Yves Saint Laurent Yvresse / Champagne : Perfume Review

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Champagne_1

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Yvresse attests to the fact that it is possible to capture the sensation of champagne bubbles bursting on the lips, while the warmth of the golden liquid relaxes the limbs and melts away worries. From the effervescent top accord to the crystal bottle designed by Joël Desgrippes to resemble a champagne cork, the elements of Yves Saint Laurent Yvresse (formerly known as Champagne) coalesce into a vision of sparkly, exuberant liquid.

Created by Sophia Grojsman in 1993, Yvresse prompts me to recall Napoleon Bonaparte’s “I drink champagne when I win, to celebrate . . . and I drink champagne when I lose, to console myself”: Yvresse is a fragrance that I wear when I want to feel elegant and glamorous, but also when tenderness and comfort are what I seek. …

The perfume has a delicate structure with the transparent fizzy accord of anise embellished fruit foiled with a subtle chilly accent of mint. The harmonious accord perfectly evokes the tingling sensation of champagne bubbles, which rise from the bottom of the flute in a long train. Inspired by Roudnitska’s classic Rochas Femme, Yvresse possesses the same voluptuous form, and once the bubbles fade one can see the sensual beauty of the composition. Yet despite the chypre structure, Yvresse differs markedly from the classical chypre, which requires time to unfold and time to discover yet another vignette hiding in its rich layers. Instead, once the brilliant top notes fade, the rest of the story is an immediate and warm embrace. The embrace of Yvresse is seductive and tempting, and like a sip of champagne, it fills one with a feeling of joy and warmth, a feeling that a less masterfully crafted composition would not have been able to preserve.

The name “Champagne” was purchased from Caron, who had it registered for Royal Bain de Champagne (1941), however it was not long before Yves Saint Laurent had to face legal action from the winemakers. The battle was highly publicized, and from the outset it was clear that the wine industry would be relentless in pursuing trademark protection. Indeed, as Winston Churchill said in 1918, “Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” Yves Saint Laurent had to rename the fragrance, and now it is officially marketed as Yvresse. Yet, by whatever name it is called, the vivacious and elegant character of the perfume remains uncompromised.

Yvresse includes notes of nectarine, anise, mint, rose otto, blue rose, lychee, oakmoss, patchouli, vetiver. Yves Saint Laurent fragrances are available from Neiman Marcus, Saks5thAvenue, Sephora as well as various other retailers.

Please see my interview with the perfumer Sophia Grojsman.

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27 Comments

  • Marina: beautiful review of a beautiful scent! Unfortunately I admire this scent only theoretically :-) Anise kills the fragrance for me every single time. Not just this one, any fragrance :-( March 13, 2006 at 8:26am Reply

  • marchlion: I adore this one, it makes me smile every time. It reminds me somewhat of Apres l’Ondee (must be the anise?), although it’s a dusky, sexy scent on me when it dries down. I never get tired of it. Your description of its warm embrace is perfect. March 13, 2006 at 8:44am Reply

  • Katie: “I drink champagne when I win, to celebrate . . . and I drink champagne when I lose, to console myself” Oh that is a great quote! I am going to whip that one out now when needed. I was talking with my mother one day and bemoaning her utter indiffernce to matching the wine she picks to the meal. She snickered at me, and sarcastically asked, “Okay, so tell me this – what wine do you choose when eating corndogs?” And the first answer I had was a slightly too earnest “Oh! Champagne!” Because, honestly it really goes with everything. Including corndogs. I have never lived it down. My family continues to make jokes about it now.

    I’ve yet to try Yvresse, which I suppose is a serious oversight. March 13, 2006 at 9:58am Reply

  • Christina H.: The only thing that has dismayed me is under the Champagne name they produced a parfum and now I believe it only comes in an edt form.How I wish they would go ahead and make the parfum! March 13, 2006 at 10:21am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, yes, anise is definitely pronounced here, therefore if you do not like it, I would say that it might bother you in Champagne / Yvresse. March 13, 2006 at 11:17am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, I must say that among Grojsman’s creations, Yvresse is one of my favourites (along with Paris, Tresor and 100% Love). Moreover, while Yvresse does not have all elements of a true chypre, it is still more classical than some of the current fragrances classified under chypre (i.e. Pure Turquoise). Not that classification makes a difference at all when it comes down to enjoying something. March 13, 2006 at 11:23am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Katie, in Russia, there is a saying, “Champagne is drunk in the morning either by aristocrats or degenerates.” (Marina or Ina, which movie does it come from? I am drawing a blank.) We would have champagne in the morning on New Year’s Day, and I still love that tradition. Although to be honest, I do not like anything fizzy, and my appreciation for champagne is only theoretical. Nevertheless, it is a very festive and happy wine. March 13, 2006 at 11:26am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Christina, I agree! The parfum was beautiful (not to mention the presentation). I still see it from time to time, but only as a leftover stock. Yvresse comes only in the EDT concentration. March 13, 2006 at 11:27am Reply

  • violetnoir: I saw this one this weekend at my local discount perfume store and almost asked to look at it. Instead, I purchased Rochas Byzantine, which is very hard to find, selling for $150. on internet etail sites.

