YSL Vintage Champagne/Yvresse: Sparkling Elegance

Source: evollt.com

Source: evollt.com

Bubbling joy, effervescent gold, the emerald of a mossy forest floor, glowing orange and pink jewels cocooned in French elegance, and a warm smile on the sunniest of days: Champagne. It is liquid gold, but so much more than that in the case of the extremely well-named, vintage fragrance from Yves Saint Laurent. Some things simply make you happy, and Champagne (or Yvresse, as it was quickly re-named) is one of those things for me. I always stand a little straighter when I wear it, feel brighter, with more of a kick in my step. It makes me feel elegant and sophisticated, even when I’m wearing jeans and a t-shirt. I feel smoothed out, covered in gold, and dripping glowing jewels of orange and pink.

Photo: Jimpix.co.uk

Photo: Jimpix.co.uk

It doesn’t make a lot of sense on the face of it because Champagne or Yvresse is very far from my usual style. At first glance, it appears like a simple, extremely sweet, very feminine fruity-floral. Look closer and take a deeper sniff, however, and you will see a dark, lush forest of green carpeting those fruits and flowers, a base of oakmoss of such high quality that I’ve only smelled its like recently in $400 and $900 fragrances from Roja Dove.

Source: parentium.com

Source: parentium.com

There is green aplenty in Yvresse, but perhaps the real joy stems from the effervescent, incandescent bubbles of gold that hit your nose from the very start. Clever uses of menthol create a chilled sensation that very much evokes the subtle, sparkling tingle of really good, expensive champagne. Yet, the bubbles are only half the story.

Tart, tangy juiciness drips from lush nectarines, lychee, and peaches with a joyful abandon that feels like the best of summer. Yvresse is most definitely a chypre first and foremost, but the fruited touch makes the scent as warm and as sweet as a big, infectious grin. All of the haughty, aloof, cool distance that the dark green oakmoss in a chypre can create has been replaced by bright, sunny plushness. Even when the fragrance turns drier and less sweet, the lingering touches of peach and vanilla create a softness that is approachable elegance at its best. It’s not the stark, perfect beauty of Grace Kelly (who is perhaps a perfect representation of a chypre’s aloof coolness), but the warm smile of Audrey Hepburn. Yvresse/Champagne is bright joy and sunniness mixed with elegant sophistication and sweet femininity — all in one very affordable bottle.

YSL Champagne ad showing the small, squat parfum bottle, not the EDT one. Source: ladies-with-bottle.blogspot.com

YSL Champagne ad showing the small, squat parfum bottle, not the EDT one. Source: ladies-with-bottle.blogspot.com

Yvresse was created by Sophia Grojsman, and was originally released as Champagne in 1993. The French champagne industry immediately had a snit-fit over the name, outraged that something could be called “Champagne” that wasn’t a French sparkling wine. (Technically, champagne is terroir-specific, as sparkling wines from other regions have a different appellation. To give you just one example, in Spain, they are called “Cava.”) The champagne industry sued for trademark violation, and if you’re rolling your eyes, you’d be right. Yves St. Laurent lost the lawsuit and was forced to change the fragrance’s name to Yvresse, which essentially means a state of intoxicated joy. All that changed was the label on the bottle and its look, not the ingredients themselves.

Yvresse in a 2 oz bottle to the left, Champagne in a 3.4 oz to the right. Photo: my own.

Yvresse in a 2 oz bottle to the left, Champagne in a 3.4 oz to the right. Photo: my own.

The fragrance is most commonly available as an eau de toilette, though a rare parfum version was also released. This review is just for the eau de toilette. I have bottles of both Yvresse and Champagne in that concentration, and find them to be virtually identical. The greatest difference between the two is sweetness and the price, as vintage Yvresse is extremely inexpensive and widely available on eBay. You can find a small bottle as low as $29 right now, but the same size for Champagne costs significantly more. (Almost a $100 more.) For that reason, in part, I used my bottle of Yvresse to test for this review, though the main reason is that my bottle of Champagne is running dangerously low and I want to keep it as long as possible. I’ll repeat that, in my eyes, the two fragrances are almost identical. The reason for the difference in pricing is that far fewer bottles of “Champagne” were released, so they are more of a collector’s item. The smell, however, is the same.

Otto Rose, named for Otto de Jager. Source: ludwigsroses.co.za

Otto Rose, named for Otto de Jager. Source: ludwigsroses.co.za

Fragrantica lists Yvresse’s main notes as:

nectarine, anise, menthol, Otto rose, blue rose, litchi, oak moss, patchouli, vetiver.

Ozmoz has a more complicated list, but, despite its entry date of 1993, shows a photo of the new, modern, very different Yvresse. So, taking things with a grain of salt and the possibility that Ozmoz is providing the reformulated fragrance’s new notes, the olfactory pyramid is supposedly:

Note of Top : Peach, Apricot, Star Anise / Chinese Anise, Cumin

Note of Heart : Jasmine, Carnation, Rose, Cinnamon

Note of Base : Castoreum, Vanilla, Cedar, Styrax

Source: hqdesktop.net

Source: hqdesktop.net

I’ve never seen any list for the original Champagne or Yvresse that includes carnation or jasmine, never mind cumin! I certainly don’t smell either of those three notes, and they’re not mentioned on the note list that came with my bottle of Champagne. Stranger still is Ozmoz’ omission of nectarine, which is commonly known to be a major part of the scent.

