It has been said that our sense of smell is the strongest of them all. A whiff of a fragrance smelled in the past can take you back exactly to that momemt, much like the non-existing time machine. And I think that is why I love perfume. You can ponder upon the past for so much time, never being able to experience it quite the way you once did. But a smell can give you that excitement, that sparkling joy of being in that exact moment you envision to be in.
Ysatis by Givenchy came out in the early 1980’s. This perfume, like all other 80’s perfumes is a bomb. A flower bomb. An ylang ylang bomb. A beautiful bomb, non-destructive (unless you were like me when you were five and couldn’t keep the lid on the allergies). This is the first perfume I ever smelled, I think so. And on nobody other then my mother.
My mother used to use all those fragrances I have come to love and admire now, coincidentally. Of course this was a time when fragrances were still ‘fragrances’ and not devoid of good old oakmoss amongst other natural ingredients (These ingredients have been banned because 2 out of a 100 people’s skin didn’t like it and that poses a major threat to all of perfumery!) Now, Ysatis was a special occasion fragrance for my mom. It was the one she wore to weddings, all the formal affairs. I don’t know if I stayed home or went along, but I remember when I grew up and took a whiff of the then-empty bottle of Ysatis she had still kept. I was reminded of the soft touch of her embroidered silk dupattas (aka scarf) and her high heels. Sadly, times had changed but smelling that empty bottle was good enough for me. Everything seemed the same, call it a lie or fantasy.
So I dedicate my first post to Ysatis. It’s by Givenchy. Hubert de Givenchy is someone I greatly admire so this perfume is very special to me since it was created when he still had a say in his business. You know it’s something he would approve of, and maybe even Audrey Hepburn would, the everlasting Givenchy ambassador. I wish more people would know that…
Anyhow, Ysatis, as I said, is an 80’s bomb. It’s full bodied, heady (like extremely exciting) and a perfect accord of floral and woody. It’s emotional and it’s definitely not for everyday use. Trust me, people will faint. You can call it sweet, as it does have honey in its notes, but not the sickening candy sweet which basically all current perfumes smell like, besides Guerlain of course. It has tuberose of course and it has sandalwood. Actually the list of notes it has is quite long. But to summarise it, it’s a romantic, emotional and exiciting perfume. A sort that brings to mind a starry night, a woman dressed in a black oppulent gown, walking down a grand staircase, but you don’t see her face or know her name. I don’ think Ysatis will ever be replicated anytime soon. Ysatis is one a kind of a species that is unfortunately almost extinct.
On a broader scale, Ysatis has been discontinued. If available, it’s the reformulated version. It smells flat and, well not emotive. The headiness is gone. So I suggest looking up a vintage mini Eau de Toilette for a try. Eau de Parfum was never really sold, although Parfum in 7ml bottles is sometimes found on eBay. You must love it!
In case you wondered, the pronunciation goes like ‘e-sa-tees’!