Friday, February 26, 2010

Givenchy Ysatis: Classic Floriental

I cannot believe I didn’t know Ysatis was created by Dominque Ropion. I have always liked Ysatis and just when I decided to sit down and write about it (today) is when I googled to find Ropion is the culprit. I’m a huge crazy fan of Ropion’s work and the fact that I was enamored with Ysatis before knowing the nose behind it makes me feel even more strongly that I’m a Ropion devotee (stalker?). Except Ego Facto’s Poopoo Pidoo, that is most definitely not a good Ropion fragrance for me. Bleck.

I found this fantastic review of Ysatis on a blog called Yesterday’s Perfume. She makes me laugh when she writes “Ysatis is not only a pleasure to pronounce (look in the mirror, purse your lips and whisper “Eee-saht-ees, by Jee-vahn-shee” just for kicks) it's a gorgeous and sensual floral.”

Ysatis is a classic floriental. It’s sensual and timeless and surprises me that it was created in 1984. It could easily have been made fifty years before that. But, like all Ropion fragrances, I find them classic but not dated or old fashioned. Well, maybe a 20 year old smelling Ysatis today would think it’s old fashioned, but I don’t concern myself with the youngsters. I imagine Ysatis to be the signature scent of a devoted group of sophisticated 40-somethings. These lovely ladies probably grew up smelling Ysatis in the 80’s and it just spoke to them. Ysatis has a signature scent vibe to me, because it’s distinct, complex and sexaaaay.

I’ve been wearing Ysatis for the better part of this week and it keeps reminding me of something else. It finally struck me today. It reminds me of Divine eau de parfum. Well, I should write that Divine reminds me of Ysatis because Y came before D. Then after reading there is a coconut note in Ysatis, the whole composition became so clear and obvious. Now I can really smell the individual notes, which is unusual in a dense floriental like this, but I can. In the top I smell mandarin and dark coconut. But I doubt you’d know there was coconut here on your own, but once you know, it just screams coconut. The heart is my favorite combination of big florals; the tuberose, jasmine, and ylang-ylang do their magical Ropion dance in my nostrils like the drumbeat from a far-off exotic island. Somehow Ropion stops just short of making Ysatis a tropical fragrance. The exotic elements are here but it never goes completely native – it remains mainstream floral with a twist rather than stepping off the plane to be greeted with a lei around your neck. I’m not sure if Ysatis actually contains oakmoss (probably not anymore) but there is a mossy, civetous, patchouli base here - yum, yum, my favorite kind of stuff.

Most likely Ysatis has been reformulated. It’s definitely been repackaged and I’m not sure if the packaging will tell you which is which (pre-reform vs. current). It comes in either a black or purple box. The one I have is the black box and I *think* this might be the original.

Ysatis is grand. I will be having some goofball fun this weekend looking in the mirror and saying ““Eee-saht-ees, by Jee-vahn-shee." I imagine a pure parfum concentration of Ysatis would be Holy Grail material for me. Does anyone know if parfum exists? Also, I've never tried Ysatis Iris - has anyone out there?

Notes ~ (Notes for Ysatis are scarce and varied so I pieced these together from several online sources)
Top: Green note, aldehydes, mandarin, rosewood, coconut
Heart notes: Tuberose, jasmine, narcissus, carnation, rose, ylang-ylang
Base notes: Patchouli, sandalwood, castoreum, civet, oakmoss, amber, honey, cistus


lovethescents said...

This was one of my favorites in high school, along with LouLou. Now I can't wear this at all.....big civet bomb!

Brian said...

I love yesterday's perfumes. She finds the best vintage ads and the writing is great. I have an old (80's) bottle of Ysatis from a thrift store. My friend found it for me. It's an ounce. I haven't smelled the new Ysatis but I need to. I imagine it's not as nice. I smell lemon in mine, a nice custard lemon, and a lot of civet and musks. I've smelled Iris. It's not very interesting. Ropion too. It's a rather flat fruity floral, if I remember. Perfumania sells it.

Mals86 said...

I picked up a mini bottle of this on ebay (blind buy, since I knew it contains tuberose) a few weeks ago and have just sniffed it from the bottle. Looking forward to trying it on skin.

I feel certain that I smelled it on other people in the 80's, since it smells so familiar, but it wasn't familiar to the degree that I could have named it.

What it reminded me of was a lighter, less oriental version of Ubar, which is good. (Split of Ubar coming my way soon, yay!) I do have a sample of Divine floating around here too... now if I can only find some time to test these darn things...

queen_cupcake said...

Love for Ysatis, yes! And if you really want to get the shivers when you do the mirror-mirror thing, say: "Eee-saht-ees, PAR Jee-vahn-shee". Then you'll be, like, really French. For a few seconds. (sorry about the caps, I don't speak html)

Unknown said...

Ysatis was my first extrait de parfum ever. I was in my twenties, and bought it as a birthday present for myself. It was the only perfume my sister tolerated, everything else was being designated as 'toiletcleaner', including Diorissimo!
I still have the little empty bottle in the box, and for me it represents magic. The fact that my sister accepted this scent attributed to that. Her aesthetic demands of life were beyond reproach and generally she regarded perfume scents as an attribution to the ugliness of life and an affirmation of the shallowness of many women. Not so Ysatis. Somehow that one represented beauty, intelligence, wit and great taste. (Her opinions never stopped me buying perfumes, btw).