To my nose, the notes in vintage Yvresse include:

nectarine, peach, anise, menthol, Otto rose, blue rose, litchi, oak moss, patchouli, vetiver, castoreum, and vanilla. Possibly mandarin orange, cedar, and cinnamon as well.

Source: forwallpaper.com

Source: forwallpaper.com

Yvresse opens on my skin with intense fruited sweetness that dissolves instantly into tangy, tart nectarines, orange fruits, a pink rose, and oakmoss. There is a hit of bitter citric zestiness like when you peel a baby tangerine and the oils squirt on your skin. Soft ripe peaches join the parade, but there is as much tartness in the Yvresse’s opening as there is sweetness. There is also brightness, so much brightness that it positively glows. It infuses the deep, dark oakmoss with incredible vibrancy, transforming it from the typically drier aroma of real mousse de chene oakmoss absolute. There is still a massive amount of the dark note in Yvresse, but it’s fresher than the usual scent of dry tree bark with a touch of salt and slightly fusty, dusty, mineralized grey lichen. Instead, it feels like bright emerald green that carpets the forest floor with thick, bouncy plushness.

Other notes soon appear. There is a watery, sweet lychee lurking around the edges, along with a deep, pink, Damascena rose and whiffs of a velvety castoreum. Deep in the base, there are flickers of cinnamon, alongside a bright, fresh, green, almost minty vetiver. The whole bouquet sparkles as effervescently as champagne. There is a fizzy quality as the notes dance around, buoyant, fresh and happy like young girls on a red carpet, only this one is dark green, emphasizing their golden and orange glow even more.

Source: Miriadna.com desktop wallpapers.

Source: Miriadna.com desktop wallpapers.

For all the sweetness in the opening minutes, Yvresse is always much less syrupy on my skin than others have reported and a definite chypre from the very start. The dark, emerald moss is really the key to the fragrance; it’s a solid, dominant note which gives Yvresse a firm, sometimes dry, green spine from head to toe, and from start to finish.

Interestingly, I tried Champagne in a side-by-side test, and the fragrance was both significantly sweeter on my skin, and less mossy. I think the intense syrup stems from the fact that my bottle of Champagne is exactly 20 years old. The inevitable evaporation that occurs over time thereby concentrates some of the fragrance, and that amount of sweetness ends up overwhelming the dryness of the oakmoss in Champagne. In contrast, my much newer bottle of Yvresse (that may be about 10 years old, or a little bit younger) is drier, greener, less sweet, more chypre-like, and with significantly greater brightness. It also fizzles and sparkles from the start. Nonetheless, all of this is a question of degree, mere fractional differences that don’t change the primary essence of the fragrance.

In all cases, both Champagne and Yvresse open with enormous potency and sillage for a fragrance that is a mere eau de toilette. The strong sillage wafts about you like a cloud, projecting a good 4-5 inches of a cloud that is tart nectarines, zesty tangerines, sweet peaches, delicate lychee, a dash of rose, and endless vistas of dark oakmoss. The potent cloud softens a tiny bit after 20 minutes, and hints of other notes appear. There are spices, noticeably dry cinnamon, but there is also something fiery that feels like star anise with almost a chili-pepper, pimento bite. They’re subtle and very muted, however, and you have to really sniff to detect them. 

Source: mport.bigmir.net

Source: mport.bigmir.net

One of the things I love the most about Yvresse is the fizzy sparkle. Originally, I thought it may be the result of the contrast between the deep velvet of the foresty base and the tangy, tart, top notes. Later, I thought that it may be merely the power of suggestion. If so, then everyone who tries Yvresse is equally suggestible because they’ve all noticed the same thing. Something in Yvresse really and truly replicates the nose-tingling bubbles of champagne, subtle though it may be amidst all the powerful accords. However, having stared at the notes for this review, I’ve finally figured out the cause. The “menthol.” It’s a note that initially left me scratching my head, because nothing in Yvresse reads as anything medicinal, camphorated, or even very minty. It translates instead as a cool, almost icy, frosted chill. Yet, menthol makes sense. It serves to amplify the more mossy, green elements in the base, while also diffusing the sweetness at the top. It transforms those fruity accords into something more chilled, while also giving a little fizzy tingle in your nose the way really expensive champagne can do.

Source: Forwallpaper.com

Source: Forwallpaper.com

Thirty minutes in, Yvresse is a sweet, fizzy rose scent infused by tart, sweet fruit, a whisper of dry cinnamon and anise, and endless amounts of dark, dry oakmoss. The oakmoss feels as though it dominates the top, middle, and bottom layers, taking over every part of the fruit and rose accord, balancing it all out in the most elegant, sophisticated mix of green. Deep down in the base, the first touches of vanilla become noticeable, but it will take a while for it to rise up to the top.

