Y sails in on a cloud of nose-prickling aldehydes; whispers of dry nostalgic peach and gardenia follow. The peach actually takes my nose not into the mod-1960's, but rather into the 1930's, when that winsome note was often used in the head of fine perfumes. The gardenia adds a smooth floral roundness to the head, which is well-supplied with a bitter green galbanum. That Y is a chypre is evident from the first sniff; one never wonders whether it might morph into a fruity, woody, spicy or oriental. The base is a true chypre of the old-school, and surprisingly substantial, chunky for a women's number of Midcentury. If you've ever mixed together the building blocks of a chypre with your own essential oils--- bergamot, tonka, patchouly, oakmoss, civet, vetiver--- you know that the result is surprisingly chunky... thick and dark and earthy; something of that solid nature is kept present in Y, not merely intimated, as it is, say, in CRISTALLE or DIORELLA. Without elements such as cade and Russian birchtar (or isobutyl quinine), I cannot call Y a leather per se; no, it is a true chypre in every way. The heart seems to me strong in bulb-flowers: narcissus, hyacinth, jonquil, iris, tuberose, muguet, with only intimations of other "colored" flowers like rose. With the galbanum head, the flowers always retain an air of sharp, early-spring greenness, even into far drydown. Like many great old fragrances, Y does not have just a single "stamp" or idea that it projects; as others have stated here, it is a free-formed shapeshifter, revealing its components differently depending upon skin tone, warmth and weather; there was a time that this malleable, indefinable character was seen as the mark of a truly fine perfume. Refined, very "French", Y combines an airy, bitter-"haute chic" head with a surprisingly earthy/mossy base. Though I am using the modern EDT, nothing suggests that it has been "dumbed-down", "freshened" or made linear to please modern noses; the moss within is probably tree-moss instead of the IFRA-banned oakmoss, yet it sure smells like oakmoss to me: dark, round, sweetish, tweedy, dead-leafy/bark-y/mulch-y. A subtle civet, here not in a foecal capacity, but rather imparting a wash of some classic ("old lady-ish" ?) indoles, imparting lushness to both floralcy and base. Grand and uber-stylish, Y is not a scent for cheerleaders and sorority sisters; it probably wears best on a woman over 35 who can rock its sophisticated swank. Were it not for its subtly frilly muguet hint, it could be easily worn by men, too. The sillage at first is aldehydic-bright, sharp and profuse, yet it quickly dies down into a rooty greenish-yellow stamp that will last many hours. Its closest perfume neighbor would be, not CRISTALLE, CREPE-DE-CHINE or DIORELLA, but rather 1947's BANDIT in its finer EDP quality (but not IBQ-strident as the Piguet is); Y looks more to the past than it does to the 1960's future. I may be laughed at by saying that Y's floral heart reminds me of the vernal, green, bulb/rooty blend found in GREY FLANNEL. I picture blonde women wearing Y, somehow--- Grace Kelly or Ingrid Bergman.... and La Deneuve, natch, especially in her BELLE DE JOUR guise. Y is highly recommended for the person who appreciates fine, classic French perfumery, and with an especial love for green notes.
If I could only have one perfume ever again..this is the one ...I first bought this back in the 80's and had everything from the soap,lotions.deodrants & the talc...to die for!...I have 3 100ml bottles stashed away as I never want to be without it ...
I spray it into the air & walk through so it creates an aura of soft powdery rose which just wafts around you ....it lingers on your clothes which is lovely ..its a true classic ..I know its been reformulated but I really cant tell the difference ....I abs love Y ..its a true beauty...the bottle has'nt really changed either still a solid square glass bottle with a gold Y on the front & an attached gold spray cap.
Years ago, I had a coffret of YSL minis, and Y was one of them (in the parfum). I hadn't yet become really interested in perfumes, and I still was a little scared of chypres. I liked this but preferred Paris and Rive Gauche. Y made me feel a little 'strict schoolmarm-ish', and I thought that my teachers in the late 70s may have worn it.
