Rive Gauche pour Homme 
Yves Saint Laurent (2003)

Average Rating:  248 User Reviews

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Rive Gauche pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

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About Rive Gauche pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

People & Companies

Yves Saint Laurent
Fragrance House
Tom Ford
Creative Director

Over thirty years since the launch of the original female Rive Gauche fragrance, comes this woody-fougere masculine partner, courtesy of Tom Ford.
Created by Firmenich's Jacques Cavallier (Issey Homme, Opium Homme, Ultaviolet Man). The scent is also available in an "intense" version, which is refillable and contains a stronger patchouli note.

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

Where to buy Rive Gauche pour Homme

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Reviews of Rive Gauche pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent

There are 248 reviews of Rive Gauche pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent.

It opens with some geranium, cloves, and mostly a very creamy anisic lavender. There's a substantial fresh shaving foam vibe that is sustained throughout, and a tiny bit of powderiness. That description might make this La Collection (square black) version of Rive Gauche sound run of the mill for American barbershop style fragrances, but what sets it apart is the sheer quality of the ingredients used and how well they are blended. When it comes to refined shaving foam, this one is hard to beat. If you're seeking to replace a vintage tin can bottle you should know that it’s substantially stronger and the gaiac wood note is almost completely absent in the reform.

Projection is low; this reformulation is very subtle - nothing about it is in your face. For my tastes, overspraying this one is a necessity. On the other hand, longevity is outstanding.

Masculinity Level: Paul Newman playing an aging lawyer in The Verdict.

All I can say is "bring it back, please."

The opening is a fresh bergamot based blast, with rosemary supply a greener herbal element, and the star anise adding sweeter smoothness. A bright, friendly and quite uplifting opening.

In the drydown a moderately powdery lavender develops, which forms one of the main elements of this creation. A floral side opens up, a geranium focusing on its leaves, with a spicy undertone composed of clovers, and transient whiffs of a light nutmeg also.

The base keeps the lavender and the clove - they linger until the end, and adds a soft patchouli, which is not really dark on me, is slightly spicy again, but fairly smooth; it integrates will with the other notes. A nonspecific woodsiness - glimpses of guaiac and whiffs of whitewood adding some more depth. Touches of brightness owed to a wood-centred and mildly earthy vetiver make a very restrained appearance towards the end.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection, and an excellent eleven hours of longevity on my skin.

Whilst the earlier stages are reminiscent of some traditional fougeres like the original Brut, especially with the appearance of usual culprits - bergamot, rosemary, lavender and cloves. The later phases miss the oakmoss-related counterpart to make it a full-fledged fougere. Additionally, it is a bit too soft for that - this is no Gucci Nobile. On the other hand that gives it an original twist. Some notes are a bit generic towards the end, but the performance leaves nothing to be desired. 3.5/5

The opening at times reminds me of the opening of Brut, but lighter and smoother.

The middle is like this subtle but slightly sweet shaving cream, but made of a bit higher quality ingredients. At this stage its very complex and nuanced, and the scent almost shimmers. The sweet shaving cream vibe here makes it more appropriate for Fall or Spring weather. It has some slight warmth due to the sweetness, and the feeling of wearing it reminds me of getting a shave or a haircut. The scent can come across as foamy or wet, if that makes any sense.

The basenotes come into play and the scent changes into the drydown of vintage Azzaro PH. It's very similar but not quite as musky and slightly more polished. But pretty much Azzaro PH in my opinion but toned down a bit for modern tastes.

I've heard it describe as a "cold" fougere, which is what had me intrigued. I don't get that. It's just as musky and warm as vintage Azzaro PH, but I don't get anything cold in it.

Overall, vintage Azzaro Pour Homme at the basenotes. I don't get Tom Ford, Drakkar or Paco or any other barbershop from it.

This is quality designer fragrance and should have been kept in production because of what it brings to the table. It's been my only, truly successful blind-buy. That said, I wouldn't pay more than $100 for a 4.2 oz can or bottle. The hype has built it up into the holy grail of fragrances, or at least the holy grail of the fougere genre. It's extremely well-blended and multi-faceted but it's pretty much OG Azzaro Pour Homme.

I can't say I'm the biggest Rive Gauche fan. I bought it blind, a square glass bottle without the black wraparound, after hearing so much talk of it being the ultimate gentleman's fougere. I am a fougere fan and was influenced by the discontinuation talk happening at the time, so I yanked the first bottle I could find. I have not smelled the tin can version.

Upon first spray I was put off by the sharp, clanging geranium and lavender. I like my lavenders soft and calming–when the volume is turned up, lavender gets metallic to my nose, a quality that ruins my enjoyment of the note, as I look to lavender to be soothed and grounded. So right away that was a turn-off. I also didn't get much in the way of clove or star anise, two favorite notes of mine. And the scent itself did not seem to go anywhere on my skin–it wasn't just linear, it seemed downright static.

But when my first impression of a scent is not favorable, I'm inclined to revisit it again and again, either to find the good in it, or at least understand what it is that puts me off. So I kept wearing this one. I wore it to work. I wore it on hot Saturday afternoons when I was out walking in the gross heat. I wore it after evening showers spent at home. And in every context, the scent held together for the full wearing, which is sadly more than you can say about a lot of perfumes these days. I also began to notice, in the deeper drydown, a very nice shaving foam accord that previously eluded me. Aha! There's the star anise and clove finally pulling their weight. Maybe I just needed to get a little air in my bottle.

I've been able to meet Rive Gauche on its own terms, and it's grown on me. Is it my favorite men's scent? No. Is it my favorite fougere? No; that designation still belongs to Azzaro Pour Homme, for now. As I see it, the key to RG is a humidity that contextualizes and unifies the experience. Have you ever walked into a bathroom right after someone has just taken a shower, and clearly they shaved while in the shower, because the scent of shaving foam is hanging in the steamy air? This is what Rive Gauche evokes–that straight-out-of-the-shower groomed cleanliness, no more, no less. If you're looking for something complex, or animalic, something that will take you to a faraway land, you'll likely be disappointed. But if you're looking to carry throughout your day that straight-out-of-the-shower groomed cleanliness, and you don't want that delivered to you by a truck full of citrus, Rive Gauche scratches that itch perfectly.

Sadness is setting in as I try (and fail) to find a replacement for my dwindling final bottle of this heavenly stuff.
Other fragrances exist in my collection of which I'm very fond, such as Acqua di Parma, Colonia Essenza, but Rive Gauche remains my favourite. I've worn it since it first arrived and over the years have never tired of it's gentle and for me, never outdated elegance. I just wish that I'd stocked-up when it was still available.

With what do I replace it ? New to Basenotes, I've read the very helpful reviews here on this subject and must now start to explore the alternatives, some of which I already know but have forgotten along the way.

A recent trip to sample some of the latest offerings from the big name houses left me feeling even more depressed.


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