"Pink & Green Tree Painting by Artist Louise Mead." Source: ebsqart.com. (Website link embedded within photo.)

“Pink & Green Tree Painting by Artist Louise Mead.” Source: ebsqart.com. (Website link embedded within photo.)

At the 90-minute mark, the fragrance starts to shift. Yvresse loses a lot of its fizzy, champagne quality, along with its sweetness. As they recede to the periphery, the cool, crisp greenness takes their place, imbued with some sharpness and with the faintest hint of spiciness from the star anise. Equally subtle is the whiff of castoreum in the foundation with its quietly animalic, brown velvetiness. All the base notes are muted, and detectable only if you really sniff hard; the general impression from afar is of a deep, multi-faceted, seamless blend of emerald green, foresty moss infused with roses and fruited sweetness.

Both the fragrance and the individual elements have softened, with projection now limited to only 2-3 inches above the skin. It’s still fantastic for a mere eau de toilette, though. In fact, in every way, from richness, depth, body and projection, Yvresse is really more like an eau de parfum than anything else. It’s certainly ten times stronger and more full-bodied than any current Hèrmes parfum from the ultra-minimalist Jean-Claude Ellena.

Yvresse remains largely unchanged for the next few hours. There are subtle differences in the order or prominence of the notes, but the most noticeable thing about the scent is that it gets drier and darker. Around the start of the third hour, there is a subtle smoked woodiness that appears, leading me to think that the fragrance may indeed have cedar in it as Ozmoz states. The nectarine fades to the sidelines, letting the peach take over, while the vanilla slowly rises to the top. Yvresse becomes a beautifully balanced mathematical equation of fruits and florals; sweetness and dryness; joyful, bright warmth and dry, restrained darkness in a blend that feels like a very grown-up, elegant take on a fruity-floral.

Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

For me, modern interpretations of the fruity-floral genre always feel very young, very girly in a teenage-like way with its abundance of syrup and purple, fruited patchouli. (Exhibit A would be the terrible, banal, and simpering Chypre Fatal from Guerlain.) Originally, however, the fruited chypre genre was for sophisticated women, with scents like the legendary Mitsouko which is also based on peach and oakmoss. Yvresse is different, because it lacks the powerful bit of “skank” that makes Mitsouko so sensuous (or sexual, in some people’s eyes). It is a much sweeter, sunnier, happier scent without that overly sensuous underpinning. It’s not sexy like Sophia Loren, or a grand dame like Catherine Deneuve (who would perfectly embody Mitsouko). But it’s also not girlish and youthful like a Gigi.

Source: npr.org

Source: npr.org

For all the happy bubbliness of Yvresse’s start, there is too much underlying elegance and sophistication. It is Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, with her charm, genuine warmth, and her open smile, all in a very classique, elegant body. In short, Yvresse is approachable chic and sophistication that never loses sight of its playful side. In modern parlance, Yvresse might perhaps be a very grown-up Reese Witherspoon going to the Oscars.

"Shades of Leaves," abstract photography by Bruno Paolo Benedetti. (Website link embedded withinphoto.)

“Shades of Leaves,” abstract photography by Bruno Paolo Benedetti. (Website link embedded within photo.)

In its final phase, Yvresse is a soft blur of oakmoss infused with abstract floral and fruited elements. For a while around the end of the 6th hour, you can still vaguely distinguish the peach, rose and cedar notes, but they are increasingly folded into that plush, soft, smooth greenness. The nectarine has vanished, as did the lychee and spices hours earlier. There is a subtle vanilla element in the base that feels as airy as mousse, but it’s blended in as well, and feels quite muted. In its final moments, Yvresse is merely a delicate haze of cool, somewhat dry, faintly sweet mossiness.

All in all, Yvresse consistently lasts between 9 and 9.75 hours on my perfume-eating skin, depending on the quantity I apply. With a larger dose, the fragrance takes 5.5 hours to become a skin scent, while a smaller amount yields about 4/25 hours. These are exceptional numbers for a mere eau de toilette, but as noted earlier, Yvresse feels very much like an eau de parfum in strength. 

I absolutely adore Yvresse/Champagne, and it is one of my “happy scents” that I turn to when I need a little energizing boost, or Prozac in a bottle. It always makes me feel more elegant and put-together, even though blazing femininity is not my style of perfumery. I would not recommend Yvresse for most men, as I think the bouquet would be viewed as too feminine by those with more conventional tastes.

However, I know a few confident men who love the fragrance, perhaps because of its mossy chypre character. Men who wear fruity-chypres like Mitsouko and who enjoy sweet scents may like Yvresse. On the other hand, Mitsouko is much drier and with significantly more pungent oakmoss, so don’t expect a very close kinship in that regard. Yvresse may actually be closer in feel to Andy Tauer‘s Une Rose Chyprée, taking a lot of its rich moss with a sunny, happy rose facade, and then tossing in a dab of the tart fruit in his stunning PHI Une Rose de Kandahar. Again, though, Yvresse starts at a much sweeter level.

