Cinéma by Yves Saint Laurent

Notes: clementine, cyclamen, almond blossom, peony, amaryllis, jasmine, amber, benzoin, white musk, and vanilla.

I personally love that bottle design and packaging is part of the whole experience in the perfume world. There are some beautiful bottles out there — some more beautiful than the juice inside! The best is when an iconic scent has an iconic bottle to go along with it, as in the case of Shalimar or JPG Le Mâle. They are are bottle designs that even non-perfume lovers would recognize. YSL Cinéma has one of my favorite bottle designs. It’s not overly elaborate or a completely unique type of bottle. I simply love the play of light through the glass, emphasizing different points of the gold bottle design. It’s a bit of a trompe l’oeil because sometimes it looks as though Cinéma has flecks of gold in the liquid. (Which is a real thing now thanks to Atelier des Ors, if you’re looking for your perfume to contain gold flakes!)

Cinéma opens with a juicy mandarin citrus note. This is not a fruity floral, but the mandarin adds a freshness to a composition that could otherwise become very dense. It’s a lovely bright opening, and it makes way for a floral heart of jasmine and peony. My nose isn’t advanced enough to pick out cyclamen on its own, but I find this to be a very appealing floral bouquet. It has an effortless feel. I think a lot of people could pull off this mandarin and floral opening, and feel good about what they’re wearing.

The almond blossom note makes things a little bit interesting. I sense it more in the heart of the fragrance, which starts to come through an hour into wear time for me. The floral bouquet is still present and it takes on an even more lush white floral feel. In fact, the whole fragrance is so lush and full-bodied at this point that it reminds me of a white wine. The almond blossom adds a soft nutty note, while the jasmine continues to bloom on the skin. Cinéma takes on a buttery chardonnay feel for me here. It’s very textured, creamy, and yummy without being gourmand. I’ve sometimes gotten a red wine vibe from fragrances, and even a champagne vibe from aldehydes, but not chardonnay before. Cinéma is really unique here in that way. I will clarify that it’s definitely not a boozy scent. Rather, it’s full-bodied in the same way that buttery California chardonnays are.

The base is more of a typical vanilla/amber/musk dry down. The composition still has a rich, buttery feel. It’s a comfort scent for me at this point. The musk in the base gives me Tocca Margaux vibes (a personal favorite) in that it’s a warm, comforting musk that doesn’t come across as synthetic. This is a lovely base, it’s just a little bit less unique than the interesting heart notes.

Overall, Cinéma is a delicious white floral/vanilla that has some uniqueness, and doesn’t tip over into full-on gourmand territory. It’s a happy scent and a comfort scent for me. Cinéma will put you in a good mood. I also get beautiful sillage and wear time from this one. It easily lasts me a typical eight hour work day and it doesn’t offend anyone in an office setting. Cinéma always puts a smile on my face. It’s a scent that I enjoy and the gold-flecked bottle only adds to my enjoyment!

I would love to hear about any favorite bottle designs, please share! Likewise, are there any bottle designs that have put you off testing/buying a perfume?


Cinéma is a little harder to find in the US these days. It’s currently available directly from YSL. I purchased my bottle a couple of years ago from Fragrancenet.

The info on the notes is from Fragrantica.

The photo was taken by me.

5 thoughts on “Cinéma by Yves Saint Laurent

  1. I must admit I am a sucker for bottles. I started collecting the Escada limited edition ones in 1994 and have kept that collection going strong (have every single year in full bottle except 1993 but I have that one in a mini…that was the first year of the LEs) The older Escada bottles from the 1990s were a bit more elegant than the current ones . Also loved the old Annick Goutals and love the Tocca bottles because they are extraordinarily hefty solid glass. Recent loves are the Berdoues Grand Cru Collection cologne bottles and the artwork on the boxes are equally as lovely. And I saved my empty Britt bottles…the original Britt, Britt Red and Britt Gold.

    1. I just looked up the Berdoues Grand Cru bottles — gorgeous! If you had endless time and money, it would be so much fun to collect the whole set and have all the bottles.

      I love that you’ve collected the Escada LEs! Older bottles from the 90s, 80s, and earlier, seem to be made of such sturdy glass. The Tocca bottles are great that way (I think the Tocca bottles are a little bit underrated in general). The old Annick Goutal bottles are similarly lovely. I hate their recent re-branding to just “Goutal.”

      1. If I had won the 1.6 billion jackpot lotto I would indeed own all of the Berdoues! Right now we have four bottles in the house with two of them empty. I agree on the Tocca…it’s an underrated and highly affordable niche brand. And yes, I too am not happy with the direction of Annick Goutal…so many of my favorites were either d/c or reformulated I haven’t bought from them in years.

  2. I liked Cinema when it was released and planned to buy it eventually but then the rabbit hole happened, and I got distracted from it. Now I would be cautious to buy a bottle “unsniffed” because I can’t even imagine how much it has changed since I tried it last.

    I like bottles and have my share of purchases influenced by this factor (I bought a bottle of AG Nuit Etoilee instead of a decant just because I wanted that bottle). I even have a bottle that I bought not planning to use the juice at all – Fairy by VC&A (I use it on my perfume “tray” for decorative purposes only).

    1. Oh yes, I’m sure Cinéma was even more lovely when you first tried it!

      Your decorative perfume tray sounds fun! I learned the hard way when my bottle of 5 O’Clock au Gingembre began to change after I left it out on my makeup table! Don’t keep the good juice out on display!!

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