The YSL Scents That Are Worth Your Money, Ranked by Me

I rarely recommend that you shop for beauty products based on a brand name. In fact, I'd say it's almost impossible to find a brand that gets everything right all the time. For example, while I own countless Chanel lipsticks, I haven't yet turned to its skincare, and despite the fact I burn Byredo candles non-stop, I keep an edited selection of its perfumes

Having said that, there is one brand that seems to get fragrance right launch after launch—and that's Yves Saint Laurent. In fact, YSL perfumes have been considered cult staples among beauty lovers for decades. While the brand's iconic Opium was easily one of the most popular scents of the '80s, the latest addition to YSL's fragrance library, Libre, has become a mainstay on the Insta scene since it launched in 2019.

Best YSL perfumes: Michelle Rose Drumm YSL Libre



Whenever someone DMs me seeking fragrance advice for perfume newbies, I almost always point them towards a YSL counter. Whatever your perfume tastes, you're bound to find an all-round crowd pleaser in YSL's offering. And the best bit? They actually last. As a self-proclaimed scentopile, I've tried basically every perfume out there—and few brands know how to make a fragrance last on the skin quite like Yves Saint Laurent.

So, if you're not sure where to start, keep scrolling to get a run down of the 15 best YSL perfumes, as ranked by yours truly. 

15. Paris Eau de Parfum

Key notes violet, bergamot, orange blossom, rosa centifolia, iris, sandalwood, amber, vanilla

Something about this perfume just speaks to me. It's vintage, yes, but its woody floralness still transcends. It's fresh and light but has a powderiness that lingers on skin and clothes all day long. Do I wear it a huge amount? Not really, but I do find myself reaching for it on special occasions that I want to remember forever.

14. Opium Eau de Parfum

Key notes mandarin, bergamot, myrrh, jasmine, amber

A favourite of my mothers, one whiff of this takes me back to my childhood. It smells like summer holidays in Spain, birthday parties in the garden, and Christmas dinners spent with family. I challenge you to find me anyone born in the late '80s and early '90s, who doesn't have the scent of Opium etched in their brain. It's deep and totally intoxicating. In a world of lightweight, soapy spritzes, Opium stands out like a strong, independent queen in 2022. Some might find her offensive, but there's no doubt she's royalty. 

13. Y Eau de Toilette

Key notes bergamot essence, aldehydes, ginger essence, lavender heart, geranium heart, clary sage heart, cedarwood essence, olibanum essence, ambergris accord

Y is marketed as a fragrance for men, but I reach for this fresh spritz on sunny days. It smells inexplicably cool—like a refreshing dip in an ice-cold pool in the summer. It's clean, just-showered skin in a chunky glass bottle.

12. Mon Paris Eau de Parfum

Key notes pear, orange blossom, jasmine, patchouli

It's funny to me that I have rated Mon Paris as the 12th best YSL perfume because if you'd have asked me in conversation I probably would have said it was my favourite. It's floral in a fresh, mossy sort of way. Forget the overwhelming sweetness of other wearable florals on the market, Mon Paris has that sugary hit at first but very quickly dries down into a sense-clearing floral bouquet. It's easily my most-worn YSL perfume (and without doubt the most universal of the brand's scents), but when held up to the rest, the others have a unique edge that Mon Paris doesn't possess.

11. Black Opium Eau de Parfum

Key notes black coffee accord, vanilla, orange blossom, patchouli, white musk

Black Opium is easily one of (if not the) most popular YSL scent out there. In fact, retailers often list Black Opium as one of the best sellers in its entire fragrance category year after year. It's sweet thanks to vanilla and coffee, but it has a creaminess to it that is totally hypnotising. I haven't worn it since my early twenties (I lean more towards strong, woody notes nowadays), but whenever I walk past somebody in a bar that is wearing Black Opium, I want to follow them around all night.

10. Les Vestiaire Des Parfums Rouge Velours 

Key notes white tea accord, pink pepper, rose, jasmine, orris, vetiver, patchouli, musks

Les Vestiaire des Parfums is YSL's collection of luxury, niche scents that are hard to find in store and even harder to find on someone else's neck. If you're a fan of niche fragrances that don't leave you smelling like everyone else, this collection is one to have on your radar. Rouge Velours is rosy at first but oozes wealth and excess, without smelling heavy or headache-inducing. It's like sipping on wines in a French vineyard at sunset. 

9. Elle Eau de Parfum

Key notes lychee, peonies, patchouli, vetiver

Elle is wildly underrated. It is, if you're asking me (which you are), one of the most wearable and delicious perfumes around. Fresh, zesty and floral all at once, it's the sort of perfume I throw in my handbag, ready to mist all over whenever I'm craving a pick-me-up.