YSL vintage golden couture, 1967. Photo by David Bailey for Vogue. Source: Styliista.com

YSL vintage golden couture, 1967. Photo by David Bailey for Vogue. Source: Styliista.com

Another fragrance that comes to mind is Viktoria Minya‘s exquisite Hedonist. Yvresse is a very different scent and lacks the boozy, oriental qualities of the niche scent, but the two share that same fizzy feel at the start, a fact I remarked upon even in my review of Hedonist. They also have the same very sunny, opulent, golden sophistication and joyousness. That said, Yvresse very much demonstrates the signature of its maker, Sophia Grojsman, who is responsible for such intensely feminine, sweet fragrances as YSL‘s classic Paris and Lancome‘s Trésor. In short, it definitely skews very feminine in nature.

Champagne.

Champagne.

Yvresse is extremely affordable for such an elegant, vintage scent, though the same fragrance under the Champagne name costs significantly more. On eBay, you can find Yvresse for as low as $29 in the smallest 50 ml/1.7 oz size. It’s an absolutely fantastic price for a scent that shows the same complexity, elegance, richness, and nuance as a $200 niche fragrance. Actually, I’ve tested a number of $275 to $425 florals that don’t have one tenth of Yvresse’s sophistication or complexity. I don’t think the $29 figure is the norm, but Yvresse is still a bargain even at its more typical, slightly higher price.

As shown in the Details section below, you can generally find Yvresse on any number of discount or outlet fragrance sites for somewhere in the $42-$65 range for a 60 ml/2 oz size. In the UK, I’ve seen Yvresse sold cheaply for £33.31 in that same size, and for £50.05 for a huge 125 ml/4.25 oz bottle. Online retailers are a more steady, permanent option than relying on the vagaries of what may be offered on eBay, but you’ll sometimes get much better deals on the auction site, so you should check both. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen Champagne offered on any site other than eBay.

Vintage Yvresse but slightly newer and without the wide gold band around the top, and with much paler font in the writing. This version is still vintage Yvresse though.

Vintage Yvresse but slightly newer, without the wide gold band around the top, and with much paler font in the writing. This version is still vintage Yvresse though.

In all cases, it’s cheaper to buy Yvresse than Champagne. To give you an idea of the comparative range of prices for Yvresse versus Champagne on eBay, here are some links which, it goes without saying, will soon become obsolete once the auctions end in a few days: an unopened, boxed Yvresse EDT in a small 1.7 oz/50 ml size is going for $29.99; a 2 oz/60ml boxed Yvresse for $57.19 from FragranceNet; five bottles of boxed Yvresse in a 3.3 oz/100 ml bottle, each for $70.25; or a huge 125 ml/ 4.25 oz boxed Yvresse for $89.99. In contrast, the cheapest starting price for a boxed bottle of Champagne in the small 1.7 oz size is $125, with larger sizes averaging about $195-$200 before a single bid has been placed. For those who are reading this review months down the road, you can use the following search which should work regardless of time and which should not become obsolete: Yvresse and Champagne options on eBay, including the rarer parfum version.

Older vintage Yvresse with the gold band and much deeper, darker font in the writing.

Older vintage Yvresse with the gold band and much deeper, darker font in the writing.

One word of caution regarding names and boxes. No matter which name it is sold under, the eau de toilette always comes with a gold box and the bottle is oval-shaped, like a football. Slightly newer bottles of Yvresse don’t have the wide, dimpled, gold band going around the top of the bottle or dark font for the writing, but they are still vintage Yvresse. In fact, that is the version I own and used for this test. You can compare the bottle shown to the left with the one posted immediately above. They are both vintage. However, any fragrance with a red box is Yvresse Legere, which is a different perfume that was released in 1997 and which has a very different aroma profile. (It’s centered around mimosa, for one thing.)

New, modern, "La Collection Yvresse" from 2011. Source: Fragrantica.

New, modern, “La Collection Yvresse” from 2011. Source: Fragrantica.

Also, you will want to stay far away from anything in an opaque, cream-coloured bottle as shown in the photo to the right. In 2011, under L’Oreal’s ownership, YSL released a new Yvresse in 2011 called La Collection Yvresse. This is a totally different fragrance, no matter what its name purports to be. As that Fragrantica link will show you, the notes are substantially different and limited to 5 things: litchi, nectarine, rose, violet, and patchouli. In short, it is missing half the notes of the original Yvresse, most particularly the essential oakmoss base. I haven’t tried it out of protest, and I never will given my loathing of every single thing put out thus far by L’Oreal under the modern YSL name. They’re all terrible. (You don’t want to get me started on the revolting, emasculated eunuch that is the modern, current “Opium.” It is an utter travesty.)

Yvresse isn’t for everyone, but its cheerfulness makes it a favorite of mine, even if I don’t turn to it as much as I once did. In a few weeks, it will be New Year’s Eve, a time when champagne abounds. This year, I think I shall take my fizziness in a perfume bottle, with vintage golden bubbles from Yves Saint Laurent. It’s the perfect way to ring in 2014:  a note of boundless joy and bright optimism, all wrapped up in sparkling elegance. 

