When Yves Saint Laurent launched Libre in 2019, every perfume fan needed to try it. With a huge campaign with singer Dua Lipa, the fragrance became the next hottest thing to become a signature scent.
So, when YSL introduced Libre Intense a year later with a whole new formula and the same campaign chops, we all had one question on our minds: do they smell drastically different? And which one is better? To find out, I did some comparative sniffing.
Debuted in 2019 and the winner for best perfume in 2020 from the Fragrance Foundation, YSL Libre eau de parfum came out swinging as the must-have fragrance of its time. Available from 10-150ml in a beautiful light gold logotype bottle, it felt like YSL knew they had something special on their hands.
Marketed as an amber fougere, to my nose this fragrance plays a little outside the norm. It opens with a bright splash of citrus from mandarin orange and orange blossom which feels clean and fresh but quickly settles into white florals such as lavender and jasmine. The drydown of Moroccan vanilla is sweet and very feminine, which evens out the masculine smell of the lavender.
Lavender lovers will enjoy this fragrance. The floral base and vanilla stands out throughout the structure and gives off a light and crisp feel. At times I can find the scent a bit soapy, but the hints of vanilla and jasmine cut through that decently well.
I think it’s a great scent for a crisp fall or spring day and perhaps a chill evening out. This is a pretty powerful fragrance, and its longevity and sillage are excellent. I didn’t have to worry about multiple applications.
My Overall Take On YSL Libre
If you are a lavender lover, this is a perfect fragrance. Although, if you’re bothered by soapy scents, I’d opt for something else. The longevity and sillage alone make YSL Libre worth its money, and I find the smell to be both complex and androgynous. It’s reasonably versatile as well, though I don’t think this fragrance necessarily would fit a posh night on the town. Overall, I’d say if you are a fan of white florals and a soft feminine touch, Libre stands up to the hype.
YSL Libre Intense
Launched in 2020, YSL Libre Intense eau de parfum aims to be the sultry sister fragrance to YSL Libre. This darker, more honey gold liquid is available in 30-90ml bottles, with the same logotype gold bottle as the original.
While YSL Libre focuses on masculinity, YSL Libre Intense is more delicate with a more sensual or sweet structure. The lavender note remains throughout the entire fragrance. After opening with orange blossom and bergamot, the fragrance’s dry-down is filled with florals like orchids, which bring a nice light femininity to the masculine lavender lingering at the base. The Moroccan vanilla and tonka bean on the base mixed with the new floral notes make Libre Intense a much deeper, cozier scent with a sweetness that feels comforting and warm.
While the lavender from the original is still here, it feels that Libre Intense has more than one scent battling for center stage. I find that the vanilla and tonka bean dominate this fragrance by the end, making this fragrance perfect for fall and winter nights.
Lasting for hours at a time and with a great sillage, I still find Libre Intense to be strong yet muted. I like that the sillage doesn’t hold onto just one scent as well. There’s a complexity with Libre Intense that smells complicated. It smells sexy but comforting all at once.
My Overall Take On YSL Libre Intense
If you are looking for a scent with cozy sweetness and fresh florals, this is it. More feminine and to my nose a little less strong, Libre Intense brings a nice complexity that feels like YSL did their homework on making a perfect flanker.
The verdict: My Winner of Libre Vs. Libre Intense
It was a close call, but I have to go with Libre Intense.
Despite both fragrances being lavender forward, my nose found Libre Intense to be just a tad more complex and subtle with its floral notes than Libre.
At times, Libre can come off a bit soapy which to some may be great, but personally, I found Libre Intense to use the lavender to make some great combinations with the tonka bean and orchid.
While I think Libre is more suitable for year-round wear, I honestly can’t get enough of the deep warmth that Libre Intense emits. The scent just has an ability to transform me to a crisp fall or winter evening where I am cuddled up by the fire and there are sweets in the oven. It’s a feeling I certainly try to capture year around, and I think Libre Intense does the trick.
Libre Intense makes for better day-to-day wear because I don’t worry about overpowering my surroundings. The longevity and sillage are excellent, if not better than Libre. While Libre certainly had the staying power with its intense bursts of lavender, I think the full structure of Libre Intense lasted longer and more subtly than Libre.
I am absolutely sure that both fragrances will find their place as timeless pieces, not only for their versatility but subtle charms, but personally, Libre Intense will be the first I run for when I see it on the shelf. Libre Intense is slightly more expensive, but the prices are pretty similar. In my opinion, if you are going to splurge on that YSL Logotype, it’s not going to hurt to pay a few extra dollars for the one you like.
Overall, it’s a close race, and if you are someone who loves the fresh and floral structure of Libre, I totally understand. But for me, YSL outdid themselves by taking everything good about Libre and making something even better in Libre Intense.