digging (into) vintage: Yves Saint Laurent Y, 1964

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(image, Yves St. Laurent, 1964)

Perfumer Jean Amic

Y is beautiful from all angles. It’s no wonder that the people who wear this scent love it so much. It has the poise of the chypre, taking the best from each sub-genres. Y has the formality of a floral chypre balanced with the smile of the fruity chypre and the nerve of the green chypre. This is not the middle of the road in a bottle by any means. Y shows balance, not compromise.

Most chypres sink into the skin over time. Y becomes a skin scent, but one with sillage, almost instantly. Interestingly, while other green scents suggest flowers, grasses, things you might find out-of-doors, Y is in fact outdoorsy. It has all the city sophistication of similar fragrances (Cristalle, Silences, No. 19) but seems perfectly at home in the woods.

Y was released in 1964, the year I was born and a year I’ve never quite made sense of. I remember the later 60s, yet photos from 1964 look like the mid-50s to me. Y captures a bit of this for me. A few years earlier and Y might have been Jolie Madame, a few years later, Diorella. Y is a bit like the gen-X of green fruity chypres.

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