10 Best Yves Saint Laurent Colognes for Men

Updated August 2021

Classic YSL Scent

Yves Saint Laurent Jazz

Editor's Pick

Yves Saint Laurent Kouros

Best Value

Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

How We Found the Best Yves Saint Laurent Colognes

5 Experts Interviewed

12 Fragrances Tested

Top 10 YSL Picks

Liam Carson

Liam Carson

The infamous French couture brand, Yves Saint Laurent (also known as YSL), was formed in 1961 by the man himself and his partner Pierre Bergé. YSL’s first female perfume, Y, was launched in 1964, followed by Rive Gauche for Women shortly after.  Naturally, YSL quickly moved into the men’s cologne market, and the rest they say is history.

Today, Yves Saint Laurent offers some of the finest men’s cologne your money can buy. Still, the decision between fragrances can be overwhelming.  Lucky for you, we have compiled reviews of our top ten Yves Saint Laurent Fragrances helping you to create your new signature scent.

Summary List

YSL Fragrances Ranked by Cologne Critic

Editor's Pick

Best Overall YSL Cologne - Yves Saint Laurent Kouros

Why we chose it

First up is this incredibly powerful scent, with a woody yet fresh kick.  This is one of the older lines in the YSL line up, first released in 1981 – has been on the market now for nearly 30 years it’s not hard to see why this has been popular since it’s launch.

Kouros, a Greek word, refers to one of the typical Greek statues depicting a naked man.  To us, the naming is perfect as we think this scent embodies the gentleman – undeniably masculine, and much like the marble of the statue, a solid and reliable addition to any collection.

The Kouros scent is bold and masculine, with incredible staying power. Honestly, one or two sprays is enough to leave your whole room smelling of Kouros for an entire day.  Sage and coriander open the fragrance and soon give way to spiced undertones of clove and cinnamon.

We love this choice for a cold winter day, paired with a woollen jumper and your favourite pair of jeans.

Main Accords

  • Musky
  • Aromatic
  • Powdery

Classic Scent

Best Classic YSL Cologne - Yves Saint Laurent Jazz

Our Take

This is definitely a throwback to the 19th or 20th century: thick, powerful and dense.  This is entirely intentional, with YSL attempting to create the “original” father of all fragrances.

More spicy than fresh, yet somehow it manages to combine a bit of both.  Spices, including cinnamon and sandalwood, create an incredibly complex scent known as a fougere.

When it comes to opinions, there are two sides of the fence for this fragrance.  Some feel you need to have a certain vibe to pull off this particular scent.  Critics say it is merely an out of date fragrance and something you could in your Grandfathers vanity cabinet.

Yet another barbershop scent, this one has many similarities with Rive Gauche, particularly when it comes to the lavender and geranium aromas.

Rocking an old school relaxed vibe?  We think you’ll like Jazz.

Main Accords

  • Herbal
  • Fresh Spicy
  • Aromatic

Best Value

Best Value for Money - Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme

Our Take

L’Homme is famously the last men’s cologne produced by YSL before he passed away.  Despite their best intentions, L’Homme attracts its fair share of criticism.  The first cologne developed and released after Tom Ford’s departure, many cologne connoisseurs were disappointed by the ‘not too unique’ fragrance. 

Despite this, we find YSL’s L’Homme clean, fresh and otherwise a safe choice for almost any occasion.

Spearheading the top notes are Ginger, lemon and bergamot, while violet and basil leaf come through forming the middle.  Finishing in the base notes are tonka bean and other woody aromatic aromas.

In terms of longevity, we find this scent good enough to last through to the end of the day, perfect for an everyday work scent or casual use.

Main Accords

  • Aromatic
  • Citrus
  • Warm Spicy

Yves Saint Laurent M7

Our Take

M7 gets its name as it is the 7th men’s fragrance created by the Parisian perfumier, released in 2002.  Believe it or not, this scent was created by Tom Ford, who was the creative director at YSL at the time of launch.

Many people will remember this fragrance from the risqué promotional material at the time featuring a naked man, earning its place as one of the most controversial advertisements of all time.

M7 is by every accord, intense and divinely masculine.  Much in the same way as Kouros, warm and woody notes dominate this fragrance.  It has a very earthy feel as a result of the addition of agarwood – an incredibly expensive ingredient that adds an incredible depth to this scent.

Rosemary, mandarin and lime occupy the top notes, followed by deeper aromas such as vetiver and amber.  Another top choice for wear during cold winter evenings.

Main Accords

  • Woody
  • Warm Spicy

Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche

Our Take

Rive Gauche means “The Left Bank” in French and was inspired by the banks of the River Seine in Paris – an undeniably french fragrance.  Another creation by Tom Ford, many fans of Rive Gauche describe this as a classic barbershop fragrance, reminiscent of the cologne used when getting a fresh trim, with a far more exclusive feel.

