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The Bold Scent of YSL Y for Men: Reviewed

It’s been a long time since Yves Saint Laurent made an impression in the men’s fragrance game. Launched in 2006, its L’Homme range had more or less run its course while producing some modern classics along the way, including La Nuit de l’Homme EDT.

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In 2017, the French luxury fashion brand launched its new fragrance, YSL Y, in an EDT format. It’s pleasant-enough stuff, but it’s the EDP version, released in 2018, that’s getting attention for all the right reasons.

Where to buy YSL Y EDP

YSL Y EDP bottle & box

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Price: $$$

Packaging and Presentation

Solid and sophisticated, YSL Y's bottle features the name of the company in front and the name of the fragrance on the side in silver, in an example of clever design.

Its color combination of dark blue and black fadeout makes it clear that this is YSL’s contribution to “the battle of the blues” (hello, Dior Sauvage and Bleu de Chanel). There’s a black and silver cap.

The box echoes the color scheme of the bottle with the letter Y in sleek silver.

Scent Notes

According to Fragrantica: Bergamot, ginger, apple (top notes), sage, geranium, juniper berries (heart notes), vetiver, cedar, amberwood, tonka bean, olibanum (base notes).


“A seductive interpretation of the iconic Yves Saint Laurent white T-shirt and black jacket. An intense portrayal of the Y signature, sophisticated notes of bergamot, ginger and sage are sharpened by an apple accord.

At its base, the boldness of vetiver embodies the passion of the Y man’s unique strength. Never stop believing. Y, masculinity redefined. Inspired by the man behind the brand and his freewheeling, innovative spirit, Y is bold, fresh and youthful.” –


In another demonstration that YSL wanted this fragrance to be competitive, the creation of YSL Y EDP was placed in the very capable hands of Dominique Ropion.

The Parisian master perfumer is the man behind creations such as Frédéric Malle Portrait of a Lady EDP, Mugler Alien EDP, Paco Rabanne Invictus EDT YSL L’Homme EDT and Lancôme La Vie est Belle EDP. He also created the first Y fragrance.

In June this year, Ropion was recognized for his contribution to modern perfumery with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from The Fragrance Foundation.

Personal Impressions

This fragrance makes its mark right from the start with a trio of fresh notes, bergamot, ginger and apple. The apple note, in particular, is a standout and gives it a juicy and slightly sweet bite.

A herbal facet follows in the form of a pronounced sage note, which gives it an aromatic tinge of pepper. Juniper berries and geranium add to the freshness.

YSL Y's base is woody in character with a big dose of amberwood, the note which has been popular in perfumery in recent years due to its lasting performance and ambergris vibe. Vanilla-ish tonka bean is also prominent in the drydown.

The vetiver that’s mentioned in the inspiration is typical of many commercial fragrances: a hint that you might notice when you’re told it’s there.

It’s all too easy to criticize YSL Y EDP as safe, reliable and even familiar. A shameless crowd-pleaser, it covers several bases: fresh, spicy, woody, aromatic and fougère.

Nothing wrong with that, we say, especially when it’s done so well. It also boasts good performance.

Who would like it

If compliments are important to you when wearing a fragrance, you’ve found your match. YSL Y is the perfect choice when you want to wear something without thinking about it too much.

Where to wear it

One of the reasons why YSL Y EDP is such a success is its incredible versatility. From gym and date night to the board room and cocktails, it’s suitable for all occasions. It’s also not particularly seasonal, so you can wear it all year round.

Similar fragrances to consider

Coming back to the “battle of the blues”, other options would, of course, be any of the Bleu de Chanels and Dior Sauvages.

But if you’re feeling more adventurous and want another bite of the apple, you can try the following niche options: Etat Libre d’Orange I Am Trash – Les Fleurs du Déchet EDP, Creed Aventus EDP and Demeter Golden Delicious EDT.

You can’t go wrong with the original Boss Bottled EDT as a designer option.

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YSL Y EDP Review

Richard Goller is a fragrance and grooming blogger. His blog is called Fragroom. A senior editor with 20 years' experience, his blog allows him to combine two of his passions: engaging content and the always-intriguing world of fragrances. When he isn't blogging, you'll find Richard indulging in his newly found passion for balcony gardening.