Sam of the Top 10 most deadly creatures to man Australia boasts 7 or 8. We live in an environment where care is due.
        Urban areas are a bit less murderous but then you have to look out for the people who live here who can take larrakinism to dangerous levels.
        Portia xx

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