DETAILS:
Cost & Availability: Yvresse/Champagne is available in a variety of different sizes and concentrations. This review is only for the vintage eau de toilette version. I’ve seen bottles of the fragrance in a 1.7 oz/50 ml size, a 2 oz/60 ml size, a 3.3 oz/100 ml size, and a very large 4.25 oz/125 ml size. Prices range from $29 to $95 for Yvresse, but bottles with the Champagne name are consistently higher by a significant amount. The larger sizes of Champagne can even go up to $200. As noted in the review, I don’t think there is any significant, substantial difference between the two. The name change was done for litigation reasons, not reformulation ones. Outside of eBay: Yvresse is sold at a number of different outlet or discount fragrance sites. I found one in Czechoslovakia, others in Russia. In the U.S., Overstock.com sells Yvresse for $43.29 for a 2 oz/60 ml bottle, and they ship internationally to over 100 countries. Yvresse is sold in the same size for $42 from Sophia’s Beauty, and around $47 from Fragrance Original. Another world-wide site selling a lot of Yvresse at a good price is FragranceX which has 2 oz/60 ml bottles priced at $56.62. The PerfumeLoft sells it for a bit higher. Outside the U.S.: A number of the discount sites listed above ship worldwide. However, in the UK, I found Yvresse sold in two sizes at London Perfume Shop for £33.31 for a 60 ml/2 oz size, and for £50.05 for a large 125 ml/4.25 oz size. In Australia, I found Yvresse at ShopandSave for $64.95 (AUD?) for a 2 oz/60 ml bottle. In the Middle East, Yvresse is sold at Bustan PerfumesSamples: if you want to test the fragrance, you can order Yvresse from Surrender to Chance where prices start at $3 for a 1 ml vial. The site also offers Champagne (which it lists with the exact same notes) for the same $3 starting price.

51 thoughts on “YSL Vintage Champagne/Yvresse: Sparkling Elegance

  1. I’m so glad you reviewed this – and even more glad that you told me about it to begin with! Yvresse is proof that perfume needn’t break the bank to be amazing. My 125ml bottle was only $60! It’s not the initial spray of Yvresse that wins me over, but rather the gently spicy, warm drydown which is so ultimately comforting. Indeed, this is bottled joy! I can’t believe you’ve been able to hang onto your bottle of Champagne for 20 years – quite impressive! I would be cherishing it as well. 🙂 What a great idea to wear it for New Year’s Eve! Thanks for sharing this review of a perfume that is so special to you, I really enjoyed reading it!

    • Oh, and I meant to ask – had you ever tried the parfum version? I know it’s quite rare, but I was wondering if perhaps you recalled ever trying it when it was in production? I wonder how it compares.

      • I honestly don’t trust my memory on the issue of the parfum. Was there one? Part of me thinks yes, but I’m really not sure. I have the vague thought of something spicier and less sweeter; and some whisper of a thought that the Champagne EDT captured my attention more. BUT I am probably mixing it up with something else. The early to mid part of the 1990s are a bit of a blur at this point. LOL.

        • I can’t hold it against you – it was nearly 20 years ago! I can barely remember what I had for breakfast, let alone remember an obscure perfume I may or may not have tried 20 years ago! LOL.

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it. As for the lifespan of my bottle, I tend to hoard things I love. 🙂 I originally had 2 big bottles of Champagne, though I can’t remember if I bought the second one or if it was a gift. All I have left is the tiny amount in that one bottle, so my hoarder instincts are in full effect. lol. That’s why I stopped wearing the scent for a while, until I bought the Yvresse. To my surprise, the Yvresse smells and works much better on my skin than the Champagne except in the very coldest parts of winter, as the Champagne feels much sweeter and thicker now. It wasn’t always that way, so I think evaporation is definitely to blame.

      BTW, $60 for 125 ml is a fantastic price! And, again, I’m really happy you ended up loving the fragrance as much as you did. Who said guys can’t wear Yvresse? Bah phooey!

  2. Oh, dear! This has always been my favorite YSL but I never bought a bottle when it first came out. Your review just reminded me of how gorgeous it is (was?)
    I am a bit afraid to try the current version.
    Cheers,

    Caro

    • It WAS gorgeous, but I don’t want to think about what L’Oreal has done with the new, beige-bottled version. The note list looks so damn bare, and the lack of oakmoss is so glaring. That’s one of the main parts of the scent!

      I hope you can find a bottle of the scent on eBay, Caro. It would be well worth it. 🙂

  3. Oh, I so adore this perfume (thanks to you!), it is easily one of my top three perfumes! You have captured it so perfectly that this whole review is a delight, thank you! The moss in it just makes me so very happy, and the whole scent evokes a faerie queen’s midsummer’s night ball for me. It is one of the few scents that just make me smile and smile.

    “the general impression from afar is of a deep, multi-faceted, seamless blend of emerald green, foresty moss infused with roses and fruited sweetness.” yes yes yes!

    Yvresse also seems to love me back, as it lasts for well over thirty hours on my skin, and works so much better with my chemistry than PHI which sadly turned to syrup on me. I was having a horrible day yesterday and put on Yvresse and yes, you’re perfectly right, prozac in a perfume bottle, without any of the possible side effects lol.

    You are such a fantastic writer, and so appreciate you giving voice and story to such a beloved perfume!

