Following in the footsteps of Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent launched his first fragrance for women, Y, in 1964 by creating, in his own words, “a lush, heavy, and languid perfume.” Just seven years later, the designer shocked the world of haute couture, posing naked to launch Pour Homme, the first and best YSL cologne for fashion-conscious men.

A little over 50 years later, we see the brand offering more than 216 colognes and perfumes. Sophisticated, seductive, and suave, YSL colognes for men are long-lasting, premium-quality fragrances for the discerning dapper.

From the timeless and masculine Kouros introduced by YSL in 1981 to the trendsetting, modern version of Y, Yves Saint Laurent cologne never fails to deliver.

In 2020, rock star Lenny Kravitz became the new face of Y men’s fragrance, saying, “I’ve always been a fan of Yves Saint Laurent. Of his work, his aesthetic, his lifestyle, his boldness. He was super eclectic and drew from so many places. I also happened to already wear a lot of Saint Laurent. Always have. This was not something I had to fit into or think about. It’s been part of my lifestyle for so many years. It’s a very organic collaboration.”

Believe me when I say, I do my due diligence before giving a scent our stamp of approval. And when choosing the best men’s fragrances of all time, YSL colognes are one of my top-shelf choices.

To take the trauma out of testing and the stress out of sampling, we’ve put together a guide of the 8 best YSL colognes for men, so read on to discover your next signature cologne.

frag.ologist / Instagram

Y Eau de Parfum

Key Notes: Bergamot, lemon, juniper, clary sage, lavender, cocoa, cedarwood, amber, tonka bean | Size: 1.7 oz, 3.4 oz

YSL launched the Y cologne collection for men in 2017. Of all the variations, the Eau de Parfum stands out in this illustrious lineup. This Yves Saint Laurent cologne is modern, youthful, and masculine.

Top notes include bergamot, lemon, and ginger, while the middle notes offer orange blossom, juniper, clary sage, lavender, and geranium. At the same time, the base reveals cocoa, cedarwood, balsam, frankincense, amber, tonka, and vanilla. The result is a woody aromatic cologne with fresh, spicy elements.

To develop a scent that’s truly trans-seasonal is no mean feat. But Y Eau de Parfum transitions seamlessly from Spring to Winter and everything in between. Better yet, this fragrance will take you from day to night. The longevity is powerful, which is excellent news for your wallet – fewer top-ups mean your bottle will go further.

Y Eau de Parfum is, without a doubt, the perfect all-rounder, loved by women. If you’re looking to splurge on one YSL cologne this year, the good news is that you’ve just discovered your signature scent.

YSL Gift Set

Key Notes: Ginger, bergamot, lemon, spices, violet leaf, white pepper, basil, tonka bean, cedar, vetiver | Size: 3.4 oz + 0.33 oz

One of the best ways to purchase your favorite YSL cologne is in a gift set. This particular YSL cologne set offers a 3.4oz bottle of the L’Homme fragrance and a 0.33oz travel spray.

If you’re the kind of guy who doesn’t want your cologne to enter a room before you do, you’re most likely not an over-sprayer. That isn’t a bad thing, but your scent has likely disappeared into thin air by the day’s end.

The 0.33oz spray is ideal for throwing in a gym kit or wash bag. Then, reapply your cologne throughout the day to maintain a fresh, light scent.

This Yves Saint Laurent cologne is a warm, citrus spice balanced with fresh, green floral notes. YSL L’Homme performs best in mild weather, like spring and fall, and is more of a daytime option.

Kouros

Key Notes: Coriander, clary sage, bergamot, patchouli, vetiver, cinnamon, geranium, jasmine, leather, musk, oakmoss, amber, tonka bean | Size: 1.7 oz, 3.4 oz

The best YSL perfume for men for staying power is Kouros; this OG scent took its place in the YSL cologne collection way back in 1981.

We know what you’re thinking; this scent must be dated, right? A classic, yes, but old-fashioned, not at all. YSL Kouros is timelessly rugged and musky, with ultra-masculine notes of earthy leather and wood.

Some lighter notes are also in the mix, like clary sage, bergamot, carnation, geranium, and jasmine. But patchouli, vetiver, cinnamon, honey, musk, and oakmoss outperform them – and then some.

