Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Y by Yves Saint Laurent: Chypre-perfection

I’m considering a group called “CA” to stand for Chypre-holics Anonymous. If anyone out there is addicted to green, mossy, dry floral chypres who hasn’t tried Y by Yves Saint Laurent, well, there’s no doubt you’ll become a lush over it. It’s easy to binge on Y. Y is utterly flawless. It’s green and dry and fruity and mossy and feminine and masculine and classic and sophisticated and elegant and soft and sensual and, to finally end this list of adjectives, it’s simply perfect.

Y was the first fragrance created by the house of Yves Saint Laurent in 1964. I’m a chypre fanatic, but I actually do understand how chypres can come off as being dated for many people. For the past 15-20 years, chypres have not been popular. I’m still shocked that Ralph Lauren Safari, created in 1990, was discontinued. Safari is a stunning chypre. Since chypres haven’t been trendy, they aren’t worn or smelled very often, and due to this, the main association for most people is of “old ladies” because chypres were last popular during our grandmother’s generation and many classy old broads still wear their favorite gorgeous chypres. Even so, I think Y is a chypre that can easily get away without the “dated or old lady” stamp. Comparing Y with Miss Dior or Mitsouko for instance, Y is much less obtrusive, less potent, lighter, cheerier, spring-like and gauzy. Don’t get me wrong, I love even the heaviest of chypres, but Y should win awards for its ability to be present and longwearing yet sprightly and innocent.

It’s springtime in my part of the world and this is precisely when I long to wear Y the most. Y is the only chypre I associate with spring, with green buds and flowers. Y starts off with one of the most beautiful bursts of galbanum I’ve ever experienced. I hate to go overboard but this green burst is so breathtaking, it brings to mind a dewy fiddlehead fern slowly unfurling at the edge of a meadow in late April. Y starts sharply green, but it over time it loses its sharp edges and becomes a soft fruity, floral, mossy dream. Y is often compared with Vent Vert and Ma Griffe because they have many notes in common. Both Vent Vert and Ma Griffe are lovely green fragrances and there are certainly days when Vent Vert, especially, is the answer, though I find them both a little bitter and synthetic in comparison. Y is fresh, in a natural and realistic manner.

If you look up Y on basenotes or makeupalley you’ll see it’s called the perfect office scent by many. I understand this is because it’s not offensively heavy or strong, but I feel compelled to point out that this doesn’t mean Y is boring. On the contrary, Y, for me, is an adventure. Every time I wear it, I enjoy Y’s phases, especially the initial green burst, like a gun shooting galbanum bullets. Y’s drydown is soft, gentle and somewhat soapy-powdery-musky. As always, I feel all fragrances are unisex, but Y isn’t even a stretch, it easily goes both ways.

Long live Y

Y’s top notes include galbanum, gardenia, peach and honeysuckle; heart notes are rose, jasmine, orris, hyacinth, and ylang-ylang; and base notes are oakmoss, amber, patchouli, civet, vetiver, and benzoin

Here’s another review of Y, from Angela at NST

While googling for an image of the Y perfume bottle I found these chic boots by Yves Saint Laurent. How cool are these?


Tania said...

Sold! Well, I'll try it next time I see it, anyway... ;-)

Currently my chypre hankering is directed towards Acqua di Parma Profumo. I tried it on the weekend and it is gorgeous. Sadly, it's also verrrry expensive, so I didn't buy it. I bought Bandit parfum. It was on the upper edge of my budget, but Bandit makes me happy.

Abigail said...

You can purchase Y for very cheap. If the parfum1.com sale is still going on - it's 25% off there.

AdP Profumo is another gorgeous chypre which I wrote about recently. If I HAD to choose, however, I'd go with Y...

Anonymous said...

All right! Keep preachin' the Y love.

You are completely correct when you say it's utterly flawless.

krnszn said...

Love those boots! My mom's worn Y for years...and she's in her 70's now. Guess she's one of those "old ladies" ha ha. Perhaps that's why I'm not partial to chypres - I associate them with my mom's perfume. In fact, I'd never smelled Mitsouko before. Bought it unsniffed, and first thing I thought of when I sprayed it - Y. It has a similar scent, which must be the oakmoss! And now I find it difficult to wear because of my perception of it as similar to Y. Need to get over that. :-)

Anonymous said...

Oh, Y love Y too :-) !!