Opium is a spicy oriental perfume that I will always associate with my late mother-in-law since it was her signature scent. Spicy and dramatic, Opium by Yves Saint Laurent is a fragrance meant for grand entrances and strong enough that you’ll still detect it the next morning. The Opium currently on the market doesn’t smell exactly like the original 1977 version , but it does smell a lot like it which is a very good thing.
Opium had been referred to as the gold standard by which other orientals are measured. Supposedly reflecting Yves Saint Laurent’s fascination with the Orient and his unique understanding of a woman’s hidden emotions and inexplicable passions, it’s an exotic potent fragrance that reeks of drama.
One or two sprays is all it takes to announce to the world that you’re wearing it. Three sprays and you’ll run the risk of overdosing.
Opium, like many other oriental scents, stands out because of its unique blend of warmth and smoky sensuality. I always try to guess the notes in a perfume I review but knew I was out of my league with this one. Way too much going on.
According to Fragrantica, Opium features the following notes: coriander, plum, citruses, mandarin orange, cloves, West Indian Bay, bergamot, carnation, sandalwood, patchouli, cinnamon, orris root, peach, rose, labdanum, Tolu balsam, sandalwood, opoponax, musk, coconut, vanilla, benzoin, incense, cedar, myrrh, castoreum and amber. There are a few others I left off but you get the idea. There are some major heavy hitters in this juice.
Yves Saint Laurent launched Black Opium in 2014 which was never supposed to smell like the original. It’s much more of a vanilla gourmand with strong coffee notes and is a lot sweeter.
Opium falls into the ranks of perfumes that I can appreciate and enjoy on others (unless they’ve been spritzing recklessly) but it’s really not for me. That said, if you enjoy sexy oriental scents like Guerlain’s Shalimar and Samsara, you owe it to yourself to give Opium a try.