This cologne’s longevity, sillage, and projection are on beast mode, meaning you will easily get 8-12+ hours of wear. Fall, winter, and deep, dark nights best suit this animalistic fragrance. YSL Kouros is not a cologne for the shy, so wear Kouros and prepare for your scent to become the hot topic of conversation.

L’Homme

Key Notes: Ginger, bergamot, lemon, spices, violet leaf, white pepper, basil, tonka bean, cedar, vetiver | Size: 1.7 oz, 3.4 oz

Listen in if you’ve ever wondered why your best YSL colognes smell different in winter than summer. The hotter the body, the faster a fragrance will develop, meaning you’ll hit those base notes quicker.

Plus, heat amplifies and intensifies your cologne’s scent. This fact means a couple of things: First, you want a lighter scent, like green, citrus notes. Second, remember not to overspray. Instead, spritz lightly and reapply small amounts over the day.

L’homme ticks all the boxes for the perfect summer scent. The top notes are a zesty citrus blend that gives way to a spicy, green heart and woody base. This aromatic YSL cologne will keep you smelling clean, crisp, and fresh even after a long day.

YSL Instense Cologne

Key Notes: Lemon, black pepper, bergamot, orange blossom, violet leaf, ambergris, leather, suede, cedar | Size: 1.7 oz, 3.4 oz

When the temperature plummets, so does our skin’s moisture level. Dry skin doesn’t hold scent either, so your fragrance will fade much quicker. So, if your favorite summer YSL cologne isn’t up for the task come wintertime, which one should you use instead?

YSL L’Homme Parfum Intense is the deeper, hotter, and heavier brother of L’Homme. Both YSL colognes share citrus and pepper top notes, but the Parfum Intense boasts a more intense amber-woody base, with leather and suede notes giving this fragrance its staying powder. 

These rich, warm base notes make this the best YSL cologne for men in winter. But, to further boost your scent, don’t forget to moisturize your body pre-spritzing.

Since this cologne can play out a little sweet on some skin types, try a patch test before taking the plunge to make sure it’s your vibe.

Y Eau Fraiche

Key Notes: Lemon, ginger, pepper, geranium, mint, juniper berries, lavender, cedar | Size: 1.7 oz, 3.4 oz

Refreshing, invigorating, and zesty; if that sounds like your perfect everyday combination, then Y Eau Fraiche is the best YSL cologne for you.

Y Eau Fraiche is ideal for the daytime and warm seasons like Spring and Summer. The notes include lemon, ginger, pepper, geranium, mint, juniper berries, lavender, and cedar. The lemon here is crisp and zingy rather than elegant and classy – and that’s why we love this scent. It’s the perfect morning pick-me-up for men on the go.

What we love about this YSL cologne is its lightness which may also be its downfall for some men. An Eau Fraiche scent is an ultra-lightweight wash of fragrance that you can expect to last 3-6 hours. So, if you want to maintain your scent, you will need to top up throughout the day.

Plus, you can bump up performance by spritzing your cologne straight after you get out of the shower on damp skin.

La Nuit de L’Homme

Key Notes: Pepper, anise, bergamot, fruit, lavender, vanilla, patchouli, vetiver | Size: 1.7 oz, 3.4 oz

When the sun sets, reach for a Yves Saint Laurent cologne that makes you feel sexy and confident. For me, the best YSL cologne for hot dates and special occasions is YSL La Nuit de L’Homme.

La Nuit is a flanker of the L’Homme collection, so naturally, it shares some notes you may recognize. The opening of bergamot and pepper will smell familiar, but the middle and base are where it gets interesting.

At the fragrance’s heart lie juicy, fruity notes. These notes give this YSL cologne a cheeky, youthful edge over its counterparts. The base features patchouli as well as the expected vetiver.

Longevity is good, offering around 7-8 hours of wear. But, when it comes to projection, the scent sits quite close to the skin. If you’re looking for a YSL cologne that announces itself from the other side of the room, this may not be the one for you.

