Yves Saint Laurent Yvresse (Champagne) ~ perfume review

Yves Saint Laurent Yvresse fragrance

1n 1993, when Yves Saint Laurent Yvresse was launched, it was named Champagne. It wasn’t long before the Champagne lobby noticed and strong-armed YSL into renaming its new perfume. Whether Yvresse smells to you like Champagne or a bellini or a tropical fruit-scented viognier, you probably agree that its new name — a play on “ivresse”, the French word for intoxication — is a perfect fit.

Sophia Grojsman created Yvresse, and she embedded in it the warm, womanly peach-rose combination that she introduced in Lancôme Trésor and then tucked into YSL Paris and Lagerfeld Sun Moon Stars, among others. Yvresse is a fruity chypre with topnotes of nectarine, anise, mint, violet, and a grain of cumin; a middle of otto rose, blue rose, and lychee; and a base of oakmoss, patchouli, vetiver, and vanilla.

Yvresse opens with a mouthwatering burst of wine-y nectarine. After a few minutes, the intensity of the fruit fades slightly and is joined by a more complex blend of mint and the tiniest bit of anise. After another ten minutes or so, the rose joins the peach and you begin to smell Yvresse’s chypre base, mimicking skin. The scent lasts a good six or more hours and becomes drier and, I think, more interesting over time.

Yvresse’s overall feel is light and joyful, but I wouldn’t call it simple. Yvresse is like a ballerina, disciplined and intellectual, but making her art seem easy and natural, unpredictable, and in the end inevitable. Yvresse isn’t necessarily easy to wear, either. Yvresse might seduce you initially with its tingling fruit and mint, but if you aren’t up to the complexity of a chypre, or if oakmoss and patchouli turn fetid on your skin, you might be better off turning to a crisp, clear bouquet of spring flowers for a celebratory scent.

I’ve heard that Yvresse was inspired by Rochas Femme, and while they are both intimate, peachy chypres, Yvresse is not nearly as aggressive as Femme, and if you didn’t know that Yvresse had a touch of cumin like Femme does, you probably wouldn’t notice it. Houbigant Aperçu is another chypre with peach, but I smell less sex and more demure rose in Aperçu than I do in Yvresse. Another scent that Yvresse reminds me of a little is Ines de la Fressange, but the Ines doesn’t have the same bubbly opening and feels a little more soapy and wholesome to me.

Yves Saint Laurent Yvresse is available all over the internet. Parfum1, for example, sells a 60 ml bottle of the Eau de Parfum for $24.95. The bottle is adorable and looks like a Champagne cork secured to its bottle with gold wire and beaten gold tin. I’ve also heard that YSL released a light verstion, Yvresse Legère, in 1997. If you’ve tried it, please let us know how it compares to the original.

Note: image via Images de Parfums.

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27 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Great review, A! I like this one, but I find myself wearing Femme, and now Ques Sais-Je (thanks!) more often. This is the signature scent of my nextdoor neighbour, who quite unreasonably loves me forever for getting it off the internet for a good price for her – it's not available here anymore, of course. The light version is fairly blah in my opinion, which is surprising to me, as YSL usually does okay with flankers or light versions. (geez, how many versions of Opium have there been? They're all alright…)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hey, it's great to see you again! I can't wait to hear about your trip to Paris.

    I should have included a comparison to Que Sais-Je in the review. It's definitely more muscular than Yvresse, but Yvresse is deceptively strong and complex on its own. It's a good one for spring, too (although I'm wearing Champaca right now, thanks to you).

    I'd love to see a review with all the Opium flankers. It would be a heck of a long review, though.

  3. Anonymous says:

    That is the cutest bottle!!! All I've ever had was a decant. Phooey. I had no idea. I think I'll go buy a bottle just to have it.
    You managed to mention several of my favorite perfumes in one go! That fruity-chypre thing… yum. Thanks for the review. I had no idea Grojsman did it, either.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I know, the bottle is great. It's one of those rare cases where the bottle is a pretty good visual interpretation of the scent. It's so cheap online, too, that if you like the scent at all it's worth picking up a bottle.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Lovely review! This is one of those scents I very rarely wear, but I find essential to have in case the need should strike on an evening in summer (the only time it ever seems to). I haven't tried the edp, but got of bottle of the parfum from ebay (the parfum was only made during the Champagne era). I'm wondering if there is much difference between it and the edp. I've never noticed any cumin, but will definitely sniff for it next time I wear it – which may be tonight, since I love cumin and am very curious now.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The mint and even the anise are so much stronger than the cumin that I never even noticed the cumin until I tried smelling for it. It's nothing like Femme, where the cumin is right there, front and center. (Now I'm hungry for grilled peaches with mint and a sprinkle of cumin.)

