Kouros Eau de Sport (1986)

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Kouros Eau de Sport occupied a brief place in time many years ago. Sadly, a fragrance which is long gone now. It arrived in an era when men dreamed of the prospect of finishing up a game of tennis, showering in an exclusive sports club, splashing on some of this exceptionally good fragrance and wandering down to the beach. After laying a towel out on the sand, adjusting their ray-bans and beginning to listen to Phil Collins on their walkman, perhaps they expected the imminent arrival of 1980's supermodels like Elle Macpherson or Rachel Williams running with elegant grace along the water’s edge, slowing to a stop and then wandering up the sand to where they could experience athleticism of a different kind. Picking up a bottle of this (assuming you can even find it) brings that kind of image to mind. It is very 1980s.

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I never owned Kouros Eau de Sport back when I was younger. I had the regular edition but I’m not sure it was ever even available in England when I lived there. The bottle I have came to me from a vintage collector in Florida. Even if it had been on sale in the UK, its appearance on the shelves was probably short yet sweet - like a kiss in the dark from a stranger. The fragrance debuted in 1986 but from my own research - scanning through men’s fashion magazines from that decade published in both the UK and USA, it was last mentioned in September 1990.

Three years is not long and for vintage collectors, that means one thing: it’s rare. Kouros Eau de Sport shares a common trait with the original Patou Pour Homme in that scarcity fuels prices.

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The box itself is familiar to collectors of vintage Kouros, with its bold masculine lines but the weight is something else entirely. The bottle itself is made from plastic as is the base. The standard version from that time has a glass bottle with a metal base. It’s a subtle difference in design but it makes quite a difference when you pick it up in your hand. Presumably, Yves Saint Laurent went for the plastic on the sport bottle because it was just something you might toss into your sports bag after you had hit the showers. At today’s prices for this fragrance, I cannot imagine anyone tossing this anywhere.

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The base of the box has the usual batch code stamped into the cardboard (as was the method during that era). My bottle must have been perhaps midway through production - 8002 equates to 1988 using Andre Moreau’s batch dating techniques for YSL.

As to the fragrance itself, it is true to its sporty form in that the overall feel is a somewhat more subtle, fresh and well-balanced version of the regular vintage. Perhaps a touch lighter too. Of course, lightness in terms of Kouros still means that by today’s standards, this remains a powerhouse of masculinity - make no mistake about that.

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For me, there is also a subtle sweetness which is absent from the other. I think that if there were some way I could travel back in time, I would have probably chosen this over the regular edition - it just seems more balanced and less severe without losing any of the major notes that Kouros offers. Maybe it’s just me but it feels like there are touches of Lemon and Honey in there too.

I thought my collecting Kouros was complete after acquiring the standard vintage and the Fraicheur edition. I was wrong. Recently I managed to find another full unused bottle of Kouros. This is also labelled as a 'sport' edition. There is a bar code on the base of the box and the batch code is unfamiliar to me when I check it against YSL codes. However, everything about it tells me that this must have just been produced for a different market. The lettering points to an early 1990s formulation. The code is stamped into the base of the box (itself cellophane sealed) and on opening it, I found the usual Yves Saint Laurent documentation inside which mentions other Sport products. The bottle itself also has the code printed on the base.

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As to buying Kouros Eau de Sport today, one would have to factor in the price (high) and that it doesn’t really demand a purchase unless you’re both collecting vintage 1980s designer fragrances and in particular, Kouros.

If you have the money and love Kouros - this version remains the holy grail.