Kouros Vintage Eau de Toilette (Yves Saint Laurent)

What I'm about to say might cause a platoon of fragrance chauvinists to swallow their tongues. For them, YSL Kouros is the genius loci of an inviolably male precinct, a sacred scent with whom no mere woman may traffic. The idea of me rocking their filthy-dirty stonking wunderfume would be purest anathema-- and yet I'm doing it as we speak, and the words that come most readily to mind are "big ol' cuddlebear".

Cue the falling-upon of swords!

All right, look. I won't emasculate Kouros entirely. This 1981 monolith deserves all the he-manly epithets with which the decades have graced it. It IS raunchy. It IS racy. It's hung like Liam Neeson and has a half-life that rivals vanadium. But everything about it that could be overwhelming (the brisk face-slap of aromatic wormwood, the whiplash sting of civet-soaked leather) is tempered by something remarkably benign (rosy florals, ozonic amber, the scent of Chinese five-spice). Mad, bad, and dangerous to know? Like fun. This is no angry deity, but a gentle, downy-cheeked, smiling youth of the sort immortalized in a thousand Tom of Finland illustrations. He knows how much further a soft word will get him than a growl; that macho pose is just the icing on some very, very sweet cake.

So here's to the boy who cleans up nice and plays well with girls. He'll never need to twist my arm. (Hear that, Hugo Boss?)

Scent Elements: Aldehydes, artemisia, coriander, clary sage, cinnamon, bergamot, carnation, iris, jasmine, geranium, patchouli, oakmoss, vetiver, honey, leather, tonka, labdanum, ambergris, musk, civet, vanilla