Rive Gauche is a soapy fragrance laced with star anise, lavender, cloves and patchouli in just the right combination.

We personally feel this is a scent most suited to the older, sophisticated gentleman. Still, many younger men confidently pull this fragrance off, so don’t be put off by the mature scent Rive Gauche gives off.

Main Accords

  • Aromatic
  • Fresh Spicy
  • Woody

Yves Saint Laurent La Nuit de l'Homme

Our Take

YSL created La Nuit de l’Homme on the back of the success of L’Homme, released a few years earlier, and quickly became more popular than it’s original namesake.

The central note is cardamom, but the lovely scent of cedar and warm amber make this a fragrance that people want to get close to.  In our experience, the scents performance is a little below par, coming in at around 5 hours or more.  Some find that the scent can only really be appreciated up close – perfect for a first date!

As the name suggests, we think La Nuit de l’Homme is best suited as an evening fragrance, regardless of the season.  If you like l’Homme, this is definitely another winner for you. However, if, like many, you weren’t a fan of the original, you could still enjoy this scent as it represents enough of a departure from the original to stand on its own.

Main Accords

  • Woody
  • Soft Spicy
  • Aromatic

Yves Saint Laurent Y

Our Take

The inspiration for Yves Saint Laurent’s Y comes from the iconic YSL look of a white t-shirt against a black leather jacket.  The target for this signature scent was generation Y, or as we now know them “millennials”, born in the 80’s and 90’s.

Y draws a lot of criticism for not being “unique”, but we think that makes it a very inoffensive choice, perfect for regular use.

Another slightly woody fragrance from YSL, this one is definitely on the sweeter side, which some complain as being too feminine.  We don’t think that’s a problem and would even consider this as having potential for being a unisex fragrance.

The top notes feature white aldehydes as well as bergamot and ginger.  The heart is very green, with sage and violet leaf featuring heavily, before a musky yet light finish.

The scent itself is slightly sweet and fresh, perfect for a warm spring or summers day.  Definitely a contender for the best smelling Yves Saint Laurent cologne.

Main Accords

  • Leather
  • Woody
  • Aromatic

Yves Saint Laurent Opium

Our Take

YSL Opium for Men is built off of the success of its famous female equivalent, Opium, which YSL have a habit of doing in their fragrance offerings. 

Opium for men is a timeless classic from YSL, which is clean and balanced – a perfect contemporary fragrance for casual wear.  It begins with a  coupling of start anise and blackcurrant, giving way to galangal and pepper with a sweet bourbon vanilla in the base notes to finish.

Some complain that Opium for men is overpowering.  The longevity on Opium for Men still amazes us, even after a shower it can sometimes still be detected, definitely one of the longer-lasting Yves Saint Laurent perfumes.  This is a classic men’s fragrance which is undeniably recognizable as Opium for Men.

Main Accords

  • Soft Spicy
  • Powdery
  • Balsamic

Yves Saint Laurent L’Homme Sport

Our Take

Again built off of the success of L’Homme, L’Homme sport offers up a more aquatic/citrus vibe compared to its parent.  It inherits much of the citrus and spicy ginger scents from the original L’Homme cologne but really cranks up the refreshing zesty citrus.

Some fans of L’Homme Sport complain it doesn’t have exceptional longevity, lasting up to 6 hours. However, it still works to draw many compliments, and you are bound to turn a few heads with a few sprays of this fresh cologne.

We particularly like L’Homme sport for use in a casual environment and given its inoffensiveness, perfect for office wear. Still, if you’re looking to stand out in a crowd, there are plenty of other YSL choices that will suit you better.

Main Accords

  • Aromatic
  • Woody
  • Citrus

Yves Saint Laurent Body Kouros

Our Take

Last up we have YSL’s Body Kouros. This scent hits us as another classic barbershop fragrance in a good way.  With a kick of eucalyptus, this scent starts almost medicinal, yet impeccably clean.  Once dry, this leaves the wearer feeling warm and cosy, as the hits of spicy incense cut their way through.

As is the theme with YSL fragrances, Body Kouros is built of the success of Kouros, yet this scent is much sweeter than the original.

We think Body Kouros is incredibly versatile, but best worn during the day paired with jeans and a white t-shirt.  The longevity on this scent is outstanding, yet the aroma isn’t s powerful as to knock you out.

Main Accords

  • Balsamic
  • Warm Spicy
  • Woody

Inspired by our top Yves Saint Laurent Fragrances? YSL certainly offers a diverse collection, and we definitely think you can’t go wrong by adding one of their fine fragrances to your collection.

If you haven’t quite yet made up your mind, why not check out some of our other reviews to find the perfect choice of when it comes to your next designer cologne.

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Researched by a team of fragrance experts.