    • Awwww, thank you, Cacomixtle. I’m so happy you enjoyed it, as this review was just for you. My way of saying thanks — for a lot of things.

      It’s given me so much happiness to know that a passing recommendation worked out so well, and brought you so much joy. Honestly, you have no idea how much that means to me, from Chypre Mousse to Yvresse. But Yvresse (or Champagne) holds a particular soft spot in my heart. I associate it with good times. Or, rather, it just makes everything feel like good times. It makes everything sunnier and happier, so it softens out all the negative dark bits. The fact that it works the same way on you, smoothing out the horrible day you were having and lifting you up….. I can only nod and say that I understand the EXACT way it did that for you. I’m so, so glad.

      • The joy is entirely mutual, dear Kafka!

        Nearly all of my favorite perfumes are based on your reviews and recommendations and I am very grateful for that. And I have to say that I went around glowing for days over your comment that Chypre Mousse was me in a bottle, it just felt like the highest compliment!

  4. Oh, and I’ve seen Champagne on etsy a couple times. Again, for much higher prices than Yvresse, and I thought about buying the Champagne, but decided to save my money for the cheaper and larger bottles of Yvresse.

    • I really, truly see no major difference between the two. At least, not enough of a difference that can’t be chalked up to time and evaporation. When I did my side-by-side test, the Champagne was flatter, sweeter, less fizzy and less green, but I don’t recall it being that way from the start. Perhaps unopened bottles of Champagne that have been well-stored will be more identical, but really, there certainly is not enough of a major difference to warrant the significant price hike for Champagne! I like the original Champagne and original Yvresse bottles more with their wide gold band, but for the price that you can get Yvresse without it, who really cares, right? I mean, Kevin got a huge 4.25 ml bottle for $60! In short, stick to your Yvresse. 🙂

      • I was really glad you talked about all that too, because I was originally confused and thought it was important to only get the Yvresse bottles with the gold band (and yes, they are much lovelier to look at too), but the others are cheaper. My current bottle is the old style Yvresse bottle, but I’ll probably need backup so it’s good to know that the juice in the other bottles is the same!

  5. Kafka…you are writing faster than I can read — LOL. This is a great review! I have no clue and never considered Yvresse — it was not on my radar, that is, until now. If this is Mitsouko without the skank, sign me up – I cannot stand Mitsouko (and darn it, I am holding on to my perfumista card despite that admission). Re: the fizziness…I usually associate fizziness with aldehydes but I can see how methol can give off that same bubbly quality.

    I am glad you posted the bottle differences between pre- and post- L’Oreal. Now onto hunting down a bottle!

    • I think Mitsouko is different because, to me, it seems substantially less fruited and sweet. In addition, the fruits are different. There is lemony bergamot at the start, while Yvresse has tart, tangy nectarines. The floral notes are different because of the jasmine in Mitsouko, while Yvresse only has rose. There is no powderiness in Yvresse, and none of that Guerlainade signature base. But they do share a distant kinship. In many ways, as noted, I think Tauer’s Une Rose Chypre may be much closer, except Yvresse has a sweeter opening and all that fizz.

      All that said, I think you would love it. I really do. It has the sweetness that you enjoy, but I think you’d be primarily astounded by that incredible vintage oakmoss.

  6. My favorite cheerful fragrance at the moment is Isis from Agonist but I have to look for Yvress since you make it sound really enchanting! (So far I’ve only seen those cream-coloured bottles, so thanks for the warnining!).
    You know, I also use your blog for language practice and my favorite word of the day is “incandescent” – incandescent bubbles of gold, together with the foto of the bubbles will not only stick to my mind but makes me really feel the fragrance.

    • I’m so glad that I could help, and that the word/photos are useful, Anka. 🙂 That’s very sweet of you to let me know! As for Yvresse, you won’t find it in stores in this version as it’s been discontinued and is vintage. You’ll only find the new, supposed “Yvresse” sold in boutiques, but it’s not the same thing at all. So, your best bet is to look at discount, outlet, or very old perfume shops with a stock of discontinued fragrances. I hope you find it or get the chance to give it a sniff. 🙂

    • Thank you. I remember your review of it, and even commented, if I recall. I know you found the opening very sweet, but I can’t remember now if your review was for Champagne or for Yvresse. Not that it makes a difference ultimately. But now I have to look up your review to read it again and see why it was centered around spaceships. LOL! 🙂 That part, I don’t recall at all.

  7. Dearest K
    I have had to restrain myself, pretty much physically, from reading on beyond the first paragraph of this as it’s on a shortlist for the perfume I will wear on and review after Christmas Day.
    From the little-est snippet I’ve glimpsed I shouldn’t be disappointed to give this a spritz at the Yule.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  8. I know I’m late to the party here, but this sounds amazing. I love champagne (although I just drink the cheap, sparkling white wine version) and a comparison to Hedonist in any form is reason to give this scent a serious look and sniff.

    • I think it’s definitely worth a look, but you have to love some fruitiness in your scents. Of course, Hedonist is fruity at the start, too, and also has peach, so I think Yvresse may be a very safe bet for you. 🙂 If you don’t want to take a risk, samples are available at StC. Let me know what you think if you try it, Kellilee.

