YSL Libre Intense – the warm, spicy fragrance I can’t stop wearing

Yves Saint Laurent has always been synonymous with sophistication and modernity, pushing the boundaries of gender and androgyny more than any other fashion house. With the release of YSL Libre Intense, the brand continues this tradition in an intensified scent that defies labels and promises a luxurious and sensual fragrance experience. 

Launched as a refined variation of the original YSL Libre, the Intense version promises an opulent blend of contrasting notes that dance between boldness and delicacy. Created by Anne Flipo and Carlos Benaim and released in 2020, It’s been on my want list for a while, so when I got the opportunity to get a further 20 per cent discount on an already cut-price Duty Free bottle, it would have been a sin to decline such a good deal.

About YSL Libre Intense

Named after the French word for ‘free’, Libre is inspired by YSL’s dedication to independence and expression. Since 1961, the brand has been known for its authenticity and enduring spirit of empowering people to live their lives as unapologetically as possible. The original fragrance already towed the line between masculinity and femininity, but this Intense version does so with much more depth and power.

The bottle

Tailoring has always been at the forefront of everything YSL do, so it’s no surprise that their fragrance bottles are as meticulously crafted as their runway looks. Housed in a sleek glass bottle, the covetable packaging is in keeping with YSL’s sculpted aesthetic.topped with an angular black cap and embellished with the legendary YSL logo, oversized in gold-tone hardware in a way that bends around the glass.

But what’s more is the hidden meanings in the design, such as when you lay the bottle on its  side, it showcases a V cut – a nod to the V neckline of the signature YSL tuxedo, while golden chains around the neck of the fragrance is reminiscent of the brand’s best-loved jewellery.

Inside, the richly amber coloured fragrance is warm and inviting, much deeper than the original Libre. It looks undeniably premium, like a quality scotch, which is reflected in its £97 RRP, making my £65 purchase a steal, really.

The scent

YSL Libre Intense is said to be ‘fuelled by fierce sensuality’, offering a ‘celebration of tension’ with seemingly contrasting notes that come together to form a unique and incomparable scent. 

The first impression of YSL Libre Intense is a striking burst of aromatic lavender – traditionally used in male perfumery – enriched with warm and spicy undertones of Sambac jasmine and tuberose. Typically, I steer away from ‘floral’ fragrances, but the floral notes of Libre Intense, paired with the smokey base notes of vanilla, fresh feeling bergamot, and toasted tonka bean add a sweetness and warmth that makes for an irresistible and complex finish.

For those wondering what exactly the fragrance notes are, you can find them here:

  • Top Notes: Tangerine, Bergamot, Lavender.
  • Heart Notes: Jasmine Sambac, Orange Blossom, Orchid Accord.
  • Base Notes: Tonka Bean, Vanilla, Amber Gris, Vetiver.

Effortlessly blending power and grace, the fragrance is simultaneously strong and intense, but also graceful and delicate. I know that many people prefer these warm, spicy fragrances for the latter part of the year, which is fast approaching, but it’s definitely one I’ll find myself reaching for year-round and for special occasions and date nights, or any occasion that demands a touch of elegance and confidence.

Longevity and intensity 

The longevity of YSL Libre Intense is one of its highlights, easily lasting throughout the day and well into the evening without the need for reapplication. Upon first spritz, its warmth is all-consuming, with a sensual dry down of creamy vanilla and smoky amber. 

Be cautious not to overapply, as a little goes a long way with this highly concentrated fragrance, and there are a few ways you can use it to modify its intensity without overusing it.

  • For light intensity: spray in a cloud around your head and shoulders, let the fragrance fall around you.
  • For medium intensity: spray in a Y-shape across your body, beginning at one shoulder and finishing at the other. If you are wearing jewellery it is a great alternative to spraying your neck.
  • For added intensity: apply perfume directly to your pulse points and/or hot spots (wrist, inner elbow and lower neck). Here the heat of your body will allow the fragrance to reveal its full trail. Include shoulders and back to intensify your perfume trail.

With every use, the YSL Libre Intense leaves an alluring trail that commands attention without being overwhelming. It remains on the skin and garments for hours, and more often than not, you’ll typically be able to smell it on last night’s t-shirt the following morning, acting as a nostalgic reminder of the great time you had.

Embodying a sense of liberation and audacious elegance, this fragrance’s blend of florals and oriental accords strike a balance between masculine and feminine energy, making it a versatile scent for those who appreciate boldness in subtlety, regardless of gender.

While the intensity of this fragrance may not suit everyone’s taste, for those who crave a bold yet refined signature scent, YSL Libre Intense is an indulgent choice that undoubtedly leaves a lasting impression.

You can shop the bottle at a number of retailers including Boots, LookFantastic and Sephora

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