Tuxedo

Key Notes: Violet leaf, coriander, bergamot, rose, black pepper, lily of the valley, patchouli, ambergris, bourbon vanilla | Size: 1.7 oz, 3.4 oz 

If you’re a self-confessed perfume snob who prefers to splash out on niche luxury brands, you may think mainstream perfume houses don’t have something to offer you. Think again.

In 2015, Yves Saint Laurent launched Le Vestiaire des Parfums. This five-piece, premium collection gets its inspiration from classic YSL clothing pieces. Tuxedo is the best YSL cologne for men who would describe themselves as sophisticated and timeless.

The list of notes includes violet leaf, coriander, bergamot, rose, black pepper, lily of the valley, patchouli, ambergris, and bourbon vanilla. Boozy, rich, smooth, and fiery, YSL Tuxedo is an absolute masterpiece.

Tuxedo is a unisex fragrance, but it definitely leans more masculine thanks to the patchouli and coriander. Patchouli is one of those notes that guys tend to adore or loathe. We think you’ll find this YSL cologne is love at first sniff. But, since Tuxedo carries a luxury price tag, trying before buying is still a good practice.

What To Look for In YSL Colognes

Size

We all know size matters, and it’s the first thing to consider before deciding whether to splash out on a large bottle of your favorite Yves Saint Laurent cologne. Most times, the larger the bottle, the lesser the cost per spray, so if you are confident that a certain cologne is the one for you, a 3.4 oz is the best option.

On the flip side, if you’re branching out into a new fragrance or choosing one that is going to be a signature seasonal scent, consider the smaller 1.7 oz option. Better yet, why not enjoy the best of both worlds with a cologne set such as L’Homme with Travel Spray? The set includes a 3.4 oz spray and 0.33 oz travel spray for guys who like to freshen up on the go.

How long does it last

Yves Saint Laurent colognes are premium quality and long-lasting. The Eau de Parfums feature a high oil concentration of around 15-20 percent. Due to this, their fragrance will last 6-8 hours, hands-down beating lesser brands in the longevity stakes.

If you want to push the fragrance envelope even further, opt for the staying power of Kouros. This scent can easily last up to 12 hours, meaning you will remain date-night fragrant from sundown to sunrise. On the other hand, if you like to wear a different YSL cologne at night, you don’t want your daytime scent lingering on the skin. Y Eau Fraiche is a lightweight cologne that offers 2-3 hours of wear.

Season

While some fragrances work all year round, a better option is to change your choice of the best YSL cologne for men with the seasons. Distinguishing which cologne better suits cold climes is simple. For this, think of spicy scents and woody fragrances for fall and winter, like L’Homme Parfum Intense.

For spring and summer, choose romantic colognes with a bright citrus, fresh, and floral fragrance such as YSL’s popular L’Homme. When it comes to making your final YSL cologne choice for summer, try a test patch. Perfume pro Michael Edwards explains that you should, “pay attention to its performance in the warmer weather, as different fragrances will vary in performance depending on their materials.”  

Bottle of YSL Cologne
frag.ologist / Instagram

Final Verdict

No matter which YSL cologne you choose, you’re sure to pick a winner. But, if you’re looking for just one signature scent, Y Eau de Parfum is the best YSL cologne. Y Eau de Parfum is so versatile you can wear it all year round, day or night. This classy cologne is sophisticated and masculine, yet maintains a modern, youthful vibe.  

FAQ

    • The best YSL cologne for men has to be the aromatic and masculine Y Eau de Parfum, launched in 2018 and created by French master perfumer Dominique Ropion. What makes this fragrance head and shoulders above the rest is its intense fougère accords, which are one of the main families of perfumes.

       

      Fougère is the French word for fern and describes colognes that are fresh, clean, and natural. The beauty of this particular YSL cologne is that not only is it perfect for night and day, but it’s also ideal for wearing all year round. So, if budgets are a little tight, this is the best YSL cologne to add to your collection.

      • Like all brands, YSL EDP will eventually go off, but all is not lost, and there are some things you can do to extend its shelf life. The clock starts ticking the moment you first spray your favorite YSL cologne, so always replace the top or stopper after use.

         

        Second, to avoid the cologne breaking down, store your cherished bottle in a dark environment away from natural and electric light and preferably in its original packaging. Also, find somewhere dry and away from humidity.

Malcolm Lee

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