  9. Oh, I remember the original Champagne, it was one of several scents I wore when in my early 30’s, when I was in school while at the same time a busy wife and mother to two young sons. After reading your excellent review, I began to remember just how very much I liked Champagne, and how disappointed I was when hearing that it was being discontinued, along with all the fuss regarding the use of the name “Champagne”. Strangely enough, I never even smelled Yvresse, guess I thought the scent had been altered as well as the name. I will be ordering a FB, just as soon as I complete this!!!
    Thank you for the wonderful (as always!) review!!!

  10. I had a big pleasure reading this post, as I bought Champagne in my 20’s. A lot of souvenirs!
    I still have this first golden bottle and a FB vintage Yvresse. It’s the scent I like te most when I drink… guess! yes, champagne!
    Of course, I always wear it in New Year’s Eve. It’s one of the best things that day. Coming soon !;)

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  14. I can not find the actual original scent of yvresse. The site Sophia beauty said it’s real but I know the scent and it’s deeply Embedded in my brain since I’ve only used yvresse, first campagne, since it was made! Now I can not find it. The original intoxicating scent. Only changed and edited versions that claim they are real but are not the same. It’s different. It has made me depressed having my hopes up then spending so much money and then one spray tells the truth….not real! There goes my hopes. Again. Where is the real actual yvresse???? Not the changed or modified version. It is NOT the same. You can not fool a true yvresse girl! One scent for 20 years….and no way no how c I be fooled with this new modified “yvresse”. Please help me find the real deal. I am so disappointed.

    Hollie

    • I wish I could help you, Hollie, but it sounds like you’ve found even various vintage versions of Yvresse to be edited beyond the very first one. I can’t tell you which site or shop will have a vintage version that is not different, but the same as what you remember. I’m talking about the vintage versions, not even the new “Yvresse.” But as between various vintage versions, if you’ve noticed substantial differences between bottles, then I fear your only option is to buy “Champagne” on eBay. It will be much more expensive, but it will be the very first version of them all, and your safest bet.

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  17. I’m not familiar with this fragrance, but I have recently obtained a bottle of Champagne without the box from my mum’s unused perfume collection. The bottle looks exactly like your own from the photo above, except in 50ml (1.6oz) size – and the sticker at the bottom says ‘PARFUM’. Would you be able to tell me whether this refers to pure parfum or EDP? In my experience, parfum extraits usually come in super small sizes and differently shaped bottles, but again I don’t know what the Champagne parfum releases are supposed to look like and information on it (EDP, parfum, everything Champagne) is difficult to find. My bottle looks like an EDT bottle and is labelled as parfum – would I be correct in assuming this is the EDP version? Thanks heaps!

    • I confess that I’m surprised to hear Champagne definitely came in a parfum version. I am not the world’s greatest expert on the scent to know every possible iteration or formulation of it, but I don’t remember it being issued as a pure parfum. YSL did so for Opium, yes, but Champagne? In a 1.6 oz size??! I doubt it.

      I would be surprised if Champagne had been issued in parfum form because of the timing. Given the lawsuits which ensued almost immediately upon its launch and the company’s difficulty in just deciding what to DO with the scent as a whole, I simply can’t see them thinking they had so much freedom as to issue a pure parfum/extrait version. I know they didn’t for Yvresse, and given Champagne’s legal difficulties, I just don’t see it as a possibility.

      I don’t see an EDP as a possibility, either. It’s not only because of Champagne’s litigation troubles, prior to its re-release as Yvresse. It’s because, back then, I think YSL generally started with the EDT formulations (see, e.g., Opium) before sometimes — depending on the popularity of particular scent in question — expanding into EDP and, in some instances, pure parfum. Again, Opium is the best example of this exception to the rule. (Of course, all of this applies to the vintage fragrances created and released by actual Yves St. Laurent, as opposed to the current L’Oreal ownership which does things differently for their modern releases.)

      My thought upon reading your comment was that YSL meant “parfum” in the sense of “this is a fragrance, not something to drink,” rather than an actual formulation designation. I looked at the bottom of my own Champagne bottle to see what was written, but it is too microscopic in size and too faded at this point for me to see what it says. I know for a fact that it is an EDT, though. I would bet money that your 1.6 oz bottle of Champagne is an EDT, too, and is solely labelled as “parfum” in the sense of “fragrance” or “scent” due to the name also referencing the alcoholic drink. I hope that helps.

      • I admit it was a little too unrealistic to be hoping for pure parfum, but I kept seeing online references to a ‘parfum version’ and ebay listings of Champagne had the bottom sticker clearly labelled as EDT, so I got a little confused.
        I did not know that YSL used to mostly keep to EDT though, it’s very interesting that they released perfume concentrations after the launching based on popularity. That seems like a good economical idea. Actually, it also sounds a little like the modern releases of all those versions of light, sensuelle, l’or etc. in a completely twisted way.
        Anyway, thanks very much for your help!