8. Les Vestiaire Des Parfums Grain de Poudre

Key notes black peppercorn, coriander seeds essence, bergamot essence, clary sage essence, violet leaves absolute, osmanthus absolute, musk, suede accord, benzoin resinoid

I discovered this perfume for the first time this year and fell head over heels for it. It embodies all of the freshness of a springtime garden with a sharp spiciness to it that tickles the nose. It's crisp, powdery and elegant in a way that makes me want to bathe in the stuff.

7. Les Vestiaire Des Parfums Tuxedo

Key notes violet leaf accord, bergamot oil, coriander seeds oil, rose oil, lily of the valley accord, black pepper oil, ambergris accord, patchouli heart, vanilla bourbon

YSL is a brand famed for its razor-sharp suiting and this perfume embodies all of the power, chicness and brilliance that comes with it. It's bold, smoky and woody, making it the perfect pairing for a black suit. Be warned: If you don't like power perfumes, this one isn't for you. But if you do? My gosh, it's the best around.

6. Les Vestiaire Des Parfums Jumpsuit

Key notes bergamot essence, mandarin essence, petitgrain bigarade, peony accord, magnolia flower, jasmine absolute, santal accord, peach accord

I'll be honest, I've never smelled a perfume quite like Jumpsuit. And that, I suppose, it what makes all of the Le Vestiaire scents so great. This stuff is creamy and warm but vibrant and entirely unique. It's the sort of perfume you'd reach for on days when you don't have a huge amount on but want to feel your very best.

5. Rive Gauche Eau de Toilette

Key notes bergamot, aldehydes, ylang-ylang, freesia, rose, jasmine, vetiver, musk, oakmoss, myrrh

Another age-old classic, Rive Gauche is an iconic fragrance of decades gone by. The reason it sits so high up in my rankings is that the fresh, zesty, sea-like blend has set the precedent for how other perfumes of its kind should be. It's light on the nose and oozes summertime radiance but lingers on the skin all day, no matter the heat. In fact, I'd go as far to say that no other fragrance house has nailed lightweight, summer fragrance in the way YSL did with Rive Gauche.

4. Le Vestiaire Des Parfums Supreme Bouquet

Key notes bergamot, pink pepper, pear, sambac, jasmine, tuberose, ylang-ylang, patchouli, ambery woody accord, musk

Taking the premise of luxury fragrance once step further, Supreme Bouquet sits in an even more elite section of YSL's Le Vestiaire collection. The gold bottle in itself is a work of art but what's inside is even better. It's spicy and soapy but powerful at the same time. It's the sort of perfume that would have people asking after it all night long—entirely interesting and not even a little divisive. Supreme Bouquet is, quite frankly, stunning. 

3. Les Vestiaire Des Parfums Caban

Key notes pink pepper oil, black pepper oil, elemi oil, osmanthus absolute, olibanum resinoid, sandalwood oil, tonka bean absolute,  patchouli heart

I'll admit that I wanted to give the next three perfumes a joint ranking, but alas I had to finish the job I started. Caban is, for lack of a better word, exquisite. Inspired by thick wool, it's as comforting as you might expect such a perfume to be, but oozes luxury at the same time. With rich notes of sandalwood and patchouli, if Caban was a person, she'd be a wealthy woman walking down Avenue Montaigne wearing her favourite wool suit.

2. Libre Eau de Parfum

Key notes tangerine, neroli, lavender, jasmine sambac, orange blossom, white musks, vanilla extract

Let me tell you something: The fact that Libre (which is considered to be one of YSL's less prestigious scents) is sitting high at number two speaks volumes. You can pick up Libre in your local department store (whereas the Le Vestiaire fragrances will take some hunting for), but it really does give all other perfumes out there a run for its money. First and foremost, the bottle is chic as hell and sits effortlessly on every Instagram grid of every notable fashion girl around. Most importantly though, it is absolutely delicious. Citrus notes of tangerine, neroli and orange blossom make it mouth-wateringly sweet, while musk and jasmine give it a depth that makes it ideal for dinner and nights out. For a truly unique scent that will have people running down the street asking after it, I love layering Libre with Rive Gauche.

1. Le Vestiaire Des Parfums Blouse

Key notes Damask rose, galbanum, pink peppercorn, angelica seeds, white musk

Few perfumes make me weak at the knees but Blouse is one of them. Like the freshest silk shirt, it dances on the skin like a little veil of pure comfort. It's milky, fresh and skin-like and will have people questioning whether you're wearing any perfume at all. If you want to buy a perfume that guarantees cost per wear, I promise you Blouse won't let you down—you'll be dousing yourself in it every single day for years to come.

Related Stories