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.