        • Do you really see a ton of online listings for Champagne “parfum”? How interesting! Are they on eBay? And in a 1.6 oz size? If so, Wow, I must go check. I’ve seen plenty of Champagne (EDT) minis, but I truly don’t recall seeing the pure parfum, esp. in such a size. As you yourself so accurately noted, pure parfums usually come in small bottles. But, as I said at the start, I’m not an expert on every possible iteration of Champagne that may have come out.

          If you’re planning on selling the bottle yourself on eBay, you’ll probably do well whatever the version of it. 🙂 How full is your bottle, if I may ask?

          • I’ve seen a few parfum at smaller sizes on eBay, but the bottle designs of the small and large bottles all look very similar so it wasn’t easy to differentiate between versions like modern perfumes.
            My bottle is completely full, except postage rules here in NZ say that I can receive perfume internationally but I can’t send them out. Sigh.

  18. Hi how are you? Looking for yvresse in london but the perfume shop link does not work. Would you know of any other place in london or Paris that sells the older version. The reformulated one in the beige square bottle smells grotesque.thanks so much!

    • Hello there, your best bet will be eBay. You can try to Google for more British sites that may sell Yvresse, but it will be difficult and rather touch-and-go since the fragrance has been discontinued for so many years. Frankly, I was surprised even to find the one link that I did, and am not particularly surprised that they’re sold out now. In general, regular shops in any city (Paris, London, New York or otherwise) are unlikely to carry the scent because it is discontinued, supplies are hard to get or nonexistent, and vintage bottles of any fragrance are usually snapped up instantly.

      I’m glad you’re staying away from the modern, beige, alleged, so-called “Yvresse.”

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  20. Thanks for posting such a great, informative review of Yvresse. I was looking to buy this again as I have a small amount left in a bottle I bought in 1997 – absolutely loved it and wore it when I got married the same year. I noticed reviews saying it is not the same now, so was delighted to find your review – you have answered a lot of questions for me, especially that the Legere is different as that is what I now realise I have! You have saved me from splashing out for the new version and being disappointed. I have moved on to YSL Paris for every day so will stick with that, and keep my Yvresse Legere for anniversaries and treasured memories until I can find some to replace it.

      • Helena, and anyone else, if you find any of either name (vintage champagne or Yvresse) do let me know. I’ve been scouring the Internet for 5months. Everyone’s out of decants or bottles….

        • There seems to be some on eBay, Paskale, I found some Yvresse Legere anyway. Kafkaesque, I presume perfume deteriorates over time, would you be confident to buy an old discontinued perfume, albeit brand new in box complete with cellophane wrapping? Mine is 19 years old, half-empty, and it seems a bit weaker. Does the scent just diminish or would it become unsafe to use at all? I am hoping you can help me decide on the size of the bottle to buy of such an old product. Many thanks in advance.

          • I don’t think you have any reason to worry about buying a fragrance from 1997. The critical thing with fragrances (from any year) is how they’ve been stored. For example, not in a hot bathroom where humidity and heat can impact it, or in direct line. Most eBay perfume sellers are fully aware of the need to keep perfume in a dark, cool place, so I’m sure you won’t have an issue. Most vintage perfume sellers actually state in the description how the perfume has been maintained.

            With regard to the date of the scent, I’ve bought vintage fragrances that are anywhere from 10 to 30+ years old, even in previously opened, used form. Things like vintage Opium… beggars can’t be choosers. lol. In a few cases, the top notes had gone off for one Opium bottle from 1977 but most fragrances with a lot of citrus will carry that risk after 30-some years. Another bottle was perfectly fine, so it seems to depend.

            I bought a bottle of Yvresse EDP that dates to… hm… the early to mid-1990s, I think, and it is absolutely fine. Zero problem at all. The fact that far less time has passed (as compared to older things I’ve purchased) is one reason why but, still, the bottle is at least 20 years old. So don’t worry too much about your Legere’s age.

            Finally, I don’t think fragrances generally diminish in the sense of becoming weaker. There will be some evaporation and loss of the top notes, depending on how old a fragrance is, but that evaporation seems to result in a stronger, more syrupy, concentrated fragrance. Not a weaker one.

            There are a few reasons why yours may seem weaker now. First, the top notes are what give a fragrance lift, while base notes sit close or closer to the skin. Perhaps some of your Legere’s top notes have evaporated off? If so, what’s left may be more concentrated but also lie closer to the skin. Another possible factor, maybe your tastes have changed and you prefer stronger scents now? Finally, skin chemistry changes over time, too. Metabolic impact, hormones, etc. It might be that your skin has altered to eat through the fragrance more rapidly?

            Going back to the new bottle issue, I think you’re fine in buying your Legere. In your shoes, I wouldn’t hesitate at all. In fact, if the prices are reasonable, I’d buy more than one bottle because there is only so much time before these fragrances become extremely difficult to find. The length of time that Champagne/Yvresse/Legere were on the market was very short as compared to other vintage fragrances, so there will be a finite quantity. Having said that, I just did a quick check of the prices the Legere is going for on eBay, and … hm. Higher than I had thought. Well, buy one bottle, since it seems you take a while to go through fragrance.

            I hope that helps.

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