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March 13, 2006

Fragrance Review: Yvresse by Yves Saint Laurent

Champagne_1

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.

Ad from Images de Parfums.

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