For a few days now I have been mulling over the comments of readers and my own response to old and new YSL Opium. We’ve heard passionate arguments in favour of the older formulation, and several positive comments about the new one ( including from yours truly). Now that friend of the blog Lisa has kindly let me borrow her gorgeous bottle of old Opium ( see photo) and I have tried both the old and the new, I feel qualified to give my opinion.
New Opium is still a wonderful daytime scent that I would happily have on my dressing table. It’s widely available and there’s nothing wrong with it at all: it’s even suitable for daywear in August.
Old Opium, which I am wearing now, is indeed the “woah there” scent that friends of the blog Sally and Lisa argued so passionately in favour of and can only be had on eBay it would seem. It’s a whopper with sillage that could kill a canary. It’s shamelessly blousy and glamorous: like a drunk at a party- loud and unmissable but witty and fun. It’s powdery and classic (some would say old fashioned, I say classic) and has done a trolley dash through the Oriental Perfume Ingredients Store and bought everything. It’s fabulous and it was in its day, a groundbreaker.
Here’s my verdict: New Opium is indeed a shadow of the Old Opium, to the point where it is in fact a lite version and should have been labelled as such. New Opium is excellent in its own right but the very fact that I would recommend it for daywear even in August goes to show how weak it is compared to its night-time-only- it’ll-blow-your-socks-off original. What YSL should have done is kept old Opium intact and called new Opium by the name of a flanker such as Eau D’Opium or Opium Summer (In fact confusingly there is an Opium Summer-Eau d’été- a name which would have suited the current formulation)
I therefore declare YSL guilty of murdering a perfectly good scent and replacing it with an imposter. A good imposter, but an imposter nonetheless. They may be cousins but they don’t even look alike. *gavel*