Unknown said...

I'm with you on Ysatis! I've loved it since the 80's when I was in high school & it was my "grown up" fragrance. I still have some of the perfume in a mini & it's amazing! Lots of musk & moss in the dry down. The old minis are all over Ebay. Definitely worth picking one up. And I've smelled the newer formulation. I think the older version has more "umph" in the base, but it's still a beautiful fragrance.

Anonymous said...

Hi Abigail, so sorry to be chiming in so late but just saw the blog and had to share in the love for Ysatis. I wore it in the early 1980s for my job as a fashion writer/pr person and I loved it -- I always felt so elegant and sophisticated in it. To my nose, today's version seems perhaps not quite as good as the original, but it's still wonderful and has more class than a lot of new stuff on the market today. Some people like to rag on the '80s and its over-the-top fragrances, but some lovely scents did come out of that era.
Thanks for revisiting on some old favorites and classics!

Ann N.

Abigail said...

I'm sorry you can't wear Ysatis anymore...I also wore LouLou in high school and I still adore that one, too.

Yo Brian,
Thanks for letting me know about Ysatis Iris. One less bottle to purchase ;-)

Hope you are head over heels for the Ubar!

love it! PAR instead of, you, you're clever, you! (bad impression of DeNiro)

Well, now that is saying something that your sister liked Ysatis when she hated just about everything else. It is a perfect floriental imo. And I hope it will stand the test of time.

Glad to hear the current version isn't ruined. I need to pick up a new bottle and check. I'm a little skeeerd...

Ann N.,
No worries about lateness. Comments are welcome anytime - even years later! Actually, I think the bold 80's are still my favorite type of scents. I like big potent 'fumes - but I just don't wear too much - and then all is well in the world.

Anonymous said...

Always Ysatis! I have worn this since it came out and always the parfum. Bought several bottles when abroad and am just about to the end. I have searched the world, but the parfum is no longer manufactured, only the eau du toilette. I am crushed. Virtually every time I wear it, there are compliments. The Eau just doesn't have the longevity of the parfum. Sure wish they would bring it back.

Anonymous said...

So pleased to see you think that Ysatis smells like Divine. I was handed a sample of Divine on holiday in St Malo and immediately smelt Ysatis which I have worn since I was 18 (I'm now 43). I've just finished a bottle of Ysatis and was going to buy one on the boat out to France but when I smelt the sample I thought that it hadn't definitely changed - it didn't smell as rich and seemed more synthetic. Was hoping to swap to Divine but have just looked at the prices online and it's not to be at the moment! Will just have to keep smelling the card sample in my purse.

MahoganySoul @~~{~~~ said...

Hey! Not all of us younger generation folks have bad taste in scents. I was introduced to Ysatis in middle school (I saw it in a thrift store and figured if it smelled half as good as the name sounded, I was in good shape) and fell in love with it (I'm 28 now). I've tried various scents over the last 10 years, and I find myself always longing for the sophistication of Ysatis. IN LOVE with this scent!

MahoganySoul @~~{~~~ said...

Hey! Not all of us younger generation folks have bad taste in scents. I was introduced to Ysatis in middle school (I saw it in a thrift store and figured if it smelled half as good as the name sounded, I was in good shape) and fell in love with it (I'm 28 now). I've tried various scents over the last 10 years, and I find myself always longing for the sophistication of Ysatis. IN LOVE with this scent!

Anonymous said...

Hi Abigail,

Love your post and the comments.
A few days ago I came across Ysatis for the first time and although I'm not the floral type, it did something to me. Yesterday I went to the drugstore again to get another whiff of it. I'm in love! I have the scent in my nose and brain and I felt like checking out what others say about it. That's how I found your blog.

Cheers from Israel.

Anonymous said...

Hi All,

I have worn Ysatis since February, 1987 and love it as much today as the first time I tried it in the downtown Spokane Bon Marche. It is sophisticated and every gentleman I have had the pleasure of dating has told me that it is a "memorable" scent. One guy bought it for his wife after we stopped dating (we were both single when we dated!!!) I still have people compliment me including a nice lady I shared a waiting room with at MD Anderson. She stood up and said "who is wearing Ysatis???" It was a welcome break from the medical problems & she was a sweetheart to talk with.

Ysatis4ever said...

Have been wearing Ysatis since it was introduced. It was a sad, sad day in history when they reformulated (purple box). We're not stupid Givenchy (they denied it)!!! The synthetic presence is highly detectable! Wish we knew when companies were going to change/discontinue items. For those who wore Ysatis in the 80's and 90's, do you remember the Ysatis spray oil in the white and gold metal can?? It had all the layering that you could want. The fragrance in the oil base was soooo longlasting. As for the eau de toilette, it has much LESS essential oil in it than in years past, so I apply coconut oil before spraying to carry the fragrance. It helps, but "ain't nothin' like the real thing, baby!!!" I could cry that we can't buy the Ysatis spray oil nor the original formula. Very, very, very, very, very disappointed that I have to settle for the imposter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!