Yves Saint Laurent L’Homme (2006) has had enough flankers both standard and limited edition to give your average Calvin Klein scent a run for its money, and Yves Saint Laurent L’Homme Cologne Bleue (2018) is yet another stick to toss on the pile. Juliet Karagueuzoglou is the contributing perfumer here, and her contributions to the the L’Homme line are brought up to 3 with this flanker. Additionally, she is responsible for the 2018 reboot of Invictus Aqua (2016), which unsurprisingly shares some DNA with L’Homme Cologne Bleue. Overall, we get the original L’Homme reinterpreted as an aquatic, which is not something anyone really asked for, yet is executed astonishingly well all things considered. I don’t see anyone losing their minds to get a bottle of this, but for YSL L’Homme fans, Cologne Bleue might just be the summer fix you need. Anyone not smitten on the L’Homme line or not keen on aquatics will likely be able to safely pass this one up, as it feels like catalog padding anyway. However, if you absolutely must have an aquatic version of Yves Saint Laurent L’Homme, today is your lucky day.
The opening of L’Homme Cologne Bleue is very close to a merge between the lightly redolent apple of the original L’Homme and the fruity retro 90’s freshness of Versace Pour Homme Dylan Blue (2017). Mandarin and grapefruit join the apple, with a smidge of bergamot and pink pepper reminiscent of Bleu de Chanel (2010). Cardamom spice, mild lavender, geranium, and the dreaded dihydromyrcenol “aquatic” notes join in the heart, bringing a contrast of warm and cool along with a hint of classic barbershop vibe, providing a bit more connective tissue to past YSL fougères like Kouros (1981) or Rive Gauche Pour Homme (2003), but without the staunch masculinity of either. Finally, this settles on the original YSL L’Homme woody amber base with creamy sandalwood, sharp cedar, Iso E Super, and only a light touch of the 2010’s wondernote known as ambroxan. Wear time is a middling 6+ hours but sillage is adequate to get the point across.
Once again, those who live inside the Yves Saint Laurent L’Homme bubble will be all over this already, and it manages to offer a cooler alternative to L’Homme in the same manner La Nuit de L’Homme Eau Électrique (2017) did for the original La Nuit de L’Homme (2009); but with so many flankers and flankers of flankers beating this line to death, the real question of whether or not we needed another aquatic iteration in the line needs be asked. Didn’t Yves Saint Laurent recently make Y Eau de Toilette (2017) and Y Eau de Parfum (2018) just to address this problem with a marine ambergris-themed new pillar? I don’t know, but L’Homme Cologne Bleue is pleasant and well-constructed enough for what it is to avoid a thumbs down or neutral, but the jury is still out on how needed this was. As always, your nose will have to be the judge on how redundant or necessary it is to your wardrobe. This barely squeaks a thumbs up for me and I am not likely to reach for it, but sample for yourself as mileage may vary from person to person.