Published on September 29th, 2013 | by The Perfume Expert
Yves Saint Laurent Manifesto Review
Manifesto, the new fragrance from YSL, is sure a tasty little treat, and when I say tasty, I really mean the sugary sweetness of the cotton-candy like scent and the near mouth watering juiciness. Toted as an Oriental-Floral, this scent is not nearly as bold or audacious as the ad campaign nor as sophisticated or complex as YSL’s other perfumes like Opium or Paris, but I guess every perfume house needs a bubble-gum trendy fragrance in their line for the younger crowd; just a shame it wasn’t marketed as such.
Like all other trendy drugstore or bath & body fragrances, this fragrance centers around a strong sweet fruitiness. Strong on the sweet Vanilla, warm Sandalwood, and creamy Tonka Bean that provide an almost gourmand scent. Perhaps a little too sweet after a while, and since these notes are present from start to finish it almost smells sickingly sweet after 30min.
Adding to the sweetness are sweet-scented white flowers Lily-of-the-Valley and Jasmine. Subtle. Perhaps too subtle as these florals seem to just disappear in among the sweetness. Yes, there is a lot of “sweet” going on here! Strange that they labeled this as an Oriental-Floral when the typical heady floral notes used in such are not present. Not to mention the absence of any spiciness also usually present in an Oriental.
But the stars of the show, or should I say divas since they come and steal the spotlight, then go as fast as they appeared leaving you wanting more, are the unique additions of Blackcurrant as a top note and Cedar as a base. These two notes in themselves, I believe, should have played a much bigger part in this scent. The juiciness of the Blackcurrants almost seem to burst once sprayed and add such an earthy green ripeness to the perfume and a fresh contrast to the sweet Vanilla and Tonka Bean. Combined with Green Notes and zesty Bergamot, this top note trio is reminiscent of Jo Malone’s Blackberry and Bay and is delicious and intoxicating.
Another note that should have been more prominent in Manifesto is the Cedar note in the base. In amongst all that berrylious sweetness, a woody, deep, dry note is hinted at during the dry down, but not used to its full potential. It would have been a nice contrast to the fruity sugary nature of the scent to smell more of this earthy herbal. Personally, I feel like you can’t have dark, ripe, forest-picked berries, without the scent of the forest trees! Thank goodness they included it, but again, I’m left wanting more.
Manifesto could have been a modern masterpiece of ripe berries, sweetness and warm woodiness, but instead it leaves me feeling somewhat disappointed. Once again, if marketed correctly to a younger more trendy audience, this fragrance is en par with the rest of them; however, marketed as a fragrance that defies convention, a bold, mature, statement fragrance, this scent misses the mark completely.
Now, if they would have bolstered up the Blackberries and Cedar and laid off of the candied Vanilla, then YES, this scent would be considered bold and mature but instead in its present state it comes across young, trendy, and unsophisticated. Even if they would have tweaked the notes, it still doesn’t explain their odd marketing campaign. By the looks of it, it appears that YSL was only trying to be “cool” and “shocking” without representing the scent in any way what so ever.
To me, the image and portrayal of a fragrance is just as much a piece of art as the fragrance itself. And YSL’s Manifesto is just plain confusing, with the image not only having nothing to do with the scent but also not representing the woman who would wear it. Because, yes, we buy a perfume because it represents the woman we are, but we also buy it because the image represents the woman we aspire to be.
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The Perfume Expert Rating
Summary: This is not the typical sophisticated YSL fragrance, and not the bold/daring perfume that it is marketed as. Instead, this scent is a typical overly-sweet fruity floral bordering on the gourmand. Instead of being for a mature and striking woman, it would smell best on a bubbly teenager.