Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche pour Homme, 2003

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Perfumer Jacques Cavallier

Rive Gauche pour Homme is a thick, heavy aromatic fougère. The aromatic notes are in the cast, but aren’t key players. They are the Greek chorus to the lavender/coumarin drama at the center of a fougère. Clove focuses our attention on the coumarin, and rosemary and geranium steer us to the lavender.

Because the lavender and coumarin accord’s is built on contrast, the greater the counterpoint, the better the fougère. The aromatics merely keep our attention on the lavender and coumarin and their combined raspiness.

If the accord is stark, the transitions are not. It moves easily from an enveloping church organ blast of a perfume to a brisk barbershop slap to a husky whisper. There is nothing superfluous. The fragrance emerges from the fundamental duality of its defining elements.

Rive Gauche pour Homme is not pretty, it’s handsome. By historic fragrance norms, it is so classically masculine that I can’t help but feel like I’m in man-drag when I wear it. By the same reasoning, it’d be loads of fun on a femme woman.

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