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Yves Saint Laurent – L’Homme Libre: Overview, Smell, Notes & More!

About a decade since its release, the L’Homme Libre still arouses very different emotions from those who have experienced its unique scent.

The perfume is well known as the little brother of the original L’Homme, released in 2006, and is not to be confused with fragrances like the Cologne Tonic or the 2014 L’Homme Sport.

Though both the original and the Libre have a generally nice fragrance and contain some similar notes (basil, violet leaf, some form of pepper), they also have individual qualities that make them seem almost incomparable.

As you might have guessed, it’s these same individual qualities that will be the main focus in deciphering both the good and the bad within a bottle of the YSL Libre.

Yves Saint Laurent L’Homme Libre: Overview

  • Brand: Yves Saint Laurent
  • Fragrance: L’Homme Libre
  • Release: 2011
  • Gender: Men
  • Perfumers: Carlos Benaim and Olivier Polge

Fragrance Notes

  • Top Notes: Violet Leaf, Basil, Bergamot, Star anise
  • Heart Notes: Pink Pepper, Nutmeg
  • Base Notes: Vetiver, Patchouli

What Does YSL L’Homme Libre Smell Like?

As one review put it, “it smells like taking a dive in a river in the middle of a forest.” 

A herbal, uplifting fragrance, it smells quite fresh but also has a spicy, almost citrusy, scent to it.

This burst of freshness delivers a punchier, more striking scent; something that comes from the bergamot more than it does from the violet leaf.

The top notes are quite youthful in general (hints of basil and violet leaves), but it’s when you get to the middle notes that the true masculine nature of the fragrance kicks in.

The heart notes are very spice-centered, which in turn makes for a very nice scent in general.

How Long Does YSL L’Homme Libre Last For?

It should be noted that the perfume is an eau de toilette. 

So, while it’s quite strong, it’s not comparable to parfums and eau de parfums. It’s somewhat similar to a bottle of deodorant.

However, you can expect a few spritzes on the skin to last for about five hours on a good day.

In most cases though, it can take about three to four hours before the great smell descends significantly.

In terms of scent sillage (i.e., the trail you leave behind), its light nature makes it more moderate than intense.

Your fresh scent won’t get immediate compliments from friends and workmates, but it will be slowly noticeable the longer you’re in the room.

When Should You Wear It?

The punchiness of it makes it more suitable for the day.

In terms of the season, the overall fresh nature, like the hints of violet leaf, makes it more suitable for spring. 

It can also work in the summer, but mostly during the beginning and not the peak of the season.

Where Should You Wear It?

Preferably not a skin scent, it’s suitable for both a casual and formal setting, provided you won’t be outside too long.

An example of this is that it can be perfect for a job interview, but not for a whole eight‐hour workday. 

Unless, of course, you don’t mind spritzing on the stock when all the good scent settles.

Presentation and Value For Money

The scent is presented as one for the confident, spontaneous man, with the advertising campaign featuring ballet dancer, Benjamin Millepied.

A 3oz bottle starts at $75 while a 2oz bottle starts at around $59.

The higher prices in most major online retail stores are mostly due to the fact that the scent is said to be discontinued; which can then make a purchase feel unworthy of the price.

If, however, you’re willing to dig around and find the stores still selling it at the aforementioned prices, you would definitely be getting a good deal.

The Bottom Line

To some, it’s the most underrated scent by the YSL house.

To others, it’s just a bottle of highly priced “sweetened water.” 

In which case, maybe they just didn’t like the violet leaf.

As much as most reviews try their best to entice you to invest in a certain perfume, the only way to choose is for you to test it yourself.

As with most things in the fashion industry, always trust your own judgment.

Perfumes that Smell Like YSL L’Homme Libre

1. Dior Homme Sport 2017 (Dior)

A more aromatic version, the 2017 eau de toilette smells quite fruity at first, opening with hints of grapefruit, pear, blood orange, and lemon. 

However, when it comes to the heart of the perfume, the notes are quite similar to the Yves Saint Laurent in that they are spicier in nature.

2. Escada Sentiment (Escada)

A fresh, woody, aromatic fragrance by Escada, the perfume’s features are quite similar to the Dior Homme Sport 2017. 

The top notes are completely different from the YSL, but the middle notes carry a spicier scent with some features of pepper.

3. Emporio Armani Remix for Him (Giorgio Armani)

Moderate sillage, an aromatic scent, and a spicy heart, the 2006 fougere has a warm, fresh, spicy scent and is also available for women.

An eau de toilette with a great smell, the all-important middle notes are spicy in nature with the likes of cardamom also present.

The Libre is said to be close to the Bleu de Chanel, however, the above three scents bear more resemblance.

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