I've finally bought the edt, after years of learning so much about perfumes, and my own preferences. Both dry and fresh, but with a duskiness in the basenotes, Y has a gorgeous personality yet never eclipses the person wearing it. I adore it.
There are more famous YSL perfumes—Paris, Opium, Rive Gauche, In Love Again—but this was the first, and it is as strange, reticent, gentle, elegant, and intelligent as Saint Laurent himself (the name is of course a play on his name, as well as the indefinite French pronoun). Y's verdant deeps, as tranquil and dusky, are brightened by peachy aldehydes and "the twilight-colored smell of honeysuckle" (Faulkner), its chypre character is highlighted, rather than obscured, with galbanum, hyacinth, narcissus, rose, vetiver, and patchouli, and the drydown is quite silky. Y strikes a gracious balance: its presence is quite distinctive, very much the chypre, but it remains very discrete and smooth, not even a hint of harshness, enough for the proverbial trapped-in-an-elevator-in-high-summer scenario. Its dignity seems to effect a outward froideur, but there's a Belle du Jour sense of inner life that makes it a far more sensuous fragrance than, say, No. 19, another green chypre.
I have tried both the vintage EDT and vintage Parfum, and unfortunately I found the scent to disappear very quickly on my wrist even with the pure parfum concentration. After some gorgeously elegant green, fruity, spring-flower top notes, the scent seems to vanish into imperceptibility. But I am overstating the case. The truth is, although I cannot really smell it very strongly when I put my nose to wrist, I do get soft wafts of it drifting up at random times, and when I do I am absolutely entranced. The drydown, light as it is, is a lovely hint of rose, civet, and a bare hint of patchouli, set against an oakmossy chypre base. I can forgive "Y" for drying quickly down to such a subtle state, because the gentle caress of this perfume is all the more precious for its fleeting, peekaboo nature. Where other perfumes cry out from the wrist, Y merely whispers. Sublime is the word. Chypre lovers, this is a must-try. Just be patient with it: Like the rare event of a butterfly landing on your shoulder, bask in the elusive, precious moments of this perfume's perceptibility.
Smells of lemon, oakmoss, and jasmin to me. It does have that perfumey quality that unfortunately gets branded "old lady" on these reviews but if this is old lady then I want to be an old lady. I love this. I have over two dozen favorite perfumes and I use this one the most. I happen to like a perfumey smelling fragrance at times, and so do most men I have found. I can't stand the aldehydes in perfumes like Chanel No. 5 but these aldehydes are wonderful, because of the chypre--the lemon and oakmoss. And the spray bottle is incredibly elegant and retro, not having a cap but instead an elaborate all-in-one gold spray top. How I wish that "old lady" descriptor would finally die. It makes those who use it sound so bimbo. It's a quality in fragrance that announces "this is perfume" which is not done any more in new scents. But in this case, and in a few other cases, it's wonderful.
This is an elegant French perfumey chypre, and it's heavenly.
ABSOLUTELY TIMELESS AND GORGEUSE IN A VERY FRENCH AND CLASSY WAY.
Mixed feelings on this one. If you're in the mood for a heavy, old-fashioned chypre, look no further. It is strong on the oakmoss, yet still light enough to wear on a warm day and not feel too overbearing. However, it does have that very perfumey, almost "old lady" kind of smell (that, I know, is not a good term to use on here).
If you'll excuse my saying that, overall it is a lovely fragrance, a 'blast from the past' sort of feel. There is something likeable about this one. Something almost mysterious. It is kind of nice, I will probably wear it again.....
Beautiful chypre. Opens with lovely aldehydes then dries down to woody green and oakmoss. Some fruitiness in the drydown too so not as dry as other chypres like Givenchy III. Long lasting, classic, and very wearable.
Alas - this is absolutely horrible on me. Sharp, acrid, musty, smoky with undertones of cat pee. ONce again it just goes to show how much our body chemistry has to do with how a fragrance smells on us. I do quite well with chypres as a rule but this is definitely the exception. Try before you buy (this was given to me as a gift).