    I've never tried the parfum, you lucky thing! Yvresse seems like a scent that would be nice in elegant dabs.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for a lovely review! Sophia Grojsman mentioned in several interviews that she does not like the traditional chypre, and it probably accounts for Champagne being a softer version of a chypre, just as you pointed out. For me, this fragrance conjures a dressed up woman having a drink at the Russian Tea Room–all furs, gold and red lipstick. Nothing delicate or restrained about her, she draws all eyes. I admire Champagne, but I rarely wear it nowadays. Now, I feel more affinity with Rochas Femme.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Now that you point it out, I can't think of another chypre by Grojsman. I love your description of the woman at the Russian Tea Room, and I bet she's drinking a champagne cocktail with a leaf of mint floating in it! I wonder what the woman wearing Femme would be drinking? All eyes would definitely be on her, too.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I've been busy with a (paid) writing project since I got back a week ago and I'm suffering severe blog guilt. I'm going to try and do some Malle Editions de Parfums reviews over the next few days. Really interesing to read the chypre comments below – early in my perfume “education” I really did not like proper chypres, but now I'm addicted. I worry that the category is going the way of the dodo, since all the SAs I talked to in France said “Chypres don't sell” and the category seems to diluted with many fruity florals being called 'chypres' for no discernable purpose.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I guess chypres are an acquired taste, but isn't everything that's rewarding–good wine, art, literature, music, and on and on? I hope people don't go the easy way and stop paying attention to scent. Vive le chypre. Maybe I'll have t-shirts made.

    Don't feel guilty about the blog, although I'd love to read about the Malles! And good luck with the writing project.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thank you SO much for this review, This is the fragrance which began my love of perfume… Grojsman at her best (although, isn't she almost always at her best?), she is an absolute Genius.

  12. Anonymous says:

    You're welcome! Yvresse is quite a scent to kick start a love of perfume.

  13. Anonymous says:

    This was a real love of mine when it came out. I don't recall a fragrance that would make people stop and swoon like this one. It really is intoxicating. I remember looking for it about 7 years ago, and not finding it again and being upset. It took me about a year to figure out it was renamed. I think I even asked a young SA, and she said she had never heard of a YSL fragrance called Champagne. Clearly she must have been with another company :) and this ended my search for a year. Now I want to buy another bottle :) I wonder what my husband would think about the scent :)

  14. Anonymous says:

    Hey, there's only one way to find out what your husband would think, and you know what that is! Yvresse can be had for a pretty good price online, too. Plus, it's always interesting to revisit a scent that you loved but haven't smelled in years.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I like this scent a lot and have really good memories with it. I own a miniature and a big bottle (the mini is the cutest collectible bottle ever!). I was very impressed when I first smelled Yvresse, perhaps it is my preferred type of chypre. I agree with Angela, You can smell that peachy-rosy accord in it, especially when it You first spray it. I also DO feel a tiny little bit of mint in the background too, it kinda sharpens that rosy-flowery note, so that it stays more unique. i also do adore the mossy-chypre appeal of the whole composition, to me that scent smells “tipsy”, like a ripe nectarine in some yummi cocktail. It's different and feminine. Two thumbs up!

  16. Anonymous says:

    It sounds like you really like it! That's great.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Great review! I bought a bottle of the “Champagne” (I guess close to 15 years ago) when I was about 16 and living with my grandmother (the best person I have ever known whose signature scent is Shalimar)…She pretty much “took over” this perfume and I let her keep it when I moved on. I am so curious to go rummage around in her perfume now to see if she still has it, because she is not quick to throw anything away (during that same time frame [early 90's], I cleaned out her pantry and found a “whole chicken in a can” that expired in the 70's!)

    If so, I will have to get a spritz and see how it has held up!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Yes, you should definitely try it again! I hope your grandma held on to it.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Stopped by to visit with my grandmother. She was playing her Wii (good form of exercise for an 81 year old who lives in the heat of South Texas)…and we bowled a few frames together. Before leaving, I looked for the Champagne among her pefumes and the bottle was there, but alas, it was empty. But I pulled the stopper out and took a few sniffs of the empty bottle. Still smelled lovely! Like I remebered it! I don't think I can manage another bottle for now, but it is on my list if I happen to come across it for a steal.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I'm glad you found the bottle! It's pretty cheap at online discounters.

  21. natty-shield says:

    Hi just a question if you could possibly get intouch with me on natty-shield92@hotmail.co.uk i have been searchin the internet to see how much the original 1st ever champagne yves saint laurent perfume is worth in its original gold box with a uarter of the bottle stil full, my nana still has it as it was a gift from my grandad who has past away from when it was first released and took to court in france. natalie shield.

  22. natty-shield says:

    rephrase, My grandad brought it her just after it was realeased them the court case came out and it was renamed but my nana stil has the original and the box, someone told her to keep hold of it because its worth abit so out of curiosity. i loveee the smell :D

    • Angela says:

      How nice that you have the original bottle! I’m afraid I don’t know a thing about what something like that is worth. Maybe if you search around ebay you can get an idea of value. Sorry I can’t help you more.

  23. mals86 says:

    Just snagged a mini bottle of Champagne on the ‘bay. Smells great in the bottle – complex, sophisticated, celebratory. Unfortunately, on my skin, it’s all cat pee and bitter moss, much like Mitsouko. If I’d realized the relationship, I’d not have tried it (but really wanted a couple of other minis from the same seller, so it wasn’t a huge investment).

    I notice the same cat pee smell when someone cracks open a peach yogurt in my kitchen, so perhaps it’s the peach/nectarine note.

    • Angela says:

      I wonder if the moss is responsible for some of the cat pee smell. Too bad! I bet the mini is a darling bottle, though.

  24. smellgoodsista says:

    This was my all time favorite perfume 15 years ago and the one that my mother-in-law purchased for me the first christmas that her son and I got together….This is the fragrance that truly began my love of perfume…I still have the bottle that she bought me among the others. I think I will take a whiff of it tonight for nostalgia sake. Thanks for posting.

    • Angela says:

      I’m glad that this post brought up some happy memories. Enjoy your Yvresse!

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