    Hugs! March 13, 2006 at 12:10pm Reply

  • Robin: Lovely review, V…am just about to go dig around for my sample to revisit this one. March 13, 2006 at 12:41pm Reply

  • Marina: V,
    I am thinking it might be Brolliantovaya Ruka, but I’m not sure :-) March 13, 2006 at 1:05pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R (violetnoir), you should definitely try it the next time. Champagne bottles are rather like collector’s items now. Yvresse is the same shape, but the new name does not fit the image that well. March 13, 2006 at 1:13pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, thank you. I think that it is a lovely fragrance. March 13, 2006 at 1:14pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, oh, you are right! Thanks so much. Here is what I found:
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062759/quotes
    Of course, now I want to see the movie again! March 13, 2006 at 1:17pm Reply

  • Laura: Because I’m now so interested in Sophia Grojsman (thanks to you!) I’m going to seek this one out again. I tried it a while ago and have no memory of it whatsoever. March 13, 2006 at 3:35pm Reply

  • Tara: A wonderful scent, and a beautiful review! It is my favorite chypre, fizzy, with a warm embrace, just as you described it. I love looking at my bottle and spritzing it on when I need a pick-me-up. My favorite Grosjman scent. March 13, 2006 at 3:36pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, I am glad I could spark this interest! Yvresse is lovely, and I would highly recommend seeking it out. March 13, 2006 at 4:01pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: T, I think that its fizzy top notes are great, and the rest of the development is very warm and smooth. I just wish the parfum was available again. March 13, 2006 at 4:03pm Reply

  • Cait: I need this in the worst way now that you’ve reviewed it. I didn’t end up loving Royal Bain enough to keep it forever. I wanted more fizz and less powder. Yes to chyprebubbles, and powder only gets to stick around for me in something like No. 22. March 13, 2006 at 6:49pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: I admit that I do not care for Royal Bain de Champagne (or de Caron, as it is now known) that much. Yvresse is more transparent, more fizzy and at the same time rather warm and golden. It is not a classical chypre though. Chypre is only a subtle reference point here. March 13, 2006 at 6:57pm Reply

  • Mikhail: To me, the smell of Yvresse does not suggest champagne at all. I’m surprised that everyone agrees so readily with the interpretation proposed (imposed?) by the name and the bottle design. I like the smell, find it sensual and attractive but it is on the heavy side. There is a serious nutty component here (the official base note description mentions oakmoss) which champagne does not have. Possibly also osmanthus. The comparison with Kerleo’s 1000 may be relevant here. Put Yvresse on the back of your right hand and 1000 on the left and wait for 5 minutes. 1000 plays more of course but there are similarities.

    I agree that Royal Bain de Champagne is totally different, in fact a simpler perfume. Unlike Yvresse, it does have that characteristic lightness of champagne although in a somewhat “milky” fashion.

    It is interesting how our perception of smell is pre-conditioned by images from other senses. A classic experiment is to blindfold someone and let them smell a rose without telling what it is and asking to name it. The most common response is peach. March 14, 2006 at 11:48pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: I first tried Yvresse from a plain sample vial sent by a friend that was not even labeled, because the perfume spilled and ruined the label. When I smelled it, the first thing I could think of was champagne. So, it was quite exciting for me to discover that it was actually meant to represent it. March 15, 2006 at 1:36am Reply

  • Michael: I disagree that the new name does not fit the image. Yvresse is of course a play on the french Ivresse meaning drunkedness/intoxication… All in all i think it’s quite clever! oh well September 28, 2006 at 8:02am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Michael, very true. Perhaps, I am just influenced by how well the original name suited the entire concept. However, trademark is a trademark. At least, Yvresse was not killed by the suit. September 28, 2006 at 12:38pm Reply

  • Marope Mmolawa: Where can I buy this perfume in South Africa. I am in Johannesburg. (Yvresse) October 9, 2007 at 6:39am Reply

  • Peter: I am always like ‘how come this is not everybody’s favorite frag?!’. I just bought a 125ml bottle of the vintage formulation. This is by far my dearest scent. February 4, 2014 at 2:02pm Reply

    • Victoria: Lucky you, Peter! That’s great find. February 9, 2014 at 11:32am Reply

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